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Defense 2040: Rebuilding the defense manpower management system to respond to future environment

At the ‘Defense 2040: Challenges and Blueprints’ conference:

Plan to rebuild defense manpower in the era of the demographic cliff
In-depth discussion with experts in defense paradigm shift 
Minister Suh Wook emphasizes the importance of Defense Vision 2050

Defense 2040: Rebuilding the defense manpower mana

It has been suggested that the concept of the total number of national armed forces should be established and a way to strengthen the law-based management system should be drawn up, in order to respond to the changing future defense environment.

Cho Nam-hoon, Chairperson of the Committee on Future Strategic Studies of Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA), made this suggestion at the presentation session of the ‘Defense 2040: Challenges and Blueprints’ conference, co-hosted by KIDA and Joongang Ilbo in Western Josun Hotel, located in Jung-gu, Seoul, on January 12, explaining the need to rebuild defense manpower in the era of the demographic cliff. 

Regarding the main issues to be considered in designing a future defense manpower management system, Cho pointed toward a reduction of standing forces to a proper level, expansion of the number of civil workers in the military, the re-establishment of required reserve forces and the introduction of a contract-based ‘supportive reserve forces (tentative name)’ system.

Cho introduced various research findings on defense policies and military strategies, including future threats, future defense policies, future military structure, and budget allocation plan, as well as defense manpower, saying that “We need to prepare for the establishment of a reasonable and efficient defense system, considering that defense can have an impact on the survival of the country, as the future defense environment will change rapidly.”

The conference was followed by an expert meeting, hosted by President of KIDA Kim Yun-tae. The meeting was attended by Kim Seong-han, a professor with Korea University’s Graduate School of International Studies; Kim Jeong-seop, vice chairperson of Sejong Institute; Kim Jong-dae, visiting professor with Yeonsei Institute for North Korean Studies; Noh Hoon, former president of KIDA; Baek Seung-joo, chair professor of Kookmin University; and Lee Jong-seok, chief researcher of Sejong Institute. The participants had an in-depth discussion on a ‘new paradigm shift in the outdated defense frame.’

“Defense Vision 2050 will create momentum to suggest the direction for the development of future forces beyond the Defense Reform 2.0 initiative, as well as function as a blueprint for future defense,” Minister of National Defense Suh Wook emphasized during his congratulatory address at the conference.

“Looking thirty years into the future, the ministry has established Defense Vision 2050, in order to predict and prepare for the future defense environment and security threats,” Suh said, stressing that “(our military) should take proactive measures in preparing for the rapidly changing defense environment.”

“Our military will strive to lead the future based on the newly established Defense Vision 2050, as well as its strong power as the sixth-largest military power in the world,” Suh added. “The North keeps threatening the peace and safety of the international community, including the Korean Peninsula, by enhancing its nuclear capabilities and developing various new weapons systems. Judging from the North’s trial launches of missiles twice this year, on January 5 and yesterday morning, the North is sending a strategic message, as well as asserting the strengthening of its defense power,” Suh also assessed.

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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  • (Presentation and Follow-on discussion)