The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva, who is the second highest-ranking U.S. military official, revealed yesterday that America should consider the use of military force against the communist regime of North Korea.

Selva told the Senate Arms Services Committee that the U.S. and its allies and strategic partners are preparing different responses to the growing threat from a North Korea with enhanced capabilities, and one of the most efficient could be the application of military force.

Responding to a question about the chances of preemptive military strikes on the Asian nation in order to prevent Kim Jong Un from developing an Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) armed with a nuclear warhead, Selva explained that is a potential option that should be considered.

The vice chairman pointed out that the U.S. has two parallel lines of effort. One is the development of ballistic missile defense systems that can protect the country from a North Korean ICBM. The second –and the most important- is diplomatically and militarily stopping the communist regime from moving forward with its effort to create weapons that could deliver a nuclear payload to targets in America.

While Selva assured that a military action is a powerful option right now, he also explained it would be extremely costly. Because of this reason, the vice chairman suggested that everyone should also think seriously about which could be the outcome of that option.

With these remarks, Selva seems to share the same position of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who previously said that while the U.S. would definitely win a hypothetical war against North Korea, the victory would come at a high cost and the loss of countless victims on both sides. Additionally, Mattis told that a renewed conflict with the regime would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale.”

For the time being, the U.S. appears committed to a diplomatic solution through a policy of full pressure and engagement against North Korea. This involves strong economic sanctions, military deterrence, and international pressure in cooperation with American partners and allies, as well as China, which is known for being the largest benefactor of Kim Jong Un’s regime.

Earlier this month, North Korea successfully tested an ICBM that can reach certain parts of the U.S., although the vice chairman pointed out that it could not do so with “any degree of accuracy.” Selva also explained that the Hwansong-14 missile appears to lack the proper guidance capabilities.

While initial estimates of the range of the North Korea’s new ICBM stopped at Alaska, further analysis revealed that the communist regime could potentially strike the West Coast, with several expert observers even claiming that the missile could reach New York.

Regarding this issue, the vice chairman told that experts pointed out that the regime has yet to demonstrate the capacity to do the guidance and control that would be required to hit a specific target in America. Of course, questions about re-entry capability and the survivability of the warhead –despite the regime’s assurances about the weapon’s abilities- are also circulating.

Nevertheless, even when this ICBM may not be an impeccable masterpiece, it definitely represents a threatening step forward. North Korea is advancing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs at an accelerated rate, which clearly suggests that the capabilities the regime lacks at this moment will be developed sooner or later.

When asked whether the intelligence community has the ability to keep track of North Korea’s testing, Selva said he’s reasonably confident in its ability to monitor it. However, Selva told he’s not sure about the possibility of keeping track of the deployment of the missile systems. The vice chairman explained that the reason why he’s not sure is that Kim Jong Un and his forces are well-known for being extremely efficient at camouflage and concealment and deception.

As reported by several media outlets, when the regime launched its first ICBM in the early-morning hours of July 4, U.S. military and intelligence personnel watched for more than an hour. Apparently, some officials not only knew that North Korea liked to test missiles on the American Independence Day to say message, but also knew that this missile was different from any it had seen before in Pyongyang.

Reports revealed that the U.S. knew it could easily have destroyed this missile with a variety of precision-fire platforms in the region. In fact, the U.S. had Kim Jong Un in its crosshairs for about 70 minutes, with a perfect chance of a clear hit.

The reason for not pulling the trigger –or pushing the button- and stopped the launch was cold and simple: The U.S. preferred to let him know they’re watching him, and could easily take him down if he continues walking on this dangerous path.