UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Ulchi-Focus Lens

In July 1976, in anticipation of the establishment of a Combined Forces Command, the annual ROK government mobilization exercise ULCHI was combined with UNC/USFK/EUSA’s CPX FOCUS LENS. Exercise ULCHI-FOCUS LENS was institutionalized to enhance ROK-US interoperability by training commanders and staffs from both nations in wartime planning, command and control operations, intelligence, logistics, and personnel procedures required for the successful defense of the Republic of Korea. The name of the exercise was changed in 2008 to ULCHI-FREEDOM GUARDIAN. ULCHI FOCUS LENS (UFL) was a ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC), ROK government, simulation driven, OPLAN-oriented command post exercise (CPX) conducted annually. UFL was held in the late summer, August / September time frame. The timing was such that the bulk of the summer personnel rotations are complete.

Ulchi Focus Lens was CFC's large scale warfighting command post exercise (CPX). It was an annual ROK-US combined forces government military exercise designed to exercise, evaluate, and improve crisis action measures and procedures for the combined war plans in the defense of the Republic of Korea in accordance with OPLAN and Supporting plans. It provides an opportunity for commanders and staffs to focus on strategic, and operational, issues associated with general military operations on the Korean peninsula. Ulchi Focus Lens was a CPX with the tactical situation portrayed through the use of computer simulation models and master scenario events list.

Ulchi Focus Lens was the world's largest computerized command and control exercise.

The exercise focuses on how U.S. and South Korean forces would defend against a North Korean attack. North Korea usually denounces the exercise, calling it a preparation for war. While Team Spirit field-tested ROK-U.S. military capabilities, Ulchi Focus Lens looked at readiness from the command post perspective. Still held annually, Ulchi Focus Lens trains Combined Forces Command personnel and major component, subordinate and augmenting staffs using wargaming computer simulations and support infrastructures.

The exercise combines the Republic of Korea's annual National Mobilization Field Training Exercise "Ulchi" with the annual theater level Command Post Exercise "Focus Lens." The scenario of the exercise was a coordinated land, sea and air attack by conventional forces against friendly forces on the Korean peninsula. Ulchi Focus Lens was a computer-based war game exercise with few field activities. Ulchi Focus Lens was the world's largest dynamic, simulation-driven battle staff training exercise. The target training audience was corp-level (or service equivalent) battle staffs and higher. UFL was designed to train the Battle Staffs of CFC and its component command's staffs. The simulations used are designed to train procedures for the new staff, and are not analytical. The simulation architecture includes the Air Force model (AWSIM), the Army model (CBS), the Navy model (RESA) and the Marine model (MTAWS) lashed together, and sharing common forces, targets and Battle Damage Assessments (BDA).

The purpose of UFL was to exercise joint and combined plans and procedures associated with the execution of the OPLAN for the defense of the Republic of Korea. The focus was on the strategic, operational, and tactical aspects of military operations on the Korean Peninsula; and demonstrates US resolve to support the ROK against external aggression while improving US/ROK combat readiness and interoperability. This joint and combined political-military training exercise emphasizes flexible deterrent options, ROK mobilization, U.S. reinforcement, and synchronization of deep, close, and rear battles.

The Ulchi Focus Lens Exercise was a comprehensive command post exercise (CPX), designed to enhance the conduct of war and specific warfare capabilities as well as to ensure a mastery of the procedures for specific warfare fighting capabilities. The exercise has been performed annually since its inception in 1976. It was the combination of the Focus Lens Exercise, which has been conducted under the control of the United Nations Command since 1954, and the Ulchi Exercise that has been held by the ROK since the attempted raid on the Blue House on January 21, 1968.

During the Ulchi Focus Lens Exercise, the ROK government's crisis management and ROK-US combined crisis management processes during the early stages of war are depicted through various situations from each operational phase.

'Ulchi' was a famous Korean general's last name. His full name was Ulchi, Munduk. He was the Commander-In-chief of Army of Kokuryu (ancient Korean nation that existed through B.C. 37 to A.D. 668). According to Korean history book, he was Commander in Chief at the time of Soo Chinese empire. Over three hundred thousands Chinese soldiers attacked Kokuryu in 612 A.D., but at that time Kokuryu didn't have that much military might, yet Kokuryo had Gen. Ulchi. During the fighting, Ulchi commanded his army to pretend to be losing. Reacting to what they thought was to be an easy victory, the Chinese forces advanced inside Kokuryu territory. This was what Gen. Ulchi wanted, since he was more familiar with the local terrain. He then wrote a poetic, satirical letter to the Soo commander. Ulchi was an eloquent writer and poet. He said something like, 'You have won as much you ever will, so why don't you save yourselves and take back your forces?'

The enemy was a bit confused. Taking advantage of their confusion, Gen. Ulchi attacked the Soo's forces at the Salsu River. There, Gen. Ulchi waited for the Soo's forces and attacked when they were halfway across the river. Only about two thousands Chinese soldiers ever crossed the river. This was one of the greatest victories of Korean history, which made Gen. Ulchi one of the Korea's great generals.

Ulchi-Focus Lens 1998

The Republic of Korea government and the U.S. government began the Combined Forces Command's annual command post exercise, Ulchi Focus Lens on Aug. 18, 1998. UFL '98 was the 23rd exercise in this series of regularly scheduled, routine training exercises. The exercise continued through Aug. 29 with approximately 13,000 U.S. Forces personnel participating. Servicemembers include those assigned to the Combined Forces Command Headquarters, elements of CFC's ground, air, navy, Marine, special operations component commands, members of U.S. Forces Korea and the small number participating from off-peninsula units. During the exercise's two phases, U.S. Navy participants in Korea developed complex wartime scenarios, and present them to the embarked staff, testing their ability to react and plan quickly. Using the latest in computer technology, the 7th Fleet staff monitored the "game play" and adjust as they would in a real engagement.

Ulchi-Focus Lens 1999

The Republic of Korea and the U.S. Combined Forces Command together conducted the 25th annual command post exercise Ulchi Focus Lens Aug. 16 - 27, 1999. The purpose of UFL was to evaluate and improve combined and joint coordination, procedures, plans and systems for the conduct of contingency operations of both nations' forces. About 56,000 South Korean and 20,000 U.S. servicemembers participated in 1999. The tank crossing on the Han River was one of the most visual parts of Ulchi Focus Lens. Soldiers fired blanks at a boat acting as a North Korean vessel, while military speedboats fired smoke shells to defend a bridge. Ulchi Focus Lens also included mock air raids and chemical weapons attacks on the capital during which all streets were cleared.

Ulchi-Focus Lens 2000

One of the largest U.S.-South Korean military exercises was scaled down in 2000 to avoid irritating North Korea. The South Korean military did not send as many reserve troops to Ulchi Focus Lens, said the spokesma. A large tank crossing on the Han River in the middle of Seoul also was canceled. in the wake of a successful summit June 13-15 between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the two countries sought to reduce tensions. In a major sign of progress towards easing military tension, North Korea has halted its vitrolic propaganda attacks against South Korea. In return, Seoul has promised to scale down military drills. For the first time during the Ulchi Focus Lens exercises, South Korea this year did not have troops and equipment in the field, although US troops were still mobilized. The I MEF Augmentation Command Element, commanded by BrigGen. Thomas J. Nicholoson, was focused on the area behind the front lines, where the battles are diverse and many times undefined. During exercise Ulchi Focus Lens 2000, I MACE explored its purpose on the expanding battlefield.

Ulchi-Focus Lens 2001

The 27th annual Ulchi Focus Lens exercise (UFL 01), a command post exercise combining the armed services of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the U.S., commenced with a ceremony 27 August 2001, at the ROK Marine Corps headquarters. UFL 01 was one in a series of exercises involving forces from the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. This year, approximately 13,000 American servicemembers are participating in the exercise. The Republic of Korea contributed close to 56,000 troops. The object of the exercise was to evaluate and enhance organization, procedures, and performance for contingency operations between U.S. and R.O.K. Marine forces. However, UFL 01 was just one in a number of standard exercises held annually in the Pacific region.

Nearly 900 people deployed to Osan's Tent City for Ulchi Focus Lens '01 began their return home Aug. 31 as the exercise came to an end. The Tent City beddown, which begin when advanced teams arrived in early July, was expected to be completed by Sept. 15. The Republic of Korea and the U.S. Combined Forces Command kicked off the 27th annual command post exercise Aug. 20. The 12-day exercise was a combined and joint training exercise conducted annually. It was a routine, regularly scheduled exercise involving forces from both the U.S. and Republic of Korea. The military drill came amid new signs of tension on the divided Korean peninsula triggered by the North's boycott of peace talks and reconciliation events with the South. To avoid controversy, the United Nations Command offered to meet with North Korean military officials to formally notify Pyongyang of the purpose of the joint military exercise, but the North declined to meet with them.

Ulchi-Focus Lens 2002

In Ulchi-Focus Lens 2002, USFK's capstone training exercise, USFK improved its Common Operational Picture with interactive command and control displays. USFK used the Common Operational Picture at all command levels to achieve common situational awareness. It also implemented a new collaborative planning and execution system to coordinate theater-level operations. Ulchi-Focus Lens 2002 provided an opportunity to test Integrated Total Asset Visibility and automated language translators.

Ulchi-Focus Lens 2003

South Korea and the United States announced on July, 21, 2003 that it will conduct the twenty-ninth Ulchi-Focus Lens exercise from Aug. 18-29, 2003 to test their preparedness. (A Korea-Net release incorrectly identified the start of the exercise as being 18 September).

The joint drill was to involve some 8,000 South Korean soldiers and 6,500 U.S. troops deployed in South Korea, along with troops sent here specifically for the exercise. Roughly 14,500 U.S. forces personnel are participating in the operation.

The CFC notified North Korea of the plan through the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) on the morning of July 21, 2003.

For Korean military units, the training provides chance to practice their wartime mission with U.S. forces. Around the peninsula, the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division conducted training around the peninsula prior to UFL 2003. The cavalry scouts of Troop B, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, carried out a mock wartime mission at the KTC Aug. 9. The AH-64D Apache attack helicopters of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment fired 80 Hellfire anti-tank missiles at an island off the coast of Kunsan, South Korea, Aug. 10. The live-fire exercise was the first over water firing for the battalion since 1997.

The infantrymen of 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, also known as "The Manchus," assaulted targets at Korea Training Center ranges at Bradley gunnery and infantry tactics training Aug. 11. The battalion conducts Bradley gunnery twice a year, but their operations tempo was always high.

For the Marines, Ulchi Focus Lens-03 will exercise the higher headquarters' staffs of the U.S. and R.O.K. military services through computer-driven gaming scenarios, providing the CMFC and R.O.K. staffs the ability to maneuver armies, corps, and Marine Expeditionary Forces on the computer-simulated battlefield. The staffs are participating in various locations throughout the Korean peninsula, with the majority of activity at the Korean Marine Corps Headquarters.

Ulchi-Focus Lens 2006

Exercise Ulchi Focus Lens '06 ran from Aug. 21 through Sept. 1 across the Korean peninsula. UFL, as the exercise was commonly known, takes place each year in the late summer. The command post exercise was designed to provide simulated combined training for U.S. and Korean forces and to strengthen the alliance between the two countries.

The exercises were designed to help teach, coach and mentor younger military personnel while exercising senior leader decision-making capabilities. Forces from all branches of the U.S. military and their South Korean counterparts practiced working together in an alliance that stretches back to the Korean War.

The Combined Forces Command year-round training program was essential to maintaining readiness to defend South Korea against external aggression, according to UFL officials. The exercise also demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the South Korean-U.S. alliance, while enhancing the combat readiness of both forces through combined and joint training.

2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment Soldiers showed their vigilance during Ulchi Focus Lens 2006. The Soldiers spent the two-week military exercise reacting to scenarios and providing airlift support to U.S. Forces Korea. They conducted air assaults, air movements, troop movements, emergency re-supplies, and personnel recovery as to support the ground component commander during exercises.

USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Seventh Fleet flagship, was under way on Aug. 18 to support U.S. Seventh Fleet in Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL). There were about 827 Blue Ridge Sailors manning the galleys, pilot house, engineering spaces and other behind the scenes work centers that kept the command ship fully operational for the exercise while staff and UFL embarkees concentrated on their mission.

They provided 3,600 hot meals a day for the duration of the exercise. Throughout the day it took about 60 Sailors to plan, prep, and cook the meals. Engineers took the necessary steps to generate enormous amounts of water for the hundreds of UFL participants onboard. More than 90,000 gallons of water was used each day for drinking, cleaning, and cooking purposes. The communications department about doubled their productivity during UFL by delivering more than 28,000 e-mails and 7,000 naval messages per day.

Ulchi Focus Lens 2007

This year's Ulchi Focus Lens, August 20-31. was the 31st of its kind. With the constant turnover of Air Force leadership in South Korea, UFL provides the forum for all military forces to hone and maintain unit and individual leadership skills. Ulchi Focus Lens 2007 was a simulation-driven, command post exercise involving both U.S. and Republic of Korea forces stationed here.

A small number of Airmen travelled to Korea to participate. More than 50 Military Sealift Command Reservists joined U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and Republic of Korea forces to form a combined sealift coordination center during annual exercise Ulchi Focus Lens 2007. Exercise UFL 2007 was a command post exercise, largely computer generated, that trains Marines to work with the Republic of Korea Marines, combining tactics and refining procedures for a real-world contingency. It ultimately maximizes the utilization of combined forces in the field.

Ulchi Focus Lens 2008

The Joint Theater Ballistic Missile Early Warning (JTBMEW) test team collected the data needed for analysis of the early warning system in March 2007. The next phase of the test produced a report on the analysis of the data and a draft early warning system operator’s handbook. The handbook was evaluated during Ulchi Focus Lens 2008 in August 2007 and a final handbook was published after the revisions were incorporated.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list