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National defense policy: Achieving greater self-sufficiency in national defense

National Defense Policy: Achieving Greater Self-Sufficiency in National Defense
 
Achieving Greater Self-Sufficiency in National Defense
 
1. Historical Background and National Defense Posture
 
(1) Historical Background
Increasing degrees of self-sufficiency were achieved during the 15 years between 1993 and 2008during the three governments of the Sixth Republic: namely, the Kim Youngsam, Kim Daejung, and Roh Moohyun administrations. The year 1993 marks the first time that a politician without any military service record won the presidency through a popular vote. This period also saw the demolition of Hanahoe (“Group of One”), the secret group of military officers, as well as the transfer of peacetime operational control over the Korean forces from the United States to Korea.

This period began with the collapse of the Cold War and the emergence of a new world order ushered in by the United States. China and Russia nonetheless remained as powerful as ever in Northeast Asia, forming two of the four powers—the other two being the United States and Japan—and exerting impact on the state of affairs in the Korean peninsula. North Korea’s nuclear ambitions also manifested as a major regional security threat during this period, leading to the organization of the six-party talks involving delegations from the two Koreas and the United States, Japan, China, and Russia.

The Korea-U.S. alliance was maintained, but not without some changes, beginning with the transfer of peacetime operational control in 1994. The Roh Moohyun government launched a new defense policy that claimed a greater autonomous role for Korea on the basis of the strength of the alliance with the United States. Frictions arose between the two allies, however, especially over the issue of South Korea providing humanitarian aid for North Korea.

The Foreign Exchange Crisis that Korea suffered in the late 1990s briefly led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to rule the country’s economy and finance, and caused major setbacks in various sectors of society. South Korea nonetheless overcame this struggle to eventually become the 12th-largest economy in the world. Yet new forms of social malaise, including class polarization and the rampant youth unemployment rate, increased the demand for new types of government-sponsored welfare and educational services. The era of local self-administration dawned in Korea in 1992, opening up vital channels of participation for NGOs and watchdog groups. The decreasing size of the population, however, spurred anxiety over the future of troops and the military.
The MND during this period sought to contain North Korea’s threats and the growing uncertainty of the future strategic environment by pursuing competence-based national defense advancement and extending its strategic partnership network to include more countries worldwide. The National Defense Reform Committee (NDRC) came into being on April 15, 1998 and the National Defense Reform Act (NDRA) was enacted in December 2006 to provide institutional impetus and support for military reforms.
 
(2) National Defense Posture
North Korea remained the main threat to the South between 1993 and 2007, but armament rivalries among neighboring countries and the threats of nonmilitary and terrorist attacks worldwide also posed significant security issues. Though the Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000succeeded in increasing exchange and cooperation between the two Koreas, the North Korean regime nevertheless continued in its efforts to maintain military superiority, expanding its conventional warfare capacity and launching programs for developing weapons of mass destruction. The military-first policy has been the centerpiece of the North Korean regime since 1995. A North Korean constitutional amendment in 1998 gave the National Defense Commission authority over the military with former North Korean leader Kim Jongil acting as Supreme Commander-in-Chief (a role now passed to his son, North Korea’s current leader) (MND, 2004, 251).

North Korea’s upper hand in the area of military rivalry has remained unchanged since 1993. The North Korean troops assigned to the 38th Parallel represent a permanent threat to South Korea. As of 1993, South Korean military competence had reached only 60 or 70 percent of its North Korean counterpart.[1] The situation did not change much by 2004, except for the fact that South Korea had come to acquire more advanced weapons and systems.[2] North Korea is nonetheless continuing its development of nuclear weapons,[3] in addition to new firearms as well as mid to long-range missiles. North Korea revealed its military ambitions on June 9, 2002, when it provoked battles on the West Sea.

Nevertheless, efforts continued to be made to encourage more dialogue among the military officials of both countries in order to thaw the tension and build trust, culminating, at one point, in the Meeting of the Ministers of National Defense in 2007. Even while trying to dismantle decades-old animosity and distrust, however, the South Korean military continues to organize independent or combined exercises with the United States, including the Foal Eagle (FE), Ulchi Focus Lenses (UFL), and Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration (RSOI) exercises.[4]
In addition to these combined exercises, the Korean military also engages in its own, independent ones, including the Hwarang, Taegeuk, and Pilseung exercises. The Taegeuk Exercise, which began in 1996 and is organized every May, is a command post exercise that enhances the ability of the joint chiefs of staff (JCS) to plan wars and execute operations. The Pilseung Exercise, which also began in 1996, is a field training exercise organized by the JCS and controlled by the operation command with the aim of enhancing the capacity of corps to execute given war plans, cooperate with one another, and carry out warfare of a comprehensive scope. It enlists the participation of all the Armed Forces, and anticipates localized attacks as well as all-out wars on the coasts and in inland areas.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines also organize their own exercises. The Army’s battle command training program is aimed at improving the operational capacity of its units and corps, while the Navy participates in maritime mobilization training as well as combined exercises with the United States. The Air Force also organizes defense control and aviation blockade exercises.
South Korea’s entry into the United Nations began its involvement in peacekeeping missions around the world. It deployed its first peacekeeping troops to the civil wars in Somalia (1993 to 1994) and Angola (1995 to 1997), and has stationed peacekeeping troops in Western Sahara, Georgia, India, and Pakistan since 1994. Additionally, the Korean military has provided medics as well as naval, air, and ground transportation units and construction engineers for the war in Afghanistan since 2001,honoring the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) signed with the United States. Construction engineers and medics have also been dispatched to Iraq since 2003.
 
 
[1]By the end of 1993, South Korea had 655,000 troops, which is about 60 percent of North Korea’s 1.03 million. South Korean troops included 540,000 for the Army, 60,000 for the Navy, and 55,000 for the Air Force. North Korea, on the other hand, had 900,000 for the Army, 46,000 for the Navy, and 84,000 for the Air Force. South Korean ground forces included 11 corps, 50 divisions, and 21 brigades, to North Korea’s 18 corps, 53 divisions, and 99 brigades. South Korea’s land equipment included 1,950 tanks, 2,100 armored vehicles, and 4,600 field artillery guns, while North Korea possessed 3,800 tanks, 2,500 armored vehicles, and 10,800 field artillery guns. There were 190 combatant ships and two submarines on the South Korean side, while North Korea had 434 combatant ships and 26 submarines. South Korea also had 520 tactical aircraft and 620 helicopters to North Korea’s 850 tactical aircraft and 290 helicopters (MND, 1994, 74).
[2]As of the end of 2006, South Korea had 674,000 (peacetime) troops, which included 541,000 for the Army, 68,000 for the Navy, and 65,000 for the Air Force, as well as 3.04 million reserve forces. North Korea, on the other hand, had 1.17 million (peacetime) troops, which included one million for the Army, 60,000 for the Navy, 110,000 for the Air Force, and 7.7 million reserve forces. The South Korean military was comprised of 12 corps, 50 divisions, and 19 brigades of the Army, and possessed 2,300 tanks, 2,500 armored vehicles, 5,100 field artillery guns, 120 combatant ships, 10 submarines, 500 fighters, and 680 helicopters. Its North Korean counterpart, on the other hand, possessed 19 corps, 75 divisions, and 69 ground force mobilization brigades, and had 3,700 tanks, 2,100 armored vehicles, 8,500 field artillery guns, 420 combatant ships, 60 submarines, 820 fighters, and 310 helicopters (MND, 2006).
[3]North Korea launched the Rodong missile in 1993 and Taepodong-1 in 1998. The regime admitted to its nuclear program in 2002, and has since then faced mounting pressure from the United States and the rest of the international community to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
[4]The RSOI Exercise is comprised of command post exercises that envision the possible movements of U.S. augmentation forces deployed to the Korean peninsula in the case of a war. It features a series of activities from landing via onward movements to integration of U.S. forces, and practices the support, mobilization, and combat capacity restoration aid to be provided by South Korea.
 
Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.

  ##PAGE## 2. Main Features and Tactics of the Defense Policy and its Management
 
(1) Military Strategy
 
1) Military structure and defense organization
The Act on the Organization of National Armed Forces (AONAF) was amended on October 1, 1990, to reorganize the defense structure from a parallel system of three Armed Forces into a joint system. The amended AONAF also enhanced the power and ability of the JCS to command operations, while redesigning the Korea-U.S. combined exercises to serve as means of enhancing the self-defense capacity of the Korean military and re-establishing the Marines.

Korea and the United States signed an agreement in 1993 to transfer peacetime operational control over the Korean forces from the CFC to the Korean military by December 1, 1994, the first such agreement in the 44-yearhistory of Korea’s national defense.

The MND and the JCS recently implemented organizational reforms. The new MND organization provides better support for the core and essential functions of the defense policy, with the Acquisition Office newly added to ensure greater efficiency in defense capacity improvement projects. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration was newly created in 2007 to ensure the independence of the processes for researching, developing, commissioning, and acquiring weapons systems. The JCS and the headquarters of each armed force also gained greater information, communication, and personnel resources.
 
2) Military buildup
The overarching aim of military buildup from 1993 to 1997 was to establish a sufficient level of military strength that could withstand imminent threats from North Korea and counter the growing uncertainty of the future strategic environment simultaneously. The emphasis was thus centered on reorganizing next-generation infantry divisions, building up the aviation capacity of the Army, conducting field exercises, securing ground-to-ground guided missiles, and establishing an early alarm system.

The emphasis shifted between 1998 and 2002 to perfecting the capacity to deter North Korea’s initiation of war, and building up national defense self-sufficiency for the long term. Approximately KRW 24 trillion was invested in efforts to improve defense capacity. Even though the defense budget during this period went mostly towards countering North Korea’s threats, the South Korean military still lagged behind its rival.

The aims in military buildup from 2003 and onward have been: (1) enhancing the quality of military competence, over and beyond the conventional boundaries of troop-centeredness; (2) nurturing an information, knowledge, network, and science-focused military structure; (3) improving basic combat capacity to ensure the efficient operation of cutting-edge weapons systems and the effective mixing of high and low-tech weapons; and (4) enhancing defense research and development over the long run to secure the ability to develop state-of-the-art weapons systems.
The research and development policy took a step back in the late 1980s when the Korean government decided to develop and acquire weapons rather than fostering its own defense industry. The abrupt drop in the demand for conventional weapons in the 1990s further shrank the defense industry. Most defense research during the 1990s concerned on-land equipment and weapons and took place at the National Defense and Science Institute (NDSI). However, as attention gradually shifted to fostering private, non-military contractors, the NDSI turned more toward researching and developing complex weapons systems. By the dawn of the new millennium, the Korean military had secured the capability to design, produce, and test complex weapons systems, but still relied significantly on core techniques and components imported from overseas.
 
(2) Military Service and Mobilization
 
1) Military service
The active-duty terms of service were reduced to 26, 28, and 30 months for the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, respectively, in 1994 in an attempt to alleviate the military and financial burden on the people. The terms were further reduced to 24, 26, and 28 months in 2003, and the term for the Air Force decreased by yet another month the following year.

The civil defense service was abolished and replaced with the full-time reservist system. The abolition of the civil defense service led to a surplus of troops, and the full-time reservist service and public work systems were introduced to manage the available manpower. In the meantime, the alternative service system was created, abolished, and reintroduced in the 1990s, as the Korean military made efforts to make use of all available human resources by expanding the range of special cases or services as alternatives to serving military duty. The current alternative service system includes public works, public healthcare practitioners, public judicial officers, conscription doctors, specialized researchers, and industrial agents.

The government-downsizing and deregulation drive that peaked around the time of the Foreign Exchange Crisis in the late 1990s led to the return of some of the military affairs that had been handled by local administrations to local military manpower administrations in 2002. The Central Physical Examination Office was set up to ensure the fairness and transparency of examination results.

 In response to the growing informatization trend, the MMA launched an online portal for public services in 1999. Most information on military service and eligibility can now be found online. New measures were also introduced in 1997 to increase convenience for the people, in the areas of the pre-conscription examination system, the conscription postponement examination system, and the system allowing university-enrolled men to postpone conscription until graduation.
 
2) Mobilization
It was during this period that the reservist personnel system entered a new chapter of development. The names of the reserve forces changed in 1994, with Combat Unit 1 renamed as the Mobilization Reserve Force (MRF), and Local Combatant Units renamed as the Homeland Defense Reserve Forces (HDRFs). The officers in the reserve forces became eligible for promotion in 1999. Men in their first four years on reserve were assigned to the MRF, and those in their last four years were assigned to the HDRF.

The age limit on reserve duty had been fixed at 33 years of age since 1994, but was later lifted, with men who have completed their active duty now required to be on reserve for eight years after their discharge. The duration of reserve training exercises was also shortened in 2004 from two weeks to three days (and two nights), thus alleviating the military burden on the public and also enhancing the quality of exercises.

Mobilization agencies were given greater scopes of authority.[1] The methods of mobilization and operation were improved, and the range of men eligible for mobilization was widened, with the priority given to the MRF.[2] The War Game and other elements of science and technology were introduced to maximize efficiency,[3] while other systemic changes were made to minimize wastes in mobilization resources and increase efficiency.[4] The Emergency Planning Committee was renamed as the National Emergency Planning Committee in 2007.
 
(3) Military Administration
 
1) Military and administrative personnel
The number of troops in Korea continued to increase throughout the 1990s to reach 680,000 at its peak, while the quality of military personnel management consistently deteriorated. The Foreign Exchange Crisis of 1997 culminated in the Five-Year Plan for National Defense Reform in 1998, with organizational reforms, downsizing, and restructuring conducted not for the sake of better managing military personnel and resources, but for reducing fiscal burdens on the government struggling to lead a nation out of a deep economic crisis. It was during this period, however, that the concept of Total Force Management began to take root; a concept that has been molding military personnel management ever since.[5]

The sizes of ground and active-duty forces were reduced, while the Navy and the Air Force were expanded in comparison. The scope of voluntary services also increased, while the durations of military service terms were shortened. More emphasis was placed on professionalization and technical specialization among military personnel, and participation by the private-sector workforce increased. While personnel size and budget both dipped around the time of the Foreign Exchange Crisis, they have since been on the rise (Park and Lee, 1993, 62-63).

The retirement age was extended in 1993 to provide greater employment security for commissioned officers. A number of other changes were introduced in and after 1994 to enhance the status of soldiers and protect their rights and interests. For example, new institutional measures were introduced to ensure the employment of officers after their discharge from the service. The service branch systems of the Navy and the Air Force were also reformed in 1997. The retirement age for officers was lowered once again in 1999, and new measures were introduced in 2000 and 2005 to facilitate the process of recruiting military judicial officers.
 
2) Defense training
During this period, the Korean military focused more on deepening and improving the quality of education and training provided for soldiers and less on creating new agencies or organizations. Systematic efforts continue to be made to improve training. Defense training rules were established in 1993 under MND Order 465, and The Mid to Long-term Plan on National Defense Training was also published.

The military training organization now includes the Battle Command Training Program for the Army, created on November 20, 1993; Korea National Defense University (KNDU), founded on January 6, 2000; and the Air Force Logistics Management and Administration Schools, both founded on April 1, 2005. KNDU began to offer night programs for master’s students on February 4, 2002, and signed the Agreement on Military, Industrial, and Academic Partnership for the Development of Human Resources on December 22, 2004.

The MND also set up the National Defense Reform Committee (NDRC) on April 15, 1998, to organize and implement reforms in military training programs and other areas. It was with the NDRC’s input that reforms of a comprehensive and systemic scope, pertaining to all military academies and schools, were launched in 1999 for the first time in Korea’s history. In addition, the Korean military has developed and launched a number of new mid to long-term plans for automating and digitalizing training programs.
 
3) Defense budget
During this period, defense spending increased from KRW 9.2154 trillion in 1993, to KRW 11.0744 trillion in 1995, KRW 14.4774 trillion in 2000, and KRW 17.5148 trillion in 2003. The proportion of defense spending in the overall national budget ranged somewhere between 14 and 24 percent. Whereas 45 percent, 31.7 percent, and 23.3 percent of defense spending was spent on personnel management, strength reinforcement, and maintenance in 1993, the figures changed to 50.5 percent, 25.7 percent, and 23.8 percent, respectively, by 2003. In other words, the cost of personnel management came to claim over half of total defense spending.

The Planning, Programming, Budgeting, Execution and Evaluation System (PPBEES) continued to evolve throughout the 1990s. By 1995, the headquarters of each armed force began to estimate their own budget demands instead of the JCS. The military strength review and budget preparation processes were employed to determine the total amount of budget needed.

The number of steps involved in the process for acquiring weapons systems was reduced from nine to six in 1997, while the number of required documents in the planning stage was also simplified from 10 to five. Budget coordinating and executing departments were also merged into a single organization called the Office of the Project Coordination Officer.

Greater investments began to be made in 2002 to enhance the military’s research and development function. The Office of the Project Management Officer was abolished and replaced with the Office of the Research and Development Officer, and the JCS took on the function of testing and evaluating weapons systems.
 
4) Logistics
The decade of the 1990s saw the development of the Integrated Defense Logistics Support System as well as other new information and automated systems for logistics. Regulations on defense standards were loosened, and the military procurement sector was opened to the international economy with the ratification of the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement in 1993. The Korean government has been building and strengthening logistical partnerships with Southeast Asian states since 1995 (MND, 1997, 167-172). The electronic defense procurement system was launched in 2001 to enhance the transparency and efficiency of the military procurement process. The Public Procurement Service (PPS) also came to be charged with the purchase of commercial supplies for the military in 1999. The Military Supplies Safety Evaluation System was abolished in 2003 to allow private-sector contractors to provide supplies. The National Defense Quality Assurance System was introduced in 2003 (MND, 2004, 199-201), and the Defense Agency for Technology and Quality came into being in 2007 to improve the quality of military supplies.
 
 
(4) Relations with Civilians
The rise of the Kim Youngsam administration in 1993 marked the end of the military rule that had persisted over the previous three decades. President Kim Youngsam named his administration the “Civilian Government” accordingly. He launched a number of far-reaching and ambitious reforms, particularly aimed at ending the legacy of military rule and replacing the old military elite with new officers. Not only was the leadership of the military dismantled and the private associations of elite officers like Hanahoe brought down, but also many of the privileges given to military members were revoked and other in-depth administrative and institutional reforms were implemented. Former presidents Chun Doohwan and Roh Taewoo were arrested for their involvement in the military massacres of civilians and for corruption, and special legislative measures were enacted in commemoration of the Gwangju Democratization Movement, thus launching a new nationwide campaign for accurate historical records. The Civilian Government’s drive to depoliticize the military may have dampened soldiers’ morale to an extent, but it also succeeded in winning back the public’s trust. It was the Civilian Government that provided a new occasion for the military to transform itself from an elite political organization into the center of national security and defense.
President Kim Daejung called his administration the “People’s Government” and adopted a conciliatory stance toward members of both the military regime and the Civilian Government. The Kim Daejung administration sought to establish new military-civilian relations so that the military could make active contributions to the development and maturity of democracy in Korea. The principles and institutional implications of the Military Personnel Act (MPA) were reviewed and amended to maintain the military as a politically neutral institution. The People’s Government actively endorsed the liberal policies of the IMF in an effort to steer the nation out of the Foreign Exchange Crisis. This also led the MND to open itself up and disclose a broader range of information (with the exception of classified information)to the public. The MND also began to process civilians’ requests and complaints via the Internet, telephone and fax, and by in-person visits with officers. The Kim Daejung administration, in other words, sought to incorporate the military deeper into civil society, ensure the institution’s political neutrality, establish the lifelong education of soldiers, and improve public perceptions of the military. The “civilian-orientated” and reconciliatory principles introduced by the Civilian Government fed the democratizing of the military under the People’s Government.

The “Participatory Government” came into being in 2003 with the inauguration of President Roh Moohyun. President Roh was determined to realize comprehensive national defense reforms, appointing Yun Gwagung as the Minister of National Defense to enforce those reforms. Civilian control of the military is one of the most fundamental principles of democracy. President Roh sought to ensure that the MND, as a government organization, represented both civilians and the military, and that it maintained efficient control over and support for the military. Research was launched to explore the essence and application of civilian control of the military, and to find modes of applying that principle in the Korean context.[6] The MND, for its part, made efforts to enhance the participation of both civilian and military experts in the new military, devising and implementing more balanced and rational defense policies. It was with the Participatory Government that a new frame of military-civilian relations was established, motivating efforts to take the relationship to the next and more mutually beneficial level.
 
 
[1]The Mobilization Staff of the Army was abolished in 1995, with mobilization tasks decentralized and transferred to local administrations. In 1997 and 1998, however, those tasks were again centralized. Local military service organizations were abolished in 1999, and the central MMA gained greater resources to handle mobilization.
[2]The pre-mobilization system was expanded in scope in 1996 to include the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Mobilization priority was given to the MRF, with the HDRFs to be mobilized only when the MRF fell short. Mobilization priorities were also rearranged in consideration of the hometowns, service records, and specializations of the men to be mobilized. Army and Navy bases were re-designated for mobilization training, and the transportation policy for vehicles and trains was further improved. The mobilization of officers aged 41 or older was also postponed.
[3]The War Game, a military simulation computer program, was introduced in 1997 to test the feasibility of the mobilization plan and estimate the requirements and capabilities required for mobilization. A new program for estimating losses was developed in 1999.
[4]The units along major axes in the Seoul-Gyeonggi region were rearranged in 1997 to shorten the mobilization process. The early-war homeland defense capacity was also enhanced in 1999. The sites of mobilization were re-designated and unit and service systems fixed to facilitate mobilization.
[5]The concept of total force management places human resources at the core of military strength management, and seeks to maximize efficiency in arranging and operating standing, reserve, active-duty, and civilian human resources so as to augment the overall capacity of a given state to defend itself.
[6] For instance, programs on civilian-military relations were introduced into the military academies, colleges, and Korea National Defense University to instill the principles of political neutrality and civilian control of the military in officers and officers-to-be.

Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.