Defense

August 27, 2012

Ulchi Freedom Guardian promotes stability on Korean peninsula

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

As the United States and South Korea observe the 59th anniversary of the armistice that brought an unofficial end to the Korean War, their forces are sharpening their defensive capabilities through the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise.

More than 30,000 U.S. and South Korean service members are participating in what Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of Combined Forces Command, called “a key exercise in strengthening the readiness” of the two militaries.

Named in honor of a Korean military leader who repelled an invasion by China’s Sui dynasty in the 7th century, Ulchi Freedom Guardian 12 kicked off Aug. 20 and continues through next week.

Seven United Nations Command states also are participating: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Norway, officials said.

One of two annual Combined Forces Command peninsula-wide exercises, Ulchi Freedom Guardian is centered on readiness, deterrence and the ability to defend South Korea.

Driven by computer-assisted simulation, it is designed so senior leaders can exercise their decision-making capabilities, U.S. Forces Korea officials said, while also training commanders and staffs from both nations in combined planning, command and control operations, military intelligence, logistics and personnel procedures.

“It is based on realistic scenarios and enables us to train on our essential tasks with a ‘whole of government’ approach,” Thurman said.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian is part of an ongoing focus on strengthening the U.S.-South Korea alliance while preparing South Korea to assume wartime operational control of its forces from the United States in 2015, officials said.

Thurman told the House Appropriations Committee this spring the U.S.-South Korea alliance is “as solid as ever,” and said it serves as the foundation for the combined readiness of the two militaries. The general said he and his South Korean military counterparts are guiding military leaders and units of both militaries “to work and train closely with one another on a daily basis, and that effort builds combined strength, faith, and trust — qualities that are essential for us to successfully accomplish our mission in Korea.”

Training exercises like Ulchi Freedom Guardian, carried out in the spirit of the Oct. 1, 1953, ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty and in accordance with the armistice, advance those efforts, U.S. Forces Korea officials said.

“These exercises also highlight the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between the two nations, help to ensure peace and security on the peninsula and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the Northeast Asia region,” they said.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2012 comes at a time of transition on the peninsula, with the new and relatively untested North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, continuing Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told American Forces Press Service he considers North Korea the most pressing trouble spot in Pacom’s vast area of responsibility.

“If there is anything that keeps me awake at night, it’s that particular situation,” the admiral said. “We have to ensure that we maintain as much of a stable environment on the Korean peninsula as we can.”

Toward that end, Locklear relies heavily on Thurman’s leadership to ensure that South Korean and U.S. forces remain strong. In March, he emphasized the importance of the U.S.-South Korean alliance in deterring aggression and maintaining security and stability and offered assurances of an “unwaverable” U.S. commitment to the alliance.

 




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


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 
 

SMC stands up new Advanced Systems, Development Directorate

While space officially begins at 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, for the men and women of the Air Force space begins near sea level at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base,Calif. SMC is where innovative ideas are matured into space systems that deliver operational capabilities to U.S. warfighters in...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 
 
Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine

SEWIP block upgrade program evaluated for LCS

Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Helen Hernandez monitors an SLQ-32 radar aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deplo...
 




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>