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Defense Reform 2.0 reaches ‘72%’ achievement compared to goal

Ministry of National Defense holds meeting to check third-quarter progress of Defense Reform 2.0:
application of smart defense innovation to all areas;
visualization of a shift to the technology-intensive military organization;
outstanding achievements, including a high efficiency operating system

Defense Reform 2.0 reaches ‘72%’ achievement compa

It was evaluated that the Defense Reform 2.0 initiative has achieved 72% of its ultimate goal thus far. The Ministry of National Defense has promised to further expand the development of a defense system to respond to non-conventional threats, as well as to add ‘smart defense innovation’ to the Defense Reform 2.0 initiative, in order to maintain the impetus for reform in a changing defense environment.

Presided over by Minister Suh Wook, a meeting to check the third-quarter progress of Defense Reform 2.0 and smart defense innovation was held at the main conference room of the ministry’s headquarters building on September 28.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the Monday meeting was attended by military officials, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Won In-cheol, chiefs of staff of the respective forces, the commander of the Marine Corps and Minister of Defense Acquisition Program Administration in the form of a video conference.

During the meeting, the participants took part in an in-depth evaluation of the progress of tasks for defense reform and discussed complementary measures. Specifically, they evaluated that this meeting served as an opportunity to strengthen the impetus moving toward the goal of the ‘practical achievement of Defense Reform 2.0,’ one and a half years after the promotion of the Defense Reform 2.0 initiative began in earnest.

The results of a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the progress of each reform task (planned performance) showed that the Defense Reform 2.0 initiative is progressing normally, achieving about 72% of the goal thus far.

Stressing the visualization of a ‘shift to a technology-intensive military organization,’ which has been repeatedly postponed and modified since 2005, through a reshuffling of military organization, the ministry evaluated that the innovation of national defense management and barracks culture produced outstanding outcomes in the embodiment of an advanced and highly-efficient operating system, human rights and welfare. The ministry explained that the military had accelerated its efforts to achieve a shift to a transparent, open and highly-efficient defense management system befitting an advanced country through initiatives such as increased civilian involvement in the ministry, reduction of the fixed number of generals, expansion of the number of female soldiers, and reduction of the length of mandatory military service.

Regarding the defense industry, the ministry announced that the military had promoted the most innovative reform since the founding of the armed forces, which has included challenging and innovative research and development, a shift to an export-centered industrial structure and the promotion of trusted defense industries. The ministry added that the military is working to achieve ‘digitalized strong forces, smart national defense’ by applying the high technologies of the fourth industrial revolution era to all areas of national defense through smart defense innovations.

The participants also shared various opinions on complementary measures. They pledged to make special efforts to achieve the goal of each reform task, while gravely accepting some opinions that the reform has made slow progress because there is an ambiguity when it comes to separating defense reform tasks from general defense works. Regarding some concerns that “the Defense Reform 2.0 initiative may lead to the weakening of defense power due to the reduction of troops and units,” they agreed with the need for a fact-based explanation of how ‘the defense power will be further strengthened by enhancing practical combat capabilities, such as a shift to the defense manpower structure focusing on operations and combats, and the acquisition of a weapon system.’

They also agreed to strengthen the impetus for reform by adding areas and tasks that reflect the changing defense environment, as well as to focus their efforts on the enactment and revision of 17 laws to set reform conditions.

“Let’s focus all our capabilities on building ‘strong security, proud military, and interactive defense,’” Minister Suh said, adding “we should make active use of the high-tech science and technology of the fourth industrial revolution era, in order to build the leading defense capability that will enable us to respond to the future battlefield environment and omnidirectional security threats.”

By Chae-Mu, Im < >

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