Go to contents

South Korea and the U.S. to conduct ‘extended deterrence’ operation exercise at U.S. nuclear submarine base on Wednesday

South Korea and the U.S. to conduct ‘extended deterrence’ operation exercise at U.S. nuclear submarine base on Wednesday

Posted February. 18, 2023 04:16,   

Updated February. 18, 2023 04:16


The Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-top Exercise (DSC TTX), simulating a scenario of a North Korean nuclear attack, will be held on Wednesday at the Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia, U.S. This would be the first TTX since the defense ministers of South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to hold an annual meeting to enhance extended deterrence at the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) last year. Representatives from both countries, including Deputy Minister for Defense Policy Heo Tae-geun, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Siddhartha Mohandas, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Richard Johnson, will be in attendance. Several officials from the U.S. Strategic Command and the Indo-Pacific Command, who oversee the country's nuclear forces, will also participate.

The Kings Bay Base houses five to six Ohio-class strategic nuclear submarines (SSBNs) of the U.S. Navy. Along with the LGM-30 Minuteman (ICBM) and strategic nuclear bombers, these submarines are considered one of the U.S.'s three major nuclear powers. Each submarine is equipped with approximately 20 multiple warhead nuclear-equipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) for carrying out nuclear retaliatory missions in response to an enemy nuclear attack. A military official said, “This location was chosen as the practice site to issue the strongest extended deterrence warning to North Korea. We are also planning to schedule a tour inside of the nuclear submarine after the exercise for the officials from South Korea and the U.S.”

The military announced plans to conduct a joint Korea-U.S. exercise called Freedom Shield (FS) in mid-March. This 11-day exercise will be the longest to date and will not be divided into parts one and two. It will include large-scale outdoor maneuvering exercises, such as the combined landing exercise with twin dragons.

On Friday, a spokesperson for North Korea's foreign ministry issued a threatening statement, saying “North Korea would respond with an unprecedentedly strong response.” Some analysts have raised concerns that the North may be using the joint training exercise as an excuse to justify a provocation. A military official said, “We are closely monitoring the situation, particularly regarding the launch of a new ICBM, the possibility of a seventh nuclear test, and the potential for strategic provocations or localized armed demonstrations.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com