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United States Strategic Response to North Korean Threat

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C1C D’Angelo Turner

MSS 415 Final Paper

Lt Col German

19 November 2015

United States Strategic Response to North Korean Threat

Over the past few decades the United States has become a stronger political and physical entity that is better positioned to seize the opportunities of a new century and safeguard our national interests against the threats of an insecure world. The U.S. National Security Strategy provides a “vision and strategy for advancing the nation’s interests, universal values, and a rules-based international order through strong and sustainable American leadership.”[1] This strategy outlines the principles and priorities that define how America will lead the world toward global prosperity and peace. The 2015 NSS stated that the U.S. would lead with purpose, strength, capable partners, all instruments of U.S. power, by example and with a long-term perspective, influencing the actions and behaviors of the international landscape today in order to secure our national interests in the future. Specifically with international relations, the United States intends to advance international order by promoting peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges by firstly “rebalancing Asia and the Pacific through increased diplomacy, stronger alliances and partnerships, expanded trade and investment, and a diverse security posture.”1 Secondly, the United States intends to promote order by “strengthening and growing our global alliances and partnerships, and forging diverse coalitions.”1 With these specific strategies outlined by the NSS with regard to our foreign allies in Asia and the Pacific, the United States will make great strides to safeguard our interests against the risks of an insecure world. For this reason, the growing international threat of North Korea is of vast importance to the United States government.

With North Korea presenting a very real international threat to the United States and its allies, the political objectives will be specifically to achieve long-term stability and prosperity in the region, advance U.S. interests, and develop solidarity with Asian countries. The military objectives will aim to defend the freedom of the seas, deter conflict and coercion, promote adherence to international law and standards, and strengthen our global network of allies and partners.

North Korea remains one of the most dangerous and enduring challenges for the United States. Despite many countries seeking to achieve greater prosperity, improve compliance, adhere to international law, and strive for stable relations, North Korea continues to be isolated and unstable. The country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles (which is a violation of its international obligations), creates a significant threat to peace and security not only on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, but possibly to American soil as well. The 2014 PACOM House Armed Services Committee Posture Statement describes it in depth: “North Korea continues to violate United Nations Security resolutions against selling weapons and weapon-related technologies around the globe. The July 2013 Panamanian confiscation of a North Korean ship loaded with fighter aircraft and other weapons from Cuba in direct violation of UN sanctions is one example. While it has become harder to sell to traditional customers such as Iran and Syria, North Korea is attempting to open new markets in Africa and South America.”[2]

The desired condition of this issue includes having the borders of U.S. allies and partners secure, North Korea no longer posing an offensive threat to the world, U.S. allies and partners have sufficient national security forces in order to suppress any future threats, and ultimately a withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula and the AOR.

The friendly center of gravity of this issue is the U.S. military forces, specifically the United States Pacific Command. With allies and partners, USPACOM has the responsibility for military operations on more than 52 percent of Earth’s surface. In the command’s area are the three largest world economies. Seven of the world’s 10 largest standing armies are in the region, as are five of the seven nations that have nuclear arms. USPACOM consists of over 360,000 military/civilian personnel as well as over 1,200 special operations personnel.[3] The critical capabilities include strategic mobility from the continental United States or supporting theaters. The critical requirements include air and sea lines of communications, air and sea mobility platforms, and air and sea ports for debarkation. The air and sea lines of communications also serve as the critical vulnerability.

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