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“2018 - The First Year To Execute Defense Reform”

The possibility of North Korea's Strategic and Tactical Provocations: South Korea Should Show Its Capabilities and Intentions to Counter Attacks Through Prompt Military Action
Defense Minister Song, Young-moo Emphasizes, “Let's Construct New Powerful Forces Based on A New Concept of the Conduct of War”


Defense Minister Song, Young-moo emphasized at "The End of Year 2017 Senior Leader Issues Seminar for The Whole Army" held on December 8, “We should appreciate that defense reform is a core task of the Moon, Jae-in government aiming at "A Country of People, A Righteous Republic of Korea" and should fully focus on making 2018 the first year to execute expansive defense reform. 


This seminar, attended by about 150 persons including major commanders, direct control organization chiefs, and staff section chiefs, became a place to strengthen the South Korean Army's will and resolution to grow into a new and more powerful force by forming a consensus to promote "Defense Reform 2.0" through open-minded discussions.


The major commanders attended this seminar agreed to successfully carry out Defense Reform 2.0 on the basis of five tasks in the defense area: strengthening the ability to counter asymmetrical threats such as North Korea's nuclear program; speedily pushing forward with the transition of wartime operational control based on a firm South Korea-US alliance; pushing loudly for defense reforms and civilized defense; rooting out corruption related to the defense industry and fostering the defense industry befitting the fourth industrial revolution; and guaranteeing soldiers' rights and investing in significant improvements in service conditions.


In addition, the Ministry of Defense announced its plan to actively promote not only "Defense Reform 2.0" but also "Maintenance of Military Readiness Posture," "Strengthening the Guarantee of Soldiers' Rights and Improving Service Conditions," "Stable Unit Management By Commanders' Initiatives," and "Military Support to Successfully Host the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics," as its main defense policies for 2018.


Especially, the Ministry of Defense plans to establish an omni-directional military readiness posture and develop a new plan to conduct operations led by the South Korean Army in order to ensure the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics are successful and peaceful events.


In addition, the Ministry of Defense forecasted that North Korea would continue with its strong confrontational stance to push its negotiation power with the US through strategic provocations, because its nuclear program and missiles are considered as means for regime survival, even though the long-term sanctions imposed against North Korea increase regime instability, including threatening internal complaints. The Ministry also analyzed that there is a possibility of terror and cyber attacks against international events, as well as tactical provocations such as violations of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) and shelling for situation turnover in the event internal instability in North Korea worsens.


To counter North Korea's tactical provocations, South Korea's forces plan to identify signs of the enemy's provocations through the integrated operation of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets under South Korea-US cooperation, and to show its capabilities and will to counter provocations by taking various military actions immediately in response. In addition, the forces will continue to try to build the ability to react to the deployment of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), through the acceleration of Korea’s three-pillar defense system.


With regard to tactical provocation, the Ministry announced its will to secure national safety by restraining the enemy's provocations in land, sea, and northwest island regions, and establish an operational posture against potential cyber terror or drone threats.


Minister Song said, “Since North Korea is increasing asymmetric threats such as nuclear program and missile development and cyber attacks, the aspect of war is completely different compared with the past,” and emphasized, “Emerging from the existing war system, we should construct new powerful forces and should advance defense reforms based on a concept of the conduct of war, corresponding to a whole new war paradigm.”


Minister Song added, “Despite any national difficulties, the people overcame a crisis and led the inauguration of a new government in a peaceful and democratic way. This is because our forces completed their missions faithfully,” and praised the soldiers for their hard work, “Our forces have maintained a thorough readiness posture despite North Korea's sixth nuclear test and fifteen ballistic missile test launches this year, and their prompt and active support protected people's lives and safety in a state of emergency, such as during the latest earthquake in Pohang.”


He also said, “All the employees of the Ministry of Defense, including the Minister, will be very supportive so that battlefield commanders can devote themselves solely to their combat missions,” promising, “We will do our best to establish a "Warrior Respect" culture where soldiers in military uniform are respected."


In addition, Minister Song asked the participating commanders to cooperate so that the forces can go toward the future by correcting past wrongs and concentrating on their own missions, responding to the needs of a democratic civil society.



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2018 - The First Year To Execute Defense Reform
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