Looks like the potential new ROK Defense Minister wants to get off "the bus to Abilene" and do an objective analysis of the dissolution of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command (CFC) known colloquially as OPCON Transfer. I hate to beat a dead horse but the Commander of the ROK/US CFC answers to the Military Committee which consists of representative of both the ROK and US National Command and MIlitary Authorities. The ROK has just as much "OPCON" of US forces through the Military Committee as the US has OPCON of ROK forces. There is only one political issue that is bothersome to some Koreans (and that appears to infringe on their sovereignty) and that is that the Commander of the ROK/US CFC is a US 4 star General who also happens to command the United Nations Command and US Forces Korea while the Deputy Commander of the ROK/US CFC is a Korean 4 star General. Perhaps if the Commander and Deputy Commander were reversed in 2015 we could end this distracting discussion that is wasting a tremendous amount of ROK and US resources and get on with ensuring the continued readiness of the most effective combined command arrangement that has been devised in recent decades.
Wartime command transition now in doubt
The transition of wartime operational command (OPCON) from Washington to Seoul scheduled in Dec. 2015 may be delayed once again as Pyongyang continues to ramp up tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
A growing number of senior officers have raised the possibility that the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) will keep wartime control of all troops even after 2015.
In particular, Defense Minister-designate Kim Byung-kwan ignited a dispute last Friday during his confirmation hearing.
“Although it is still set to be transferred to Korea, we need to reevaluate if we’re fully prepared to take over amid growing tensions between the two Koreas,” said Kim who served as the deputy commander of the CFC between 2006 and 2008. “We can reconsider the transfer following a reevaluation.”
His remarks resonate with those of Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to Seoul, who said that the U.S. will not proceed with the handover of wartime command if the South is not ready following the North’s Feb. 12 nuclear test.
President Park Geun-hye’s pick for the National Intelligence Service chief, former Army Chief of Staff Nam Jae-joon, is known to oppose the wartime OPCON transition. He was also a deputy command of the CFC.
President Park’s senior foreign affairs adviser Ju Chul-ki said last week that the government will go ahead with the wartime command handover but added that his team plans to consult with Kim if he takes over the Ministry of Defense.
Despite many suspicions on Kim’s eligibility, it is rumored that Park will officially appoint him Tuesday. However, her spokesman Yoon Chang-jung refused to confirm this.
In July 1950, a month after the North launched the three-year Korean War, the South relinquished both its wartime and peacetime operational control of its troops to the U.S.
Seoul took back peacetime control in Dec. 1994 and was supposed to regain wartime command in April 2012, but the schedule was postponed to Dec. 2015 by the previous Lee Myung-bak administration.
(Continued at the link below)