June 28, 2005

U.S. military university plans N. Korea war game

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials dealing with NorthKorea's growing nuclear threat will hold an exercise next monthon how to react and anticipate consequences if a crisisdevelops, government sources said on Tuesday.

The National Defense University, a leading U.S. militaryeducation institution under the direction of the chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, has scheduled a "crisis simulation"exercise for July 18.

The classroom exercise is being held at a delicate periodas Pyongyang continues to advance its nuclear weapons programand resist calls by the United States and others for thereclusive communist state to return to six-country talks.

Senior U.S. government officials, including members of theU.S. Congress, attend such exercises, which were initiated byDefense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and are held five or sixtimes a year on different topics.

The sessions, each with 16-20 participants, involveclassified information and are closed to the public, saiduniversity spokesman Dave Thomas.

At the July 18 event "participants will examine thegravity, complexity and difficulty inherent in responding to aseries of escalating crises on the Korean peninsula," thenotice said.

It would be "a forum to assess the range of policy optionsavailable to the United States to stem the proliferation ofnuclear weapons and their delivery systems by North Korea andto understand the associated consequences of each option."

National Defense University exercises already completed in2005 have focused on bioterrorism, South Asia and portsecurity.