North Korea has confronted the United States with its decision, failing other security accommodations, to pursue production of nuclear weapons. The Bush Administration has stated that, although the situation is unacceptable, it will pursue its resolution through diplomatic means. Military means, however, could be considered at some point and become a serious issue for Congress. This short report discusses the geography and military balance on the Korean Peninsula, presents the range of military options that might be applied there to specific U.S. political objectives, and assesses possible consequences. Military options discussed are: status quo, improved defensive posture, enforce sanctions, preemptive strike against nuclear facilities, and preemptive war. Also see CRS Issue Brief IB98045 on U.S.-Korean relations and CRS Issue Brief IB91141 on North Korea's nuclear weapons. This report will be updated if major changes occur.
CRS Report for Congress, RS21582