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Air Force commander: U.S. wants N. Korea to know capabilities

By Audrey McAvoy

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:59 p.m. HST, Apr 10, 2013

The United States sent its most powerful airplanes to the Korean peninsula in recent weeks in part because it wants North Korea to know what the American military is capable of doing, the top U.S. Air Force commander in the Pacific said.

B-2 stealth bombers, F-22 stealth fighters and B-52 bombers have recently all flown to South Korea for exercises or short deployments in what amounted to a dramatic display of U.S. air power. The stealth planes are capable of sneaking past radar undetected. B-2 and B-52 bombers are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

"Every morning that a potential adversary gets up and goes, 'You know what, I'm not going to mess with America today' — that's a good morning," Gen. Herbert Carlisle said Tuesday in an interview at his headquarters in Hawaii. "We need all those mornings to keep coming."

The U.S. is hoping a missile defense system it's sending to Guam, a U.S. territory and strategically important military outpost 1,500 miles south of Tokyo, will have the same deterrent effect, he said.

If "they know we got something that can knock down their missiles — it may stop them from shooting them," Carlisle said.

The U.S. has also explained it's reassuring its allies by showing it's prepared to defend them.

The missile defense system — called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense — is designed to intercept missiles during their final stage of flight. It joins other technology the military has to intercept missiles during their initial and midflight phases.

Carlisle said the U.S. also is considering sending high-altitude surveillance planes from Guam to Japan during the tropical island's summer storm season. Often, typhoons and thunderstorms around Guam ground the Global Hawk drones from April through November. The planes would be less likely to face weather problems if they were flying out of a place like Misawa Air Base in northern Japan, Carlisle said.

The U.S. uses the drones to monitor North Korea and could do so from Japan as well, Carlisle said.

"They could do all the missions that they do now if they were flying out of Japanese bases," he said.

Tokyo is also considering buying some of the drones for its own use, Carlisle said.

"We're still working it with the Japanese government. I don't know whether we'll do it this year or not. It does cost money to do that, again that's another factor. We're still examining it and looking at how to make it happen. When we do it is another question," he said.

Cost is an issue as the Air Force copes with automatic federal budget cuts imposed when Congress failed to reach a deal to avert them.

The Pacific is least affected among other parts of the Air Force because of the Obama administration's emphasis on Asia and the Pacific and because of current tensions on the Korean peninsula. Even so, an F-16 squadron in Alaska — 18th Aggressor Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base— is being grounded along with others elsewhere in the country.

Carlisle said the Air Force's core activities — maintenance and operations — are disproportionately affected because the military lacks the flexibility to cut other spending.

Congress didn't allow the branch, for example, to cancel acquisitions programs even when they're behind schedule or not meeting requirements, he said. It also can't cut airmen salaries or health care coverage.

On top of this, the Air Force is implementing a year's worth of budget cuts in six months. That's because the services were told Congress would come to an agreement to avoid the budget cuts and so the Air Force didn't plan for them when the current fiscal year started in October.

"It's our ability to do the mission when we're asked to do it. It's flying hours, it's training, it's fixing airplanes, it's buying parts for airplanes. All of those things were cut 40 percent for the rest of the year," Carlisle said.

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jussayin wrote:
Dah ... maybe talking should be done first. Oops, I guess US won't talk to NK since we're superior to them. Instead we fly bombers from continental US to Korea and back. And the DOD budget is bad? Hmmm.
on April 10,2013 | 07:00PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
If it prevents an NK nut from shooting off a conventional missile or nuke, it's well worth the costs.
on April 10,2013 | 07:54PM
haroldwah wrote:
How do you talk/reason with a LUNATIC
on April 11,2013 | 06:05AM
pcman wrote:
The primary mission of the DOD is to deter war. If deterence fails, the DOD must fight to win. The AF has a global mission to support US forces and allies around the world from bases in the US as well as from forward deployed bases. Using gas to deter war is cheaper than to deploy forces permanently to do the same. The US Air Force needs to show this force because a young Kim Jong Un may not have been up with current US global capabilities. The "talk" can include the fact that the stealthy F-22's can fly undetected into North Korea to destroy early warning radars and surface to air missile defenses and the bombers can follow up with conventional or nuclear weapons to level North Korea back to the stone age.
on April 11,2013 | 07:41AM
France wrote:
Try to talk to hard headed idiots, no progress can be made. South Korea, The United States, and our Allies need to keep the North Korean Leadership in the Crosshairs.
on April 11,2013 | 07:45AM
krusha wrote:
Kim Jung Un is a joke. I bet he wants to appoint Dennis Rodman as his official ambassador to the United States for North Korea.
on April 11,2013 | 08:27AM
808warriorfan wrote:
Great article.....That pudgy dictator with the bad haircut better understand one thing and one thing only.....Yes you can push the button, launch some nukes, draw first blood, and do some serious damage.....that's what is called ROUND 1. Now here's what ROUND 2 is all about.....the U.S. and it's allies witht he blessing of the U.N., that's the United Nations "Pudgy Boy", will authorize military action against your sorry regime.....BUT.....before the UN says "OK", the US of A will have retaliated and taken control of the airspace over NK, the ocean w/ our Navy, and while you're figuring out what to do in ROUND 3, it'll all be over.....as ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett says....."ALOHA MEANS GOODBYE" YOU'D BETTER WISE UP'; YOU WERE BORN WITH A PLATINUM SPOON IN YOUR MOUTH BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE BRAINS !!!!!
on April 10,2013 | 10:27PM
rayhawaii wrote:
Hope the US keeps developing those lasers. Then just chis/cross them over NK sky's and don't let anything fly out of that country.
on April 11,2013 | 01:24AM
wizard417 wrote:
a good show would be that because of NK'S tough talk and possible missile test launch, it would be a good excuse to shoot it down to show our capabilities
on April 11,2013 | 04:26AM
sloturle wrote:
go get em boyz
on April 11,2013 | 05:52AM
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