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Aspiring military officers to face exams

Beginning next year, all aspiring commissioned and non-commissioned officers will be required to pass examinations, a measure to secure more competent military personnel, an official at the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday.

The official said that the aspiring officers should go through a comprehensive evaluation process to verify an array of factors including their combat skills, commanding capabilities and personalities.

“It is similar to the case in which people should take qualifying exams to become doctors or teachers. To become military officers, they should pass the exams from (next) year on,” the official said, refusing to be named.

“Those who have completed the educational processes have become officers. However, we want to nurture combat-ready troops and only those who can fight and win will be commissioned.”

He added that those who fail to pass the exams will be held back or forced to leave the military’s educational institutions.

The military plans to form an evaluation group consisting of current and former military officers to appraise aspiring officers’ capabilities to conduct combat missions, teach battle techniques and lead military organizations.

The military appears to be aggressively pushing for the examination system even though there may be some positions left vacant due to those who fail to pass the exams, another military official said.

“When there are only 95 people who pass the exams when there are 100 openings, we will just leave the five posts vacant,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The military currently has a plan to reduce the number of entry-level military officers. The military had selected 6,900 officers each year until last year. However, it picked only 5,400 officers this year and plans to reduce the number to around 5,000 by 2020.

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