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Gen. Jung tapped as new JCS chairman

Army Gen. Jung Seung-jo, deputy commander of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, was tapped as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a reshuffle that affected five top military officers, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.

Lieut. Gen. Kwon Oh-sung, currently serving as chief of the JCS operations division, will be promoted to replace Jung, the ministry said as it announces its regular shakeup of four-star general-level officers.

The ministry said that it considered the top brass’ military expertise, professionalism and experience for the reshuffle that came after the last one was conducted last June.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Vice Adm. Choi Yun-hee was named the new CNO. Lieut. Gen. Park Seoung-kyoo, currently heading the Army Training and Doctrine Command, was appointed as new commander of the First ROK (Republic of Korea) Army. 

Rear Adm. Lee Ho-yeon, chief of the JCS combat readiness inspection division will be promoted to commandant of the Marine Corps, officials said.

Their formal appointment will come after the reshuffle plan passes through the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and gains final approval from President Lee Myung-bak. The reshuffle of three-star officers will be conducted in early November, officials said.

The JCS chief nominee is to go through parliamentary hearing following the presidential approval.

Born in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province in 1955, Gen. Jung Seung-jo served in a series of key army posts including commander positions at a South Korean contingent in Iraq, First Army Division and First ROK Army and chief of the Korea Military Academy. He is well-regarded for his expertise in military strategy and operations.

“Irrespective of which region and what community they are from, we have selected the officers based on their ability, professionalism and personality and their assets we can use for future military plans,” a senior ministry official told reporters, declining to be named.

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