WASHINGTON (CNN) # Twenty-four bombers will begin moving from bases in the United States to Guam as part of a planned beefing up of U.S. military forces in the Pacific to send a “message” to North Korea, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
The move is part of the U.S. Pacific Command’s effort to maintain a robust military presence around the Korean Peninsula while forces are being built up in the Persian Gulf region. Officials say they intend to send a nonthreatening message to North Korea not to take advantage of the Iraqi situation and assume the U.S. military is distracted.
The deployment order for the bombers had long been planned and is not related to last weekend’s intercept of an Air Force reconnaissance plane over the Sea of Japan by four North Korean MiG fighters, officials said.
It is not clear how soon the bombers will deploy.
Twelve B-1 bombers and 12 B-52 bombers received deployment orders Saturday. It was not immediately clear where the deployed B-1s are based, or whether the B-52s would come from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota or Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.