According to Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas, the commander of Special Operations Command, U.S. special operations forces are ready to act against North Korean nuclear, missile, and other weapons of mass destruction sites if any conflict arises.
On Friday, Thomas told a House subcommittee that Army, Navy, and Air Force commandos are already stationed on the Korean peninsula. Thomas added, “We are actively pursuing a training path to ensure readiness for the entire range of contingency operations in which [special operations forces], to include our exquisite [countering weapons of mass destruction] capabilities, may play a critical role… We are looking comprehensively at our force structure and capabilities on the peninsula and across the region to maximize our support to U.S. [Pacific Command] and [U.S. Forces Korea]. This is my warfighting priority for planning and support.”
Thomas added that the command “has recently focused more intently on the emerging threat that is of growing concern to us as well as most of our DoD teammates—the nuclear threat of an increasingly rogue North Korea …Although previously viewed as a regional threat, North Korea’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, facilitated by a trans-regional network of commercial, military, and political connections, make it a threat with global implications.”
On Sunday, President Trump indicated his displeasure with North Korea after reports surfaced that North Korea had launched an unsuccessful ballistic missile. Speaking on Face the Nation, Trump said of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, “If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy.” When he was queried if that could mean a U.S. military response, Trump said: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”
According to military experts, special forces could locate and destroy North Korean nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems. They would also be responsible for stopping the transfer of weapons out of the country. U.S. forces have already built scale models of some North Korean weapons facilities.
Thomas asserted that Special Operations Command had taken control of coordinating Pentagon efforts to counter weapons of mass destruction.
North Korea may have as many as 20 nuclear devices; the regime is creating nuclear warheads to be carried on long-range missiles, and has caches of chemical weapons and biological warfare agents.
Last week, Pacific Command commander Adm. Harry Harris warned, “With every test, Kim Jong Un moves closer to his stated goal of a preemptive nuclear strike capability against American cities, and he’s not afraid to fail in public.”