Thursday, August 1, 2013

'Base relocation likely to affect 2ID mission'

I fully concur with the General.  This is one reason why I believe that if we do have to move them South or if we shift to rotational forces, we need to return to the mission of US forces patrolling the DMZ (not in a US sector but fully integrated throughout the DMZ with ROK forces).  Giving up that mission back in the 1990's was a mistake.

We should also note that it is going to be very hard for 2ID forces to train at Camp Humphreys.  They will have to travel from Pyongtaek back up to the Tongduchon area and beyond to go to their training areas.  It will obviously be more expensive to train.

And then there is deterrence to consider.  The move of US forces South and the OPCON transfer (mean the dissolution of the Combined Forces Command) gives a perception of the weakening of the US military commitment to the alliance.

I am very gratified to read that the General states the blunt truth.  I hope we can take a holistic view of the Alliance strategy and properly organize our combined military forces sos that we can support achieving the strategic objectives that our two Presidents have established (from deterrence all the way to unification).  It is my opinion that the current plans of both OPCON transfer and moving 2ID south do not contribute to achieving them.

(I also now feel old when I read that the division commander is younger than me - I still think of myself as a young captain on the DMZ when then MG Luck was the division commander!)

'Base relocation likely to affect 2ID mission'

Maj. Gen. Thomas Vandal, commander of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, speaks during a recent interview. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

New commander proud of 2ID tradition

By Kang Seung-woo

CAMP RED CLOUD, Uijeongbu ― The new commander of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) says that moving the main component of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) to Pyeongtaek could impact on deterrence against North Korea.

“So, would you assess that location and movement down to Camp Humphreys has a mission impact?” Maj. Gen. Thomas Vandal asked rhetorically during a recent interview.

“Yes, our understanding is it would and so we conveyed to our headquarters those concerns," he said. “But I fully support any decision made by our higher headquarters regarding the relocation plan.”

Rarely has a senior U.S. military officer in Korea made public such worries about the relocation of U.S. military units further southward, especially when the relocation is well under way as part of a ROK-U.S. agreement.

The division is scheduled to move to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province by 2016 under the Land Partnership Plan (LPP), signed in 2002.

Vandal said that the two governments are working together and he is sure that a good resolution will be found.

He didn’t reveal whether the bilateral consultations have anything to do with a request by the Korean government to delay the plan to regain wartime operational control (OPCON) of ROK forces.

The U.S. base relocation is being pushed as part of the OPCON transfer plan.

In reply, the U.S. first rejected Korea’s call for a delay but now reports have it that the two sides will continue to work on the request.

The 53-year-old, who took command on June 24, said that 2ID, whose motto is “Second to None,” has “such a great lineage,” that it makes him feel proud.

“The 2ID has the most Medal of Honor winners of any U.S. Army division in history and the most Medal of Honor winners in the Korean War and World War I,” said the native of Rhode Island.
(Continued at the link below)

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