The US and the Republic of Korea conducted joint military exercises Monday, which included an unspecified number of B-1 bombers flying near the demilitarized zone that separates the ROK and North Korea, the Wall Street Journal reported. A spokesperson for the ROK military confirmed the exercises, but the Air Force declined to give details on the number of aircraft involved. The US has maintained a continuous bomber presence—mostly B-52s—in the Pacific region for more than 10 years. B-1 bombers returned to the Pacific region for the first time in a decade in 2016, and they have participated in show of force training sorties regularly since then. North Korea had successfully launched a short-range ballistic missile earlier in the day on Monday, and Pyongyang called the US-ROK exercise “a nuclear bomb-dropping drill” that amounted to “a grave military provocation,” according to the WSJ.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.