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Military to Allow Soldiers Free Movement Outside Base Camps after Daily Routine on a Trial Basis


Military to expand windows of communication with the community and assure spare time;

One-third of military personnel, including personnel away on leave, can go to outside hospitals and PC rooms before roll call

Military to Allow Soldiers Free Movement Outside B

The Ministry of National Defense has kicked off another program to help military personnel, 'democratic citizens in uniform,' to communicate smoothly with the community. "Military personnel, on a trial basis, will be allowed to move about freely outside base camps after accomplishing their daily tasks. Thirteen bases in the army, navy, marine and air force have been chosen for this trial project," a ministry spokesperson said on August 19. The trial will be in effect from August 20 to the end of October.


The ministry explained that it is looking at a measure to allow soldiers to move about outside base camps after getting their daily tasks done in order to expand the window of communication with the community and assure sufficient spare time to prepare for operations and training, as part of its efforts to implement Defense Reform 2.0. “This trial will be carried out, with each commander's approval, for a fixed number of personnel, without disrupting the maintenance of the military readiness posture. It will be carried out with a focus on meeting parents and families, going to outside hospitals, and group activities on a small unit basis, such as squads and platoons," the ministry spokesperson added.


According to the ministry, soldiers serving in the test operation bases are allowed to go out after getting their daily tasks done, but must come back before the evening roll call. The time of return can be adjusted by commanders according to base camp conditions. The available areas will be determined by commanders in each base camp (army: general-level officers, navy: commanding officers, air force: at least independent squadron commanders). While drinking is prohibited, the ministry decided to allow personnel to go to PC rooms during this test operation. “Soldiers will be allowed to go to PC rooms after receiving a commander's approval. However, the ministry will make a final decision after evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of this test operation,” a ministry official said.


The army will allow up to 35% of the current military personnel to go out, including personnel away on vacation and going-out/sleeping-out, while the navy and air force will allow one third of the current military personnel, including personnel away on vacation and going-out/sleeping-out.


The thirteen bases chosen for the trial project include five army bases(3rd, 7th, 12th, 21st, and 32nd divisions), four navy and marine bases(1st Fleet Command, 2nd Marine Division(8th marine regiment), the 6th Brigade(logistic supply squadron), Yeonpyeong Unit(90th squadron), and four air force bases(1st Combat Air Wing, 7th Air Communication Service Group, 305th Air Control Squadron, and 518th Air Defense Artillery Battery).


The trial project of allowing military personnel to go out after their daily routine is one of the ministry's projects to reform the military culture, following the trial project of allowing soldiers to use their mobile phones after their daily routine is finished, which is currently in progress. The ministry has confirmed that the trial use of mobile phones after daily routine in the four units under its direct control (Defense Communications Command, Armed Force CBR Defense Command, MND Welfare Agency, and MND Agency for KIA Recovery & Identification) was received with a high level of satisfaction.


The ministry plans to expand the number of bases involved in the pilot project and make a final decision whether to allow military personnel to use mobile phones after their daily routines are complete before the end of this year.


“We will evaluate the result of the trial through two mid-term reviews of the period of going-out after daily routine and establish a reasonable measure by the end of this year after due consideration of the opinions of soldiers and their parents, military readiness posture and discipline, fairness between the units in the front and the rear line, and all other factors,” the ministry said.



By Su-Yeol, Maeng < >

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