US Post-Cold War Nuclear Planning in Korea

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Recommended Citation

Nuclear Strategy, "US Post-Cold War Nuclear Planning in Korea", Uncategorized, August 07, 2001,

Following the ending of the Cold War and the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from South Korea, US planning has continued for nuclear strike missions against North Korea.

Delivery of non-strategic bombs is now the responsibility of fighter wings based in the continental United States. In 1998, for example, F-15E fighter bombers of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina simulated long-range nuclear strikes against North Korea. Strategic nuclear systems earmarked for Korean scenarios include Trident submarines and long-range bombers.

Missile defense planning on the Korean Peninsula, moreover, suggests a US posture that is highly focused on a need for preemptive strikes against North Korean ballistic missile facilities in the early phases of a war with the North.

These issues, for which background documents are available in the right-hand bar, are described more in the article “Preemptive Posturing” from the September/October 2002 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

FOIA Documents

>> 4th Fighter Wing simulated nuclear strike against North Korea, 1998.

>> 1994 Nuclear Posture Reviewdiscussion of impact of forward deployment of nuclear weapons in South Korea. General NPR documents available here.

>> 7th Air Force, briefing, “Theater Missile Defense,” n.d. [1998] (warning: 8.5 MB).

>> The Nation, “Endgame in Korea,” November 25, 2002, refers to “Preemptive Posturing” and 4th Fighter Wing simulated nuclear strikes against North Korea.

>> Article: Hans M. Kristensen, “Preemptive Posturing,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September/October 2002, pp. 54-59.

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