Dunford: Readiness Not Compromised in South Korea
The end of high-profile U.S. and South Korean training exercises has not diminished warfighting capabilities, according to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford.
“I am very confident today that we have not compromised the readiness of the alliance to go to war, should that be required,” Dunford said May 29 at a Brookings Institution event in Washington, D.C.
In March, the U.S. announced it was permanently canceling its decades-old Key Reserve and Foal Eagle exercises, a move critics said would increase national security risks. Dunford said he wasn’t concerned. The large, high-profile exercises had both deterrence and public relations aspects, but smaller exercises and training events are enough to have mission-essential tasks completed. “At the squadron and the battalion level, there has been no change to training on the [Korean] Peninsula,” he said.
Dunford’s remarks are similar to what Army Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea and U.N. Command-Combined Forces Command, said May 22 during the LANPAC Symposium and Exposition, hosted in Hawaii by the Association of the U.S. Army. The U.S. plans command post exercises instead of large field exercises, he said.
Dunford said exercises at higher headquarters in the summer make sense, because that’s when there is high turnover in U.S. military personnel.
Big exercises can always return, Dunford said. Speaking of Abrams, Dunford said, “The moment he becomes uncomfortable with the framework that we have in place right now, he needs to come back to us, and we will make an adjustment.”