Monday, June 3, 2013

[Editorial] Unified command: South Korean general to lead allied forces

I am surprised to receive no response to this development.  This did not make today's EarlyBird.  I wonder if it will tomorrow.  The Korean Herald editorial staff is making some important points:

Maintaining the current command structure is a wise decision, given Pyongyang’s increasing nuclear threats and the growing possibility of sudden change in the North. In fact, the present situation is a reason to strengthen the CFC rather than disband it. 
The envisioned combined command will send a clear message to the North that there won’t be any softening of the allies’ joint security posture even after the planned OPCON transition to South Korea. 
It also illustrates the evolution of the military alliance between the two countries to the level of equal partnership.  
Leaving the current system virtually intact would spare South Korea the trouble of setting up its own command with limited resources. Korea will instead be able to focus on modernizing its armed forces.  
It would also provide the U.S. military with more room to maneuver should a sudden change occur in the North. In a word, it would create a win-win situation for both countries.

One of the most important considerations is that this move attacks the north Korean strategy to split the Alliance.  This is the first development since 1978 that stops the perception of declining support to the Alliance.  During every administration since Carter tried to remove all US forces from Korea, there has been a declining US presence and this so-called OPCON transfer and the dissolution of the Combined Forces Command would have been viewed as one of the most successful effects of the north Korean strategy to split the Alliance.  Given the current strategic conditions in Northeast Asia this is a very wise move as the editorial staff writes.
V/R
Dave

[Editorial] Unified command
South Korean general to lead allied forces

Published : 2013-06-03 20:03
Updated : 2013-06-03 20:03
The militaries of South Korea and the United States have reportedly agreed to maintain the current unified command structure for allied forces even after Seoul takes back the wartime operational control of its armed forces from Washington in December 2015.

The two sides had originally agreed to dissolve the U.S.-South Korean Combined Forces Command following the planned OPCON transfer, with each military operating on its own under a parallel command structure.

Yet according to reports, they recently reached an accord to retain the current arrangement even after the OPCON transition. Under the agreement, the allies will create a new combined command that will play exactly the same role as the CFC. 

There will be, however, one crucial difference between the two: The new command will be headed by the chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the commander of U.S. Forces Korea serving as deputy commander.

Currently, the USFK commander, who also heads the United Nations Command, leads the CFC, with a South Korean four-star general supporting him as deputy commander.

Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, who met his American counterpart Chuck Hagel on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday, said details of the scheme would be unveiled at the Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul in October.

Maintaining the current command structure is a wise decision, given Pyongyang’s increasing nuclear threats and the growing possibility of sudden change in the North. In fact, the present situation is a reason to strengthen the CFC rather than disband it.

The envisioned combined command will send a clear message to the North that there won’t be any softening of the allies’ joint security posture even after the planned OPCON transition to South Korea.

It will also ease concerns among people here about the prospect of South Korean and American forces operating as separate entities during wartime. Under the parallel command system, the South Korean military is supposed to lead allied operations should war break out with the North, with U.S. forces playing a supporting role. 

This arrangement, however, leaves the role of the U.S. military ambiguous, casting doubt on whether cooperation between allied forces will be efficient. Furthermore, it is questionable that the South Korean military will be fully prepared by 2015 to operate on its own during war. 


Creating a new combined command will resolve these problems ― without stopping the ongoing process of South Korea regaining wartime control of its troops.
(Continued at the link below)

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