It is believed that North Korea has built in excess of 5,000 tunnels, in an effort to shield its command-and-control mechanisms and missiles, and to move troops without exposing them to air attacks. In another sign that the Pentagon is gearing up for a fight with Pyongyang, U.S. troops are increasingly training on how to fight in tunnels.
“The North Koreans are like mole people,” said Dave Maxwell, a former Army colonel who fought in the Korea war and is now part of an educational organization on Korea.
In 2001, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described the North Koreans as “world-class tunnelers.”
A small portion of the U.S. Army is already trained to fight in constrained environments like tunnels. But as tensions with North Korea rise, the Army is sending more of its soldiers to train in such environments. Also, the Pentagon is developing technologies that will help troops move, shoot, and communicate better underground.
It’s not clear how many U.S. forces are training to fight a tunnel war in North Korea, but at least some of them are training to dismantle a chemical weapons laboratory located below the surface. [source]
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