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U.S. Forces, Korea / Combined Forces Command
Combined Ground Component Command (GCC)

  • KPA Concepts of Operations

  • OPLAN 5015 DPRK Attack
  • OPLAN 5026 DPRK Air Strikes
  • OPLAN 5027 DPRK MTW West
  • OPLAN 5028 DPRK MTW West
  • OPLAN 5029 DPRK Collapse
  • OPLAN 5030 DPRK Provocations

  • WATCHCON (Watch Condition)
  • DEFCON (Defense Readiness Condition)
  • OPCON Transfer

  • Foal Eagle
  • Key Resolve
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  • Units

    US Forces Korea
  • Eighth US Army
  • Seventh Air Force
  • US Naval Forces, Korea
  • Marine Corps Forces Korea
  • Special Operations Command Korea

    Combined Forces Command
  • Army Service
    Component Command (ASCC)
  • Combined Air
    Component Command (CACC)
  • Combined Naval
    Component Command (CNCC)
  • Combined Marine
    Forces Command (CMFC)
  • Combined Unconventional
    Warfare Task Force (CUWTF)

  • Korea Tour Normalization
  • The US has 28,500 troops in South Korea, a remnant of the 1950s era Korean War. The Pentagon says the troops are meant to deter North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. After months of sometimes-contentious negotiations, South Korea agreed in February 2019 to pay $925 million to support the U.S. military presence in 2020. That representeds an 8 percent increase from the previous year — but much less than the 50 percent spike Trump had demanded.

    Trump said 07 August 2019 that South Korea had agreed to “substantially” increase its share of the cost of the U.S. troop presence in South Korea. “South Korea has agreed to pay substantially more money to the United States in order to defend itself from North Korea,” Trump said. “Over the past many decades, the U.S. has been paid very little by South Korea, but last year, at the request of President Trump, South Korea paid $990,000,000." Trump added “South Korea is a very wealthy nation that now feels an obligation to contribute to the military defense provided by the United States of America. The relationship between the two countries is a very good one!”. Trump did not clarify how much more South Korea agreed to pay, but said negotiations with Seoul over cost-sharing had begun.

    However, South Korea said talks on the issue have yet to begin. Trump’s announcement comes a day ahead of U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s visit to Seoul. Local media had reported Esper was expected to raise the cost-sharing issue.

    The Commander of U.S. Forces Korea reaffirmed that the stationing of American troops on the peninsula does not depend on any peace treaty, or lack thereof, between the parties to the Korean War. In a statement released 15 February 2019, General Robert Abrams said the Seoul-Washington millitary alliance is stronger than ever, and has been serving as a strategic deterrent to any potential crisis or provocation. The statement came a few days after the Commander remarked to the Senate Armed Services Committee that American troops need to stay here UNTIL a peace treaty is signed with the North. That prompted speculation that the U.S. might withdraw its forces if a peace deal is signed.

    South Korea and the United States signed a provisional agreement on sharing the upkeep costs for stationing U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula. The two sides will hold a signing ceremony at the ministry building in Seoul on Sunday 10 February 2019. Chang Won-sam, South Korea's top negotiator in defense cost sharing negotiations, and his US counterpart Timothy Betts signed the deal. Before the ceremony, Betts also met with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. The allies agreed that Seoul will pay 1.038 trillion won, or about 922 million dollars at the current exchange rate, for the US forces each year. That's an increase of more than eight percent from 960 billion won, or about 852 million dollars. This was less than the one billion dollars or 1.13 trillion won the US had proposed. However, the contract would last only one year, leaving a burden for the allies to start negotiating the terms again in the coming months. Past agreements had been renegotiated every five years. Cost-sharing talks that started in March 2018 had been deadlocked over Washington's insistence that Seoul bear a much greater burden. The two sides failed to reach a deal by the December deadline. A US media report said US President Donald Trump had demanded during the negotiations that Seoul double its financial burden.

    The longtime U.S. security commitment to the Republic of Korea (ROK) has both legal and moral sanctions. US legal obligations are those under U.N. Security Council Resolutions of 1950, by which the US leads the United Nations Command, and the ROK/US Mutual Security Agreement of 1954, which commits both nations to assist each other in case of attack from outside forces. The US is also partner in the operations of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command (CFC), an integrated headquarters established in 1978, and is responsible for planning for the defense of the Republic of Korea. The Commander of USFK also serves as Commander in Chief of the United Nations Command (CINCUNC) and the CFC. As CINCUNC, he is responsible for maintaining the armistice agreement which suspended the Korean War on July 27, 1953.

    US Forces, Korea (USFK) is the joint headquarters through which US combat forces would be sent to the CFC's fighting components - the Ground, Air, Naval and Combined Marine Forces Component Commands. Major USFK Elements include the Eighth US Army, US Air Forces Korea (Seventh Air Force) and US Naval Forces Korea. USFK includes more than 85 active installations in the Republic of Korea and has about 37,500 US military personnel assigned in Korea. Major U.S. units in the ROK include the Eighth U.S. Army and Seventh Air Force.

    Principal equipment in EUSA includes 140 M1A1 tanks, 170 Bradley armored vehicles, 30 155mm self-propelled howitzers, 30 MRLs as well as a wide range of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, e.g., Patriot, and 70 AH-64 helicopters. EUSA has the capability to perform required tasks under various circumstances using this equipment.

    US Air Forces Korea possesses approximately 100 aircraft: advanced fighters, e.g., 70 F-16s, 20 A-10 anti-tank attack planes, various types of intelligence-collecting and reconnaissance aircraft including U-2s, and the newest transport aircraft. With this highly modern equipment, US Air Forces Korea has sufficient capability to launch all-weather attacks and to conduct air support operations under all circumstances. In the event the Seventh Fleet and the Seventh Air Force Command augment them, the capability of USFK will substantially increase both quantitatively and qualitatively.

    Limited manpower and equipment are allocated to US Naval Forces Korea, US Marine Forces Korea, and Special Operations Command Korea in peacetime. However, the US Pacific Command will augment these forces and commands should a crisis or war erupt, thus providing them with a higher combat capability.

    Prior to 2010, the vast majority of the 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea served one-year, unaccompanied tours. With tour normalization, assignments to South Korea would be more like assignments to Germany, Japan or other overseas installations. Single servicemembers typically serve two-year tours, and troops who bring their Families stay for three years. General Walter "Skip" Sharp took command of U.S. Forces Korea in 2009 advocating longer tours.

    Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, USA (Ret), assumed command of Eighth Army in Korea in 2010. Having so many dependents based in South Korea shows the U.S. is committed to the countries' partnership and the defense of the peninsula, Johnson added. “How much stronger can our commitment to the alliance be than to have our own families there with us with the clear potential to live in a dangerous situation?” Johnson said in December 2017. Keeping tours accompanied also allows soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to stay in Korea longer. Two- or three-year tours mean less turnover, and that kind of continuity makes it easier for U.S. and South Korean troops to operate together, Johnson said.

    Combined Forces Command (CFC)

    The role of Combined Forces Command (CFC) during the armistice is to deter war. CFC's wartime role is to defeat external aggression. Its mission statement is: "Deter hostile acts of external aggression against the Republic of Korea by a combined military effort of the United States of America and the ROK; and in the event deterrence fails, defeat an external armed attack against the ROK." The CFC is commanded by a US general officer that who reports to the National Command Authorities of both countries. CFC's military power resides collectively in the ROK Armed Forces, US Forces in Korea, and US augmentation from the Pacific and the United States. The security cooperation between the US and the ROK is extensive. Some of its key elements are combined defense planning, intelligence integration and sharing, a sophisticated logistical interface, educational exchanges, and defense industry cooperation.

    Decades of fragile peace marked the history of "post-war" Korea, where the longest armistice ever remains tenuously in force. For most of these years, the directing headquarters was the United Nations Command (UNC), which had also directed combat operations in the 1950-53 war. The defense structure in Korea was eventually overtaken by the professional growth and development of the Republic of Korea's (ROK) armed forces. As early as 1965 it was recognized that what worked in the war could be significantly improved by increasing ROK participation in the planning structure.

    A combined operational planning staff, developed in 1968 as an adjunct to United Nations Command/United States Forces Korea/ Eighth United States Army Headquarters and the U.S.-led 'I' Corps (Group), evolved in 1971 as an integrated field army headquarters. However, it was not until 1978, as a bilateral agreement related to the planned U.S. ground combat force withdrawal of that time (subsequently canceled in 1981), that the senior headquarters in Korea was organized, as a combined staff.

    Established on November 7, 1978, the ROK/U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) is the warfighting headquarters. Its role is to deter, or defeat if necessary, outside aggression against the ROK. To accomplish that mission, the CFC has operational control over more than 600,000 active-duty military personnel of all services, of both countries. In wartime, augmentation could include some 3.5 million ROK reservists as well as additional U.S. forces deployed from outside the ROK. If North Korea attacked, the CFC would provide a coordinated defense through its Air, Ground, Naval and Combined Marine Forces Component Commands and the Combined Unconventional Warfare Task Force. In-country and augmentation U.S. forces would be provided to the CFC for employment by the respective combat component.

    The CFC is commanded by a four-star U.S. general, with a four-star ROK Army general as deputy commander. Throughout the command structure, binational manning is readily apparent: if the chief of a staff section is Korean, the deputy is American and vice versa. This integrated structure exists within the component commands as well as the headquarters. All CFC components are tactically integrated through continuous combined and joint planning, training and exercises.

    Combined Ground Component Command (GCC)

    The Combined Ground Component Command (GCC) is led by the Commander-in-Chief (CinC) of the Combined Forces of Command and his staff. The Combined Field Army (CFA) was composed of the US Second Infantry Division, the Third Republic of Korea Army (TROKA) and the Seventh Republic of Korea Corps. The Capital Defense Command (CDC) is an independent command within the TROKA's area of responsibility, defends the metropolitan Seoul, home to ten million Koreans. The CFA, CDC and the First Republic of Korea Army (FROKA) form the Combined Ground Component Command (GCC).

    In April 1990, the United States Department of Defense announced a program to shift gradually the United States military presence in South Korea to a smaller and more supportive role as international political conditions and strengthened South Korean defense capabilities permitted. As part of this program, the United States and South Korea also agreed to disband the United States- Republic of Korea Combined Field Army and to separate the Ground Component Command from the Combined Forces Command during the 1991-1993 period. The two countries further agreed to appoint a South Korean senior officer as commander of the Ground Component Command.

    In the joint statement issued after the close of the twenty-third United States Republic of Korea Security Consultative Meeting in November 1991, both countries declared that they had "agreed to postpone the second stage reduction of United States forces in Korea until such time as the North Korean threat and uncertainties of developing nuclear weapons have disappeared and the security in this region is fully guaranteed." This fact meant that withdrawals would stop once United States forces were drawn down to the 36,000 target for stage one. It was also confirmed at the meeting that the United States Republic of Korea Combined Field Army would be dissolved and that a Korean general would be made Combined Forces Command ground component commander in 1992, further decreasing the United States Profile.

    Despite the impression of total American control of Republic of Korea armed forces via CFC, the Korean units are independent forces. Only during time of war, does the Korean units subject itself to the CFC. Otherwise, Korean military operate independent of CFC in peacetime.

    The major field training exercise was the Team Spirit series that began in 1976 and grew to nearly 200,000 ROK and U.S. participants commensurate with increased perceptions of the North Korean threat. U.S. participation in the exercise included augmentation forces of all services tactically deployed to the ROK from other Pacific bases and the continental United States. This exercise was last held in 1993.

    Separate ROK and U.S. command post exercises were combined as Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL) in 1976. UFL is an annual joint and combined simulation-supported command post exercise that trains Combined Forces Command personnel and major component, subordinate and augmenting staffs using state-of-the-art wargaming computer simulations and support infrastructures.

    At the unit level, frequent no-notice alerts, musters, and operational readiness inspections insure combat preparedness for ROK and U.S. forces. Both countries are pursuing ambitious modernization programs to maintain a viable ROK/U.S. military posture that will convince North Korea that any form of aggression or adventurism will fail. The ROK is making strides in equipment improvement through a rapidly expanding domestic defense industry, as well as purchases from foreign sources. U.S. efforts toward modernization include newer, more powerful weapon systems, greater mobility and helicopter lift capability, and vastly increased anti-armor capability.

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    Page last modified: 12-08-2019 11:08:11 ZULU