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Highlights of the 'Yoon Suk Yeol administration’s business report in the area of defense

Expanding the overwhelming Korean 3-axis defense system capabilities to counter North Korean nuclear threat

Conducting 11 combined field training exercises within the year

Achieving a fundamental strengthening of the ROK-US combined defense posture

Building a multi-layered missile defense system

Securing automation systems, including multidimensional video fusion system

Cultivating moral strength, including education for service members

Highlights of the

A leap ahead in the ROK-US military alliance


The Ministry of National Defense plans to put the fundamental strengthening of the combined defense posture first by expanding the training and exercises between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States (US). In this context, the ministry plans to carry out 11 combined field training exercises, including the combined scientific combat training to be conducted by the Korea Combat Training Center (KCTC) in August to September, and plans to extend these next year. The ministry also plans to resume the combined carrier strike group training and regimental level field training exercises such as amphibious training.


The title of the combined military exercise has been changed to ‘Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS)’ as a gesture of carrying on the tradition of the ROK-US alliance and the reestablishment of the theater combined exercise system. Starting with the combined exercise to be held in the second half of the year, the ministry seeks to enhance its practical capabilities to deal with possible all-out war in the country by combining the military training and the government’s training every year.


As a follow-up measure to the ROK-US summit held in May, the ministry plans to establish an assistant minister-level ‘ROK-US defense science and technology council’ to invigorate political and strategic consultations in the full range of scientific and technical cooperation in the area of defense. The ministry will work to reinforce a comprehensive system to respond to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles by developing a system to implement the deterrence strategy customized to the ROK and the US, as well as resuming the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) and establishing a procedure to discuss the deployment of US strategic assets.


The ministry is focused on pushing ahead with the mutually agreed protocols in a systematic and stable way, including the evaluation of the full operational capability (FOC) of the future combined command, and proactively securing the core military capability of our armed forces to respond to the North Korean nuclear and missile threat, maintaining the principle that the ‘transition of the wartime operational control (OPCON)’ is conducted when conditions are satisfied.



Establishing the omnidirectional defense readiness and expanding response capabilities


The military will expand the overwhelming Korean three-axis defense system capabilities and posture to respond to North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threats. To strengthen the ‘detection-determination-interception capabilities’ to respond to missile threats from North Korea, the ministry plans to build a ‘multi-layered missile defense system,’ including force integration on and upgrading of the M-SAMand L-SAM systems, force integration on the ballistic missile early-warning radar-, and improvement of missile detection capabilities in the entire region of the Korean Peninsula by using a satellite. To respond to the threat that North Korea’s long-range artillery poses to the Seoul metropolitan area, the ministry also decided to expand detection capabilities and counter-fire capabilities, and is pushing for force integration on a ‘long-range artillery interception system.’


The military is securing the Kill Chain capabilities to ensure the country’s right to self defense in an emergency through the second phase of the F-X project and early force integration on the military reconnaissance satellite. The military also plans to raise the massive punishment and retaliation capabilities by increasing the number of high-powered and super-precision missiles and further strengthening the special warfare unit’s infiltration and strike capabilities.


To monitor North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles on a regular basis, the ministry also plans to collect information by using the main reconnaissance assets, such as commercial and military satellites and manned and unmanned reconnaissance planes, and plans to secure an automation system, such as a ‘multidimensional video fusion system,’ to integrate, analyze and share information.


In this context, a ministry spokesperson said in a statement that “the military will closely maintain the ROK-US watch condition and response posture, and when any movement is captured, will arrange an immediately elevated response posture system by increasing and operating detection and interception assets.”


The military also is working hard to cultivate moral strength by strengthening the view-against-enemy education for service members and encouraging their faith in certain victory against the enemy. To this end, the ministry plans to make a range of efforts, including enhancing the education of the current security by reflecting the preferences of Generation MZ.

Each armed service to operate manned-unmanned teaming drill team, helping the armed forces to take a leap forward backed by science and technology


Ministry plans to establish defense AI center by 2024

To nurture approximately 1,000 AI specialists for five years

Will improve the military barracks two-or four-person room

Increased average meal cost; introduction of dishes selected by service members

Increasing soldiers’ monthly salary to two million won by 2025

Highlights of the

Nurturing an armed forces backed by advanced science and technology through Defense Innovation 4.0


The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps will operate their respective manned-unmanned drill teams to take a leap forward and become armed forces backed by advanced science and technology. The ministry will also establish a ‘defense AI center’ by 2024 with the goal of advancing the integration of the military’s AI-related works.


To this end, the Army TIGER Brigade belonging to the 25th Infantry Division verifies the offensive strength and survivability by operating a reconnaissance drone and attack drone over the command and control vehicle, and the attack helicopter and follow-up manned fighting vehicle led by an unmanned fighting vehicle. Component Flotilla Five checks the manned-unmanned team mine removal operation capabilities by combining a minesweeper with an autonomous mine detection system. The 20th Fighter Wing investigates the potential of manned-unmanned formation flight by combining manned fighter jets with stealth unmanned aircraft. The 1st Marine Division examines the landing operation capabilities in the scenario in which a counter obstacle robot find way prior to the operation of a Korean amphibious assault vehicle (KAAV).


“We will clarify the force requirement for the unmanned system and AI-based system by operating a drill team in each armed service, and will design a unit structure fitting the implementation of the manned-unmanned team combat to demonstrate it with a combat experiment,” the ministry said in a statement.


The ministry will gradually expand the application of the AI technology to the military by establishing the ‘defense AI development model’ through three phases of development; ‘initial-autonomous,’ ‘semi-autonomous’ and ‘fully-autonomous.’ The ministry will also create a defense AI ecosystem of ‘open civil-military cooperation,’ in which the private sector develops innovative ideas and technologies and the military provides infrastructures and test beds. The ministry also plans to nurture about 1,000 AI specialists over the next five years by gradually increasing the budget for defense AI research and development (R&D).



Safe and transparent defense management for civil-military coexistence


The ministry will also continue to work to improve food, clothing and shelter to meet the needs of service members. To upgrade the military barracks into two- and four-person rooms with a sanitation facility, the ministry will conduct outsourced research by November and revise the criteria for facilities by December. The ministry will boost service members’ satisfaction with meals by introducing dishes selected by service members, increasing the average meal cost, and upgrading the meal service environment, and will also push for improvements in personal gear to ensure combat survivability.


Regarding the medical system to ensure the health and life of service members, the ministry will ensure prompt treatment within the 'golden hour' by reinforcing an emergency evacuation system, including setting up an integrated control system in the medical all-source situation center by 2024 and conducting additional force integration on medical evacuation helicopters by 2027. The Armed Force Trauma Center will reinforce and secure its capabilities to finish medical treatment for trauma patients in the military, and will also arrange a medical system to reflect the unique characteristics of the military, such as remote medical treatment and an AI-based diagnosis system.


The ministry will also arrange a plan to conduct stable troop reinforcement and efficient manpower management in line with the trend of the declining population. First, the ministry plans to make a groundbreaking alteration to the officer acquisition and management system by pushing ahead with a raise in the grant for obligated involuntary officers in connection with the increase in soldiers’ salary. The ministry will also analyze the supply and demand of military resources and devise a plan to shorten the waiting period before service members are enlisted in active duty. Significantly, the ministry has decided to increase the number of experts in science and technology in connection with the development of AI and manned-unmanned teams.


With respect to the improvement of civil rights, the ministry also plans to push ahead with the relocation of military airports in a fair and transparent manner by working in cooperation with local governments, while merging scattered military facilities and easing the military facility protection zone.



Creating a defense culture meeting the needs of future generations


The ministry will increase the monthly salary of soldiers to about two million won by 2025 by combining the current salary of 1.5 million won (based on a sergeant’s salary) with funding of 550,000 won from the government’s asset building program, as part of its measures to strengthen the respectful treatment of and compensation for military service. The ministry also plans to enhance the job satisfaction of career soldiers by readjusting the expenses for activity and housing allowance for platoon leaders and command sergeant majors to a realistic level and carrying out a military residential facility improvement project. Regarding the military daycare center, the ministry plans to provide support for soldiers with families by invigorating a program to provide support for pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, including increasing the number of daycare centers to 164 by 2025. For soldiers killed in combat or on duty, the ministry plans to revise the relevant laws to ensure their salary and treatment in line with posthumous honors and promoted rank.


The ministry will work to improve the service environment by reflecting changes in the community. Considering the characteristics of young service members, who are accustomed to the digital environment and place a high value on fairness, the ministry is working to extend cell phone use time for service members and modify how military leave for service members is calculated, including holidays. The ministry also plans to develop a program optimized to the combat mission, including nurturing the physical strength of about 200 combat trainers by managing a development center for physical strength in combat for armed forces.


Regarding the non-battle areas, the ministry will expand its private sector outsourcing. In this context, the ministry plans to increase civilian workers in the non-battle area to 47,000 persons by 2027, and plans to actively use civilians, such as civilian cooks and facility maintenance workers, and to additionally discover another private sector for outsourcing and expand its application from 2024.


Regarding the strengthening of the military human rights protection system, the ministry has specified its direction in the following statement: “we will come up with measures to prevent the violation of human rights and relief measures in cooperation with the military human rights protection officer, strengthen the prevention of sexual abuse and the victim protection and support system, and work to establish a fair and trusted military judicial system.”



Fostering the defense industry as a national strategic industry


The ministry will strengthen the defense export backup system on a pan-government level, including the expanded management of the ‘defense industry development council,’ for the development of the defense industry. The ministry also plans to provide support for defense exports by using human networks via diplomatic offices. Regarding the support for exports, the ministry plans to prepare smart defense cooperation packages for each export type, including finished products, joint development and technology transfer, in order to respond swiftly to the needs of the customer country. The ministry also plans to make an analysis of the diplomacy, acquisition plan, economy, and industrial base of the customer country to establish a customized export strategy by country, and plans to diversify the export types, such as lease of military equipment and counterpurchase.


Significantly, the ministry plans to expand the opportunities for participation in the US global supply chain as a follow-up measure from the ROK-US summit, and to push ahead with concluding the ‘Reciprocal Defense Production-MOU (RDP-MOU)’ to spur the joint development of advanced technologies. The ministry also plans to analyze the economic feasibility and industrial influence on the domestic defense industry resulting from the conclusion of the RDP-MOU, and derive measures to protect the domestic defense industry.


The ministry also plans to pursue practical defense cooperation with European countries. Efforts here include the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the major countries in Europe, in line with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit follow-up measures, and the deployment of military officers responsible for defense work.


“The ministry will dramatically beef up our deterrence and response capabilities against omnidirectional threats, including North Korean nuclear and missile threats, so that the people can have trust in our military and feel secure. We will convert the armed forces into AI-based forces backed by advanced science and technology, and further strengthen the military bond of the ROK-US alliance and the combined defense posture. The ministry will support the ROK in 'taking a leap forward again’ with stronger defense power by faithfully carrying out the prescribed direction of defense policies and the relevant detailed tasks,” a ministry spokesperson said.

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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