Over the years, the United States has had its fair share of threats from North Korea. As of Friday, March 29, 2013, North Korea has issued yet another “grim” warning to the United States as their leader Kim Jong-un signed an order to put its nation’s rockets on a combat-ready status. A photo was then released to media outlets called, “US mainland strike plan.” In the photo, charts and pictures show rocket trajectories impacting Hawaii, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Austin Texas.
In the meantime, the United States also conducted their own regular military training exercises amid the threats. Two B-2 bombers, capable of carrying both a conventional and nuclear payload, conducted aerial operations in South Korea, dropping dummy munitions. Whether we are calling it a military exercise or not, I believe that it is a true way of flexing our military muscle.
Bluff or Not?
With so many threats thrown at us in the past years, and North Korea yet to fulfill their absurd rhetoric, I would like to go ahead and call their bluff. Although North Korea does in fact have long range missile capabilities, as far as being able to hit a target in the Continental United States, not so much. North Korea’s most potent long range missile, that we are aware of at this point, is known as the Taepodong-2. The Taepodong-2 is a long range, 2-3 stage missile, giving it a maximum effective range of 2,500 statute miles (2 stage), or 2,800 statute miles (3 stage). This missile would be capable of hitting Alaska at best.
But there is one big problem. On July 5, 2006, when the North Koreans tested this missile, it failed mid flight, approximately 40 seconds after launch. With this being said, it would be almost impossible for North Korea to land a missile in our backyard, unless they had some help from their neighboring big brothers, which is highly unlikely. Getting around our current surveillance would be quite the challenge.
The Deceleration of War?
On Saturday, March 30, 2013, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un issued a statement saying, “From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly.” As we all know, the United States has military bases located in South Korea, and most, if not all, have been in the region for quite some time.
Looking back to November 23, 2010, North Korea did in fact shell the South Korean island Yeonpyeongdo, so they are very capable of doing so again. Whether they will or not, no one can say with 100% certainty.
If North Korea was capable of successfully launching a missile with a trajectory headed for the United States, there are a few defense systems they would have to outsmart. On March 14, 2013, the United States beefed up its ICBM defense by deploying an additional 14 ground based interceptors to Alaska and California missile silos. Not only did we beef up our missile defense system here in the states, we also stacked up a few more in South Korea, the PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capabilities – 3). These missile defense systems are a surface to air missile battery capable of hitting missiles in flight from the ground with a hit rate that exceeds 70%, depending on who you ask.
Dealing With North Korea
This has been an ongoing topic not only throughout the military, but is also widely talked about amongst civilians. When dealing with North Korea, there are a ton of options I’m sure we have on the table, but due to their constant asinine threats, is it something we should take seriously?