South Korea expecting U.S. to send ‘strategic assets’ to country

-In a conventional conflict, the B-52 can perform air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations. During Desert Storm, B-52s delivered 40 percent of all the weapons dropped by coalition forces. It is highly effective when used for ocean surveillance, and can assist the U.S. Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying operations. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles (364,000 square kilometers) of ocean surface. All B-52s are equipped with an electro-optical viewing system that uses platinum silicide forward-looking infrared and high resolution low-light-level television sensors to augment the targeting, battle assessment, flight safety and terrain-avoidance system, thus further improving its combat ability and low-level flight capability. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As tensions with North Korea remain elevated, officials in South Korea say they expect that the Pentagon will keep rotating “strategic assets” through the country, to remain fully prepared to respond militarily to any attack.

Though the Pentagon has yet to confirm it, South Korea sources say that the assets will be sent on a more regular basis to better deter North Korea.

Strategic assets generally refer to aircraft carrier battle groups, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, nuclear-powered submarines, and stealth fighter planes.

Chung Eui-young, national security adviser to President Moon Jae-in, told lawmakers in Seoul that American “strategic assets” could be deployed to South Korea on a “rotational” basis before the end of the year.

“This will help us expand our defense capabilities,” he told the lawmakers, according to Park Wan-joo, spokesman of the ruling Democratic Party.

Analyst comment: These are military decisions and would not be confirmed or denied publicly by the Trump administration or the Pentagon. But these moves would certainly make sense. In fact, the Pentagon has already been rotating strategic assets through South Korea and the region, but this report indicates that such rotations may become more frequent and on a regular basis.

Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 3: What are the latest indicators of a U.S.-North Korea war?  Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region.  Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.

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