Can our ‘sub par’ THAAD System protect Guam against North Korean IRBMs?

Having lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis as a young Army Intelligence officer in October 1962, what you may be witnessing is the unraveling of a 21st Century version with potentially destabilizing global implications.

North Korean threats in statements from their strategic military command this evening, U.S. time suggests a multiple missile launch dropping within less than 18 to 24 miles offshore of a major military complex composed of Andersen AFB and the Guam Naval base.

Because of prior threats to hit the nearest US military complex the US has positioned a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense equivalent to the one being deployed with the permission of President moon of South Korea. Problem is that the THAAD is designed to take down so-called Medium Range Ballistic Missile with a maximum range of 1,870 versus the BM-25 Musudan or Hwasong 10 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile.

This is a serious threat, notwithstanding the questionable precision and accuracy of targeting of North Korea’s IRBMs.

One of the four launches accidentally hitting Guam could trigger a catastrophic reaction.

How catastrophic? Guam’s population of 147,447 (est. in 2017 and estimated visitor population in May of over 175,000. Add to that 12,000 military and their families at Andersen AFB and the Guam Naval.

Then look at the estimates of casualties in an invasion by north Korea of the Seoul Megalopolis with an estimated 20 million plus of the country’s 50 million population. Current estimates that there could be as many as 300,000 casualties within range of North Korea artillery and short range rocket launchers inside caves in the mountain ranges just north of the DMZ. Any US air strikes to take out those artillery and rocket sites might trigger an intervention of China which has already begun marshalling 150,000 troops along the 850 mile frontier.

Trump had best listen to his generals and establish an effective negotiating strategy and backup pre-emptive strike strategy.

See our post of Jonah Goldberg’s National Review op ed on the insights of Richard Perle, a former defense official in the Bush Administration on how to play North Korea.

Note the CNN report on the statements of the North Korea Strategic Command.

(CNN) North Korea is “seriously examining a plan” to launch a missile strike targeting an area near the US territory of Guam in response to President Donald Trump’s warning to Pyongyang that any additional threats will be met with “fire and fury,” according to a new statement from Gen. Kim Rak Gyom published by state-run media KCNA.

The North Korean Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army is “seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the US,” the statement said.

The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA would cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures of Japan, and would fly 3,356.7 kilometers for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 kilometers away from Guam, according to the statement.

U.S. issues new warning

KCNA published a wire criticizing Trump for having “let out a load of nonsense about ‘fire and fury,’ failing to grasp the on-going grave situation. This is extremely getting on the nerves of the infuriated Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA [Korean People’s Army].”

The article goes on to state that “sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him.”

North Korea’s military will have a plan to send Hwasong 12 missiles toward Guam by “mid-August and report it to the commander-in-chief of the DPRK nuclear force and wait for his order,” according to KCNA. Kim Jong Un is understood to be the commander-in-chief of the nuclear force.

The latest threat comes on the heels of a previous KCNA report that North Korea’s military was “examining the operational plan” to strike areas around the US territory of Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles.

Why is North Korea threatening to attack Guam?

  1. The tiny Pacific island, the largest in the Marianas group, is home to two significant US military bases.
  2. Bomber sorties flown above South Korea Tuesday originated from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base.
  3. Around 5,000 US military personnel are based on the island, which is a US territory.
  4. It is often referred to as the “tip of the spear” and home to the US’ most westerly military installations.
  5. Except U.S. bases in Japan and South Korea, it’s the closest US base to North Korea.

Specifically, that statement mentioned a potential strike on Andersen Air Force Base designed “to send a serious warning signal to the US.”

The base is one of two on the Pacific island, which are the closest bases on US soil to North Korea, and represent the westernmost tip of the country’s military might.

Dubbed the “tip of the spear,” Guam is a key to the US military’s forward deployed presence in the Pacific and is home to thousands of American service members and their families.

Its importance has declined since World War II, given the creation of military bases in Japan and South Korea, says Carl Schuster, a Hawaii Pacific University professor and former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center. Now it is essentially a staging area, which sees rotations of bomber groups coming through.

North Korea ‘seriously examining’ a strike near Guam

North Korea is “seriously examining a plan” to launch a missile strike targeting an area near the US territory of Guam in response to President Donald Trump’s warning to Pyongyang that any additional threats will be met with “fire and fury,” according…


2 replies
  1. Tim Cohen
    Tim Cohen says:

    You’re not a Doctor, you’re a PHD. A Doctor is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. via wiki.

    So don;t go putting on airs about being a Dr.

    • Dr. Rich Swier
      Dr. Rich Swier says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting on Jerry Gordon’s column.

      I hold a Doctorate from the University of Southern California. Appreciate your interest in my qualifications as a citizen journalist and publisher.


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