Wednesday, June 09, 2004

US Pulling Troops From Panmunjom

For fifty years, the Joint Security Area (JSA) or "Truce Village" of Panmunjom, which is equally divided by the border between North and South Korea, has been secured by military police of South Korean and the US Army, under United Nations Command auspices By 31 October of this year, South Korea will be providing 93% of the JSA security.

There is a yet finalized plan to remove 12,500 troops from the Korean peninsula altogether. This would represent a 1/3 reduction in US forces in Korea. The US Army also wants to remove soldiers from the many US Army camps north of Seoul and consolidate them in expanded bases south of the capitol city.

South Korea spends a great deal on defense, but this spending will need to be increased significantly to compensate for the reduction in US forces, as South Korea ramps-up and repositions its own forces.

Military and Political Brilliance

Kerry proposes to spend money to increase the Army by 40K. While troop increases are not inherently bad, the idea that we need to throw money at every problem to fix it is. The Bush administration has shown a great deal of fiscal responsibility in this matter by surveying our missions abroad and reassessing the level of need for US forces. This indicates an end to Cold War thinking about force requirements in Europe and Korea, where we wanted to have a strong projection of force regardless of need.

By reducing the number of troops on "static" projection of force missions in Korea and Europe and repositioning them in places where they can be deployed as the need arises, the US will have the rough equivalent (or more) of a new Corps-sized force - even if these forces are spread out among several stateside and overseas locations. This is a brilliant way to foster new military alliances abroad, in places like Poland, while enhancing the size of deployable forces at a relatively low cost.


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