As North Korea claims that it has entered a “state of war”, U.S. military sources say that they could defeat North Korea in 56 days or less if the situation would actually enter a military phase rather than mere bluster. Although the North Korean military has over 1 million soldiers, they are poorly equipped and only backed up by only around 4,000 operational tanks and a small number of combat aircraft that likely only number less than 80 units and artillery pieces that probably number even less units than that of the old army of Saddam Hussein of the first Gulf War. Their military computers are hardly high tech and mostly just home-type laptops. Likely, this new round of belligerent talk is all just more bluster from North Korea, as their military would be a very weak match for the U.S. military, although North Korea could inflict heavy damage on South Korea civilians in the first hours of the conflict before American and South Korean forces would destroy the country’s defenses and prepare to invade and secure the North’s nuclear research sites.
This week, U.S. and South Korean military units conducted drills that could set the stage for a quick end to any war that North Korea could potentially start. But, while most U.S. intelligence officials still consider the possibility of war highly unlikely, but the new and untested leader, Kim Jong-Un is very unpredictable. For their part, both China and Russia are urging tensions to ease. But, the Obama Administration and the U.S. military under the leadership of new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are prepared for any scenario that could involve a quick knock-out blow to North Korea, securing their nuclear research sites or weapons grade materials, and feeding the hungry of the nation if the regime collapses after a surrender. It seems unlikely that either China or Russia would rush in to support North Korea in anything other than diplomatic actions or a protest in the UN. Any actions of the U.S. would be purely defensive and would certainly not involve any offensive military actions against North Korea unless they would strike first.
But, it is estimated that it would take up to 200,000 U.S. combat soldiers to successfully defeat and then occupy North Korea, which would be a real stress on our all-volunteer units at this time.
President Obama has also proved a willingness to do whatever it takes to defend the U.S., just as other presidents have done with such decisions as to go after Osama Bin Laden or to use drone aircraft to decimate the ranks of the al Qaeda leadership, so there is no reason not to think that he would support a quick and decisive war to bring down the regime in North Korea if they provoked a military conflict with a first strike of any measurable type against South Korea or any U.S. military forces.
The U.S. would sorely like to see the North Korean regime collapse in the interests of peace in the region, however war to remove this government is the least preferred method by far.