Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Relocation of USFK Headquarters to Go Ahead

Yes, it is logical to move USFK and 8th Army as planned.  But as I have mentioned there are three reasons that the ROK/US Combined Forces Command should remain (and the ROK press should learn the correct title for the command and use it so as to remind the Korean politicians and population that it belongs to Korea with equal control as it does to the Untied States - it is the ROK/US CFC and not a US command because it answers to the Military Committee which is made up of representatives of National Command and Military Authorities (NCMA) of both nations).  (On a positive at least the press is starting to differentiate between the different commands and is no longer saying such incorrect things as USFK controls ROK forces.)

1.  No new facility for the ROK/US Command exists or was planned to be built because the mythical and inaccurately named "OPCON Transfer" was in reality the dissolution of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command so it was to cease to exist.
2.  Since it the command is 50% ROK and 50% US even if a new ROK/US CFC was constructed in Pyongtaek (Camp Humphreys) it is unlikely the ROK would station the senior ROK military personnel who are members of the ROK/US CFC at Camp Humphreys.
3.  In order for the ROK/US CFC to be responsive to the Military Committee it should remain located near the Ministry of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff for effective coordination and synchronization (and we should not forget that the primary consideration in the operational planning directives for the ROK/US CFC is the defense of Seoul.)

However, as I have previously mentioned, once USFK and 8th Army depart Yongsan, Yongsan Army Garrison should be turned over from US Army control to ROK military control.  It should be renamed (perhaps the Admiral Yi Sun Shin Garrison) and maintained and operated by the ROK military.  US personnel making up the US portion of the ROK/US CFC would remain on the installation as part of a US tenant organization (which would be relatively small as compared to when USFK and 8th US Army were present).  This should have the potential to reduce domestic political friction over the perceived occupation presence of US forces in Seoul and end the longest continuous stationing of foreign troops in a single location in Seoul.  Yes there would still be some US forces there but no longer would US forces control Korean terrain in Seoul.

Relocation of USFK Headquarters to Go Ahead

Han Min-koo Han Min-koo
Korea will consider keeping the Combined Forces Command in Seoul, but the plan to relocate the U.S. Forces Korea headquarters will be implemented as planned, new Defense Minister Han Min-koo said on Tuesday.

The government will keep its promise to relocate USFK headquarters from Yongsan in Seoul to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province further south of the border, while taking into account of the changing security situation, and the threat from North Korea, Han added.

In his first meeting with reporters since he took the job, Han said, "Once full operational control of Korean troops is transferred to Seoul, the CFC was supposed to be dismantled or replaced by another military cooperative body, but things have changed as now the transfer will be delayed."

He added further details will be discussed between Korean and U.S. officials. / Jul. 30, 2014 12:33 KST

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