In late May 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld directed military commanders to develop a new approach for conflict with North Korea, Operations Plan 5030. The fact of the existence of OPLAN 5030 as well as details of this plan were first revealed in the 21 July 2003 edition of US News and World Report, in an article by Bruce B. Auster and Kevin Whitelaw.
Critics of the plans provisions claim that it blurs the line between war and peace. Under the draft plan, US Forces Korea would conduct pre-conflict maneuvers to draw down North Korea's limited military resources. This might place such stress on the North's military that it might provoke a military coup against the country's leader, Kim Jong Il.
According to Auster and Whitelaw, options available under OPLAN 5030 include flying RC-135 surveillance aircraft closer to North Korean airspace, provoking the DPRK to wear out scrambled interceptor aircraft and burn up jet fuel. Under another gambit, US commanders might stage a surprise or short-notice military exercises, provoking North Korean forces to disperse to [or from] bunkers. This could disclose details of DPRK war plans, and deplete reserse of food, water, and other materiel.
The initial draft of 5030 included a variety of operations not included in traditional operational war plans, such as disrupting financial networks and strategic disinformation activities. Indeed, the entire OPLAN 5030 story might be part of such offensive information operations, creating a bewildering wilderness of mirrors for the historically paranoid North.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|