Various top military officials convened last week to take part in a classified exercise to look into a U.S. plan of action in the case of a Korean Peninsula strike even as officials continue a push for diplomacy with the rogue nation, according to The New York Times.
A “tabletop exercise” was reportedly held in Hawaii for several days to help prepare for the case of a potential order to strike the Korean Penisula.
The Army’s chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley and the head of the Special Operations Command were among the military officials in attendance, according to the Times.
The officials reportedly discussed potential roadblocks for U.S. forces in the case of war with North Korea, including the military’s ability to evacuate injured troops as well as the amount of surveillance aircraft that would have to be transported from the Middle East to the Pacific.
The summit also included the discussion of various military capabilities and potential missions, including plans to take down North Korean air defenses and personnel recovery plans.
While tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have ratcheted up over the past year, the Pentagon has warned that the planning sessions do not mean that a decision to go to war has been made.
President Trump said in August that military solutions for North Korea’s growing nuclear ambitions were on the table and that the U.S. was “locked and loaded.”
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
Defense Secretary James Mattis said last year that war with North Korea would be “catastrophic.”
The U.S. rhetoric was in response to North Korea’s continued intercontinental ballistic missile launches, despite pushback from the international community.
Trump announced new sanctions on Pyongyang last week, calling them the “largest ever” sanctions on the rogue nation.
Reports have surfaced in recent weeks that North Korea is open to talks with the U.S.; however, the White House said that any discussions with Pyongyang must include a focus on Kim Jong Un’s government abandoning its nuclear weapons program.
Vice President Pence and first daughter Ivanka Trump were in close proximity to North Korean officials during the Winter Olympics earlier this month in South Korea, but no reported meetings took place.