As tensions rise in north Korea, U.S. troops train soldiers to fight inside the tunnels.
U.S. officials have told NPR that the army is training thousands of soldiers to conduct tunnel warfare as part of an effort to provide President trump with military options.
North Korea has flooded thousands of tunnels and bunkers, some of them across the border and close to Seoul, the south Korean capital. Other parts of north Korea are hundreds of feet deep and can be used to hide troops and artillery, as well as chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
In addition to training thousands of troops, officials say the pentagon is buying more specialized equipment for tunnel operations: radios and night-vision goggles, and acetylene torches and bolt cutters.
This year, officials say, additional military Tours will include the 101st airborne division and the 82nd airborne division.
Spokesmen for these departments will not comment on additional training and the military will not comment.
Officials say training is expected in 2018 and will likely be at local stations, although other training facilities, including abandoned tunnels and bunkers, are available across the country.
“I think it’s not just for the U.S. military, it’s for the south Korean military.” “Said Dave Maxwell, a retired army colonel who served in the republic of Korea. He is now working at nonprofit private education and research institute Corean-American Studies. Research group. “There are about 5,000 of them, and the north koreans are like moles.”
For years, American officials have warned the tunnels. Former defense secretary Donald rumsfeld called north Korea “world class leader” at a confirmation hearing in 2001.
“They have traveled all over the country in a few countries,” rumsfeld told the senator 17 years ago. “They have a huge base of underground weapons.”
And those tunnels that are far below the surface of the water will never be harmed by bombs dropped by most aircraft or bombs fired from the sea. Officials say any military action against north Korea will include U.S. and south Korean forces attacking the tunnels.
The army usually trains one or two brigades for tunnel warfare, so a large number of soldiers are prepared to maneuver and fight in a closed environment like Afghanistan. But because of the threat posed by north Korea, the army is training more brigades, although the exact number is classified.
Just last month, U.S. soldiers from the army’s fifth cavalry regiment infiltrated a bunker north of Seoul, half abandoned. This is a double for a chemical weapons lab. When they climbed half a mile into the tunnel, the soldiers used special radio and night vision goggles.
“We can’t just look at military action,” colonel John morris told the star-spangled banner. “We have to look at three dimensions and underground parts.”
Prepare for a “terrible” conflict.
Tensions are rising as north Korea advances on missile and nuclear programs, and some pentagon officials say more training and planning is needed.
The tensions include a week of inflammatory rhetoric from north Korean leader Kim jong UN and Mr. Trump.
“Nuclear buttons are always on my desk in my office,” Kim said. “They should be aware that this is not a threat, but a reality.”
“I also have a core button, but it’s bigger and stronger than he is, and my buttons work!” trump tweeted.
The us ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, spoke on ABC’s this week, defending Mr Trump’s tweet.
“We always want to remind them that we can also destroy you,” said harry. “you have to be careful.
Defense secretary Jim Mattis did not say such words, and consistently said that diplomacy and sanctions are part of the current campaign. Still, Matisse told a U.S. military conference last fall that the service must be prepared for any possibility.
“What is the future now? You can’t say, “said Matisse. “So there is one thing that the U.S. military can do, and that is you have to be prepared to make sure that our President can use military options if necessary.”
Mark Milley, the army’s senior general, said at the same meeting that “any imagination would be terrible for a full-scale war on the Korean peninsula”.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “there’s no doubt about it, but it’s also true that an intercontinental ballistic missile strikes Los Angeles or New York City. It’s just as terrible.”
Meanwhile, the army is buying more bridge equipment for any possible military action in north Korea. Military planners do not want America’s heavy armour to rely on north Korea’s dubious infrastructure on rivers.
One project the army USES is the so-called “union assault bridge”, an abrams tank, including a collapsible bridge that spans 62 feet.
At the same time, the pentagon has quietly added more patriot missiles and precision-guided bombs to the region in the past few months to make sure it has enough war.