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Budget cuts may undercut Korea’s defense: U.S. group

Organization stresses ‘Strategic Landpower’ for peninsular defense

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Published : 2014-08-24 20:44
Updated : 2014-08-24 20:44

The Association of the U.S. Army has voiced concerns over the negative impact of the congressionally mandated budget cuts, or sequestration, on its mission to counter a “dynamic” North Korean threat and secure peace on the peninsula.

In an article recently published by its Institute of Land Warfare, the private outfit pointed out that the impact of sequestration is felt most directly in forward areas such as South Korea.

“It is imperative for the Army to recruit, retain and develop adaptive, resourceful and responsible leaders who are capable of meeting the challenges posed by a dynamic threat in a forward area,” the article reads.

“Regrettably, the unpredictable fiscal environment in the U.S. ― in particular, the budgeting difficulties created by sequestration ― is making execution of this imperative even more challenging.”

Indicating possible shifts in Washington’s priorities for military modernization, the article also noted that the 8th U.S. Army’s requirements in Korea demand “sustained investment” in modern advanced equipment.

“Deterrence of rogue regimes requires numerous skills and capabilities resident primarily in the Army such as maneuver support, intelligence, surveillance, ballistic missile defense, force protection, stockpiled strategic material and engagement with strategic partner militaries,” it said.

“These enduring capabilities for Korea are directly and negatively affected by shifts in priority for modernization ― another impact of sequestration.”

According to the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts for fiscal years 2016-2021, reductions in defense spending will exceed $1 trillion. Pentagon officials argue that the cuts will compromise national security, unless Congress changes the budget law.

The article by the Institute of Land Warfare also stressed the role of ground forces on the Korean Peninsula, arguing that “strategic landpower” is the most tangible and enduring measure of America’s commitment to defend its interests, protect its friends and defeat its enemies.

“Security and war are fundamentally about people, culture and decisions ― the human domain of conflict ― and strategic landpower exists to shape this domain and prevail throughout it,” it said.

The emphasis came as competition apparently exists among the U.S. armed services with Washington focusing more on air and naval power after more than 13 years of ground warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. is currently developing the AirSea Battle concept, a new warfighting concept intended to maximize the synergic effect through cooperation in all military domains ― air, sea, land, space and cyberspace.

The Army has apparently been concerned about Washington focusing more on air and sea domains, particularly in terms of budget allocations ― a reason why it has been stressing “Strategic Landpower” through close collaboration among the Army, Marines and special operations forces.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)

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