World

June 13, 2012

Commander seeks enhanced deterrent on Korean Peninsula

by Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

The commander of U.S. Forces Korea is working to ensure all the capabilities needed to defend South Korea are in place.

Army Gen. James D. Thurman told the Association of the Republic of Korea Army June 12 that the U.S. Army has issued guidance to increase the manning levels of the 2nd Infantry Division. He is also working with U.S. service chiefs to keep American might on the peninsula at the highest levels of readiness.

This does not necessarily mean an increase in the number of troops in South Korea, Thurman said. There are about 28,500 Americans based in the country. That number will remain about the same, but the distribution will be changed, he said.

“There is true commitment from the United States and common understanding of the importance that northeast Asia has today,” Thurman said.

The general also is looking for ways to reduce the high U.S. military turnover rate in South Korea. Most U.S. forces deploy to the country for one-year tours. “There’s a constant turnover and loss of people coming and going to Korea,” he said. “I have asked the Army and the other services to help develop options to mitigate this, and I’m confident we will be able to work this.”

Thurman said he is also examining the current U.S. force structure on the peninsula and what modifications must be made to enhance warfighting capabilities.

At his regular Tuesday news conference, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Thurman is dedicated to ensuring “that we and our South Korean allies have the capabilities that we need to ensure the defense of the Republic of Korea.”

“Any recommendations or decisions that he has made with respect to the provision of new equipment, we believe, is part of a calculus that goes on all the time when you’re in a theater like the Republic of Korea and you face a threat across the border,” Little added.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby stressed that nothing Thurman is requesting is new.

“These are … long-standing capabilities that he’s been interested in making sure he has available to him,” Kirby said at the same Pentagon news conference. “In fact, some of them, I think, are intended just to replace or restore assets that deployed to Afghanistan from South Korea that he just simply wants … to get back into his quiver.”

Deterring North Korea is the mission of U.S. forces in South Korea, officials said. North Korea has just gone through regime succession. The North sank the South Korean Navy ship Cheonan in 2010. Later that year, the North shelled a border island killing two civilians and two South Korean Marines. The North also unsuccessfully tried to launch a missile in April that could be used as an ICBM. All these incidents, officials said, point to the threat Pyongyang poses.

“Our readiness defines our deterrent capability and we can never allow that to slip,” Thurman said. “Maintaining high levels of readiness requires having the proper manning, the proper force structure and the most modern equipment.”

Thurman has asked U.S. Army leaders for priority to receive an added attack-reconnaissance helicopter squadron to bring the 2ndInfantry Division’s combat aviation brigade to full strength.

The general said he’s also requested “increased capabilities in terms of theater ballistic missile defense.”

The 2nd Infantry Division already has the Army’s most modern tanks, improved capabilities in the Bradley fighting vehicles and upgraded Blackhawk helicopters, Thurman said.

“We will continue to improve our joint command, control, computers, and intelligence systems, and we will continue to improve our cyber capabilities,” he said. “This is a domain that we must be prepared to operate in from a combined and joint perspective because this is important to mitigate the risks posed by our potential enemies.”

Enhancing interoperability with the South Korean military is a priority for U.S. Forces Korea, Thurman said.

“The ROK-U.S. alliance is the strongest alliance in the world,” the general said. “It is the best military-to-military relationship I have ever experienced in my 37 years serving in the United States military. And it’s the best because it is built on mutual trust and common values.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines March 27, 2015

News General Dynamics withdraws as T-100 prime contractor General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology has withdrawn itself as the prime contractor on the T-100, the offering for the T-X trainer replacement program based on the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 design.   Business SpaceX’s fight with U.S. Air Force called a clash of perceptions Billionaire Elon Musk’s...
 
 

News Briefs March 27, 2015

Contractor extradited from Iraq pleads guilty in bribes case A man extradited from Iraq in a military contract bribery case has pleaded guilty to three charges in an agreement with federal prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose has scheduled sentencing for July 1 for Metin Atilan. His attorney, Nick Gounaris, says the two sides agreed...
 
 

Ninth Boeing GPS IIF reaches orbit, sends first signals

Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites are steadily replenishing the orbiting constellation, continuing to improve reliability and accuracy for users around the world. The ninth GPS IIF reached orbit about three hours, 20 minutes after launching today aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and...
 

 

F-35 Lightning II costs drop, report shows

A recent account of F-35 Lightning II aircraft program costs shows decreases, the Air Force’s F-35 program executive officer told reporters in a media roundtable March 24, 2015. Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan, citing this year’s selected acquisition report on the aircraft, called the roundtable to clarify cost and performance facts. He also acknowledged the...
 
 
NG-growler2

Northrop Grumman delivers center/aft ‘shipset’ for first international EA-18G Growler

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman mechanics perform final quality inspections on the center/aft fuselage shipset produced by the company for the first Australian EA-18G Growler. The subassembly will be delivered to B...
 
 
Navy photograph by Monica McCoy

Navy conducts production acceptance test of Tomahawk missile

Navy photograph by Monica McCoy Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division team at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head prepare a Tomahawk missile for a functional ground test at the Large Motor Test Fa...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>