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Comprehensive Countermissile Operation
Tailored Deterrence Strategy (TDS)

The Kill Chain is South Korea's own missile defense program along with the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system. A kill chain is a preemptive strike system that targets North Korean missiles before they are launched. More specifically, it is the process by which the military uses its various intelligence assets to detect, track, and carry out a precision strike on a target.

The ROK military has strengthened deterrence and response capabilities by developing the Tailored Deterrence Strategy (TDS) — a joint strategy between the ROK and the United States - in the face of WMD threats from North Korea, including nuclear weapons and missiles. The establishment of the “Kill Chain” and the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) is also in progress to enhance response capabilities in the early phase of war.

In a speech for Armed Forces Day on 01 October 2013, President Park Geun-hye discussed keeping up a strong allied defense system with the United States. In particular, she said South Korea would be “quickly securing abilities to counter nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction, including through the Kill-Chain system and the Korean Air and Missile Defense system” in order to “make sure that the North Korean regime recognizes that the nuclear arms and missiles to which it clings are no longer useful.”

The ROK and the United States established the concept and principles of the “Comprehensive Alliance Counter-missile Operation” at the 46th SCM on October 23, 2014. The purpose of this document is to strengthen the defense of the Korean Peninsula by utilizing the Alliance’s capabilities against North Korean missile threats. The term “comprehensive” refers to improving the response capabilities against North Korean missile threats in all areas of 4D (detect, defend, disrupt, and destroy).

  1. Detect: Support for the efforts to defend, disrupt and destroy by managing information, surveillance and reconnaissance assets
  2. Defense: Active and passive defense to minimize the damage and disruption to friendly forces
  3. Disrupt: Kinetic and non-kinetic attacks against North Korea’s missile infrastructure
  4. Destroy: Attacks against transporter erector launchers (TELs) and support assets

The Alliance’s Comprehensive Countermissile Operation is an operational-level response concept established in accordance with the strategic level Tailored Deterrence Strategy, and the Kill Chain and the KAMD system of the ROK military constitute important elements in executing this operation.

South Korea curtailed its budget for beefing up the country's missile program against North Korea's nuclear and missile weapons for fiscal year 2014, an October 2013 budget proposal showed. According to the budget plan submitted by the finance ministry to the National Assembly, the government set aside some 1.19 trillion won (US$1.11 billion) to build the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and establishing a pre-emptive missile destruction system, the so-called "Kill Chain" for 2014. The proposal was smaller than the defense ministry's request of 1.23 trillion won. The Kill Chain is designed to detect signs of impending missile or nuclear attacks from the DPRK, to launch pre-emptive strikes to eliminate the threat by using cruise and ballistic missiles to support the missile defense system.

The ministry earmarked 839.2 billion won (US$703 million) for 2016 for its ongoing projects to build the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) and Kill Chain systems by the early 2020s, according to a news release by the ministry. Under the earmarks, the ministry has set aside 298.3 billion won for introducing high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles for 2016, about 270 billion won more than was budgeted for this year. More than 174 billion won has been earmarked for upgrading the military's lineup of Patriot missiles for 2016, compared with only 35.4 billion won this year. The budget also includes funds for introducing mid- to long-range guided missiles and bombs as well as research and development projects for a surveillance satellite and reconnaissance planes equipped with spy functions.

North Korea's Pukguksong-2 missile launch on 12 February 2017 prompted calls among some for a revision in South Korea's preemptive strike capabilities. The newly developed intermediate-range ballistic missile can be fired from a mobile launcher without loading fuel in a process experts warn could be completed in just a few minutes. Representative Lee Cheol-woo of the [newl named] Liberty Korea Party compared the missile to those launched from submarines, saying they are virtually impossible to strike preemptively. He and other policymakers said it was time to take a fresh look at South Korea's "Kill Chain" and "KAMD" (Korean Air and Missile Defense)" preemptive strike systems and make adjustments as necessary.

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