In the past year, North Korea has increased it's already considerable artillery forces on the DMZ (DeMilitarized Zone) dividing North and South Korea. At the end of 1999, the North Koreans have over 10,000 artillery weapons of various calibers. These include at least 2300 multiple rocket launchers. While US and South Korean troops along the DMZ have fortifications to take shelter in, the city of Seoul is basically unprotected and could be devastated by the North Korean artillery within range. This would cause a flood of refugees that the North Koreans would shoot their way through. South Korean and US troops would be reluctant to treat the refugees roughly, even if it meant giving the North Koreans a mobility advantage that could prove crucial. South Korea has made extensive preparations to deal with millions of refugees trying to flee Seoul, but commanders with experience in these situations know that mass panic is easy to get started and very difficult to stop.
October 27; The new CIA report on rogue nations expects North Korea, Iran, and Iraq to develop missiles able to hit the US during 2006-2010. Even worse, scientists and engineers in those nations are working to fit these future missiles with "penetration aids" (decoys such as metal-coated radar-reflective balloons) to ensure that they can still hold US targets at risk even if the US deploys its National Missile Defense System). The report also notes that Russia and China have even more advanced "penetration aids" and would probably be willing to sell the technology for cash.--Stephen V Cole