U.S. forces would be "vastly outnumbered" if fighting North Korea, says former U.S. general

The former U.S. commander of South Korean forces warned lawmakers against going to war with North Korea, whom he said would marshal millions of troops against a U.S. force of only 30,000. He discouraged "targeted" strikes, also, which he said would only cause North Korea to declare all-out war.
By Rick Docksai | Nov 14, 2017
A former U.S. general who commanded troops in South Korea warned lawmakers this week that North Korea would have an overwhelming numerical advantage over U.S. forces if a war broke out. Lt. Gen Jan-Marc Jouas, former deputy commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said that the 30,000-strong U.S. garrison now stationed in the South would be up against a North Korean army that may have as many as five million volunteers.

Jouas gave his assessment on the prospects of a war on the Korean peninsula in a letter to representatives Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). He wrote that U.S. forces are "vastly outnumbered by North Korean forces, as well as ROK (South Korean) forces that will conduct the overwhelming majority of the fighting."

The United States employs around 1.07 million soldiers, comparable to the 1.19 million soldiers that North Korea's army officially claims. But the United States it would take "days to months," Jouas wrote, to ship a large enough number of U.S. troops to the peninsula if war broke out, putting the U.S. at a huge logistical disadvantage.

South Koreans and Americans alike would also be vulnerable to the North's large array of artillery, rockets, missiles, and chemical weapons, he added. And the North Korean submarine force is one of the world's largest and is "capable of sinking allied vessels, sowing mines and inserting Special Forces units."

Jouas is not sanguine on attempting a targeted air strike to wreck North Korea's nuclear program. The North would deem any such attack "as an existential threat" and would launch a full-scale war.

The letter comes just days after thousands of South Koreans demonstrated in Seoul against a visit by President Trump. The protesters denounced Trump's rhetoric about Kim Jong Un and demanded peace with North Korea.


Have something to say? Let us know in the comments section or send an email to the author. You can share ideas for stories by contacting us here.

Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic.