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Public Lecture Slides (11.21.2017) Deterrence, Assurance, and North Korean Strategy

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Deterrence, Assurance, and North Korean Strategy

Speaker: James E. Platte, Assistant professor with the U.S. Air Force Center for Unconventional Weapons Studies (CUWS) at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama

ICAS public lecture series videos are posted on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA67B040B82B8AEF

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Public Lecture Slides (11.21.2017) Deterrence, Assurance, and North Korean Strategy

  1. 1. We Produce the Future Deterrence, Assurance, and North Korean Strategy 21 November 2017
  2. 2. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 2 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Disclaimer Opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied within are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Air University, the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, or any other US government agency.
  3. 3. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 3 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Outline • Analyzing North Korea’s Emerging Nuclear Strategy • Existing research on nuclear strategy • Assessing North Korea’s nuclear strategy • Theoretical Implications for Nuclear Strategy Analysis • Domestic Debates in Japan and South Korea • Policy Implications
  4. 4. We Produce the Future Analyzing North Korea’s Emerging Nuclear Strategy
  5. 5. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 5 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Research Questions • What does North Korea’s behavior over the past ten years, in both words and deeds, suggest about the kind of nuclear strategy/posture that they have adopted, are adopting, and/or are likely to adopt? • What policy implications can be drawn from this?
  6. 6. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 6 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Research on Nuclear Strategy/Posture • Voluminous literature on the nuclear strategies of the “legacy” nuclear powers • e.g. Brodie, Schelling, Kahn, George and Smoke, Freedman • Burgeoning literature on: • Reevaluation of Cold War nuclear strategy • e.g. Gavin (2012 & 2015) • Nuclear weapons as tools of coercion • e.g. Sechser and Fuhrmann (2017) • Postures of “new” or “emerging” nuclear actors • e.g. Narang (2014 & 2015)
  7. 7. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 7 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Narang – Posture Optimization Theory • Focuses on regional nuclear powers • Posture Optimization Theory • Argues that states choose a strategy that will optimize policy goal • Three identified nuclear postures • Catalytic • Assured retaliation • Asymmetric escalation
  8. 8. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 8 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Alternatives to Narang’s Model • Theory is parsimonious, states optimize postures to achieve policy goals, but it assumes that every state has deterrence as its main objective • We know from Schelling (1956) that deterrence isn’t the only objective that states may have with nuclear weapons • Compellence may also be a goal • What do we know about nuclear weapons and compellence?
  9. 9. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 9 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Nuclear Weapons and Compellence Sechser and Fuhrmann • Deterrent threats can be made credible because survival is at stake • Coercive threats cannot be made credible because no state would risk their own annihilation or break the taboo to change the status quo • Quantitative and qualitative analysis shows that nuclear weapons are poor instruments of coercion • However, no cases of nuclear states postured to compel
  10. 10. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 10 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Deterrent vs. Compellent Postures • Characteristics of Deterrent Postures • Goal is to maintain the status quo • Intention is to foster conditions that lead to inaction • Can be of indefinite duration; are inherently stabilizing but can foster other state’s pursuit of their own deterrent capability • Characteristics of Compellent Postures • Goal is revision; i.e., a change in the status quo • Create strategic bargaining advantage through the acquisition and posturing of capability • Of finite duration, thus more targets of opportunity than deterrent ones
  11. 11. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 11 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win DPRK: Deterrence or Compellence • Apply Narang’s model to North Korea • Capabilities used as a determining factor • Claims that his categories are “empirically exhaustive and mutually exclusive”
  12. 12. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 12 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Posture Optimization Theory
  13. 13. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 13 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Modified Theory for nuclear strategy choice among regional powers and empirical predictions Regional Nuclear Power Stability Seeking Revisionist Deterrence Posture Compellent Posture Modified Theory
  14. 14. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 14 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win North Korea Nuclear Posture • We focus on intentions, not capabilities, by asking the following: • What is the stated goal of the country’s nuclear program? • Do they have longer-term strategic goals that may explain their acquisition and development of nuclear weapons? • Do they have existing capabilities that provide deterrent effect that makes their nuclear weapons seem unnecessary? • Do they possess or are they seeking to acquire capabilities that do not seem useful for their stated deterrent goals? • Does the state have a history of attempted compellence or the use of compellent threats to achieve policy objectives?
  15. 15. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 15 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Case for a Compellent Posture • What is the stated goal of the country’s nuclear program? • KJU on 8 October 2017 - North Korea’s nuclear weapons are a “powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia,” Kim said, referring to the “protracted nuclear threats of the US imperialists.” • Do they have longer-term strategic goals that may explain their acquisition of nuclear weapons? • Numerous statements suggesting long-term objective is the withdrawal of US forces from the Korean peninsula and reunification with the South on the North’s terms
  16. 16. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 16 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Case for a Compellent Posture • Do they have existing capabilities that provide deterrent effect that makes their nuclear weapons seem unnecessary? • Existing capability to strike Seoul in the event of an invasion makes nuclear capabilities seem unnecessary; has deterred action for six decades • Do they possess or are they seeking to acquire capabilities that do not seem useful for their stated deterrent goals? • ICBM capability, especially one designed to strike the East Coast of the US (17 October 2017 statement by KJU), seems unnecessary for deterrence
  17. 17. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 17 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win History of Compellence • During the 1960s, Kim Il Sung tested the US-South Korea alliance through a series of low-level attacks along the DMZ and a few much more provocative actions, such as: • The seizure of the USS Pueblo and the Blue House raid in January 1968 • Between 1966 and 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, 75 US soldiers were killed and 111 wounded in combat with North Korean forces along the DMZ • Both KJI and KJU have routinely issued nuclear threats, above and beyond what is normally required for deterrence
  18. 18. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 18 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Reasons for Compellent Posture • May be seeking to create conditions where they have bargaining advantage to fulfill their strategic objectives • May seek to drive a wedge in ROK-US alliance by systematically raising the provocation threshold; erode South Korean support for US alliance • May initiate conflict with goal of using coercive leverage, through threats against US homeland, to force the signing of a peace treaty or a reduced US commitment to South Korea • Would lead to the dissolution of the UN Command • May precipitate US withdrawal from the peninsula
  19. 19. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 19 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Theoretical Implications • Suggests a range of postures not oriented towards deterrence; need to develop typology of possible postures • Determine whether and to what extent deterrent and compellent postures intersect • Develop discourse analysis metrics to evaluate North Korean rhetoric
  20. 20. We Produce the Future Domestic Debate in Japan and South Korea
  21. 21. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 21 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Views from Japan Security • Strong support for alliance with the US • Small majorities or pluralities are skeptical of US-Japan relations and the international order under the Trump administration • North Korea’s nuclear program is a top threat Abe • Approval rating for cabinet improved after October election victory • More approve than disapprove of approach to US relations • Opinions on constitution reform are divided, but majority oppose Article Nine revision
  22. 22. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 22 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Views from South Korea Gallup Korea • Consistently view North Korean nuclear tests as threat to peace • Since 2007, gradual decline in fear of war caused by North Korea • Early September 2017, 37% said North Korea is likely to cause war (58% said not likely) • Majority oppose US preemptive strike (as does Moon Jae-in) • Moon has highest early term approval rating (>75%) since Kim Young-sam • ~50% approval of North Korea policy Asan Institute • Strong support for US alliance, despite low favorability rating for Trump • Believe US is necessary for South Korea to counter North Korean threat • Optimistic about relations with US under Moon • Divided opinion over providing aid or economic cooperation to North Korea
  23. 23. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 23 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Nuclear Breakout? Japan • Vast majority of public opposes developing nuclear weapons • No calls for deployment of US nuclear weapons to Japan South Korea • Polling over last few years show ~55-65% support for developing nuclear weapons • Yet, would that support change if US alliance or prosperity threatened? • Political calls for or inquiries into redeployment of US tactical nuclear weapons • Liberty Korea Party • Defense Minister Song Young-moo
  24. 24. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 24 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Continued Nonproliferation? Technical Capabilities • Both have robust, advanced civilian nuclear sectors • Japan has ENR technology and 47 tons of separated plutonium • South Korea would have to develop ENR technology • Both lack military nuclear doctrine and C2 Nonproliferation Constraints • US extended deterrence and nonproliferation policy • International treaties and norms • Domestic factors (see Solingen and Hymans) With growing North Korean nuclear threat, will past predict the future?
  25. 25. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 25 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Policy Implications North Korea Policy • Engagement with a deterrent-oriented state is fundamentally different than one that is compellent-oriented • Problem becomes much more time-sensitive; once they have the capability, it becomes much more difficult to avoid situations where they may attempt to use their nuclear weapons to compel • Must clearly message that the US and allies will not be coerced or compelled • Be cautious about doing things that might lead North Korea to initiate conflict; might be just what they are wanting
  26. 26. Develop America's Airmen Today ... for Tomorrow 26 Air University: The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force Fly – Fight – Win Policy Implications Alliance Policy • Resist decoupling pressures between US and allies • Bolster public support for alliances; especially if, as predicted, North Korea ramps up rhetoric and belligerent activities • Consistent, high-level engagement and messaging • Coordinate any changes in force posture or diplomatic/economic initiatives • Improve regional defense • Ballistic missile defense, including ISR • Japan-South Korea relations • Continue GSOMIA and confidence-building through trilateral cooperation • Clarify role of Japan in Korean Peninsula contingencies • History issues and territorial disputes won’t just go away
  27. 27. We Produce the Future Questions

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