U.S. Preps for Possible Showdown with Pyongyang

By Nathan Hodge
June 8, 2009
Wired News – USA

The U.S. military is stepping up training and reviewing target sets in case the North Koreans decide to go to war …

As we learned last week, North Korea looks to be prepping for another long-range missile test, and South Korea has reportedly outlined plans to strike back if North Korea targets its warships. The U.S. military is also preparing for the worst; Aviation Week ace reporters Amy Butler and Dave Fulghum have an excellent rundown of stepped-up military preparations in the event North Korea follows through on its belligerent rhetoric.

Fulghum, reporting from Osan Air Base, South Korea, notes that the U.S. Air Force is identifying critical training fixes for close air support and air-to-air combat — two missions that would be critical in the first 72 hours of the fight. He also takes a close look at a first-day-of-the-war mission for joint tactical air controllers: XATK (pronounced “ex-attack”), the mission to destroy long-range, North Korean artillery.

… the U.S. Missile Defense Agency is boosting its sensor capabilities so U.S. decisionmakers will have more reaction time in the event of a missile launch or an actual attack. The U.S. military made a deliberate decision not to try to intercept a North Korean Taepodong-2 in April; it will be interesting to see if this time around … commanders deploy more missile defense assets or step up their alert.