Sunday, February 13, 2005

Tom made a point in the comments of my post regarding the reporting of the recently published ROK White Paper asking, somewhat rhetorically, is it realistic.

Let me touch on the reporting before I get into this post. The 'news' was that ROK changed a reference to NDPK from "main enemy" to "military threat" or "main military threat" according to the BBC while alluding that the response plan for an attack by NK is to, basically, have the US military pull up stakes and resettle on the peninsula. At least the AP report Fox posted emphasized the 'news' of the numbers and not the changed reference, but then that was neither 'news' nor informative as anything other than a reminder (of what's been planned for the last ten years or so) for those people who really don't pay attention to anything, anyway. So if there is any news in this report, the MSM hasn't found it yet.

This plan notes what the US is willing and able to commit based on our present force structure and based on a (simultaneous) two war scenario, the other, if I remember the 2000 White Paper correctly, cast in the middle east region. All this is listed under Augmentation Forces. It is defined within the TPFDD or Time-Phased Forces Deployment Plan. Regarding Tom's comment, I'd contend if the 'resettling' of the US military happens at all, it will be for policing a defeated nation, not to fight a war.

I base that contention on one primary factor and one caveat The factor is time and the caveat is that no nation steps in to actively support NK. The time factor - there isn't the time available to get all those forces to the peninsula before the war ended due to these other factors, four I can think of and which, of course, apply to both NK and SK but as polar opposites.

Here's my take on the factors. I'm not a military expert or military strategist, so go easy on me for my civilian-based jargon. Also, as you read, please keep in mind that all I am pointing out is that there will not be 690,000 US troops in and around the peninsula when, if a war is started by NK, it ends.

A) Fuel - for the NK's will be eliminated (primarily) and then dry up; SK would be supplied aplenty.
B) Military Resources:
1) NK:
a) NK's Air would be gone in days; it would likely take off once and what survives will have practically no place to land; any that land would never take off again.
b) LR artillery incapacitated in less than a week;
c) Munitions sources would be eliminated concurrently with a) & b).
d) With fuel gone, all vehicles not running on coal will be useless and eliminated;
e) In today's war environment, a walking army is a stationary, and I'll hazard to add, a defensive army not an offensive one.
f) A vehicleless army doesn't get resupplied with munitions or much of anything.
2) SK:
a) With air superiority, everything and everyone north of the front is a target, bad news for those under falling MOAB's and Daisy cutters.
b) Tech used in Iraq shows that one or two NK LR artillery firings would have them targeted and fired on immediately. Only the availability of sufficient monitoring stations and sufficient missles/artillery would determine the time required to eliminate them.
c) The options for putting fuel where needed makes this only a logistics nightmare, not an availability issue.
d) Most vehicles are behind the lines vehicles, not battle front vehicles, and as the war is initiated, the RK-US plan essentially will be defense to stem any advance while NK's infrastructure and military resources (A, B1a, b, c, & d) are eliminated.
C) Stamina - NK doesn't have the food stocks and again the SKs would be supplied with all that was needed. The only possible scenario I can see for some NK success in any significant advance would be the sheer determination of individual NK troops to literally eat up territory. (Sorry, had to add that.)
D) Political Resolve:
1) Military:
a) Initial Success: The degree to which the initial attack is successful or understood to be successful, will affect both loyalty to Dear Leader and the time he has left in the world of the living.
b) Initial Resistance: It is quite likely portions of the military will stand down, i.e., stay in their barracks. Too many scenarios here to elaborate on but the hope and effort will be for a cascading effect.
2) Public - Degree of public revolt and its consequences cannot be ignored. Again there are a host of reasons to believe it would occur significantly and few to show it won't.
1) Military - It is inconceivable the ROK forces would surrender and political wavering would result in a temporary government.
2) Public: They've been attacked a galvanizing force; loss would mean living in NK not a desirable scenario, thus not a significant factor.

The consequences of a war would be terrible and I am not in anyway indicating wa is an option in the current international problem with NDPK, all I am doing here is contending an attack by NK would not result in a war wherein the augmentation forces listed in the 2005 White Paper would arrive at the peninsula to defeat NK. Putting 690,000 troops there is equivalent to dispatching, the term the AP report used, about 22,000 a day to get them all there in a month. My admiration for the capabilities of our military knows no bounds and the actions taken by them in the event of an attack by NK would require they be put to song (ditto the SK military.) But because the consequences of the war would be so terrible, decisions will be based on ending it before the dispatching could be completed and one song will certainly be about how the war was over before most of them got there.

I'll grant that all these factors have permutations. Some of these could change my opinion, but I haven't thought of many, particularly, based on the state of the world today. I ought to add, I do not believe my one caveat would turn out to be wrong, and there's a not insignificant chance an attack by NK would result in them facing a two-front war which may not have even occurred to them.

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