Admiral James Stavridis: Rex Tillerson & The State Department Are Missing In Action on North Korea

(AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Audio clip:

"The person who I think needs to get more in the game is our Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.... at this point I would settle for a simple press release from the State Department, they are missing in action... Rex Tillerson, where is he? I think a lot of people are asking that this morning."

---Admiral Stavridis on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson needing to be more involved with North Korea

Admiral James Stavridis , Former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University and author of "Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans" spoke with Brian Kilmeade today about the latest on North Korea, why it's a mistake to label Kim Jong-un irrational, what our military options, tactics would be if a missile is launched toward Guam and why the State Department, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, need to be a lot more involved in diplomacy with Kim Jong-un.

Listen here:

Admiral Stavridis on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson needing to be more involved with North Korea

(Stavridis) The person who I think needs to get more in the game is our Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

(Kilmeade) Absolutely. Where was he?

(Stavridis) I have no idea and you know somebody said to me well maybe we ought to see Tillerson out there making a big diplomatic move. Hey at this point I would settle for a simple press release from the State Department, they are missing in action and you know there still are diplomatic cards to play here and particularly economic sanction cards to play but we're not going to do that without foggy bottom, the headquarters of Secretary of State in the game. Rex Tillerson, where is he? I think a lot of people are asking that this morning.

Admiral Stavridis on whether Kim Jong-un is "irrational"

(Stavridis) I think he is well named, he is Kim Jong-un and he is unpredictable and he's untested but he is not, Mike Morell is exactly right, he is not irrational he was raised in a shark tank. He is the ultimate ruthless tactician and we've got to get ahead of him. So far he's been ahead of us in every move in the game.

Admiral Stavridis on what our response would be to North Korea launching a missile at Guam & potential military tactics that may be used against North Korea

(Stavridis) Here's the good news we have exquisite mapping systems from our satellites that can tell us the moment that missile is launched where it's going. We can we have systems that have a reasonable shot at shooting it down but if he, Kim Jong-un is foolish enough to launch a missile at Guam that lands within miles of Guam I think you have to take a military response, not an all-out strike but I think that's the point at which US military working with our South Korean allies has to come into play.

(Kilmeade) Can you name one, can you give me an idea?

(Stavridis) I can. I would say that we would declare a no fly zone over the east coast of Korea, would move three aircraft carriers into the space and every time a missile launcher popped up we would take it out. That's a quick kind of move, it's not boots on the ground, it doesn't threaten the regime but it shows that if we're going to be threatened militarily we are going to respond and I think that's what General Mattis is laying out for us at this point and I think he's got the right track.

Admiral Stavridis on our ICBM capability

(Kilmeade) What about intercontinental ballistic missiles

(Stavridis) Sadly a little less capable that there these are the ground based interceptors which come from California and Alaska, they don't have as good a track record, they're probably a better than even shot at taking out something launch but you have to remember his capability in that regard as much lower as well and were going to I think see the congress increase our ground based interceptors as well as continue to put money in these aegis cruisers and destroyers that are the heart of the missile defense system from the sea.

Admiral Stavridis on why he doesn't believe the USS John S. McCain's collision with an oil tanker was a result of a cyber hack

(Stavridis) I am talking to people inside the Navy constantly and I have personally based on what I've heard what I've seen I take cyber off the table, I do not think that was the case. Now Brian what I would say is if I were the Chinese navy and I were observing how relatively easy it is to take a three billion dollar US defense ship missile defense ship off the line by ramming it with a merchant I'd be trying to decide how to do cyber. I don't think that was the case in the McCain I don't think it was the case in Fitzgerald but we ought to be mindful that others are watching and will explore that as an option.