Commander: US Army Has Been Preparing for Korean War for 18 Months

Pacific Commander warns not to be 'overly optimistic' on talks

Speaking to the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on defense, US Army Chief Gen. Mark Milley detailed how, for the last 18 months, the Army has been preparing for a war with North Korea.

Gen. Mark Milley

Gen. Milley reviews to offer any details too deep on timing, but said that there had been myriad contingency operations. He suggested no change had been made given recent months of diplomatic improvement with North Korea, saying they will continue to “prepare for the worst.

Congressmen seemed in particular to want details on the possibility of a rapid transition back to a combat footing with North Korea if negotiations didn’t go well, though Milley deferred on the issue, saying he would discuss more in classified meetings.

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, however, Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris was a lot more willing to talk about the diplomacy with North Korea. Harris insisted that the US would stick to its demands for a total denuclearization of North Korea.

More worryingly, however, Harris appeared to be anticipating failure in the diplomatic efforts, saying he doesn’t think the US should “be overly optimistic on outcome.” He went on to accuse Russia of “playing spoiler” on North Korea and trying to foil the US in the region.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.