My friends at the Pentagon love acronyms. They throw them around all the time, and listeners who can’t keep up are left in the dust (and have to look them up when they get back to their offices).

You’ll hear phrases like, “OSD sent me to ONA for CFIUS TD.” (Translation: “The Secretary of Defense asked me to report to the Office of Net Assessment for temporary duty on matters related to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.”). You get the idea.

Even non-experts know that “ICBM” stands for intercontinental ballistic missile. These are the kinds of missiles that go into space, cross oceans, reenter the atmosphere, and hit enemy targets on other continents. (See the story above for the latest on North Korea’s progress in building ICBMs). But, what’s an “SLBM?”

That stands for submarine launched ballistic missile. These missiles may be the most dangerous of all because the launch pads are submarines that can be moved continuously and are difficult to pinpoint and defeat. The range of SLBMs is not as great as ICBMs, but it doesn’t have to be because the submarine launchers can cross the ocean and fire from relatively close proximity to the target. 

This article shows that North Korea and Kim Jong Un are devoting just as many resources to perfecting their SLBM technology as their ICBM technology. This is one more existential threat to the U.S. mainland, and one more reason why war seems almost inevitable at this stage.