The Defense Ministry will hold random inspections of all Marine Corps bases within the year to stem abuse among soldiers, a military official said Wednesday.
“The ministry will form special inspection teams involving different areas, such as operations and personnel, and will conduct random checks on Marine bases from August to the end of the year,” said the source.
“Soldiers and commanders who are not making efforts to change their barrack culture and eliminate bad customs will be severely punished.”
According to a high-ranking military source, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin ordered the ministry and Marine Corps officials to conduct surprise inspections and to reprimand those who do not show signs of reform.
Marine bases will not be notified before they undergo inspection.
New rules were announced yesterday, stating that enlisted soldiers do not have the authority to order junior comrades, and those caught committing abuse in any form will be severely punished.
The military has focused on this issue since July 4 when a corporal opened fire at his base on Ganghwa Island near the maritime border with North Korea, killing four soldiers and wounding one. The corporal pointed to a deep-rooted tradition in the corps where soldiers collectively brand particular soldiers as outcasts and force even junior soldiers to ignore them, on top of harassment by seniors.
“If these special inspectors spot bad practices among Marines, they will report to commanders and recommend appropriate punishment for such cases,” said the source.
“The ministry will decide later whether to expand these special inspections across all branches, after all military commanders complete their own inspection of their units next month,” he said.
By Robert Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)