As Army officers, we were taught to look at every situation we might encounter and think of a primary plan (always has to be changed), a secondary plan (works OK about half of the time), and a tertiary plan (for when the first two plans go all to hell). We war-gamed everything. What if this? What if that? Anything within the realm of possibility was considered, and then some.

I’ve been reading a lot about North Korea lately, and it got me thinking: What if North Korea actually launched a nuclear missile at the United States? What would that look like? How would we respond to it? What would the outcome be?

I decided it would be interesting to write down my ponderings and share them with all of you. I don’t have any particular insider information on the subject. All information provided here is part of the public record, available to anyone. This is just speculation, parts of it could be way off, but I try to be as accurate as possible. I hope you find it to be an interesting read.

Deep Inside a Mountain

Overlooking Hyesan, North Korea, from Changbai, China. Image by Elijah Hurwitz

We’re not alone in figuring out that one of the only places on Earth to have any chance of surviving an all-out nuclear war is in a bunker chiseled deep inside a mountain. As a bonus, spy satellites can’t see through mountains, making them great places to carry on all sorts of covert activity.