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Key Resolve/Foal Eagle
RSOI/Foal Eagle

The United States and South Korea are planned to not carry out large-scale military exercises this spring. The spring exercises, known as Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, would be replaced with "smaller, mission-specific training," US officials told NBC News, which first reported on the move 01 March 2019. The Foal Eagle exercise is the largest of the annual joint exercises carried out by US and South Korean forces. In the past, it has involved 200,000 South Korean troops and nearly 30,000 US soldiers.

The spring exercises had frequently been condemned by North Korea, which views them as preparations for invasion. News of the possible scale-down came shortly after the end of US President Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Trump had frequently complained about the costs of the exercises, telling reporters that the annual drills were "very, very expensive." Trump said at the end of the summit in Hanoi "I was telling the generals, I said: Look, you know, exercising is fun and it's nice and they play the war games. And I'm not saying it's not necessary, because at some levels it is, but at other levels it's not".

The annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises between South Korea and the United States started early in March 2017, and this year, the drills incorporated something new. A Korean government official said 08 February 2017 the military's new 4D deterrence strategy was part of the exercises for the first time.

During the drills, which use computer-based simulations and field exercises, the 4D strategy would be used to pre-emptively "detect, defend, disrupt and destroy" North Korean nuclear and missile facilities when an attack is imminent, in addition to defending South Korea. The allies agreed to include the 4D strategy at a meeting in Washington in October 2016.

The Joint Communiqué of the 48th U.S.-ROK Security Consultative Meeting of October 21, 2016 stated in part: "The Secretary and the Minister also praised the work of the Deterrence Strategy Committee (DSC) in signing the 4D (Detect, Defend, Disrupt, and Destroy) Concepts and Principles Implementation Guidelines (CPIG), which will strengthen the Alliance’s counter-missile strategy in the wake of a growing North Korean ballistic missile threat. The Secretary and the Minister committed to continue to develop policies and procedures to increase the execution capabilities of both the 4D CPIG and the Tailored Deterrence Strategy (TDS)."

The Korean official also said that there is possibility the U.S. advanced missile defense system THAAD could be integrated into the command post exercise scenario. A THAAD battery was scheduled to be deployed to South Korea by the end of the year to provide another layer of aerial defense against North Korea's missile attacks.

This year's Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises were the largest ever, and the two allies are reportedly also discussing the possibility of deploying a U.S. strategic asset to the peninsula during the drills. Some military officials and experts expect that B-1B, B-52 and B-2 bombers could be part fo the deployment, along with an aircraft carrier and nuclear submarine.

In 2008, the previously unnamed RSOI exercise held in conjuction with Exercise Foal Eagle was given the name Key Resolve. The 2 exercises continued to be conducted concurrently every year.

Reception, Staging, Onward movement, and Integration (RSOI) is a ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC), ROK government, simulation driven, OPLAN-oriented command post exercise (CPX) conducted annually along with exercise Foal Eagle (FE). Foal Eagle counter-infiltration exercises are large combined annual field training exercises for U.S. and ROK forces. FE is the Combined Forces' Command's primary FTX.

In 2001, RSOI combined with exercise Foal Eagle. Prior to 2001, RSOI and FE were conducted separately, and while both exercises independently met training objectives, analysis indicated linking the two could provide better opportunity to train all Combined Forces Command (CFC) echelons. Linking the two provided opportunity for leader mentoring at all levels, reduced operational tempo for CFC forces and cost savings, according to exercise planners.

Foal Eagle, a computer-simulated command exercise ended 13 March 2015. The annual joint military training exercises being conducted by the United States and South Korea have been accompanied by the expected - reciprocal missile launches from North Korea. Washington and Seoul say these regularly scheduled drills are necessary to demonstrate military readiness and resolve, but they also increase tensions and the potential for conflict on the Korean peninsula. The annual exercises mobilized around 10,000 South Korean and 8,000 US troops to conduct land, sea and air maneuvers. They also utilize computer-simulated conflict scenarios that involve responding to attacks and incursions from the North. The military exercises happen each year around the same time and have been held for about 40 years.

Key Resolve, which involved ground, air and naval deployments, is considered to be one of the largest joint military exercises conducted annually in the world.



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