North Korea test-fired short-range ballistic missiles for the first time in 18 months. President Trump is downplaying the tests, refusing to call them a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. But if North Korea starts testing longer-range missiles, it could become harder for Washington to return to talks, risking the end of diplomacy with Pyongyang altogether.
For nearly 20 years, Japan has used the North Korea threat as a legitimate rationale to build its missile defense system and cooperate closely with the U.S. in its development. This argument remains as true today as it was before the flurry of regional diplomacy began earlier this year.
What are the chances that a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Trump will lead to meaningful progress? And what should U.S. leaders be thinking about as they prepare? RAND's Bruce Bennett discusses.
Within 10 years, hypersonic missiles are likely to be deployed and offered on the international market. But there is time for action by states that do not want hypersonic missiles to flourish in their neighborhoods. It is time to move toward heading off this threat while it is still possible to do so.
Why would Russia, which has over 1,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads that can be delivered from existing ballistic and cruise missiles, invest in new, exotic systems? The answer is deeply rooted in modern Russian and Soviet history.
Experts can argue that a low-yield SLBM might not be worth deploying as it would put U.S. submarines at unacceptable risk. But the costs to adversaries to develop the capability to target U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons are substantial. In contrast, the costs to the United States are low, requiring only modification to an existing warhead.
Nuclear forces and nuclear strategy are complex and the facts surrounding them are often shrouded in classification. But if the United States were to deploy a low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead in the future, an adversary would face the same problems as it does today in knowing what the missile contains.
While Iron Dome's past success in defending Israel makes it a tempting solution to future challenges, it does have shortcomings. This becomes even more serious when considering using the system in Korea, where the threat posed is substantially greater, and the targeted terrain substantially harder to defend.
Japan's pacifist constitution allows it to exercise force only when its survival is threatened and there are no other means to repel the attack. But North Korea's advancing military capabilities have drastically changed the threat environment. Japan no longer has the luxury to be complacent about its security threats.
North Korea says that nuclear weapons are essential to regime survival. The United States should figure out how to persuade the North Korean regime that it is less likely to survive by posing a nuclear threat than by cooperating with the international community.
As the threat from North Korea has been developing over the last 30 years, the U.S. has responsibly deployed missile defenses in Korea to protect its forces and South Koreans. Today, North Korea's medium- and intermediate-range missiles require a defense able to handle higher missile re-entry speeds like the THAAD system.
North Korea's July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit American soil has renewed talk of military intervention. But an effective limited military strike with minimal collateral damage and no escalation simply won't work.
Whether successful or not, an ICBM test by North Korea would be very much against U.S. interests and President-elect Trump should act to counter it as early as possible. A turn to the basics of deterrence would be the path most likely to succeed.
For all the attempts to find technological quick fixes or enforce a permanent settlement, Operation Protective Edge has highlighted that a war of attrition, known as a 'long war,' remains the only viable strategy in the current environment.
Three RAND Corporation researchers discussed the regional and global implications of the recent flurry of bluster and provocation emanating from North Korea, during a conference call April 9 with reporters.
Kim Jong-Un's regime has placed outsized import on its missile launches—despite the risk of alienating the international community—to offset the lack of success across a wide range of topics, writes Bruce Bennett.
While many observers of North Korea have been surprised by the apparently peaceful ascension of Kim Jong-Un, there are reasons to believe that the situation in the North is not so stable, writes Bruce Bennett.
As the crisis along the border between Syria and Turkey intensifies, Turkey appears on the brink of a formal request to the North Atlantic Council that NATO deploy Patriot missiles to help defend the border, writes Christopher Chivvis.
For months, North Korea has been trying to upstage the summit between South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barack Obama that is scheduled for June 16. Almost all Americans I know have heard of these North Korean provocations. But few have heard anything about the U.S.-ROK summit, writes Bruce Bennett.
North Korea's latest misbehavior highlights an uncomfortable truth: the failure of the United States and the international community to deter North Korean actions. In this case, it is pretty easy to see why North Korea has not been deterred, writes Bruce Bennett.
North Korea spent weeks preparing to launch a ballistic missile that could reach the United States. It argued that the launch was intended to put a satellite into orbit. But a space launch vehicle is a ballistic missile used for a modestly different purpose, writes Bruce W. Bennett.