The United States and its allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend themselves from an attack, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday in a statement.
“Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree [North Korea] poses a threat to global security and stability,” he said.
North Korea must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Mattis said, and should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.
President Donald J. Trump was informed of the growing threat last December, the defense secretary said, “and on taking office his first orders to me emphasized the readiness of our ballistic missile defense and nuclear deterrent forces.”
“While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth,” Mattis said. North Korea will continue to be grossly overmatched by the U.S. and its allies, he said “and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”
South Dakota Airmen Team Up With South Korean, Japanese Counterparts
Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers under the command of Pacific Air Forces joined their counterparts from the South Korean and Japanese air forces Aug. 7 in sequenced bilateral missions.
This serves as the first mission for the crews and aircraft recently deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, in support of U.S. Pacific Command‘s continuous bomber presence missions, officials said.
After taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the B-1s — assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron — flew to Japanese airspace, where they were joined by Japanese F-2 fighter jets. The B-1s then flew over the Korean Peninsula, where they were joined by South Korean KF-16 fighters. The B-1s then performed a pass over the Pilsung Range before leaving South Korean airspace and returning to Guam.
Enhancing Combined Capabilities, Skills
Throughout the mission, which lasted about 10 hours, the aircrews practiced intercept and formation training, Pacific Air Forces officials said, enabling them to enhance their combined capabilities and tactical skills while also strengthening the long-standing military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Ellsworth B-1s were last deployed to Guam in August 2016, when they took over continuous-bomber-presence operations from the B-52 Stratofortress bomber squadrons from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, andBarksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
“How we train is how we fight, and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight,” a 37th EBS B-1 pilot said. “The B-1 is a long-range bomber that is well-suited for the maritime domain and can meet the unique challenges of the Pacific.” The pilot is not identified by name for security considerations.
Commitment to Stability, Security
Aircrews, maintenance and support personnel will continue generating B-1 bomber sorties to demonstrate the continuing U.S. commitment to stability and security in the region, providing commanders with a strategic power-projection platform and fulfilling the need for aircraft that are mission-ready at any time, an important part of national defense during a time of high regional tension, Pacific Air Forces officials said.
“While at home station, my crews are constantly refining their tactics and techniques so that we can better integrate with our counterparts from other nations,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel Diehl, 37th EBS commander. “As demonstrated today, our air forces stand combat-ready to deliver air power when called upon.”
The United States has maintained a regular bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region since 2004. The Aug. 7 mission demonstrated the U.S. commitment to regional allies, increased readiness and exercised the right under international law “to fly legally in the place and time of our choosing,” officials said.
(From a Pacific Air Forces news release.)