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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

Phalanx CRAM system

by | June 10th, 2012 | 07:00 am


On Friday, we outlined some recent developments in South Korea’s defense posture and noted the risks that arise when offensive posturing meets a more resolute defense. Jason Kim brought the above video to our attention; it suggests how new systems could mitigate civilian population risk from DPRK artillery and thus alter the strategic calculus, at least at the margin.

The Phalanx Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (CRAM) system was originally based on a ship-mounted platform, and is like a giant skeet-shooting machine. Last year, the ROK navy began to use the system for close-in defense. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it was converted into a vehicle-based mobile platform and used for perimeter defense when insurgents began to use rockets and mortars to attack bases, including the Green Zone itself. We are hardly military planners, but the possible applications to defense from artillery and mortar fire across the DMZ are obvious.

The larger issue is that the North’s behavior has effects in the development of more robust defenses. As these harden and rules of engagement change, the chances for miscalculation go up. As we said on Friday, let’s hope the Young General knows what he is doing.