Change on the Korean Peninsula and North East Asia:
Transformation of U.S. Military Strategy After 9-11.
response to global security changes the U.S. adopted
the "1-4-2-1" plan as a new strategy for the
21st century. Previously, the U.S. applied the "win-hold-win"
concept - a strategy to fight and win one major regional
contingency, with enough force to hold another foe at
a stalemate until the first battle is won, and then
to move the forces to the second theater. The "1-4-2-1"
strategy, in comparison, is as strategy of greater aggression.
The new military strategy "1-4-2-1" means:
"1" Defend the United States; "4"
Deter aggression in four critical regions: Europe, Northeast
Asia, Southwest Asia, the Middle East; "2"
Maintain the capability to combat aggression in two
of these regions simultaneously; and "1" Maintain
a capability to "win decisively" up to and
including forcing regime change and occupation in one
of those two conflicts "at a time and place of
our choosing." Northeast Asia, which includes the
ROK, is one of four critical regions in which the United
States plans to maintain strong forward deployment forces
to protect its national interest.
'1-4-2-1" strategy was first suggested in 2001,
and formulated in 2002. Now that the strategy has been
adopted, the US military must realign its troops to
maximize the effectiveness of its global military transformation.
November 11, 2003 U.S. President George W. Bush announced
the 'Global Posture Review (GPR) which called for repositioning
of U.S. forces in Europe, Asia and other regions around
the world. On August 16, 2004 Bush announced a major
reduction: up to 60,000~70,000 U.S. military personnel
in Germany and ROK over a ten year period.
current global deployment pattern of U.S. troops, including
those in Europe and Asia, were established during the
Cold War. However, the current deployment pattern makes
little sense today. Therefore, the Global Posture Review
and military transformation is a shift from static defense
to a more easily deployable and usable set of capabilities.
shift is a fundamental change from a Europe centered
military strategy to an Asia centered strategy, one
which considers China as the potential enemy.
of USFK Under Military Transformation
to America's military strategy, the role of USFK is
changing from a defensive posture against North Korea
(for the last 50 years) towards a more flexible, rapidly
deployable force for the wider Asia-Pacific region.
Specifically, USFK will become more mobile and readily
available throughout the Asia-Pacific. South Korea and
the U.S. refer to this as "strategic flexibility"
for the USFK.
goal of USFK transformation, and its broader focus as
a rapid deployment force in the Asia-Pacific theater,
is to constrain China. The United States has tightened
its control over the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast
Asia and Northeast Asia; it has strengthened its ability
to respond to this outstretched "arc of instability".
By enveloping China, the U.S. attempts to deter the
challenge and potential threat posed by a rising power.
Moreover, the United States is prepared to intervene
militarily if a conflict between China and Taiwan arises.
the relocation to Pyeongtaek will put U.S. troops outside
of North Korean missile range. This will give the United
States time to respond to a North Korean attack, which
the U.S. will be able to destroy within minutes. With
air force (K-55) and naval forces in Pyeongtaek, the
U.S. will be able to achieve their military goals by
committing USFK troops throughout the Asia-Pacific region,
including China and North Korea.
of USFK Second Division to Pyeongtaek
U.S. will relocate USFK as part of its 'Global Posture
Review' (GPR) plan. The U.S. will relocate Yongsan Garrison
and the USFK Second Division to Pyeongtaek around 2008.
Relocation plans will center around two major hubs in
Pyeongtaek and Pusan/Daegu.
purpose of the Pyeongtaek relocation is to increase
the capability of USFK into a rapid deployment force
for the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. will reduce its
present level 37,000 troop force to 25,000 troops by
the end of 2008. In 2005, 5,000 troops were already
relocated. This move is related to military transformation,
which is designed to maximize advanced technological
to U.S. military plans, the expansion of USFK's role
relegates Korean military policy to a much more subordinate
position. Meanwhile, the plan integrates the Korean
military more tightly into the triangular ROK-U.S.-Japan
military alliance. Lastly, the ROK becomes a forward
base and staging ground for an invasion of China, and
a logistic hub for wars fought overseas.
expansion of USFK's role in the Asia-Pacific implies
U.S. troops will be stationed in Korea indefinitely.
However, because ROK military capabilities are superior
to North Korean capabilities, the U.S. has no reason
to remain on the Korean Peninsula. Moreover, it forces
the Korean military to increase its national defense
budget and influences the formulation of military policy.
Thus the expansion of USFK's role prevents peaceful
unification of the Korean peninsula. It also prevents
peaceful economic and security cooperation in Northeast
South Korea and the U.S. plan to enact legislation to
expand the USFK's role through "strategic flexibility"
meetings and the security policy meeting (SPI) of the
ROK-U.S. military alliance. By reinterpreting the ROK-U.S.
Mutual Defense Agreement through a joint statement,
the two countries stretch the limits of the geographical
application of the ROK-U.S. military alliance. Using
ambiguous expressions such as "contribution to
Asia-Pacific peace and stability", "disaster
relief", and "prevention of terror and proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction," the U.S. and ROK
legalize the expanded role of the USFK.