Here are the current, non secret operational plans. A look at these will give pretty good insight into our current game plan and suggests that the
op's source is credible. The timeline and military strategy fits, let me explain.
NK Op Plans
It is quite conceivable that the US developed a post Bush white-house Op plan which remains top secret (the nato cosmic plan mentioned in the post).
Obama has stated time and time again that he would not act unilaterally in a number of scenarios (Libya, Syria, Africa etc.) The Bush plan, OPLAN
5027-8 was predicated on unilateral action and based on the US fighting a two front war. What the op suggests is that the undisclosed source was
privy to the new operational plan advocated for by the Obama white-house. This plan is dependent upon working alongside the Chinese. Chinese
cooperation would solve a major problem regarding the inability to open a two front war in time to save Seoul. Without the opening of a two front war
within a 5-30 day window the only way to save Seoul would be through the use of nuclear weapons, something I believe the US and China do not want.
If you read the history of all the military plans we have drawn up for the past 60 plus years, the major strategic unknown is how long Seoul could
hold back an advance from NK. Some have concluded that the loss of Seoul in an nuclear or conventional engagement with the North is unavoidable and
unacceptable. Most generals have agreed that Seoul would fall within 5 days and civilians and troops would have to retreat over a dozen miles to not
be subjected to crushing artillery. The loss of life of civilians and american troops would be massive. If NK launched a nuke it would be an
Therefore to prevent Seoul from falling the plans call for a) nuclear strikes to deter a NKt army advance and decimate artillery emplacements or b)
opening a second front on the coast or from the north which would divide NK forces and cut off their supplies from the north. Most troops at southern
forward operating positions would likely surrender as soon as a counter offensive was underway.
This is where China comes in. US troops in the south could hold off an advance for between 5-30 days under the worst case/best case scenarios.
Landing a US Marine Expeditionary Force (in division strength), the 82nd Airborne Division, and remaining South Korean divisions and marching towards
Wonsan would take between 10-35 days (these are the boots on the ground, in the numbers which Generals suggest are needed to effectively launch a
counter offensive). Without Chinese help we are looking at a 50/50 chance of landing the necessary troops in time to save thousands of american
troops and the South Korean capital. We would not risk this and would use nuclear weapons.
We would obviously use crushing air power that would halt an infantry occupation of Seoul, but Seoul would be subject to continuous rocket and
artillery barrage during this time. We simply do not have enough aircraft in range to take out all the hostile artillery/rocket emplacements without
going nuclear. Further to win the war we would likely need to occupy the north with boots on the ground. Extensive tunnels and underground
structures could protect the regime for quite sometime and protect them from non nuclear air-power. Merely look at how long it took us to find Saddam
in Iraq, a place where we had total air superiority and significantly more forces.
If China were to intervene they would be able to open a second front within a day. China would be able to quickly put a tremendous amount of troops
on the ground, easily over 10 divisions, around 100,000 troops (over 3 times the force the US would use in a counter offensive). With the additional
power the the Chinese ground troops and aircraft in the North the Seoul would become totally defensible and secure. The war would be over very
quickly with no need for nuclear weapons.
The resulting geopolitical situation is as follows.
US and China rush to Pyongyang, we get a divided Berlin like in WW2
We let China take Pyongyang (they will have a far larger force at the time than the US would)
The US doesn't become engaged in a costly and unpopular ground war in Asia. No nuclear weapons are used by the US and China (Russia stays happy) we
all look like good guys. China extends their buffer, nears its borders closer to a US ally in SK, and gets rid of a costly NK and picks up some
natural resources and a labor force in the process.
If the above fails (Seoul falls and we loose a ton of US troops to nuclear attacks, russia intervenes and China stabs us in the back), I could see the
back up plan being the use of nuclear weapons and preemptive strikes across the globe on hostile actors AKA WW3.