The ICAS Lectures


Deterring North Koreaís Nuclear Missile Threats:
No Challenge Only Opportunity

Jack Weinstein

ICAS Fall Symposium

October 25, 2016, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
The Heritage Foundation Allison Auditorium
Washington, DC

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

Biographic sketch & Links: Jack Weinstein

Deterring North Koreaís Nuclear Missile Threats: No Challenge Only Opportunity

Jack Weinstein
Lt G US Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategies Deterrence and Nuclear Integration,
Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon

October 25, 2016

Jack Weinstein: Well Good Afternoon, everybody. Iíd like to thank the Institute for Corean- American Studies for convening this Symposium, and by doing so, strengthening our dialogue with our partners across the Pacific. Iíd also like a special thank you to Dr. Kim for inviting to speak today. I am honored to be here to discuss a topic that is critical to the security of our two nations and indeed the international community. Iím sure youíve all noticed an increase in the discussion of the role of nuclear weapons in the international security environment recently here in the United States and across the globe, especially in the Asia-Pacific Area. Secretary Carter recently stated that four of the top five Department of Defense challenges all reside within the Pacific. Letís look at the world through the lens of several of those nations: Russia, China, and North Korea. Last week, Russia suspended a cooperate weapons grade plutonium disposal agreement with the United States. At the same time, the administration has determined that Russia in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty. The Chinese government is also testing international law by building islands in the South China Sea, expanding their exclusive economic zone. 5.3 trillion dollars is shipped over the South China Sea each year, 1.2 trillion of which supports the United States. Further expanding their maritime presence, China is projected to have 90 submarines by 2025. Chinese aircraft are also challenging US air power through intercepts of our aircraft. The Chinese are not the only nation expanding their capabilities. North Korea launched their three ballistic missiles on September 5th and on August 24th, test fired a submarine launched ballistic missile. North Korea conducted their 4th nuclear test at the beginning of this year, and another nuclear test, their 5th test this fall. According to their leader, they now have the clear capacity to directly and realistically attack Americans. They continue to menace the international community with further testing and undermine the security of the Korean peninsula in the region. Our world is a dangerous, complicated place, and our friends in South Korea know this better than most. They experience this everyday. So what do we do? How do we create stability and guarantee security on the peninsula and in the region? Nuclear deterrence plays an important role in achieving strategic stability. Let me take you back in time. The horrors of World World War I were unprecedented. All in all, over 16 million people were killed. The battles of Verdun and Somme each saw casualty counts of over one million. Of course, it wasnít called World War I at the time, but the aftermath, the level of devastation was recognized to be so catastrophic that it became known as the Great War, or the War to end all Wars. That was grossly optimistic. Humanityís losses in WW2 dwarfed WW1ís. 60 million people lost their lives during WW2. 45 million of those casualties were civilians. In total, 2.8% of the worldís population perished. 2.8%. So in a time period of 31 years, 75 million people, and that number is conservative, were killed in the two world wars. Since the beginning of the nuclear age, major powers have not fought war against each other. Total numbers of death after the end of WW2 are roughly 0.1% of the current world population. In the Vietnam War, 3 million were lost. And that is a tragedy. But it was less than 1/10th of 1% of the worldís population in 1975, not 2.8%. I believe this nationís nuclear capability is the primary factor in this restraint from massive conflicts and created the strategic stability that we have enjoyed since the later half of the 20th century. Though my work for the United States Air Force today focuses on advocating the capabilities that underpin strategic stability, the land and air base legs of the US Triad, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Dual-Capable bombers and fighters, a capability alone is insufficient to ensure the security of the United States and its allies. Deterrent is not just about capability. It is not about any one platform or any one weapon. Deterrence is capability multiplied by will. Capability alone is not enough. Without will, even the most advanced and intimidating capability lacks the ability to deter. Our capabilities must be paired with commitment. The resolve to stand with our allies and stand behind our words with action. We must recognize that half of the deterrence equation is our will and our will supports our allies and our partners. Our alliance is strong because the United States is a Pacific Nation that has maintained a diplomatic, economic, and military presence throughout our history. We have always been and will continue to be a Pacific Nation, and weíll continue our steadfast commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, in particular to our allies such as the Republic of Korea and Japan. Todayís world is more complex and uncertain. Instead of a bi-polar world, we live in a multi-polar, proliferated world. We can use all these fancy words, but this is a dangerous place. The Pacific is home to the seven of the worldís ten largest standing militaries. Two of the three largest economics are located in the Asia-Pacific region, a region of 36 nations and 3000 languages. It also includes the worldís busiest international sea lanes, and 9 of the 10 largest ports. But we are not just a Pacific Nation. We are a Global Nation, which includes our military capability. The military forces the US is responsible for organizing and training and equipping are only one aspect of the power that the United States brings to the table. The strategic complexity faced in the region is unique and requires a robust, combined, whole-of-government approach.

So how do we deter adversaries and keep our allies safe in a dangerous and complex environment, as we always have and will continue to do with an unwavering commitment and prudent action? As the President and Secretary of Defense have stated on numerous occasions, the United States is committed to the defense of the Republic of Korea and any attack on the United States or its allies will be defeated. And any use of nuclear weapons would be met with an effective and overwhelming response. All our capabilities would be on the table, not just those forces we have stationed on the peninsula. The forces we do have on the peninsula are quite significant. Roughly, 28,500 US forces, plus approximately 100,000 family members. This is a very concrete example of our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and represents significant deterrence and combat power. The airmen, sailors, soldiers, and marines on the peninsula are only one piece of the US commitment. Though roughly 3 quarters of PACOM is the maritime domain, the air domain covers all of it. The combined capabilities of the United States military ensure our regional posture supports a deterrent to North Korea, since in the event of a crisis or conflict, we could quickly bring additional forces to bare, including air power coming out of Japan, Guam, in the United States. The continuous bomber presence on Guam since 2004, is one example of US presence. The United States maintains the global power and reach to support and defend our allies. The Air Force regularly combatant commanders conducting bomber operations across the globe to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency and demonstrates our ability to provide an always ready global-strike capability.

In August 2016, B2 Bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri deployed to Guam and participated in a continuous bomber presence mission with B52 from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and B1s from Elsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. For the first time, all three of Global Strike Platforms, two of which conduct nuclear deterrence operations, were co- located in Anderson Air Force Base. The mission marks the first integrated operational mission in the Pacific Area for all three bombers. But our commitment to our Asia-Pacific allies goes beyond a regional base. Today, airmen around the globe are executing nuclear deterrence operations. Airmen at Whiteman, Barksdale, and Minot are training on in maintaining the aircraft that deploy around the globe. But donít forget that the umbrella of deterrence begins in the heartland of America. Our missile layers at Minot Air Force Base, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, and Malmstrom Air Force Base stand guard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing our conventional forces to project power around the world to deter attack against the United States and our allies. Remember what President Obama said in Prague in 2009. ďWe will seek the peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons.Ē President Obama continued to say, ďIím not naÔve. This goal will not be reached quickly. Perhaps not in my lifetime. As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, a secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee the defense to our allies.Ē While we seek to create together the type of world in which nuclear weapons would be unnecessary, our commitment to our Asia-Pacific allies is ironclad.

The world can be a complicated and dangerous place, including the Korean Peninsula. The United States Air Force remains fully prepared and capable of defending itself and our allies with the full range of extended deterrent capabilities available, including conventional missile defense and nuclear capabilities. The continued importance of the nuclear mission is seen in the Pacific region daily. Our air force nuclear forces are at war every day, providing our nation and our allies with a blanket of protection. There is an opportunity for our alliance to demonstrate not just our resolve as nations, but our united voice and our resolve to work for peace, security, and stability. Thank you, and I look forward to answering your questions.

Moderator: Thank you.


Moderator: It is really reassuring that General Weinstein is here, since you mentioned PACOM. In the spring, we hosted Admiral Harry Harris. Right at this platform, we have his commitment. Now we have your commitment.

Jack Weinstein: Well more important we have the Presidentís commitment and the Secretary of Defenseís commitment.

Moderator: Thank you. Now first, In Bum? General?

In Bum Chun: It is my understandingÖ [unintelligible]

Jack Weinstein: Well that is the whole purpose behind the missile defense activities of the United States. When you go back to the 60s or the 70s, we had a capability that was in North Dakota at one time. It was operational I believe for a day or two. And then it was taken down. And the place was up in Cavalier, North Dakota. When President Reagan saw that we didnít have the capability, he was the one who started us down that path. So today we have the capability both with interceptors located in Alaska and interceptors located in California, as well as activities Ė and itís not my expertise Ė activities, capability to locate it on ship and well as radars to provide that capability.

In Bum Chun: [unintelligible]

Jack Weinstein: Firing a weapon at the United States or our allies is a problem. Pure and simple.

In Bum Chun: [unintelligible]

Jack Weinstein: Well I will say itÖ We have the capability to shoot down ballistic missiles. Iíll just leave it at that. But I just want to reiterate something you said. If another nation tries to strike the United States or allies, that is a big deal, pure and simple.

Moderator: Thank you, In Bum. Joe?

Joseph Bosco: Thank you very much, General. You made the very cogent point that deterrence consists of capabilities multiplied by will. It seems to me the reciprocal of deterrence is assurance, reassurance. That means how our allies and friends look at the US commitment. This morning, we had a discussion about the growing sentiment of South Korea that they need to have their own nuclear capability, that they cannot rely on the US. And thereís some sentiment to that degree in Japan as well. And then just last week, we see the President of the Philippines that heís moving his commitment from the US to China. So, we get the sense that some of our allies doing have the assurance that our deterrent capabilities are really working, that our capabilities are not matched by our will. Do you sense that in your own viewing with your counterparts from other countries?

Jack Weinstein: Well, I will tell you that when I look at the commitment, I can specifically talk about this administration because thatís who I work forÖ The commitment to modernize the nuclear force has happened and the increase of funding for the nuclear force has happened every single year that the President has been in power. And every budget that has gone forth shows a commitment to the nuclear enterprise. So, I think thatís a positive statement. I also believe that assurance has to be with words at first because thatís the deterrent capability. When you look at the comments that have been made, whether it be by the Commander of Pacific Command, or the Commander of the European Command, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I think itís been ironclad the comments they made on our ability to support our allies. So you ask a political question, which Iím not going to answer. What I will tell you isÖ. The President stated at Prague three items. And I mentioned those three items. The final item, he said was, ďand we will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal for as long as these weapons exist.Ē And every single year, the Administration and the Department put forward a budget that highlights the role of nuclear weapons and the need to modernize. I think that speaks highly. If other nations, Iím not going to get into what President Duterte talked about because the next day, it changed. But I will tell you we do do assurance, and thereís a difference between deterring and assuring. But if you look at the United States Air Force commitment to the Pacific region, having a continuous bomber presence, B52s, B2s, and then we recently had B1s on the peninsula, are really important. Weíve done that now for the last twelve years, now going onto thirteen years. So I think weíve been showing a huge commitment to our friends in the region.

Moderator: Thank you. Larry?

Larry Niksch: Thank you very much, General. My question has to do with Rules of Engagement and how they might apply to Korean Peninsula with regard to any future military contingencies involving North Korea, nuclear or otherwise. When I look at the Middle East today, and in studying the Middle East, I have read many accounts and reports about a policy with regard to US Air power that missions of the Air Force and the Navy have, as a binding rule, that missions will be carried out only when there is zero risk of civilian casualties in the Middle East. We saw the reports perhaps a year or so ago that we werenít bombing the ISIS oil convoys because we were afraid that the truck drivers of those convoys were civilians. Now, apparently, we have modified that because of the embarrassment when that came out. We never hear any reports or disclosures about any bombing of the city of Raqqa. Raqqa is the capitol of the ISIS Caliphate. All of the command centers, communications centers, recruitment centers of ISIS are located in Raqqa. But why is Raqqa not bombed? Because it is a city with civilians. So there would be a risk of civilian casualties. My question is how extensive, beyond the Middle East, is this kind of no risk of civilian casualties going to be employed with regard to the use of US air power in contingencies in East Asia, including the Korean Peninsula. Is this now going to be a blanket rule of engagement that weíre going to see in the indefinite future with regard to the deployment of US air power. And if so, what does that do to this issue that weíve talked today of ensuring or assuring our Korean allies and other allies in the region about the credibility of US military commitments?

Jack Weinstein: So, Iím going to talk about what I work with on a daily basis, which is our nuclear deterrent force. And Iím not involved with what the ROE is in other parts of the world. The decision to execute and launch nuclear weapons is the sole authority of the President of the United States. Those procedures are tested. Those procedures are exercised extremely frequently. So our command centers and our operating forces are extremely capable of executing their forces. When it comes to crossing the threshold of a nuclear use, I will say that the comments that the Secretary of Defense made recently about a response using all aspects of our power, I canít say it better than the Secretary of Defense has said. So Iíll leave it at that in what my role is when it comes how nuclear weapons are planned, trained, and executed.

Moderator: Thank you, Larry. Tong?

Tong Kim: I have a couple of questions. Number one, whatís your assessment of the North Korean capability. You, in fact, quoted Kim Jong Unís claim that North Korea has the capability of striking the United States with a nuclear missile. Thatís question number one. Number two, if you ordered to wage a pre-emptive, or a preventative strike, a limited strike on North Korean nuclear facilities, what percentage of their nuclear arsenal, including Yongbyon Nuclear Reactor, fabricating plants, and uranium plants what have you, exposed targets. Do we have targets, underground targets, are we capable of hitting them as well? In totality, how much of that can you take out? During the Cuban Crisis, President Kennedy was advised by military leadership at that time to take them out. He asked the question of how much can you take out. The answer was about 90%. John F. Kennedy ruled against the military recommendation because the remaining 10% of the missiles can be fired back at us.

Jack Weinstein: Let me answer the question by saying that my role, as someone that wears the uniform, is to provide options to the President. Thatís my number one responsibility. And then the President decides whatever path he or she wants to go down. We have an extremely robust Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capability, to understand what other nations look like and where their capabilities are, and develop targets against us. So Iím extremely confident in our ability to do that. Youíve highlighted one of the areas thatís really key because when we modernize the nuclear force, weíre modernizing the nuclear force not for what it was needed for in the 1960s or the 1970s, but weíre modernizing the force for what is needed in the future. And when you have a nuclear force, the one thing that you canít do Ė and this applies to all of our capability Ė is that you canít have a haven for a country where they can hide activities and a safe place to go to. Thatís why itís critical that we develop and we continue to receive the report for B21 Bomber and why itís important to have a bomber that can get through any adversaryís defense. Itís the reason why we need to upgrade Minuteman with a new ground-based strategic deterrent. And itís important that weíre upgrading the B61 bomb. And itís critical that we replace the Air-launched cruise missile which was developed for a 10-year service life that weíre going to be multiplying by 4 times, that weíre developing for the long-range standoff weapon that can be carried on multiple platforms, B21 as well as the B52. So I am extremely confident that the capabilities that we have will not provide a sanctuary and will provide the President with the options that he or she needs to make a decision.

Moderator: Thank you. Dennis?

Dennis Halpin: Thank you, General. In your remarks, you talked about North Korea testing this year of missile launches from submarines. Now that is a new factor in that in the near future, not all North Korean nuclear weapons may be land based. We know from the Cheonan incident, we donít always know where North Korean submarines are because of what happened to the crew of the Cheonan. So, my question as North Korea develops a missile launch capability for mobile submarines that are moving underwater, that could move even toward the West Coast of the United States presumably, how does that complicate the factor of deterring North Korea if there was a missile, a nuclear showdown with North Korea?

Jack Weinstein: Well all Iíll say is that I have fullÖ I can sleep well at night knowing the capability of the United States Navy and thereís a reason why the United States Navy is building Virginia-class submarines and why the United States Navy is building a replacement for their higher replacement program. And since my son served on two submarines, the USS Connecticut and the USS Rhode Island, and I saw the training they put him through, I am really confident in the ability of the United States Navy to do what they need to do, just like Iím extremely confident in what the United States Air Force provides.

Moderator: Thank you. Peter?

Peter Huessey: General Weinstein, weíve known each other a long time and thank you for your remarks. Whenever I hear an Air Force Officer saying nice things about the Navy, and I hear Admiral Benedict say nice things about ICBMs, I say we really have adopted joint-ness in the United States Military. My question is, you answered a lot of it, but I want to reiterate it. The Washington Post recently put an article out about the myth about nuclear weapons, which Iíve answered today in Aviation Week, I think it will be. One of the main points that the writer makes is that there is no hurry to modernize our nuclear deterrent. We have plenty of time, and we can even delay things because what we now have works and thatís all that matters. And that therefore we could delay ICBMs; we donít need to go forward with a long-range strike options. You may have seen the article. But I wanted to answer that, because thatís going to be key to the next administration, the challenges they are going to face. I think thereís going to be a lot of pressure to delay doing various elements of the triad and NSA and so forth. Could you address that?

Jack Weinstein: Yeah, so let me give you the punch-line up front. Weíve delayed nuclear modernization as long as we can and we cannot delay it any more. We developed our nuclear capability in the 1960s. You could say late 1950s, but it was really the 1960s. And then we modernized again in the 1980s under the Reagan Build-up. And then, if youíre going to do it in twenty year increments, the next time we would have modernized in the year 2000, and we have not done that. So thatís why it is absolutely critical for us to modernize the force. So let me talk about it. So the force is extremely capable, and itís capable for today. But our responsibility is to make a force that is capable in the 2030s and the 2040s. Letís talk about the B52. Very capable airframe. Weíre modernizing the airframe. But the newest B52 has a tail number of 61 on the back. And that is our newest B52, 1961 technology. The ICBM was built, really in the 1960s is when the infrastructure was put in. The missiles we have are really based on the 1970s designs and in the 1990s, we put new propellant in the Minuteman missile and we upgraded the electronics on the guidance, but we didnít change any of the accuracy or did any of that. And the Air-launch Cruise Missile was developed in the 1970s, and had a 10-year lifespan. So you can just do the math. Why I made the comment that weíve already done three service life extensions. Weíre going to have to do one more. So if you look across the portfolio, the systems are important but less important than what we need to provide the President. What we need to provide the President is that we need to provide a force that is survivable. And that survivable leg amongst a range of contingencies is the Ohio Replacement Submarine. So you need a submarine portion of the Triad, not because weíve always had it, but we need a submarine portion because we need the survivability. You need a flexible arm. That flexible arm that is a show of force, as well as can get to where we need it to get to and give the President ample time to make decisions, and that is the bomber. The bomber is flexible, hence why it is a critical capability that we put into Guam as well as put into places in Europe. As I told you, the B52 was built, really it was in the end of 1960 with a 61 tail number. The B2 Bomber was built in the 1980s. And while the B2 Bomber has a lot of capability today, it wonít have the same capability to penetrate that we need in the out years, and that why the B21 is absolutely critical. And then we get to Minutemen. So Minuteman, we have pushed off modernization as far as you can, so you need to upgrade the propellant of Minuteman because it only lasts for so long. And when you look when we need to get ground-based strategic deterrent and the capability increases that we need to support the combatant commander, weíre in the timeframe now to develop it so we can visit it in the late 2020s. So when you look at the capability we can provide, what we need to provide is the attributes of survivability, responsiveness Ė which is what the ICBM provides Ė and flexibility. That is the reason why weíre building a B21. Weíre building a long-range standoff weapon. Weíre modernizing the B61. Weíre modernizing and weíre building ground-based strategic deterrence, and why, as Peter talked about, I will stand by my brethren, Admiral Benedict, and why itís really critical for us an Ohio Replacement. So thatís why itís a whole subset of activities. And then all you need to do is look at whatís going on in the world and look at the modernization activities that are going on in Russia and China. As you have eloquently said in other occasions, thereís no arms race. Theyíve already built the systems. You canít be at an arms race, when one person is at the starting line.

Tong Kim: With all these assets, are we still working on the notion of mass retaliation that we used to have during the Cold War, or a possibility for the first-use of nuclear weapons as well?

Jack Weinstein: Well right now, that discussionÖ Iím not going to get into the no first-use issue. The President will make that decision. But I will tell you when weíre building the new weapons systems, itís based on what we need in the future, not what we did in the past.

Man 1: [unintelligible]

Jack Weinstein: Well I think you highlighted two areas we need to focus on. One is you need to learn from history. What has worked in the past and what hasnít worked in the past? Thatís one of the reasons why in almost every talk that I talk about, I talk about the devastation of World War I and World War II, because we really need to understand what the past was like. The past was extremely violent. Just think of what 2.8% of the population is today with 7 billion people on the planet. I canít even get my head around that number. 75 million is devastating enough. 2.8% of 7 billion is a number that you canít get your head around. Since 1945 with the advent of nuclear weapons, major powers have not fought major powers. So I think thatís one item of learning from history. And I think the other is when senior leaders of our government are together, it is not just a military solution. Nothing is just a military solution. Itís a whole of government approach as we look forward to what is the best way to move these things forward.

Man 2 [unintelligible]

Jack Weinstein: Okay, so let me try to make you sleep better tonight. I think thatís part of my job. The commitment weíve had to our friend and ally in South Korea has been there since the end of the Korean War, and since the war has never ended, we have been there the entire time. So, I think 28,500 troops is a lot of troops to have on the peninsula on a continual basis. But more importantly, we have a lot of family members there. So we talk about the capability of North Korea and what capability will look like in five to ten years. One is, crossing the nuclear threshold will have devastating results. Youíve highlighted the reason why when you look at our Triad, why each of the legs are important. Because you never want to be blackmailed by another country. Thatís why having a bomber that can penetrate enemy air space and always get to the target is important. Thatís why having a sub that is survivable is really important. Thatís why having 400 missiles in the heartland of America is really important. You cannot be blackmailed when you have 400 missiles because without the ICBM force, weíre down to about 8 strategic targets. When you take out bomber bases and when you take out the sub bases and you look at our infrastructure, youíre down to a handful, less than 10, which can tell you the importance of the ICBM force has. So I think, for you to sleep better, is the commitment of the United Statesí support of an ally. With the people that are there, located on the peninsula, the people that we have located in Japan, the people we have located in Guam, and everyone that we have back in the United States to provide that capability: itís a steadfast commitment to the Korean people.

Woman 1: General, thank you for your comments today. My question is one of the issues that I grapple with is, which weíve talked about today, is some would suggest that weíve lost some of our assurances, that weíve lost some of our deterrence. Iím not really sure how such things can be measured. How do we know when weíve lost assurance or deterrence? With the activity that North Korea undertakes, whether it be a missile test or a nuclear test, when youíre considering options for a response, how do you gauge whether to fly a B1, to fly a B52, how do you weigh those response options and how do you present that?

Jack Weinstein: Well, Iíll say itís kind of easy. You find out what the combatant commander, what is the combatant commanderís objective. So the combatant commander says what he or she is trying to accomplish, and then itís up to each of the services to provide those forces to the combatant commander. So itís really his or her choice. Each weapons system has a different capability. And those capabilities are then measured against the target that you want to hit. And then those are provided up the chain and then a decision is made to do it. We have a pretty rigorous process on both sides. One is what capability does the combatant commander want, is part of the calculus. The other calculus is what is the target that you want to take out and you want to have a probability of destruction of a really high number so that the target isnít there. Then that goes into a rigid process that we have in every combatant commander. Every combatant commander has targeting boards to figure out what the targeting is. Every combatant commander has airmen, sailors, soldiers, marines, so we know what the capability that each of our services provide and that goes to the calculus of what is selected. So itís a pretty rigorous process.

Woman 1: Yes, I understand the process, the operational piece. But then tying that into the larger strategic objective which is to either enhance deterrence or reemphasis assurance.

Jack Weinstein: Thatís why we have a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs that commands, and the President of the United States. Thatís really the job of the Chairman. What the Chairman does is he listens to advice from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And the Joints Chiefs of Staff, is made up of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the CNO, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the National Guard Bureau, who has a 4-star that sits there. He gets the best military advice. And then there are meetings along the way. Thereís Deputy Committees meetings, thereís Principal Committee Meetings. And then it goes to the National Security Council Staff, and at the National Security Staff is where you have the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, you have the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is that single voice that goes forward on all these activities.

Woman 2: Thank you. The current Defense Minister Ash Carter actually advocated to have a preemptive strike against the missiles in North Korea, which were carrying nuclear warheads, back in 2006. I was wondering, given the fears that many South Koreans have about the capability of North Korea, I was just wondering why the United States hasnít been considering a preemptive strike against those nuclear assets in North Korea.

Jack Weinstein: That is a great question to ask the Secretary of Defense. But one thing I want to get across: going to war isnít something that should be thought lightly. People die in war and we need to understand that and itís really messy. So let me go back in history. Thereís a great picture, and you just need to go online and google World War I. Everyone was going off to World War I and they thought they were going to be home by Christmas. And people were kind of happy if you look at the pictures back then. And the problem is, no matter how surgical you want to make it Ė and we do work really hard because we believe in humanitarian, we do not attack civilians. We try not to. So when you look at an attack on a sovereign nation, you need to be able to walk that dog many different steps because people die. And when I think about people dying, I think of the airmen that I work with every day, that you need to make a decision that is the best decision that you can make. I also think of my son when he was on a submarine in the Pacific. I think when we talk about going to war, it is not as simple as going to war, watching the movie, and in two hours itís over. It is really important, and someone asks the question of how do we know deterrence works? Crossing the nuclear threshold is a threshold that has not been crossed. Thatís how you know deterrence works. How do you assure countries? Thereís many different ways to assure countries. I think when it comes to South Korea, when you have over 100,000 Americans and family members there, that shows commitment to the peninsula, because our families are living side by side by your families. So we know that it is your home. And to be honest, when stationed overseas, itís our home.

Man 3: Thank you. My question is about what further steps should or will the United States take in terms of enhancing the nuclear extended deterrence in Asia. The reason Iím asking is because a lot of people are talking about the difference in terms of Asia and Europe, in terms of US nuclear deterrence posture. In Europe, much efforts goes into institutionalization and nuclear sharing mechanisms among the United States and their allies, and the presence of tactical weapons. But in Asia, US reliance on strategic weapons, no tactical weapons, and lower level of institutionalization. In 2010, Japan and South Korea and the United States, Japan and the United States, South Korea and the United States initiated some institutionalization of suchs movements, but there is a lot of progress to be made in the future. So in the coming years, what kind of major progress will the United States should or will take in terms of enhancing its visualization of nuclear deterrence posture in this region.

Jack Weinstein: Well, as I mentioned before, I think our deterrent posture is going to be ironclad as we go into the future. Youíll have to ask the new administration on how the administration is going to take some of these actions forward. One thing I would like to mention isÖ we have a lot of talk, and I hear the words sometimes with strategic weapons and well as tactical weapons. A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon. And the dual-capable capability that the United States have with B52s as well as B2 bombers that are stationed in Guam provide that capability. Because what youíre asking for is a deterrent capability, not a specific platform. And thatís whatís really important as we have this dialogue. So I believe the commitment is ironclad. What the next administration is going to do, weíll have to watch and see what happens two weeks from today. And from there theyíll decide what their procedures are and how weíre going to move forward. What I donít see changing is our commitment to South Korea and our friends in the ROK. That will not change. That commitment is steadfast.

Moderator: General Chun, I give you the last honor.

In Bum Chun: [unintelligible]

Jack Weinstein: Weíll see what the next administration does. I know there are a lot of discussions that occur that donít get on the front page of the news or gets on Twitter. So a lot of activities are under discussion in order to support and find out what the best way forward is.

Moderator: Ladies and Gentlemen, letís give General Weinstein a big round of applause. Thank you very much, General.




( Transcribed by David Lee, ICAS Intern )

This page last updated January 15, 2017 jdb