16 April 2015
The increasing rotational presence of U.S. forces in South Korea is raising questions over whether their combat readiness would enhance deterrence against North Korea and whether their expeditionary nature would undermine their focus on peninsular defense.
In recent years, the U.S. has deployed a series of rotational units to Korea, including an 800-strong cavalry battalion and a fleet of 12 F-16 fighters, claiming they were better-trained, more agile forces that would enhance military preparedness and operational maneuverability.
But some observers say that the rotational troops of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea might be more easily deployed to undertake a broader range of tasks across the region rather than focusing wholly on peninsular security, and that their understanding of Korea-specific issues could be superficial.
“U.S. rebalancing strategy stipulates the need for realignment of the U.S. forces deployed on the Korean Peninsula, which would be gradually reconfigured toward supporting regional or even global missions rather than addressing traditional static peninsular defense,” said Michael Raska, research fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, affiliated with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015