White House pressing Pentagon for plan on North Korea attack

The White House is growing increasingly impatient with senior military officials at the Pentagon over the lack of a strategy for a preventative military strike against North Korea, The New York Times reported Friday.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster has reportedly pressed military leaders for a strategy due to his desire to keep all options on the table, but Pentagon officials worry that presenting the White House with a strategy will make a preventative strike more likely.

The Times cited unnamed White House officials who said the Pentagon was worried President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE and his team were moving too quickly toward military action against North Korea.


Pentagon press secretary Dana White said that reports of a delay in presenting the information to McMaster were "false."

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump prizes loyalty over competence — we are seeing the results Lawmakers torch Trump plan to pull 11,900 troops from Germany Are US-Japan relations on the rocks? MORE “regularly provides the president with a deep arsenal of military options," White told the Times.

Col. Patrick Ryder, press secretary to Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Dunford "regularly provides his best military advice in a timely and responsive manner. Suggestions to the contrary are inaccurate."

Tensions over North Korea policy led to the White House's decision not to nominate a senior Korea expert, Victor Cha, to be ambassador to South Korea this week after the Times reported Cha wrote a letter urging against a preventative military strike targeting North Korea.

Such a strike, Cha wrote in The Washington Post, would spiral “into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans.”

A White House official told the Post this week that it is now considering other candidates for the position, which has been unfilled since Trump took office last year.

“We have yet to nominate anyone for the post, but it is our intention to do so as soon as we can find the appropriate candidate,” the official told the newspaper.