President Trump Declares that US is “Lock and Loaded” in Response to Any North Korean Provocation Against Guam or Allies

Here is President Trump’s response to North Korea’s recent threats made against Guam:

 

In his latest broadside at North Korea, President Trump bluntly warned dictator Kim Jong Un on Friday that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” in case the country should “act unwisely.”

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” Trump said on Twitter.

It was not clear exactly what sort of “military solutions” Trump was referring to or what precisely would constitute unwise action by the North Korean leader.

But North Korea said on Thursday it was putting together a plan to fire four missiles in the direction of the U.S. territory of Guam, a Pacific island that is home to large American military installations.

Trump’s warning came a day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters in Silicon Valley that the U.S. effort to “get this under control” was “diplomatically led,” “gaining traction,” and “gaining diplomatic results.”

Mattis underlined that he wanted to “stay right there right now” and warned that the cost of conflict could be “catastrophic,” but also said that when it comes to the U.S. military, “we are ready.”  [Yahoo News]

You can read more at the link.

GIKorea

GIKorea

I am a US military veteran that has served all over the world to include in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea. I have been blogging about Korea, Northeast Asia, and the US military for over 10 years.

31 Comments

  1. According to Yahoo News:

    North Korea said on Thursday it was putting together a plan to fire four missiles in the direction of the U.S. territory of Guam, a Pacific island that is home to large American military installations.

    Why would Yahoo News only say “firing in the direction of” when North Korea said, “missiles hitting waters 30 to 40 kilometers from the island?”

  2. Because if Yahoo used the distances the average American wouldn’t know kilometers from a millisecond and wouldn’t overreact to the click bait. I read Yahoo News to find their sources and read the real story.

  3. So…is a NEO underway on the peninsula? Have all of the allied countries covered by NEO been given the opportunity to evacuate their citizens? Massive shift of air and sea power to the SOJ underway? 82nd Airborne staging on Okinawa? Marines moving to Pohang? If not, I don’t understand what “locked and loaded” means in the context of what Trump is bloviating about. Maybe he thinks whatever he is planning will not somehow involve the southern half of Korea.

  4. My point is, you should not make threats unless they are credibly backed up. The Norks can only take Trump seriously if they are seeing other indicators that ‘locked and loaded” is for real. Otherwise they know Trump is once again talking out his ass.

  5. With US media reporting that no troop buildup or carrier group is being mobilized, what else could Trump possibly mean by locked and loaded?

    I wonder if there is some grave threat in the US war fighting arsenal that no one sees. Perhaps something that could strike from almost anywhere on the earth’s surface without being detected until it is entirely too late.

    If I were Kim Jong Un and I heard Trump’s “locked and loaded” statement but didn’t see any conventional war fighting preparations taking place, what conclusions might I come to besides the analyses you fine strategic thinkers have already suggested?

  6. Trump is probably thinking that some sort of useless strike like dropping the Mother of All Bombs on some shithole in Afghanistan or cruise missiles on an evacuated airbase in Syria might do the trick. Neither appear to have impressed the people targeted or inspire them to good behavior. Conduct of a non-combatant evacuation of dependents and American citizens from the ROK would be pretty hard to miss, could not and would not be done secretly, and would be a better indicator to the Norks that something bad is about to happen. But yeah, there might be some sort of nifty secret weapon that has managed to evade notice all these years, but I don’t seriously think so. The Norks also have the ability to see what’s landing at American airbases in Japan and Okinawa, -and probably have eyes on Guam as well. To add it all up, if the Norks aren’t seeing actions that match words, they are not likely to take the orange fool too seriously. The Norks, on the other hand, have the ability to launch much of what they have from a “standing start”. As far as who wins, as long as the Norks don’t actually lose, they have pretty much won.

  7. “But yeah, there might be some sort of nifty secret weapon that has managed to evade notice all these years, but I don’t seriously think so. ”

    You are thinking too conventionally, Bob.

    Trump says we are locked and loaded, yet we are not showing any troop movement or carrier group repositioning. The lack of movement could be telling in more than one way.

    Trump could be talking out of his rear end. Or he could be sending a clear message that we don’t need to move ANY troops around to deal with the problem.

    The means of swift and effective destruction of the North Korean regime and any chance for them to attack us or any of our allies could already be in place and no one would ever know. They may be willing to take their chances on whether or not Trump will give the order, but would you be willing to take that chance if you were Kim?

  8. Not giving away any secrets here; but there are enough stealth aircraft within range to take out air defenses and enough Bones and Buffs to reduce the nork military to less than the Vatican’s Swiss Guards.

    Air-refueling is a big deal. During the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, initial strikes by American strategic bombers left from CONUS bases, dropped bombs, and returned to their home bases. Bases in England, Spain, and the Indian Ocean were used later.

    By the way, from various sources, it appears that the long-range heavy bomber count for the United States is: 85 active B-52H’s (70,000 pound payload), approximately 60 active B-1B’s (over 120,000 pound payload), and approximately 20 active B-2’s (over 30,000 pound payload), for a total of approximately 165 long-range heavy bombers (over 14,000,000 pounds of conventional weapons). That’s over twice what America dropped in Vietnam and four times what was dropped in WW2…

    I’m thinking KJU might want to start playing nice… Trump is no cowboy; but he knew how to get the Teamsters to deliver…

    http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-nothing-keeps-me-awake-at-night-i-keep-other-people-awake-at-night-james-mattis-158-47-79.jpg

  9. Setnaffa,

    The air power is impressive, but I’m thinking of the naval aspect. Specifically what’s under the water, not above.

  10. Maybe Trump does have an ace up his sleeve, or several. But I still cannot imagine that ace is so massive that it will cover everything within the range of the Norks’ tunneled-in and bunkered artillery, -each and every piece of which should be accounted for with a piece of surgically delivered ordnance. And this magic hand of cards of course would be able to filter out a very large volume of air that has been poisoned with NBC agents. My knowledge of the peninsula is dated (1991 is when I left) but I cannot imagine the Norks have let their air defenses atrophy or somehow decided to leave all their artillery lay out in plain site over the years. A couple of spills of cruise missiles and conventional bombing unaccompanied by a land invasion aren’t likely to be the remedy, and neither will the other side just do nothing. Leaving dependents and noncombatants on peninsula in a vulnerable state will make Hillary’s Benghazi moment look like a minor “oops-My Bad!”.

  11. Bob,

    I am not talking about conventional here.

    One of our greatest deterrents against aggression is our ability to park a sub in the shallows near any country in the world undetected, launch enough nukes to take out any resistance they would put up and without any advanced notice there would likely be nothing they could do about it.

    Trump hasn’t spelled this out, but if the North Koreans are smart, he doesn’t have to.

    With no conventional preparations or troop movements, and saying we are fully locked and loaded, what message could they interpret?

    Last week one of the major networks interviewed the captain of one of these boats. He didn’t confirm whether or not his sub was carrying nuclear. They never do. But he did say his one boat had the capability of carrying enough nukes to cover the entirety of North Korea. Funny the Navy would grant that interview at this point in time. I think it was a new interview anyways.

    Whether we want to admit it or not, this crisis has entered nuclear phase.

    If someone threatens you with violence, but you have no reason to believe they have the ability to carry their threat out, you might just walk away and brush it off.

    If that person then acquires the means to harm you, it might not be a bad idea to hint to them that you have those means as well, and in a wider, more powerful, and deadlier variety than most others.

  12. Seriously Bob? You think US military power is that weak? Have you been drinking the koolaid at HuffPo?

    You think the Nork airforces will be a threat? You think we don’t already know where their artillery is located? You think we can’t dind their noisy diesel subs?

    You should do better research. You really screwed the pooch on tbis one.

    And as for what Trump has planned, why do you think he hired Mattis?

  13. Sorry, I was basing my suppositions on what I’ve been seeing over the past 16 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, and what we continue to experience militarily there in spite of being a “hyper power”. If the level of confidence in our ability to sterilize the area above the DMZ in a matter of seconds is such that no evacuation of non-combatants and allied nations civilians is called for, I’d say it’s impressive.

  14. No need to apologize, Bob, you just seemed a bit fresh off the boat. Just because the war plans aren’t on display doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And a much less capable America (with many allies) kicked Iraq out of Kuwait in 100 hours with most of our casualties being from friendly fire. Not “months and months and 10,000 body bags” as was predicted by many on the craven left. Taking over Iraq only took three days.

    We don’t want North Korean soil, just to eliminate the threat, so that means taking out their command and control, radar sites, communications, leadership, and missile launching capabilities. It has been argued by many that individual initiative has been bred out of the military to prevent a coup, so don’t try to judge them by how Westerners or Free People might react to a loss of leadership.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been run by the same pencil-necked, paper-pushing, pajama boys who ran Vietnam (as opposed to the brave men and women who actually served over there). Neither the Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, nor Obama Administrations had the stomach to get in and win, so the wars have dragged on and hundreds of thousands of needless casualties have occurred. And we have still had numerous terror attacks on American soil.

    With isolated North Korea pointing potentially nuclear ICBMs at America, the situation changes. We either go “all in” or surrender.

    Trump doesn’t like losing. So it’s likely he has instructed the DoD to behave like winners, and stop playing a “Prevent Defense” (you can’t have a protracted “Cold War” with a country run by madmen. Iran will be watching closely, because we may need to stage an encore performance in Persia as well.

    Or not. He might be blowing smoke up Kim’s arse. But does Kim really want to test a billionaire who lives rent-free in the heads of almost every left-wing loon in the Northern Hemisphere?

  15. Setnaffa, yes I suppose I’m a bit fresh off the boat. I only spent (cumulatively) 9 years in Korea, half of it in 2ID or other units on the DMZ, and this after a year or two learning Korean at DLI. But I also remember the build-up to the 1st gulf war, and how scared we were back in August of 1990 that the Iraqis might continue on before we could get assets into theater. As it was, it took 6 months before the national command authority felt comfortable and able to conduct the 100-hour war. We did it with no intention to hold ground or decisively settle the matter, and so re-fought the thing in 2003, this time taking 3 weeks instead of 100 hours. Somehow we are still in Iraq. The decision to invade Iraq seems to have been made shortly after 9/11, and we took 18 months to be ready to kick that off.

    Anyone reading this who participated in the Team Spirit exercises back in the 1980’s knows how big they were, how many units came in from off-peninsula (25th, 7th, 9th, 6th ID’s, CA Guard, 3rd MARDIV), and that these were usually accompanied by a massive NEO exercise that included moving dependents to Japan. I can’t remember hearing of a massive exercise like that in recent years.

    At any rate, I don’t foresee a situation where we attack and the Norks don’t somehow break a bunch of glass in Seoul. And when the thing starts, If I had to guess the Norks’ command and control systems will be found to be a bit more robust and redundant than what you suggest.Pyongyang itself has had a long-standing limitation on how many people can live there, so the population is well-distributed. It was bombed to rubble several times during the Korean war, simply because American airpower had no place better to dump ordnance, and memory of this is kept alive in the Norks’ propaganda.

    So North Korea is turned into a giant contaminated area, -is that it? And China, Russia, Japan, and the ROK are good with that?

  16. Bob, you have not been paying attention.

    1. We don’t need to use nukes.
    2. Norkistan is already horribly polluted.
    3. Trump is an America First guy, so South Korea playing games with THAAD might backfire on Seoul.
    4. Your time with the army obviously left you with limited concepts of satellite reconnaissance capabilities, strategic bombing capabilities, and the ability to read about the B-2 attacks on Afghanistan.
    5. Yes, we could nuke them; but the fallout might affect Japan, so we use pre ision-guided munitions. Each of the 165 bombers available can carry 16 or more 2000 lb bombs capable of cinding the precise 8″ square target as of 1991. Things may have improved somewhat in the last 28 years.

    Meanwhile, what makes you think DoD Secretary Mattis, the best logistics general we’ve ever had, would short-sheet the job? If we go in, it’s going to be a knockout punch.

    You still think the local nork battery commanders would order their gun tubes to unmask and fire without authorization from fatboy? That’s cute; but doesn’t fit you.

  17. Anyway,the point is, if fatboy attacks us, he loses. If he attacks Seoul, he loses even bigger. His threats are real; but the deterrence disappears as soon as they are used.

  18. Setnaffa, I’m well aware of our capabilities, but also of their limitations. We’re still in Afghanistan, and by all accounts, the country is increasingly in firm Taliban, ISIS, and Al Quaeda hands, -in spite of large numbers of B-1 sorties. Overwhelming technological superiority hasn’t translated into success in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, or Somalia.

    At any rate, our threats are not being conveyed in a language the Norks seem to understand.

    Let’s see what happens over the next few days.

  19. Bob, do not assume the current administration virtue-signals its way through negotiations. Do not assume the norks and the PRC haven’t been warned in a way that influences them.

    And try not to be such a downer. wink

    Life is good.

  20. (Leaked transcript, Trump on phone to Xi Jin Ping, 14 August 0800 EST)

    “Ping? Donald. -Look, I’ve already stopped calling you a currency manipulator, and all of that talk about tariffs on Chinese junk has gone by the wayside, right? Well, look, I said some stuff I shouldn’t have, and now I’m in a political bind here, you really have to help me out!”

    “I need you to talk to the fat kid, -he knows I’ve said some nice things about him, he’s a smart cookie, you know!. Right. So here’s the deal: we’ll look the other way while you guys keep trading with him. I’ll tell the intelligence community to stop reporting on sanctions evasion, it’s that simple. Yeah, we can make a rule, but how it gets enforced is something I can decide.”

    “Tell the fat kid we’ll send several tankers of crude just as soon as I can arrange it, but he’s got to stop making those threats, because I’ve really painted myself into a corner this time. The next threat he makes, people will expect me to do something, and I’ll look weak as hell if I don’t do anything. We’re not even close to being ready to go to war up there, the most I can do is try dropping some bombs on his 300-foot thick command bunker. That’s why I haven’t even bothered to clear the decks in Korea and Japan.”

    “Oh, Ping, another thing: make your people eat more American beef right away! Since I pulled out of the TPP all of our agricultural trade deals have gone straight to the shitter and Australian and Brazilian farmers are about to bend ours over the table and give them a royal fucking.”

    “North Korea’s nukes? I don’t give a rat’s ass, you heard me encourage the Japs and South Koreans to just get their own, right? I don’t care what the kid does with his nukes as long as he doesn’t launch them at us, but mostly just threatening to do it makes me look weak, and I just can’t have that okay?”

    “Buh-bye, -Mum’s the word!”

  21. By immediately scaling up the Charlottesville kerfuffle Trump is temporarily off the hook with his base. Behind the scenes Kim Jong Un has been made a few promises. If you look at past de-escalations, the Norks ALWAYS get something, they’ve NEVER come away empty handed.

  22. Is it possible that someone finally staring them down and saying no more actually worked?

    Perhaps what they walked away with this time was their regime intact.

    Hope we don’t find out later that Trump made a concession of monetary aid. Something like a pallet of European currency dropped off in the middle of the night.

  23. @johnnyboy, this all seems pretty much situation normal. August is when tensions tend to increase due to UFG. Kim Jong-un was never going to attack Guam and anyone with knowledge of North Korea knew they weren’t. The Kim regime is not suicidal.

  24. With regards to North Korea, it doesn’t matter who is in the White House, the DPRK situation will remain the same.

  25. Bannon made the rookie mistake of forgetting that unless it’s agreed otherwise, any interaction with a journalist is on the record:

    …Contrary to Trump’s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said: “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” Bannon went on to describe his battle inside the administration to take a harder line on China trade, and not to fall into a trap of wishful thinking in which complaints against China’s trade practices now had to take a backseat to the hope that China, as honest broker, would help restrain Kim.

    http://prospect.org/article/steve-bannon-unrepentant

  26. @Burma Bob, thanks for sharing the link on Bannon. Amazing what this guy told a journalist on the phone.

  27. His China thing will go down in flames as well. I’ve worked in China for 12 years, I do not like the tech transfer clauses for getting a product into China. But American companies did it to themselves by off-shoring so much manufacturing there. In 90% of cases the American manufacturer is subcontracting out (OEM’ing), and the Chinese factory owner makes very little, 3-5% on margin. That margin can be wiped out with a fluctuation in the exchange rate, and tens of thousands of factories bite the big one. The trade deficit, -again- is all on American manufacturers who do not want to pay decent wages or provide healthcare (Chinese factory workers are on municipal or provincial plans). American manufacturers are in most cases the ones making the bulk of profits, not Chinese OEM factory owners. If that weren’t true, would;t we be seeing Chinese branded cars, phones, TV’s, computers? Xiaomi and QQ and SuPor would be household names. Look at how much of American-branded shit is made in China now.

    What Bannon fails to reckon with is that no matter how hawkish a group he can maneuver into jobs at state-defense, -where ever, since the election, the US has lost a hell of a lot of leverage, and withdrawing from the TPP (which I hated parts of) was a damned stupid thing. Not having ambassadors accredited in many countries is another thing that detracts from prestige and surrenders leverage.

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