Pentagon Says It Has No Plans to Move US Military Dependents Out of South Korea

In response to Senator Lindsey Graham’s recent comment that the Pentagon should consider moving military dependents out of Korea, the Defense Department says they have no plans to do so:

The United States currently has no plan to move military dependents out of South Korea despite rising tensions with North Korea, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to deter North Korean aggression after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Commenting on North Korea’s latest launch of a long-range missile last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) argued Sunday that the U.S. should stop sending military dependents to South Korea and transfer those that are already there.

“The Department of Defense currently has no intent to initiate departures for military dependents, whether on a voluntary or mandatory basis, and no intent to modify the policy authorizing military dependents to accompany military members being stationed in South Korea,” Lt. Col. Chris Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, said in emailed remarks to Yonhap.  [Yonhap]

You can read the rest at the link.

Former US Marine Claims He Did Not Intend To Murder Japanese Woman, Just Kidnap and Rape Her

Here is an update from the trial of a former US Marine who killed a Japanese woman on Okinawa last year:

Rina Shimabukuro is seen in an image from a Fuji Television broadcast. Kenneth Franklin Gadson, a former Marine who was working as a civilian at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, has been charged with murder and rape resulting in death in the slaying of the 20-year-old local woman. SCREENSHOT FROM FUJI TV

The parents of a 20-year-old Okinawan woman murdered last year told a packed courtroom Friday they want the former Air Force contractor charged in her death to pay for the brutal crime with his life.

“A murderer, who took my daughter’s life, should not be allowed to live,” the mother said in a statement read by her lawyer during the second day of Kenneth Franklin Gadson’s trial at Naha District Court.

Gadson, 33, a former Marine who was a civilian employee at a Kadena Air Base cable and internet provider at the time of his arrest, is charged with murder, rape resulting in death and the illegal disposal of a body in the death of Rina Shimabukuro. He is being tried under Japan’s lay judge system with three judges and six jurors.

Shimabukuro disappeared after going out for a walk on the evening of April 28, 2016. Gadson became a suspect — and was later charged in the crime — after police spotted his SUV while checking vehicles captured by security cameras in the area.

During the previous day’s proceedings — which mostly focused on whether Shimabukuro’s killing was premeditated — Gadson read a prepared statement pleading guilty to rape resulting in death and illegal disposal of the body but denied the murder charge, stating that he had “no plans to kill her.”

Gadson told the court he planned to knock her unconscious, take her to a hotel in a suitcase to rape her and release her afterward. After failing to knock her out, he panicked and was not able to complete his plan, he said.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link, but I don’t blame the family for wanting this scumbag put down.

Executive Order Allows Defense Department to Recall Retirees to Active Duty

If you are retired military and especially a pilot and you thought you were through with taking mandatory transgender training, SHARP training, cyber security training, etc. think again:

The Air Force says it doesn’t plan on using new flexibility under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump to address a pilot shortage by recalling retired pilots.

Ann Stefanek, the chief of Air Force media operations, said Sunday the added power provided by Trump is appreciated but the Air Force does not “currently intend to recall retired pilots.”

Trump last Friday signed the order to address what the Pentagon says is a serious pilot shortage.

A Pentagon spokesman says the Air Force is currently short about 1,500 pilots, and had indicated that the Secretary of Defense would allow the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years.  [Stars & Stripes]

The executive order also allows the military to call up other officers from other military branches off of retirement as well.  Just like in past conflicts I only see this happening if a conflict with North Korea appear imminent.

 

US Strategic Assets To Participate In Joint Exercise with ROK Forces This Week

There is going to be a lot of firepower in the Korea area of operations this week so it will be interesting to see what North Korea’s reaction to this will be:

This photo, provided by the U.S. military Oct. 13, 2017, shows the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) arriving at the southern port of Busan in South Korea. (Yonhap)

The United States is poised to show off its military might this week through joint drills and a defense exhibition in South Korea, deploying an aircraft carrier, nuclear-powered submarine, stealth fighters and other strategic assets.

The show of force comes amid growing tensions on the peninsula, with North Korea expected to engage in additional provocations in protest against the South Korea-U.S. military drills  (…..)

The allies’ militaries are set to hold a joint exercise in the East and West Seas from Monday to Friday, during which the U.S. will deploy its nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).

It is one of America’s key power projection means of countering military threats in a volatile region.

The 333-meter-long, 100,000-ton Nimitz-class flattop is stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, as part of the Seventh Fleet in charge of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The Reagan has a deck the size of three football fields, with some 70 aircraft on board, ranging from fighter jets to helicopters.

During the maritime drills, the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, the airborne battle management aircraft, is expected to be deployed. It is capable of monitoring North Korea’s ground force movements and coastal artillery.

The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) has already arrived at the southern port of Busan as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific, military officials said.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

President Trump Reportedly Has 9 Different Military Options to Strike North Korea

If this report is true the US President has plenty of different options to choose from if military force becomes the only way to deal with North Korea’s nuclear and ICBM programs:

US defence chiefs have drawn up nine options for military action against Kim Jong-un’s North Korea to destroy its nuclear weapons threat, the Evening Standard has been told.

They escalate to different levels of intensity and could be pre-emptive or retaliatory, and could be ordered by Donald Trump in response to an attack on the US Pacific naval base on Guam or American allies such as Japan or South Korea.

However, all of them risk triggering a devastating response by Pyongyang against South Korea, using conventional weapons. At least one senior Whitehall figure is concerned that there may be a shift in Washington towards military action.  [Evening Standard]

You can read more at the link.

Why the US and Japan Do Not Shoot Down North Korea’s Ballistic Missiles

The article is bias with some inaccurate information from someone who is anti-missile defense, however it repeats something I have said before that the US and Japan cannot shoot down North Korea’s missiles unless you know where they are going.  This is because the Aegis system the US and Japan has do not shoot down missiles on the boost phase which is what a missile traveling over Japan is at.  These ships defend the territory of Japan if the missile was to come down on it in the terminal phase of flight.  It is the same for the THAAD system, unless the missile is coming down on South Korea or on Guam in its terminal phase the THAAD systems in each of those locations cannot shoot down North Korea’s missiles:

Joe Cirincione

The number one reason we don’t shoot down North Korea’s missiles is that we cannot.

Officials like to reassure their publics about our defense to these missiles. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga toldhis nation after last week’s test, “We didn’t intercept it because no damage to Japanese territory was expected.”

That is half true. The missile did not pose a serious threat. It flewover the Japanese island of Hokkaido, landing 3700 km (2300 miles) from its launch point near North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang.

The key word here is “over.” Like way over. Like 770 kilometers (475 miles) over Japan at the apogee of its flight path. Neither Japan nor the United States could have intercepted the missile. None of the theater ballistic missile defense weapons in existence can reach that high. It is hundreds of kilometers too high for the Aegis interceptors deployed on Navy ships off Japan. Even higher for the THAAD systems in South Korea and Guam. Way too high for the Patriot systems in Japan, which engage largely within the atmosphere.

All of these are basically designed to hit a missile in the post-mid-course or terminal phase, when it is on its way down, coming more or less straight at the defending system. Patriot is meant to protect relatively small areas such as ports or air bases; THAADdefends a larger area; the advanced Aegis system theoretically could defend thousands of square kilometers.  [Defense One]

You can read more at the link.

Should the US Military Be Planning for Preemptive War with North Korea?

All the media has been headlining the preemptive war claim from General McMaster made during a recent interview.  It seems to me this is just prudent planning to provide the President options on how to respond to North Korea’s threats.  I am willing to bet that US military planners provided preemptive strike options to President Obama while he was in office as well.  It doesn’t mean the President will choose that option which clearly so far clearly President Trump has decided not to do:

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster

The United States is preparing for a “preventive war” with North Korea among many options to deal with its missile and nuclear threats, President Trump’s top security adviser has said.

In an interview aired Saturday on MSNBC, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the president has been clear he will not tolerate North Korea’s threats to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons.

A preventive war is initiated to prevent an enemy from carrying out an attack.

“What you’re asking is are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right?” McMaster said. “If they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States. It’s intolerable from the president’s perspective. So of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And that includes a military option.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.