NK would be wrapped up quicker than Iraq and without the insurgency after. No need to use WMD.
I don’t think it´s going to be that easy.
Military power dictates the outcome of war. In assessing the next war in Korea, the military power of the opponents must be examined objectively. In general, we tend to underestimate North Korea's military strength. Politicians in America and South Korea play down North Korean threats for political reasons. In the next war in Korea, the US will face an enemy much more determined and better equipped than the army in the Korean War of 1950-53.
North Korea has not only the military power but also the political will to wage total war against the United States. North Korea has made it clear that it will strike all US targets with all means, if the US mounted military attacks on North Korea.
North Korea expects no help from China, Russia, or other nations in case of war with the US. It knows that it will be fighting the superpower alone. Nominally, China and Russia are North Korea's allies but neither ally is expected to provide any assistance to North Korea in case of war.
All nations keep their military capability secret. North Korea is no exception and it is not easy to assess North Korea's military power. The US claims that it knows North Korea's military secrets. In spite of a massive deployment of intelligence collection assets, the US intelligence on North Korea is faulty at best. Donald Gregg, a former US ambassador to Seoul and a 30-year CIA veteran, has admitted that the US intelligence on North Korea has been the longest lasting story of failure in the annals of US intelligence. Gregg said that even the best spy gadget in the US arsenal cannot read what's on Kim Jong Il's mind. The former US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that North Korea uses underground optical fibers for military communication and that it is nearly impossible to plant human agents in North Korea.
North Korea began to build fortifications in 1960s. All key military facilities are built underground to withstand American bunker-buster bombs. North Korea has 8,236 underground facilities that are linked by 547 km of tunnels. Beneath Pyongyang are a huge underground stadium and other facilities. About 1.2 million tons of food, 1.46 million tons of fuel, and 1.67 million tons of ammunition are stored in underground storage areas for wartime use.
Most of the underground facilities are drilled into granite rocks and the entrances face north in order to avoid direct hits by American bombs and missiles. The B-61 Mod 11 is the main bunker buster in the US arsenal. A recent test showed that this buster could penetrate only 6 meters of rock. The latest GBU-28 laser-guided bunker-buster can penetrate to 30m. North Korean bunkers have at least 80 m of top-cover of solid rocks. North Korea has many false caves that emit heats that will misdirect unwary GBU-28/37 and BKU-113 bunker-busters.
The US military targets enemy command and control centers based on the doctrine of chopping off "the head of the snake." With the top commanders eliminated, the rank and file would be demoralized, leaderless and would surrender. North Korea's extensive underground fortification makes this strategy unworkable. In addition, the underground facilities make US spy planes and satellites impotent.
North Korea has a large number of ground-to-air missiles. It has SA-2 and SA-3 missiles against low-flying enemy planes, and SA-5 missiles for high-altitude planes. SA-5 missiles have an effective range of 250 km. SA-5 missiles can hit enemy planes flying over the middle of South Korea.
North Korea has reengineered US shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles captured in Vietnam, and designed its own missile, wha-sung. North Korea began to manufacture wha-sung missiles in 1980. Wha-sung comes in two models: SA-7 that has an effective range of 5 km and SA-16 with 10 km range. North Korea has more than 15,000 wha-sung missiles in place.
In addition to the missiles, North Korea has 12,000 anti-aircraft guns, including 37mm twin-barrel guns, 23 mm automatics, 57mm, 87mm, and 100mm heavy guns. These are mostly manually operated and thus not subject to electronic warfare.
North Korea's coastlines are long and jagged. Coastal guns are placed in fortified tunnels along the coastline. North Korea has six ground-to-ship missile bases. North Korea has anti-ship missiles of 95km range, and of 160km range. The latter are for hitting US carrier battle groups over the horizon. North Korean anti-ship missiles can hit ships anchored at Inchon on the west and Sokcho on the east.
North Korea has two fleets - the West Fleet and the East Fleet. The West Fleet has 6 squadrons of 320 ships and the East Fleet has 10 squadron of 460 ships. The navy has a total manpower of 46,000. North Korean ships are sheltered from US attacks in about 20 bunkers of 200-900 m longs and 14-22 m wide. North Korean ships are small and agile, designed for coastal defense. North Korean ships carry 46km range ship-to-ship missiles and 22-channel multiple rocket launchers.
The main enemy of the North Korean navy will be US carrier task forces. The Russian navy has developed a tactic to deal with US carriers task forces: massive simultaneous missile attacks. In addition, Russia has developed the anti-carrier missile, "jun-gal", that can destroy a carrier. China has developed similar tactics for destroying US carriers. On April 1, 2003, North Korea test-fired a high-speed ground-to-ship missile of 60km range. A US carrier task force of Nimitz class has 6,000 men, 70 planes, and a price tag of 4.5 billion dollars. Destroying even a single career task force will be traumatic.
North Korea acquired OSA and KOMAR high-speed missile boats in 1968, and began to build its own missile boats in 1981. It has more than 50 missile boats, each equipped with 4 missiles of 46km range and multiple rocket launchers. In addition, North Korea has about 300 speed boats, 200 torpedo boats and 170 other gunboats.
North Korea has 35 submarines and 65 submersibles. These crafts are equipped with torpedoes and will be used to attack US careers. They will also lay mines and block enemy harbors. North Korea has a large supply of mines. North Korean submarines are small but they are equipped with rocket launchers and anti-ship missiles, and they could do some serious damage to US careers..
North Korea has three air commands. Each command has a fighter regiment, a bomber regiment, an AN-2 regiment, an attack helicopter regiment, a missile regiment, and a radar regiment. Each command can operate independently. North Korea has 70 airbases, which are fortified against US attacks. Underground hangars protect the planes and have multiple exits for the planes to take off on different runways. North Korea has several fake airfields and fake planes to confuse US attackers.
North Korea has 770 fighters, 80 bombers, 700 transports, 290 helicopters, and 84,000 men. In case of war, North Korean planes will fly low hugging the rugged terrains and attack enemy targets.
North Korea's fighter planes are ill-equipped for air-to-air combats at long distances. but they can hold their own in close-quarter air combats. Ground-to-air missiles and air-to-air missiles would have hard time telling friends from foes.
The United States excels in electronic warfare and no nation comes anywhere near the US capability. North Korea began developing its own electronic warfare methods in 1970. It is believed that North Korea has advanced electronic warfare ability. It has numerous counter measures for US electronic warfare. During the war in Iraq, the US dropped e-bombs that disabled the Iraqi electronic devices. North Korea relies heavily on non-electronic command and control means, and hence US e-bombs will have limited impacts in North Korea.
North Korea trains about 100 hackers a year and has computer virus battalions in place. These hackers are capable of interrupting US communication networks. In a war game conducted in 1991 by US war planners, North Korea came out the victor with and without nuclear weapons.
So it´s not going to be a walk in the park.