U.S.-South Korea alliance

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare has released a new publication.

"The U.S. Army in Korea: Strategic Landpower at the Forward Edge of Freedom" (Torchbearer Issue Paper, August 2014) discusses the security interests shared by the United States and South Korea, and highlights the Army’s initiatives to support the alliance now and in the future.

U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) – a sub-unified command under U.S. Pacific Command – supports the United Nations Command and the United States–Republic of Korea Combined Forces Command as the joint headquarters through which U.S. combat forces are provided to the theater.

Eighth Army is an integral part of USFK.

Constituting the largest U.S. military contribution to the alliance, it is forward deployed to promote regional security and deter North Korea aggression.

If deterrence against the North Korean threat fails, Eighth Army stands ready to execute noncombatant evacuation operations and generate combat power for USFK, United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command, integrating U.S. forces on the peninsula and incorporating ground forces from coalition partners.

In 2009, the Army assigned U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) as the sole Army service component command in theater, and converted Eighth Army into a warfighting field army headquarters.

This move greatly streamlined the command of Army forces in the region.

As a result, Eighth Army is able to focus its assets fully on operational requirements and leave the execution of Title 10 functions to USARPAC.

Today, Eighth Army provides vital and unique contributions to the joint force, including intelligence, air and missile defense, theater communications infrastructure, sustainment and ground combat forces.

To help retain perishable deployment expertise, the Army has initiated the deployment of rotational units to Korea as a part of its regionally aligned forces initiative.

Rotational assets are modular and multifunctional; they improve Eighth Army’s readiness, interoperability with South Korean partners, deterrent value and flexibility to respond to crises.

They enhance the Army’s ability to sustain a diverse mix of rapidly deployable capabilities, adapt to meet a broadening range of requirements and provide scalable options in defense of South Korea.

Given the rebalance of U.S. military posture toward the Asia–Pacific theater highlighted in current U.S. national defense strategy, American commitment to the defense of South Korea and other regional allies and partners is vital.

Eighth Army has exemplified the enduring benefits of having strategic landpower positioned to defend U.S. and global interests at the forward edge of freedom.

Timely and predictable funding is critical to sustain these forces and continue to strengthen the U.S.–South Korea alliance.

This Torchbearer Issue Paper and other ILW publications are available online at http://www.ausa.org/ilw and can also be obtained by calling (800) 336-4570, Ext. 4630, or by e-mailing a request to [email protected].