Worst-case planning for a nuclear-capable North Korea: implications for U.S. force deployments

by James A. Winnefeld

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This Paper speculates on what the author considers the likely scenario of North Korea's acquiring a rudimentary nuclear weapons capability. He proposes that such acquisition be a major regional planning assumption underpinning U.S. policy and that options be developed to respond to it, while at the same time plans should attempt to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons. He lays out four regional security alternatives in response to North Korea becoming a nuclear power. Some of the policy options under these alternatives include the reintroduction of U.S. nuclear weapons in the region to head off a nuclear arms race among regional powers.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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