STRATCOM ON NORTH KOREAN THREAT
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command that directs America’s nuclear forces, recently warned that North Korea’s nuclear missile capability is growing and that he assumes Pyongyang already can threaten the United States.
Asked about recent intelligence assessments indicating North Korea will field its long-range nuclear missile capability sooner than expected, Gen. Hyten said his calculation of the missile threat has not changed.
“I can’t put a date on it, but it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, and I have to assume that the ‘when’ is in the very near term,” Gen. Hyten told reporters in Omaha, Nebraska, last month.
Gen. Hyten said North Korea still must overcome “a number of technical thresholds” before the communist state’s nuclear missile is fielded.
“You can get into debates with a number of technical experts, about ‘Well, they really haven’t done this; they really haven’t done that,’ or they’re a year away or two years away or five years away. All of those things from a military perspective, from a commander’s perspective of U.S. Strategic Command, I have to assume that it’s going to be in the near term,” he said.
“And if we assume it’s going to be in the near term, then we have to postured to respond to that threat in the near term,” Gen. Hyten said. “Because anything else creates a position of weakness in our deterrent message and we don’t want to have any weakness in our deterrent message.”
The commander’s comments were made before President Trump unleashed threatening rhetoric against the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday.
Other recent classified documents also have been withheld that could shed light on the potential survival of prisoners of war from the Korean War and Cold War.
The Pentagon’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the lead unit for resolving missing personnel cases, remains without a director after the office’s chief, Michael Linnington, quit in June 2016.
Russia has refused to release files from the KGB political police and intelligence service and the GRU military intelligence services on U.S. POWs held there. China as well has failed to supply files on Americans held by Beijing and known to be alive but never returned — after the Pentagon paid China more than $100,000 for POW/MIA files that were never turned over.
The family members also are demanding that President Trump and Congress pressure both Moscow and Beijing to help resolve the cases of missing service members, the group said in a press release.
“We’ve run out of patience and we’re running out of time,” said Bob Moore, whose brother, Capt. Harry Moore, was shot down over North Korea in 1951 and apparently taken to the then-Soviet Union with other American aviators.