North Korean forces are invading South Korea.
So goes the war game scenario at the Pentagon, reported by TIME, a fictional future scenario designed to help U.S. forces anticipate and prepare for tomorrow's military problems.
The scenario facing the Pacific Command (PACOM) posits that Kim Jong Il dies in 2016 and is replaced by a new leader who resumes the processing of uranium for the countries' long-disputed nuclear weapons program. Once two North Korean uranium enrichment plants are discovered, the United Nations passes a security council resolution to oppose the action.
In response, North Korean forces cross the DMZ and launch an invasion of South Korea by disguising thousands of troops within groups of refugees, creating what is called "an irregular warfare-type scenario that may require a mixture of conventional and counterinsurgency tactics."
U.S. forces launch measured air strikes as an initial move. "With the Korean Peninsula," says Army Spokesman Harvey Perritt, "the problem is bigger than just military." The response to a North Korean attack, he says, would have to require diplomatic, humanitarian and other solutions, including the involvement of many other allies. That does not bode well for the world beyond the games, where Pyongyang remains a frightening question mark.