Save the Date for this most timely and important program!

CONFRONTING NORTH KOREA

With

Dr. John Scire, Professor Xiaoyu Pu, and

Former Assemblyman Pat Hickey

Tuesday, May 16, the Ramada, 9:00 a.m.

For decades North Korea has been a “2nd-tier” crisis for the United States, as America focused its diplomacy and war-fighting capabilities on other global “hot spots”. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Kosovo, Yemen, Sudan, etc., all took precedence. Every President since Bill Clinton has played for time, hoping that either the regime in Pyongyang would collapse, or even evolve into a normal country. At times we and regional allies have even propped up the regime by relaxing sanctions or providing food aid. Nothing seems to have worked, and North Korea remains a totalitarian country run by a mercurial, unpredictable and provocative ruler, Kim Jong-Un.

The most dangerous challenge from North Korea comes from its possession of nuclear weapons. Since 1994, the leaders in Pyongyang have at various times agreed to halt their uranium and plutonium-based nuclear programs. Every American president–Bush, Clinton, and Obama–have employed a variety of sticks (mainly sanctions) and carrots (food and monetary aid). Various governments in South Korea have done the same. “Engagement” has clearly failed to influence the regime in Pyongyang, as Kim Jong Un has accelerated the pace of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, tightened its borders, sent a team of assassins to kill his half brother in Malaysia, and restricted internal supplies of food to achieve political aims. The result—most of the populace can barely find enough food to survive.

Yet North Korea’s nuclear program continues to grow. The fourth nuclear test this past January forced the U.S. and South Korea to apply more stringent financial and diplomatic pressure. Yet the nuclear tests continue, as have attempts to launch medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles. While North Korea has not yet demonstrated the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and successfully mate it to these missiles, there is little doubt that within 3-4 years Pyongyang will have an ICBM with a nuclear warhead that can hit the United States.

Our distinguished panel of experts will take a deep look at the North Korean regime, its internal politics, its relations with regional powers such as China, Japan and South Korea, and American plans to change the regime’s direction (either by force or persuasion).  Dr. Pu is an assistant professor of political science at UNR and former China and World Fellow at Princeton University. Former Nevada Assemblyman Pat Hickey serves as Nevada’s Honorary Consul for the Republic of Korea. He also is an adjunct professor in political science at UNR, and the Executive Director of the Charter School Association of Nevada. Dr. John Scire is an adjunct professor of political science at UNR and spent 8 years in the Army Reserve working with the South Korean Military on Psychological Operations against North Korea. He served more than 30 years in the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps in infantry, intelligence and psy-war assignments.

We envision this as the first of a two-part series on the North Korean challenge, with the follow session featuring a US Ambassador to a country in the region or senior military official with experience in the Pentagon’s planning for conflict with North Korea.

No need to RSVP now—just Save the Date!

THE MARINES’ MAIN PROBLEM

By Dr. William Stearman

Special Analysis for the National Security Forum

Marines have long been known for their amphibious capabilities which, however, have not been thoroughly tested on a serious scale since the Korean War Inchon landing in 1950. Since then, Marines transported by the Navy’s sizeable and growing (and expensive) amphibious fleet have only been used where little or no hostile resistance is expected, such as limited police or humanitarian operations. What is never mentioned is that the Marines are presently unable to launch an amphibious assault against a well-defended coastal objective for reasons described below. Also described is a highly unorthodox, but likely successful, solution to this serious deficency.

Presently, all Navy ships, including amphibious ships, must prudently remain 100 miles from a hostile coast because of the anti-ship missile threat. The relatively small “connector” landing craft available for amphibious operations cannot bridge this gap. The solution to this problem is a new concept: producing a highly survivable, if not unsinkable, Navy warship by converting a super tanker into a well-armed and equipped Expeditionary Ship (ES). The ES could not only safely bring a large number of Marines close to hostile shores and then launch them to shore, it could then risk remaining close at hand providing essential naval surface fire support (NSFS, now entirely absent from the fleet), and limited air support as well as essential logistical support and medical facilities close enough to save the badly wound within “the golden hour.” In the absence of a near term military need, the ES with a battle-ready MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit, 2,200 troops) aboard would be invaluable in influencing events ashore, especially in crisis situations. It is significant that General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.), now Secretary of Defense, has been supporting this ES concept.

The highly survivable ship concept meeting the above-described requirements first reached me in an email from Kenneth S. Brower, who had been one of the nations’ top feasibility naval architects, with enormous experience in ship design and weapons effect on ships. He wrote, ”They [our present surface combatants] are, in my view, simply catastrophically vulnerable and vastly overpriced. In a ship [as elsewhere] size matters. Very large supertanker hulls, that are well designed, approach being unsinkable. I would bury a FFG/DDG combat system somewhere inside these vital hidden areas with advanced armor and would trade speed for survivability and reduced cost…”

Subsequently he described what he had in mind. The ship to be converted would be a supertanker with a 250,000 LT (long tons with a full fuel load) displacement, 1075 feet long with a 170-foot beam and a hull depth of 80 feet. (cost would be about $150 million.) As transformed into a Navy Expeditionary Ship (ES) it would displace a maximum of 125,000 LT, and most likely much less, and would have a draft of less than 30 feet. He explained that this huge hull, “reduces the probability of hull girder failure from an under- keel attack. Second, it could easily survive multiple side torpedo hits” Also, its huge volume and heavy structure with bulkheads with alternate layers of water and steel on each side would defeat most, if not all, high explosive, shaped charge and other armor piercing weapons. ES armament should consist of numerous upgraded and improved 8”55 guns (plus some 5-inch guns) which give the ship a warlike appearance (unlike our present ships).

Future weapons, such as rail guns, would be added. The huge main deck would accommodate an assortment of MV-22s, CH-53, other helicopters, UAVs and F35Bs or other VSTOL aircraft. Most importantly, it would carry a variety of amphibious craft to be lowered by davits. It would cost about $1billion compared with the $1.64billion for the new LR(X) amphibious ship which would have but a small fraction of the ES capability. Moreover, the ES would be available far-sooner, since the ship will already have been built and would be ready for installing features described above.  A Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) would be embarked with Marines manning all ordnance and augmenting ship’s company in other ways. (In actual amphibious landings, considerably more Marines could be embarked.) As to the ES role in influencing events ashore in peacetime, in May 2010, General James N. Mattis, USMC, stated, “When (we lose) the ability to forcibly enter another’s terrain, we’ve surrendered our influence in a world where that surrender won’t play well.”

William Lloyd Stearman, PhD, U.S. Foreign Service officer (Ret.), served on the White House National Security Council staff under four Presidents. A former Navy officer with the 7th Amphibious Force, in the war in the Pacific in 1944-45, he is the author of “An American Adventure from Early Aviation Through Three Wars to the White House”, (Naval Institute Press 2012)

 The Korean Conundrum

To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.

– Winston Churchill

Prologue:  The following view is expressed under the shadow of two imminent meetings scheduled at the White House, one for United Nations Security Council members and another for the entire U.S. Senate.  The author expects POTUS has scheduled these highly unusual meetings to make the political case for the actions the U.S. will soon take to neutralize the North Korean missile threat, by political and/or military action.

_______________________________________________________

That veritable quote-machine named Winston Churchill had it right far more often than not.  Then again, he never had to deal with a nuclear-armed, hereditary communist monarchy such as that found in present-day North Korea.

The points offered herein are based on a framework of specific assumptions, to include:

First, North Korea’s Supreme leader Kim Jong Un presents a serious threat to the international community and the U.S. in particular; but he is not crazy.  Second, no U.S. administration can allow North Korea to develop an ICBM threat to North America; ever.  Third, though the folly of Obama’s strategic patience strategy (known to most mortals as ‘kicking the can down the road’) is now fully exposed, the current conundrum flows from decades of poor policy from both Republican and Democrat administrations.  And finally, this chicken has come home to roost; now.

To cut to the chase:  The failure of ‘strategic patience’ leaves America today with no alternative but taking action in the near future.  Unless of course one is prepared to accept living with the reality of deployed, North Korean ICBMs capable of hitting the continental U.S.  And if one is prepared to live with that reality, then one must also understand it will take one and only one, high-altitude nuclear explosion to create the EMP that will revert the American Experiment back to the 1800s-era, in the blink of an eye.  [China would presumably arrive to reassemble the pieces after famine and disease decimates our population].

However, if one is not prepared to live under that reality, the only relevant question remaining is what specific course of action is to be taken sooner rather than later i.e., action with or without China’s participation.  The U.S. has many cards to play here.

The first ‘with China’ hand to play by the man who wrote The Art of the Deal, is the threat of tougher trade (and banking) restrictions on Beijing; beginning perhaps with targeted sanctions against Chinese companies doing business with North Korea.

This must be done while acknowledging that China is not North Korea’s puppet-master.  Oft-mentioned is China’s legitimate fear of millions of North Korean refugees fleeing a war-torn country for sanctuary in China.  Rarely mentioned but one cannot also help but wonder if China’s leaders don’t also fear the pet cobra they feed and support in Pyongyang.  Might it not someday target its missiles on its erstwhile mentor should Kim Jong Un feel betrayed by Beijing?

The ‘without China’ hand to be played gives the U.S. more control of the game.  Specific cards to be played include offering to Japan as we already have to South Korea, the U.S.-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD); an anti-ballistic missile system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles.  Other cards include ‘updating’ our post-World War II agreements with Japan, increasing military-to-military support with Pacific Rim countries, etc.

Your author would also emphasize to our Japanese and South Korean allies that under no circumstances will the U.S. accept the existential threat of North Korean ICBMs.  They must be made to understand that if war must come between America and North Korea, it will take place in northeast Asia, not the American homeland.

Of course, the Chinese will scream and bluster (the second most-important objective in our strategy).  But we can afford to be politically generous here.

The U.S. can for example, state clearly and in advance the U.S. has no plans to, and will not support any attempts by, South Korea to unify the entire Korean peninsula [Contrary to their public posturing, few South Korean politicians want this outcome either].  We can formally pledge not to deploy any U.S. troops north of the 38th parallel.  We can further pledge to ease off the sanctions on whatever ‘new management’ team Beijing may create in Pyongyang; even provide economic aid to that devastated country.  These gestures–ratified by treaty if necessary–should go some distance to allay Chinese fears.  And last but not least, backtracking on the sanctions in place against the aforementioned Chinese companies.

The Good News here is that the U.S. still retains options other than near-term war with North Korea.  The Bad News here is that these options absolutely, positively, must be acted on now; they no longer include the farce of ‘strategic patience.’  The Ugly News is that the long-time successful blackmailer in Pyongyang may not understand the game is over.

 

Col. Michael Haas, USAF, ret., served in numerous Army and Air Force Special Operations units during his dual-service career.  His Pentagon tour included assignments to the Air Staff (Low Intensity Conflict specialist) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Current Intelligence Directorate).  Hs published works include In the Devil’s Shadow:  UN Special Operations during the Korean War.  He is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School.

Meet Patty Evans the new Executive Director

Meet Patty Evans

Executive Director, the National Security Forum

We are very pleased to welcome Patty Evans, who assumes the recently established position of Executive Director of the National Security Forum. The NSF has grown considerably in the past few years, with more meetings, more commentaries, more members and participants, and, of course, more administrative requirements.

Patty is a perfect hire for this position. She is an accomplished professional who has successfully managed large projects and major organizations for several years. Patty began her career in bank data processing in 1973 for First National Bank of Nevada, now Wells Fargo Bank.  She progressed over a 16- year period to the position of Assistant Vice President and Operations Manager of the Reno data center.

Following her career at the bank Patty worked for 26 years at Renown Health where she held several roles.  Most notably she served as the Chief Information Officer,  Process Improvement Administrator and Construction Administrator. With Renown, Patty focused on major IT project management, process improvement and construction management. When Renown completed the construction of the newest tower project, Patty was asked to assume the responsibility for running the Construction Department of the entire Renown Health organization.  This meant she was responsible for all construction projects throughout the entire Renown integrated health network.

In January 2016 Patty retired from Renown Health and has enjoyed spending time with her young grandson, and traveling, car racing and golfing with her friends and husband. Yes, with an emphasis on golf! And that’s right—car racing! She is a licensed pilot, car races with the Sports Car Club of America, and, by the way in case you ever need her help, she won the Nevada State Masters Powerlifting Championship!

Here is a link to a TV interview with Patty on her car racing activities:

https://www.facebook.com/KoloSarahJohns/videos/1310980078985414/

Please join me in welcoming Patty Evans as the NSF’s first Executive Director!

James Megquier, MD

Chair of the Board, the National Security Forum

This is the final announcement for this timely presentation on….

Syria and the War Within Islam

What Should the U.S. and Its Allies do Next?

with

Brigadier General Joe Shaefer

Foreign Service Officer Ted Morse

and Other Experts

The Ramada, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

In retaliation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on civilians, President Trump launched a retaliatory attack using Tomahawk cruise missiles to inflict heavy damage on the airfield that Syrian bombers departed from.  The question remains: What further action should President Trump take?  Is the U.S. wise to involve itself in the six year old civil war, largely between various factions in the Islamic world, none of which we support (other than the rather ineffective Free Syrian army)?

Should the United States attempt to force the ouster of President Assad?  Or will that only enhance prospects for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and other Sunni factions?  Should the U.S. be conducting military actions unilaterally or should any further action be done utilizing existing alliances?  What consideration should be given to possible Russian and Iranian involvement?

B/General Joe Shaefer and other experts will analyze the state of the Syrian civil war, the various factions involved in that conflict, and the competing interests and positions of other players in the region. We have requested former Foreign Service officer Ted Morse and other experts to address possible policy options.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee and conversation.

You are encouraged to RSVP by clicking HERE. You may also RSVP by e-mailing info@nationalsecurityforum.org. Just a reminder, after the forum, we will be accepting new and renewal membership applications for the July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 period. Forms will be available at the forum, though you can also access the application form by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.