CSIS Commission on the Korean Peninsula Releases Landmark Report on Enhancing Extended Deterrence with South Korea

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Bipartisan report offers new recommendations for U.S. policy toward North Korea and strengthening U.S. extended deterrence

WASHINGTON, January 19, 2023: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on the Korean Peninsula today released a major report with actionable recommendations for strengthening U.S. extended deterrence and reexamining North Korea policy. The report was developed by a bipartisan, 14-member commission co-chaired by Dr. John J. Hamre and Dr. Joseph Nye. 

This report finds that North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear and missile programs, as well as the war in Ukraine and other shifts in the global strategic landscape, reinforce the strategic importance of the U.S.-ROK alliance and present new opportunities for Washington and Seoul to work together to enhance regional stability, security, and prosperity. It recommends that the United States and its allies rethink traditional approaches to the North Korea nuclear issue and devise ways to increase the credibility of the U.S. extended deterrence commitment to South Korea. This involves deterring North Korean aggression and preventing nuclear proliferation through demonstrations and assurances of both capabilities and will. 

“Today’s report comes at a critical moment as North Korea again demonstrates its nuclear ambitions. The findings presented by this esteemed commission provide a practical roadmap for policymakers to confront the growing challenge presented by North Korea, which must be addressed in partnership with regional allies, particularly the Republic of Korea,” said Dr. Hamre, CSIS president and CEO and co-chair of the commission.

The CSIS commission report details key and original recommendations to enhance extended deterrence, including new efforts on early warning systems, enhanced cooperative decisionmaking on nuclear planning, and new planning for deployment of strategic assets around the peninsula.

“U.S. extended deterrence commitments to our allies in the Indo-Pacific are core to our leadership presence in the region,” said Dr. Nye, CSIS trustee and co-chair of the commission. “This report offers sound recommendations for how the United States and South Korea can strengthen those commitments in the face of imminent security challenges.”

The commission is made up of former senior national security and diplomatic officials who played leading roles at the State Department, National Security Council, and Defense Department, among others.

“North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missiles tests, China’s nuclear buildup plans, and Russia’s threats of nuclear use create an urgent set of challenges for the U.S.-ROK alliance. This new security environment calls for new solutions to enhance defense and deterrence between the allies as outlined in this report,” said Dr. Victor Cha, CSIS senior vice president for Asia and Korea Chair and project director of the commission.

This report bolsters CSIS’s bipartisan research and analysis on U.S. policies for addressing the myriad challenges stemming from North Korea’s provocative actions. Through the work of the Korea Chair, the Beyond Parallel project, the Capital Cable event series, and other initiatives, CSIS produces authoritative and timely content that delivers clarity and understanding to policymakers, strategists, media, and other thought leaders around the globe. 

To read the full report, please visit here.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges.