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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  130397

Title:  "Korea-US Build Strong Defense Through Cooperation." (900228)

Date:  19900228


02/28/90 *

(Editor's note: The viewpoints of the people quoted in this story were presented in January this year at the Fourth U.S.-ROK Defense Industry Conference held in San Francisco and sponsored jointly by The American Defense Preparedness Association on behalf of The Defense Industry Associations and The Korea Defense Industry Association)


(Second in a series on defense technology cooperation)

By Jane A. Morse

USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- Cooperation has been the hallmark of the security relationship between the United States and Korea for some 40 years, but today the nature of that cooperation is expanding thanks to a maturation process in both countries.

The changes in Korea, of course, have been widely publicized. In the last 40 years, the Republic of Korea has evolved from an impoverished, war-devastated country into one of the "economic miracles" of Asia. The United States, too, has changed from a country that economically and militarily dominated the world after World War Two to a nation that shares more equal partnerships with its friends and allies.

From the time of the Korean War through the 1960's, the Korean armed forces relied primarily on the United States for their procurement of defense equipment and services. This was accomplished through a variety of grant aid and credit programs provided by the United States. But the 1970's saw a huge surge in the Korean economy and its industrial capabilities. The United States supported Korea's burgeoning defense industry capability through the transfer of technical data packages, coproduction programs, license production programs and the construction of production facilities using U.S. Foreign Military Sales credits and grant aid.

The efforts of the Korean people, with support assistance from the United States, quickly saw fruition in a viable Korean defense industrial base, according to Brigadier General Fred N. Halley, chief of the Joint United States Military Assistance Group, Korea (JUSMAG-K). Speaking at the Fourth ROK-U.S. Defense Industry Conference held in San Francisco earlier this year, Halley noted that the Korean defense industry is able to manufacture over 150 U.S.-designed products such as ammunition, mortars, machine-guns, heavy artillery, helicopters, communications equipment and small arms. Halley pointed to the M109 Howitzer program and the K-88 tank program as significant successes in the areas of coproduction and license production programs.

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Today South Korea is a cash customer for defense equipment. In the past five years the ROK has spent 10,750 million dollars in force improvement, of which 70 percent went to U.S. sources. In the next five years, it is estimated that South Korea will spend another 23,600 million dollars in force improvements.

"It is important that both our countries, for political, military and economic reasons maintain and increase defense related business ventures," Halley told the audience of Korean and American defense industry experts at the San Francisco conference. Both countries, he noted, are working to remove some of the obstacles that have hindered cooperation in the past.

For example, in 1986, the U.S. Congress passed the Nunn-Quayle Amendment (Article 27 of the Arms Export Control Act), which provides authority for jointly funded research and development ventures with Korea.

Another important piece of legislation is contained in Title 10, Chapter 138 of the U.S. Code. With this authority, the United States can enter into agreement with selected friends and allies for mutual logistics support, supplies and services. An important part of this law is that it applies in peacetime as well as crisis.

According to James M. Compton, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial and international programs, these two pieces of legislation give the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) more freedom than it had just 10 years ago in that they allow the DoD to legally pursue cooperative arrangements and even encourage the search for cooperative opportunities with friends and allies.

At the San Francisco conference, Compton said the changing political and economic world environment will put increasing pressure on defense budgets and that "armaments cooperation will be the only affordable way to carry out the force modernizations that must take place until that time when the world no longer needs collective security alliances."

According to Compton, "there is no longer any such thing as an independent, stand-alone national defense industrial base. We are truly interdependent." Armaments cooperation, he said, "is going to be more essential in the future than it is now.

This viewpoint was supported by Ryu Joon-Hyung, executive vice chairman of the Korea Defense Industry Association. He noted that there has, in fact, been "a sharp increase" in international defense industrial cooperation which has developed "as a natural phenomenon" due to rising research and development investment costs caused by the complexity and sophistication of modern weapons systems, high procurement costs, fierce competition, and serious constraints on the export market.

"Although a good number of nations wish to run their defense industry independently and make it a pure national asset, they could not prevent their defense industries from becoming increasingly dependent on those of other countries

GE 3 epf304 in getting raw materials supply, parts and components, and other necessary materials," Ryu said.

The pursuit of an affordable common defense in the last seven years has resulted in at least nine agreements or memorandums of understanding on armaments cooperation between the United States and Korea. Compton noted that "in addition, the 45 existing data exchange agreements are used to facilitate exchange of research and development data to determine whether ongoing or planned efforts warrant establishing a cooperative project."

The Korean government, too, has taken important steps in fostering greater defense technology cooperation, according to Halley. Notably, the ROK government has liberalized its market access and has recently become a COCOM participant. (COCOM is the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls. Based in Paris, COCOM includes Japan and all NATO members, except Iceland. The organization, formed soon after the end of World War Two, maintains selective controls on technology that has both civilian and military applications.) The ROK government has also implemented the Government Security of Information Act, Halley said, and progress has been made in concluding a patent secrecy agreements. In addition, there are ongoing negotiations for agreements on the protection of intellectual property rights.

Improvement of the overall business climate, Halley said, improves opportunities for defense technology cooperation.

Government and industry must work together in both countries to realize the full potential from defense technological cooperation, according to Gerald D. Sullivan, former assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for technology, cooperation and planning.

"The government," he told conference participants, "is the buyer of defense equipment, provides financial help, sets the rules for industrial activities and makes and polices the political-security arrangements with the ally. The firms provide the talent and the industrial plant, undertake the developments, produce the equipments and components, market the products and arrange technical- financial-market deals."

Sullivan said the prospects for industry-to-industry defense technological cooperative projects look good because of successful patterns being established in the commercial world and because of the growth in Korean research and development capabilities. He praised the Korea Defense Industry Association and the American Defense Preparedness Association for jointly sponsoring the annual U.S.-ROK Defense Industry Conferences thus providing an important forum whereby defense industry representatives from both countries can exchange ideas.

He was not so optimistic, however, about the future of government-to-government defense technological cooperative projects, citing "the great difficulty allies have in establishing common requirements" as a principal deterrent to greater defense technology cooperation.

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"Military staffs frequently place different priorities upon equipment performance features, upon tactical trade- offs, and have different time and funding schedules for equipment modernization or replacement. This makes it nearly impossible to agree upon common requirements which in turn would lead to defined research and development projects," Sullivan said.

Colonel So Byung-Min, chief of the Indigenous Research and Development Division at the Defense Industry Bureau of the Ministry of National Defense, urged greater government involvement in providing an overall structure for defense technology cooperation efforts. "Today, the majority of technology cooperation (projects) between our two countries is being implemented chiefly on a case-by-case basis and issues are also being resolved in the same manner.

"But in order to further expand such cooperation, it is desirable that our two governments begin to develop more detailed and appropriate procedures to follow," So recommended.

According to Major General Lee Woo-Shik, second assistant minister at he Ministry of National Defense, "the ROK government is prepared to make every effort possible for future defense industry cooperation to obtain substantial results for the long run."

Lee proposed "role sharing in the technology field for balanced development of defense industries of our two countries. This will not only insure smooth technical assistance for joint research and development programs and improve our defense power to the maximum with the limited resources, but it also could contribute significantly to doubling the combat capabilities in time of an emergency through increase interoperability."

To this end on the U.S. side, the Department of Defense is establishing a new office in the Pentagon that joins the personnel involved with industrial base duties with the international cooperation experts, according to Compton who is involved in the project. He noted that armaments cooperation is a relatively new program in the United States, having only begun in the mid-1970s.

Compton acknowledged that the United States has "some improvements to make in our policies and procedures for dealing with technology transfer issues and with such matters as third party transfers of defense equipment containing U.S. technology.

"We are working on that," he said, and added that the secretary of defense has directed that the Pentagon devote increasing amounts of its research and development budget to cooperative programs.


File Identification:  02/28/90, EP-304
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Thematic Codes:  140; 5TT
Target Areas:  EA
PDQ Text Link:  130397

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