Monday, August 5, 2013

The Rising East: Are U.S. Forces Ready To Come Home from South Korea?

It may be 1978 coming true after all this time.  Former President Carter (and Secretary Rumsfeld) may finally get his wish.

And it is not just the South Koreans who "argue" this (I certainly agree with the idea):

Nonetheless, the South Koreans argued that disbanding the CFC and turning over operational control (OPCON in military lingo) might be misread by North Korean leaders and tempt them into assaulting the south. The continued presence of U.S. forces, they asserted, was needed to deter North Korea from miscalculating.

This whole OPCON transfer charade has been playing into the hands of the Kim Family Regime's strategy of splitting the ROK/US Alliance.  We really need to conduct some strategic analysis and keep in mind the strategic direction that both Presidents have given to the alliance, namely unification of the peninsula as the end state.  We should first understand the full range of the threat (from provocation to conventional war, nuclear threat to regime instability and collapse and the potential for irregular warfare) and then determine how to optimally organize the combined military forces to achieve the alliance end state across the spectrum of potential conflict.  I would submit that the optimal way is not to disband the Combined Forces Command but may in fact be the establishment of a new Combined Theater Command with a Korean General Officer in command.

The Rising East: Are U.S. Forces Ready To Come Home from South Korea?

By Richard Halloran08/05/2013
In a meeting between South Korea and U.S. defense officials in Seoul last week, the Koreans urged the Americans: “Please, Yankee, don’t go home.”

The Americans in effect responded: “Sorry, we’re outta here.”

At issue in the Korea-US Integrated Defense Dialogue was the fate of the Combined Forces Command (CFC), the joint Korean and American staff that controls both Korean troops and U.S. forces posted in Korea. It is commanded by an American general with a Korean general as deputy.

During the discussion in the forum with the unfortunate acronym KIDD, the Americans contended that the CFC should be dismantled, with Koreans taking full responsibility for their own defense. The Koreans argued that they are not ready to take over and thus the CFC should remain intact. No decision was made public

Behind this debate was an intrinsically different assessment of the need for American troops to the defense of South Korea against the threat from North Korea.

The Americans point out that the Korean War, which brought legions of U.S. troops to Korea fight the North Koreans and Chinese, ended 60 years ago. Today, those U.S. forces are needed elsewhere in a time of economic difficulty at home and heavy constraints on military spending.

Moreover, in those 60 years South Korea has generated an economic great leap forward, established itself politically as a stable democracy, and forged a first-class military force. It needs very little outside help.

In contrast, North Korea is an economic basket case in which the gap between the capital in Pyongyang and the rest of the country is widening. Corruption is pervasive, millions of people suffer from chronic food shortages, and the inexperienced regime of Kim Jong Un has an uncertain grip on power.
(Continued at the link below)

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