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Seven Percent Increase in Defense Budget Next Year - 43 Trillion, 158.1 Billion Won

Full increase in the expenses for defense capability improvement, including a three-pillar defense system

Intensive analysis of the "2018 Defense Budget" by increasing force operation expenses, including a rise in soldier salaries

2018년 국방예산 관련

Republic of Korea has set aside 43 trillion, 158.1 billion won for its 2018 defense budget, an increase of 7% year-on-year, making it the sharpest hike since 2009.


The defense budget, passed by the National Assembly on December 6, was 40.4 billion won more than the 43 trillion, 117.7 billion won the Defense Ministry had proposed, reflecting the grim security circumstances where North Korea's nuclear and missile threats are becoming heightened.


This is the first increase in the defense budget passed by a deliberation of the National Assembly since North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeongdo Island in 2011.


Most of the increased defense budget is intended for the defense capacity improvement costs required to early build a system capable of countering North Korea's nuclear program, such as the three-pillar defense system, considered urgent. The defense capacity improvement cost is 13 trillion, 520.3 billion won, an increase of 10.8% compared with the previous year, and 37.8 billion won more than the amount the government had initially proposed.


The force operating cost has also increased by 2.6 billion won over the amount the government first proposed, coming in at 29 trillion, 637.8 billion won, an increase of 5.3% compared with the previous year, reflecting national political agendas and securing the demonstration of the current force capacity, including an increase in soldier salaries and improvements of military service conditions.


According to mutual agreements between opposing parties regarding increasing the number of public officials - one of the contentious issues in the 2018 budget appropriation - however, the number of noncommissioned officers has been settled to 2470, falling short of the original goal of 3458. 


When the government's budget for next year was under deliberation of the National Assembly, the opposing parties carried out a full increase of the budget to counter North Korea's nuclear program by developing a bond of sympathy. Accordingly, a 122.7 billion won increase was approved to address the urgent need for a three-pillar defense system and medical evacuation helicopters, and 82.3 billion won was shaved off the number of noncommissioned officers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for division reconnoitering.

With regard to the defense capability improvement cost, 89.1 billion won will go to 14 business areas and 51.3 billion won to nine business areas. This resulted in a net increase of 37.8 billion won compared with the amount the government had proposed.  

The main increases include 16.7 billion won for the second Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) guided missile, a new three-pillar defense system, 400 million won for Korean Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missiles (KTSSM), 500 million won for the research and development of a blackout bomb, and 340 million won to reinforce the capability of the brigade for special affairs. Additionally, 14.8 billion won for medical evacuation helicopters, to reinforce the capability of evacuating emergency patients, was approved, 24.5 billion won was set aside for the research and development of air force pilots, and 4.8 billion won was reserved for the improvement of the performance of K-9 self-propelled artillery.  

With regard to the force operating cost, 33.6 billion won goes to eleven business areas and 31 billion won in finding fell across seventeen business areas. This resulted in a net increase of 2.6 billion won compared with the amount the government had proposed.

The readjusted cost related to the number of noncommissioned officers is 13.3 billion won, amounting to about half of the entire decrease, while there were additional increases focused on safety and welfare costs, including 7.1 billion won for safety facilities to help prevent incidents at a firing range, 2 billion won for the maintenance of military asbestos-containing buildings, and 11.4 billion won for the installation of air conditioners in the junior executive members' lodgings to improve working conditions.


By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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