Swapping Seats

4 Jun

We Want to Buy USFK/I Can't Hear You, Bitch!I’m consistently amazed by how such a strategically indefensible state like South Korea manages to parlay vulnerability into real power.

The new outline for the US-ROK combined command structure that was disclosed on June 1 is nearly identical in structure to the existing Combined Forces Command. The major change is that the highest figure in the combined command structure changes from the commander of US forces in Korea to the chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The proposal was tentatively agreed upon before the meeting through working-level discussions between South Korean and US officials. It is based on the principle that there should be a unified command structure for ROK and US forces. In accordance with that, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff and the US forces in Korea are combined into the joint theater command, and the ground forces, navy, air force, navy, and special forces are placed under that as joint component commands. In order to preserve the symbolic meaning of wartime operational control being transferred to ROK forces, the chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff is appointed as commander of combined theater command, with the commander of US forces in Korea becoming second in command. Thus, the plan puts a South Korean army general in charge of the joint theater command. “You could say that the US and South Korea are swapping seats in the current arrangement,” an unidentified source in the Ministry of Defense said. In essence, the current combined command structure would be maintained, except for the fact that the ROK military would lead.

I’m trying not to scream right now. As a sop, though, the United States will maintain control of air force assets. Drones will come in handy if the United States needs to assassinate its new South Korean commander. Fortunately, the US secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to talk about this right now. I’m betting on delay and senility, and a positive display of government ineptitude.

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