This year’s Key Resolve exercise will have a little twist with the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff leading it:
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff will lead a combined military exercise with the U.S. from a new command center in March amid growing threats from North Korea, military officials said Monday.
“During the upcoming Key Resolve exercise, Seoul’s JCS will be responsible for exercise planning and control, operation of opposing forces, and after-drill meetings,” an official at the defense ministry said.
The exercise’s command center will be set up in an underground bunker of South Korea’s Capital Defense Command, as the JCS will lead the annual exercise with the U.S. staff playing a supporting role, according to the ministry.
When the U.S. side led the exercise, the command center used to be set up at the bunker of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command.
The JCS led the Key Resolve drills in 2013 as South Korea was scheduled to regain wartime operational control (OPCON) from Washington in 2015. But the OPCON transfer was pushed back amid Pyongyang’s provocations. Seoul and Washington agreed on the “conditions-based” transfer, which observers say could come in mid-2020s. [Yonhap]
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