PACOM Harris on North Korea: ‘We Have No Bloody Nose Strategy’

March 15, 2018 12:35 PM
Admiral Harris, Commander USPACOM, visits Asia Pacific Center for Secuity Studies on Feb. 2, 2018. US PACOM Photo

CAPITOL HILL – The top U.S. commander in the Pacific told the Senate his office is not contemplating, preparing for or planning a limited punitive strike against North Korea.

A so-called “bloody nose strategy” calls for a limited strike against a North Korean target as a military demonstration to cow leaders in Pyongyang after a nuclear or missile test.

“We have no bloody nose strategy. I don’t know what that is,” Adm. Harry Harris told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday in response to a question from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
“I am charged by the national command authority of developing a range of options through the spectrum of violence, and I’m ready to execute whatever the president and the national command authority directs me to do, but a bloody nose strategy is not being contemplated.”

Harris said that if the U.S. struck North Korea, it would have to prepare for an all-out conflict and retaliation that would cost thousands of lives in the just the first few days.

“If we do anything along the kinetic spectrum of conflict, we have to be ready to do the whole thing,” Harris said.

In January, The Wall Street Journal reported the Trump administration was contemplating using military force to respond to future potential North Korean missile or nuclear tests.

Reports said national security advisor H.R. McMaster was interested in the approach, while Secretary of Defense James Mattis and outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned against it.

The Trump administration’s candidate for the post of South Korean ambassador, Victor Cha, was taken out of consideration for the post after he warned against contemplating the bloody nose stance, CNN reported last month.


Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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