Caught this story today while reading USN&WR in my “dad chair” this afternoon, and thought it was interesting enough to hunt down on the web. The Pentagon is drafting a short-of-war plan for North Korea.
One scenario in the draft involves flying RC-135 surveillance flights even closer to North Korean airspace, forcing Pyongyang to scramble aircraft and burn scarce jet fuel. Another option: U.S. commanders might stage a weeks-long surprise military exercise, designed to force North Koreans to head for bunkers and deplete valuable stores of food, water, and other resources. The current draft of 5030 also calls for the Pentagon to pursue a range of tactical operations that are not traditionally included in war plans, such as disrupting financial networks and sowing disinformation.
What I like about 5030 is that it throws Pyongyang’s strategy right back in their faces. North Korea has survived, in large part, by being unpredictable, nutty, and seemingly dangerous. If they see the victors of Afghanistan and Gulf Wars I and II acting the same way, it might — might — just get them to settle down a bit.
The other bright idea is forcing the NPRK to use up its small stores of diesel and jet fuel, which will be expensive for them to replace. There’s danger here, however. Back them up against the wall too hard, and the Dear Leader might see no choice but to lash out at the South, or even Japan.
5030 outlines a bold, but risky, scenario. But with Pyongyang’s recent nuclear saber-rattling, the risks could prove worth taking.
What’s interesting is that even at this early planning stage, details are already being leaked. Whether 5030 is ever implemented, or even real, just letting Li’l Kim know we’re thinking such thoughts should give him pause.
If the whole idea scares you, don’t worry yet 5030 is suddenly US policy, without any debate. The Pentagon draws up war plans all the time, and most of them never see the light of day.