Monday, April 22, 2013

Calls against wartime control transfer resurface amid tension

We should just keep in mind that a key element of north Korean strategy is to split the ROK/US Alliance.  This is not about OPCON transfer.  In 2015 the ROK/US Combined Forces Command will be dissolved and there will be separate war fighting elements on the Korean peninsula (yes there  ROK will be the supported command and the US will be the supporting command but from the north's perspective this is another step toward splitting the alliance.)  We need to ensure we are organizing the military instrument of power in the most effective way in order to accomplish the strategic objectives of the Alliance.  If  our assessment is that dissolving the ROK/US CFC best supports accomplishment of our Alliance objectives then so be it.  However, if objectively analysis shows otherwise we need to rethink such dissolution.

Calls against wartime control transfer resurface amid tension

Published : 2013-04-22 20:17
Updated : 2013-04-22 20:19

South Korean Army soldiers prepare to fire 105 mm howitzers during an exercise in Paju, South Korea, near the border village of Panmunjom. (AP-Yonhap News)
North Korea’s growing threat is feeding a fresh dispute over whether South Korea is fully ready to retake wartime operational control from Washington in December 2015 as scheduled.

The highly divisive issue came to the fore last week when former U.S. Forces Korea commander Burwell Bell, once an outspoken supporter of the OPCON transfer, retracted his position, stressing that the North must be “aggressively contained” under U.S leadership.

“The U.S. must first offer to the South Korean government an opportunity to permanently postpone the OPCON transfer,” said the retired general who led the 28,500 American troops on the peninsula from 2006-2008.

“It is my strong position now that if approved by the South Korean government, all efforts to execute the OPCON transfer should be halted. Once armed with nuclear weapons, the North will possess a capability that will put the South at a significant disadvantage on any future battlefield, or in any future negotiations.”

After Pyongyang conducted a third nuclear test on Feb. 12, opponents of the transfer began raising concerns, arguing that Seoul was not yet capable of leading combat operations in terms of military equipment, strategies and experience.

But proponents said the preparations should proceed as planned, arguing that Seoul had relied too heavily on Washington for peninsular defense for too long, and that whether its military could stand on its own was a matter of national pride. 

During the presidential election last year President Park Geun-hye pledged to push to retake the OPCON as planned. 

Seoul and Washington will start assessing Seoul’s readiness during the allies’ Key Resolve command post exercise in March next year and the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills in August, a government source said on condition of anonymity.
(Continued at the link below)

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