The United States conveyed a strong demonstration of power in its support of South Korea and Japan during this week’s joint United States-South Korea military exercises. The massive coordination and integration of United States’ air, land, and sea military capabilities, on the Korean Peninsula, with its strong hosting ally, the Republic of South Korea, clearly shows the United States’ commitment to assure our allies, of this region, against the North Korean threat.
The United States has no intention to strike first against a nuclear armed nation such as North Korea, largely because the United States can defend against a North Korean nuclear missile attack.
As a small part of this large exercise, two United States’ nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers were flown over South Korea. This fly over demonstrated the B-2 stealth bombers’ capability to deliver payloads that would clearly devastate the North Korean regime if they were irrational enough to go through with their threats and attack the United States, South Korea, territories in the Pacific and Japan.
The strategic message this week is much more powerful than two B-2 stealth bombers, it is the United States’ ultimate assurance to South Korea, Japan and all those who are witnessing, in this region, the placement of thousands upon thousands of American lives, in front, arm in arm, and together with the South Koreans against the North Korean’s aggression and threats. To the South Koreans and Japanese who live with and face the North Korean threat daily, this is the ultimate symbol of assurance.
The United States has no intention to strike first against a nuclear armed nation such as North Korea, largely because the United States can defend against a North Korean nuclear missile attack. The United States’ intention and policy is to prevent South Korea and Japan from striking first against a North Korean nuclear power that will provoke, threaten, and continue to increase its rhetoric and political agenda. Having joint exercises such as these and joint missile defense capability defeats the threatening belligerent provoking government of North Korea, and significantly helps reduce South Korean and Japan’s consideration of preemptive or striking back at North Korea and lighting the fuse to a devastating war.
The massive display of offensive capability along with missile defense, in and around the Korean Peninsula, including the flights of nuclear capable B-2 stealth bombers, is an absolute necessity for South Korea, Japan, and United States as we work to assure that millions of innocent lives are defended and that this offensive capability is able to survive a first strike by North Korea
The massive display of offensive capability along with missile defense, in and around the Korean Peninsula, including the flights of nuclear capable B-2 stealth bombers, is an absolute necessity for South Korea, Japan, and United States as we work to assure that millions of innocent lives are defended and that this offensive capability is able to survive a first strike by North Korea, including the territories and states of the United States. This capability will further deter North Korea as they decide if they should rationally strike or not strike, and defend if they irrationally decide to strike.
Credit and recognition should go towards the unheralded participants in this past week of exercises, our nation’s missile defense war fighters and their systems as well as their respective missile defense teammates from South Korea and Japan as they are all a critical part of this week’s necessary exercises.
The United States Missile Defense participants are as follows:
- The men and women of the United States 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, based in Osan Air Force Base, Korea, command the two U.S. Patriot 3 Battalions located in Korea.
- The men and women of the United States Aegis BMD ships from the 7thFleet, based out of Yokosuka, Japan, with AN/SPY radars and SM-3 Block IA interceptor missiles.
- The men and women of the United States Army First Space Brigade managing the JTAG satellite warning system in Osan, Korea and the AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan.
- The men and women of the 7th Air Force and the 607th Air Operations Center (AOC) in Osan Air Base, Korea and the 94th AAMDC in Hawaii with the 613th AOC that commands the fire control and integration of the missile defense assets in the region.
- The men and women of the Army’s 100th Missile Defense Brigade out of Colorado Springs, Alaska and California and the 49th Missile Defense Battalion out of Fort Greely, Alaska that command the defense of the United States with the 30 deployed Ground Based Interceptors.
- The men and women of the Air Force 460th Space Wing that command our early warning Satellites out of Fort Buckley, Colorado and those that command our land-based radars in Shemya and Clear Alaska as well as Beale Air Force Base in California.
Having a combination of joint defensive and offensive forces is much more lethal, effective, and sound to deter and prevent conflict than relying on offensive forces alone. Defensive capability provides more flexibility in response as well as more assurance.
Even with all of the significant and integrated capability that was demonstrated this week, there is concern that we are not doing all that we can in the defensive preparation of Korea and the protection of the American citizens in the Pacific Islands including Hawaii, Guam, Wake, and the Mariana Islands from a North Korean nuclear ballistic missile first strike. Two major missile defense assets and platforms that have been bought and paid for with billions of U.S. Tax dollars remain not deployed and inactive in this region.
- The Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) Radar, currently berthed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii is a floating platform that can be towed out to any part of the Pacific, between Hawaii and North Korea to track and provide fire control data to our Aegis BMD Ships and to all of our long-range ballistic missile interceptors in Alaska and California. Deployment of the SBX would provide additional protection to Hawaii, territories in the Pacific and the United States Homeland.
- The Alpha 4-THAAD Battery is a fully operational missile defense system currently based in Fort Bliss, Texas. The THAAD is able to track, discriminate and fire interceptors at multiple salvos of incoming ballistic missiles in high altitude and in low space providing an exponentially greater amount of defended area than the deployed Patriot systems. Deployment of the Alpha-4 THAAD Battery in Korea would enhance our missile defense systems deployed there greatly to protect more people and more assets as well as to increase the threshold of deterrence towards North Korea and provide more assurance to our allies in the region.
We look forward to seeing these two great systems deployed as they would make the Pacific Region, including Hawaii and the Korean Peninsula, safer than it is today.
We rest assured that we, as a nation, have a proven demonstrated missile defense capability deployed in Alaska and California to shoot down any and all of today’s North Korean Missiles targeting American cities.
There is nothing stealth about this.
Riki Ellison is the Chairman & Founder, Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance