Today U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) participated in a classified Strategic Policy Forum, “Masked Dragon,” that brought together 14 Members of Congress, senior military and Executive Branch leaders, and selected state and local officials. The handpicked group examined the complexity and difficulty involved in responding to a series of escalating crises on the Korean Peninsula at a time of ongoing military operations and overseas deployment of U.S. Armed Forces. “Masked Dragon” sought to understand the full range of policy options available to the U.S. and their associated consequences in order to stem proliferation of nuclear weapons and their corresponding delivery methods.

Smith and Larsen represent Washington state congressional districts that made it especially important to participate in a strategy session on North Korea.

“The crisis simulation exercise that I participated in today gave me the opportunity to work with people from a variety of departments and specialties and to seriously discuss the implications of any escalations in a strategically important region of the world,” said Smith. “As a member of the International Relations committee and the sub-committee on Asian/Pacific affairs, it is important for me to have a good understanding of the potential crises that can develop in this region and today’s exercise put into perspective the strategic importance of our military assets in Washington state.”

"I have repeatedly stressed the fact that Washington state’s military assets are critical to our national security,” Larsen said. “Exercise ‘Masked Dragon’ underlined the necessity of having forces that are well placed to meet potential threats like North Korea.”

“Being prepared for a national security crisis means thinking about the unthinkable,” Larsen urged. “In any national security crisis, dozens of agencies have to make quick, coordinated decisions.  Today’s crisis simulation allowed me to better understand that decision-making process and to explore response actions and consequences.”

The Secretary of Defense initiated the Strategic Policy Forum program in March 2002 at the National Defense University located at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. “Masked Dragon” was the sixth event held with Members of Congress and senior executive branch decision makers. Previous exercises focused on port and transportation security and bioterrorism.

The simulations featured a realistic National Security setting, with participants such as the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the National Intelligence Council, the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Smith and Larsen serve on the House Armed Services Committee. Smith also serves on the House International Relations Committee.