U.S. Capabilities Will Remain Robust in Korea
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 21, 2004 The decision to send a combat brigade from South Korea to Iraq "makes sense," said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before the House Armed Services Committee today.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division will deploy from Camp Casey, South Korea, to Iraq in mid-summer. Some 3,600 troops will spend up to a year in Iraq. There has been no decision on whether the troops will redeploy to Korea following their service in the Middle East.
"We think this decision makes sense," Myers said. "We need those forces in Iraq, and we will still have sufficient capability in Korea to meet our commitments to the alliance there."
The chairman said that all U.S. moves in South Korea are centered around U.S. global basing posture. He said that in some cases, American forces are in the same positions they were when the cease-fire agreement was signed in 1953.
Part of the decision is to consolidate U.S. troops and reduce the global footprint of U.S. forces, he said. But part of it is to give more responsibility to the Republic of Korea armed forces. South Korea has 23 active, 11 reserve and seven homeland divisions. "These forces are well- trained, generally well-equipped, well-motivated and we've been passing various tasks to them," he said.
Even when the brigade deploys to Iraq, the United States will still maintain a "very robust presence to counter any threat from North Korea," Myers said. The United States has committed to $13 billion worth of enhancements to U.S. forces committed to the peninsula. The enhancements mostly in new anti-missile technologies, Stryker battalion rotations and command and control improvements will "make our forces even more robust to handle the threat," he noted.
When the brigade deploys, the 2nd Infantry Division will still have an infantry brigade, the division artillery, division aviation assets and most of the division support command assets, Army officials said.