03 July 2018
The USFK relocated its headquarters last Friday to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, America’s largest overseas base about 70 kilometers south of Seoul, from Yongsan at the heart of the South Korean capital.
The relocation farther away from the inter-Korean border could give the USFK more room to look at its place in the broader regional security context, experts said, though Pyongyang’s still-potent nuclear and missile threats may continue to compel it to focus on the deterrence function.
Despite the constraints, the USFK has continued to reconfigure its force structure with the introduction of rotational forces that would make it more agile and maneuverable, and highly adaptable to various combat environments.
“The U.S.-ROK forces have for years debated the concept of ‘strategic flexibility’ for supporting new roles, missions, and capabilities that would cover a wider, multifunctional expeditionary context, including regional contingencies beyond the Korean Peninsula,” said Michael Raska, assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
But the professor noted that it is “too soon” to conclude that the North Korean threat has dissipated in a way that enables the U.S. troops in the South to look immediately beyond the peninsula.
“So for now, the USFK-ROK forces will likely focus on core capabilities to ensure the deterrence and defense of the ROK. In the long run, however, the U.S. may shift its strategies to focus more on countering China and Russia’s power projection in East Asia,” he said.
GPO / IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 04/07/2018