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General Says U.S.-South Korea Alliance Is Ironclad

May 18, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

The South Korea-U.S. alliance remains the cornerstone of stability and security in Northeast Asia. That partnership continues to grow through economic cooperation, mitigating threats to regional stability and fulfilling commitments to allies and partners in the region, the general nominated to lead the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea said.

Army Gen. Paul J. LaCamera testified today at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

1:41:22

"This remains a critical period in Northeast Asia and in Korea as we face persistent challenges with the development of nuclear and advanced missile technical systems, cyber capabilities, asymmetric and military technologies," he told the Senators.

LaCamera said he's aware of the challenges involved with competition and shaping the environment to prevent crises from escalating into conflicts. "I recognize the need to maintain readiness not just for conflict but for competition and to compete daily."

Being ready to fight tonight means maintaining capability and creating time and space to enable the diplomatic process, preserving options for leaders, he said.

Troops load rocket into launcher.
Munitions Squad
Airmen from the 51st Munitions Squadron assemble munitions during the Load Crew of the Quarter Competition at Osan Air Base, South Korea, April 16, 2021.
Photo By: Senior Airman Kevyn Allen
VIRIN: 210416-F-IK735-1004C

"I'm aware of the most sacred trust given to me to prepare our service members to fight and win on the most dangerous piece of ground, the last 100 meters," he said.

The foundations for success are a strong and effective integrated deterrence posture that brings to bear the unique capabilities and capacity of the entire joint, interagency and combined community, he said.

If confirmed, LaCamera said he intends to capitalize on the trust built with South Korean and other senior military leaders of allies and partners in the region while he was the commander of U.S. Army Pacific.

Medics haul stretcher during mock casualty exercise.
Training Team
At Camp Humphreys Multi-Purpose Training Range, the 502nd Field Hospital of the 549th Hospital Center, along with the 568th Medical Company Ground Ambulance and elements from the 1st Signal Brigade and 51st Medical Group from Osan Air Base culminate the end of a 9-day field training event with a mass casualty exercise to test the units’ medical capabilities in an austere environment, South Korea, May 1,2021.
Photo By: William Wight, DOD
VIRIN: 210501-D-MF586-877

"As my predecessors have done, I endorse the four long-standing United Nations Command Combined Forces Command and the United States Korea priorities, which are sustaining and strengthening the alliance, maintaining the armistice, transforming the alliance and sustaining the force," he said.

These priorities remain relevant, but if confirmed, as any incoming commander does, LaCamera said he will make adjustments based on new facts, changes in the environment, input and guidance from leadership, South Korea partners and his own observations to keep the alliance ironclad.