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Mattis Explains How The US Would Respond If North Korea Launched A Nuclear Missile Attack
Secretary of Defense James Mattis detailed how the U.S. would respond to a North Korea nuclear missile attack in an appearance at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Oct. 30.
"What happens if somebody knocks on the door of the oval office and says, 'Mr. President, they've launched,'" Sen. Jim Risch asked.
Mattis replied: "Our ballistic missile defense forces at sea and in Alaska and California... the various radars would be feeding in and they would do what they're designed to do as we make every effort to take them out."
The U.S. has recently tested its missile defense systems and made improvements, but the threat from a North Korea intercontinental ballistic missile remains a serious question as experts maintain the U.S. wouldn't fare well against a salvo of missiles or missiles with decoys or countermeasures.
But the bulk of U.S. deterrence has never rested in missile defense, but rather in offensive capability.
"The response, if that's what you're referring to, would, of course, depend on the president," said Mattis, explaining the president would see a "wide array" of options that include co-operation with U.S. allies.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, testify before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "The Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Administration Perspective" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017.Photo via Associated Press
"Defenses will go. The president will be woken up or whatever, but our commands are... we rehearse this routinely," Mattis said, apparently not wanting to divulge any possibly sensitive information.
"Some judgment would be made over whether a necessary and proportionate response is required," said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
But neither Tillerson or Mattis would categorically rule out a nuclear first strike on North Korea. Both made statements to the effect that if the U.S. knew a North Korean nuclear attack on the U.S. was imminent, that President Donald Trump reserves the right to pre-empt that attack with a launch of his own.
“The fact is that no president, Republican or Democrat, has ever forsworn the first strike capability. That has served us for 70 years,” said Tillerson.
More from Business Insider:
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- With all eyes on North Korea, Beijing looks ready to deploy fighter jets in the South China Sea
- Inside the secretive intelligence agency that keeps track of the world's ICBMs
- That time a drunk Richard Nixon tried to nuke North Korea
- 3 U.S. carriers are now in the Pacific amid tensions with North Korea — here's what they bring with them
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.