Extra! Korea

January 26, 2010

400,000 troops needed to secure North Korea and its “loose” nuclear weapons

Filed under: North Korea — extrakorea @ 2:16 pm

According to an analysis by the Rand Corporation (which has contracts with the U.S. defense establishment), in the event of regime collapse in North Korea, approximately 400,000 troops would be needed to stabilize the situation and to secure the North’s “loose” nuclear weapons.

[Dartmouth College scholar Jennifer] Lind acknowledges that any of a number of scenarios may come to pass but talks as if Kim’s demise were inevitable — and the U.S. and South Korea had better work closely together to figure out what to do when that happens. She and [Rand Corporation analyst Bruce] Bennett seem to have thought of everything from the exact number of troops needed to take control of North Korean nuclear facilities to how many troops would be responsible for disarming the North Korean armed forces, estimated at 1.4 million, to what to do about a flood of refugees rushing north to China and south to South Korea.

“We don’t envision large-scale organized resistance by the North Korean military,” she told a meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Nor, said Lind, in what presumably was an understatement, should anyone “assume everyone in North Korea would welcome U.S. forces”. For that matter, Lind added, compounding the sense of understatement, “How to make these people citizens of a democratic unified Korea would require substantial troop requirement.”

Pressed to describe the legality of the deployment that she was suggesting, Lind acknowledged, “There’s no getting around it, this is an invasion of North Korea” in which “we’re sending military forces into a country that doesn’t want you to come.” Thus it was “important for the U.S. and South Korea to work out an agreement on how this can be done.”

[ snip ]

Yet another issue was the likely response of China, North Korea’s ally ever since Chinese troops defended the North from advancing U.S. and South Korean forces in the Korean War. The Chinese, as Bruce Klinger, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst now with the conservative Heritage Foundation, noted: “Do not want to talk about any contingency planning.”

Lind seemed to think that somehow it would be possible to “reassure China” that U.S. and South Korean forces were not there to challenge China.

It was as though the lessons of the Chinese role in the Korean War — and China’s focus on insuring the stability of the North Korean regime against collapse — were no longer relevant. As for South Korea’s enthusiasm for sending troops into North Korea, said Lind: “We need to ask what is the future of the U.S. alliance with this country.”


  1. […] In that case, five trillion dollars might even look like a bargain. And somebody would have to cough up 400,000 troops in a hurry. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Kim Jong-il names 3rd son, Jong-un, as […]

    Pingback by Kim Jong-il undergoing daily kidney dialysis? Dead by 2012? « Extra! Korea — January 30, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

  2. […] editorial on the number of troops needed in the event of North Korean collapse; we are awaiting a new working paper on this topic from he and the dynamic Dartmouth scholar Jennifer Lind.  The Bennett/Lind report is […]

    Pingback by Netizens Debate Prospect of PLA Invasion of North Korea « Sinologistical Violoncellist — February 1, 2010 @ 12:12 am

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