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Next year’s defense budget settled at KRW 54.61 trillion… 3.4% increase compared to this year

Military operation cost

To improve army training centers and military cafeterias

To add sexual abuse counselors

Focus on creating a healthy barracks life

Defense improvement cost

KRW 90.5 billion for the mass production of small armed helicopters

Organization of major weapons systems such as large transport aircraft

Increased budget for wheeled command post vehicles, etc.

Next year’s defense budget settled at KRW 54.61 tr

The defense budget for 2022 has been fixed at KRW 54.61 trillion, an increase of 3.4% compared to the previous year, through a vote held at the National Assembly plenary session on December 3.

The government proposed a budget of KRW 55.23 trillion to the National Assembly, reflecting the budget to improve the welfare of the soldiers and to meet the demand to enhance the military power to prepare for all-round security threats. The budget proposed by the government was reduced by KRW 720.3 billion during the National Assembly deliberation process. However, some areas of funding were increased, such as KRW 84.1 billion in the budget for the improvement of the army training center facilities, the increase of sexual abuse counselors, and the recommendation of the joint private-public-military committee to improve the barracks culture, and KRW 198 billion for improving defense capabilities such as the increase of wheeled command post vehicles, which in total reduced the budget by KRW 616.5 billion compared to the budget proposed by the government.

Military operation cost: Reinvestment of reduced funds into other projects such as improvement of military cafeterias

Military operation costs were cut by KRW 55.8 billion at the National Assembly deliberation. On the other hand, the decreased financial resources have been reinvested in other projects, which means that the budget for reinvestment has been increased by KRW 28.3 billion compared to the government plan. Thus, in total, KRW 37.92 trillion has been budgeted for such projects, an increase of 5.8% compared to 2021.

The projects for which the budget was reduced include KRW 39 billion for four facility projects such as construction of new buildings, and in this case it has been confirmed that business conditions had changed after the creation of the government plan; KRW 6.6 billion for individual combat systems due to changed unit prices of parts such as panoramic sights; and, KRW 5.3 billion for the acquisition of drones and control vehicles to guard an air base that is now in the pilot stage.

The reduced amount has been reinvested into the improvement of dormitories and cafeterias at the Army Training Center (KRW 3.3 billion), transportation subsidies for private cooks (KRW 2.6 billion), an increase in the number of sexual abuse counselors (KRW 1.3 billion), and increased fuel costs (KRW 65.2 billion).

As a Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesperson explained, “Next year’s budget has been organized with an emphasis on innovative improvement of the quality of military meals, ensuring a productive and healthy barracks life for soldiers, smart defense innovation to take the lead in the future battlefield, active support for those who fulfill their military service obligations, and the establishment of an elite national defense manpower structure, reflecting the essential requirements for military forces operation such as logistics, facilities, and education and training.”

Defense improvement cost: Organized 32 projects, including mass production of small armed helicopters

The defense improvement cost has been set as KRW 16,691.7 billion, a decrease of 1.8% compared to 2021. The budget has been planned for 32 weapons system projects, including KRW 7.2 billion for light aircraft carriers, KRW 11.2 billion for ultra-small satellite systems, KRW 18.9 billion for long-range artillery intercept systems, KRW 90.5 billion for the mass production of small armed helicopters, KRW 20 billion for improvement of F-35A performance, and KRW 15.8 billion for the second round of construction of high-capacity transport aircraft.

The budget has been increased to KRW 19.8 billion, including KRW 6 billion for wheeled command post vehicles, KRW 1.8 billion for organizational equipment reinforcement, KRW 8.3 billion for follow-up mass production of Korean-style mobile helicopters, and KRW 560 million for the establishment of the Defense Industry Technology Protection Center (tentative name) of the Ministry of Defense Technology and Quality.

As the need for a second review of the air control system has been raised, KRW 328.3 billion was cut from the budget, representing the largest portion of the reduced amount for the budget to improve ROK military forces. In addition, a total of KRW 664.5 billion was cut from the budget, including KRW 35.3 billion for large mobile helicopter-II, KRW 22.4 billion for special warfare support ships, KRW 12 billion for Golden Eagle Batch-II, and KRW 18 billion for mobile long-range radars.

As a Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesperson commented, “The MND and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration will work to ensure that the budget plan is executed without any setbacks, and will thoroughly supervise the establishment of the military force to proceed as planned,” adding that the MND reflected the financial resources required to secure advanced weapon systems to respond to comprehensive security threats as well as supranational and non-military threats, enhance defense R&D technology competitiveness, and foster the domestic defense industry.”

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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