The Department of Defense announced today that after several months of close consultations, the United States and the Republic of Korea have reached final agreement regarding the June 2004 U.S. proposal to redeploy 12,500 U.S. troops from Korea. Throughout these consultations, the United States has made clear that it remains committed to the defense of the Republic of Korea, to the security and stability of the region and to a strengthened Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance. The future of the alliance is strong and will be adaptive to change and responsive to the needs of the Korean people.
During these consultations, the United States and South Korea fully considered the combined requirement to maintain a robust deterrent and defense capability while increasing combat capacity. Additionally, consultations considered the Korean publics perceptions regarding a potential security gap.
Specifically, the United States and the Republic of Korea agreed to the redeployment of 12,500 U.S. troops in three phases that will last until 2008. Inclusive in this redeployment is the 2nd Brigade Combat Team that was sent to Iraq in August.
The first phase will be conducted in 2004 and include the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and associated units. The redeployment in 2004 will total about 5,000 troops.
This agreement also includes the transfer of certain missions from U.S. forces to Korean forces, such as South Korean forces taking over security at the joint security area in the demilitarized zone, and the transfer of responsibility for rear area chemical decontamination to a special South Korean unit.
During the second phase, 2005-2006, the United States will redeploy a total of 5,000 troops (3,000 in 2005, 2,000 in 2006), comprising combat units, combat support and combat service support units, units associated with mission transfer areas, and other support personnel.
In the third and final phase, 2007-2008, the United States will redeploy 2,500 troops consisting primarily of support units and personnel.
As part of the agreement, the United States will maintain a multiple launch rocket system battalion and associated counter-fire assets on the peninsula, and initiate a review of U.S. Forces Korea pre-positioned equipment and make adjustments as appropriate.
The United States will continue the $11 billion investment in enhancing U.S. capabilities on the peninsula and in the region to strengthen its mutual deterrent with South Korea. Additionally, the transformation of U.S. Army units in Korea will continue and will lead to a significant overall increase in combat capability.