ROK Troops Fire Shots at Possible Drone Flying Over the DMZ

It looks like the North Koreans have flown another drone over the DMZ:

South Korean troops fired warning shots at an “unidentified object” flying across the heavily fortified border from North Korea Tuesday afternoon, the South’s military announced.

The military detected the object traversing the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) southward in the Chorwon area in the eastern province of Gangwon at around 4 p.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It added the South’s military fired warning shots along with dispatching a warning broadcast.

A defense source said the military fired more than 90 K-3 machine gun rounds, adding it may have been a drone.

The South’s military is analyzing the object and its route and has beefed up its air defense posture, said the JCS.  [Yonhap]

It looks like the ROK military needs to get themselves fielded with these systems to counter the drones North Korea is increasingly using.

President Moon Warns Defense Ministry that Clashes Along Korean DMZ Are A “High Possibility”

I think President Moon is telling these ROK military leaders something they already know all to well:

South Korean President Moon Jae-In warned Wednesday there was a “high possibility” of military clashes along the border with North Korea as tensions mount over Pyongyang’s weapons ambitions.

Moon, who was sworn in last week, warned that the North’s nuclear and rocket programs were “advancing rapidly”, days after Pyongyang launched what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet.

“I will never tolerate the North’s provocations and nuclear threats,” he said on a visit to the defence ministry, urging the South’s military to adopt a “watertight defence posture”.

“We are living in the reality where there is a high possibility of military clashes” along the disputed sea border off the Koreas’ west coast or along the heavily-fortified land frontier that divides them, he said.  [Korea Herald]

You can read more at the link.

South Korea Announces It Will Buy Two More Israeli Green Pine Radars

South Korea continues to beef up its missile defense capabilities in an effort to keep pace with the North Korean ballistic missile threat:

The headquarters of South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA) in a photo provided by Yonhap News TV. (Yonhap)

South Korea said Tuesday it has decided to purchase two advanced early warning radars on incoming ballistic missiles as North Korea’s threats have grown.

The plan was approved at a regular meeting on arms procurement projects presided over by Defense Minister Han Min-koo, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA).

It plans to import the radars in the project starting within this year.

The South Korean military has two Israel-made Green Pine land-based radars in operation. It is seeking to acquire radars with the maximum range of more than 800 kilometers to better detect ballistic missiles fired by the North.

Initially, the defense authorities earmarked budget for the purchase of one more radar. But they have revised a mid-term defense plan to buy two more.

South Korea is in the process of establishing the so-called Korea Air and Missile Defense system.  [Yonhap]

South Korea Tests New Missile That Can Strike All of North Korea

The South Koreans are signaling back to the Kim regime that they to have advanced missiles that can target all of North Korea:

South Korea has successfully test-launched a new 800-kilometer missile that can reach anywhere in North Korea, defense sources said Thursday.

It could send another strong warning message to North Korea which is continuing its nuclear and missile development prohibited by the international community, they said.

“There was a test firing recently of a Hyunmoo-type ballistic missile with a range of 800km at the Anheung test site of the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) under the wing of the Defense Ministry,” an informed source said. “It’s assessed that it was successful.”

Defense Minister Han Min-koo inspected the test, in which the missile met the key requirements of normal blast, flight and the accuracy of hitting a target, added the source.  [Yonhap]

Picture of the Day: ROK Military Testing Their Own Version of the HMMWV

S. Korean-version Humvee

This is a South Korean-made high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle, which has been undergoing tests in South Korean military units since January. The South Korean version of the U.S. heavy vehicle manufacturer AM General’s Humvee is scheduled to be mass-produced from the latter half of this year. (Photo courtesy of Defense Acquisition Program Administration) (Yonhap)

South Korean College Students Struggle to Balance Mandatory Military Service with College

Here is an article that explains a challenge that all male Korean college students have to deal with, when to do your mandatory service:

A batch of new military recruits salute their family members on Jan. 16 in Incheon before entering training camp. [YONHAP]

Mr. Oh, a 24-year-old college student, wanted to serve his mandatory military service sometime between January and March of 2013. Aware that he would have to return to school upon his completion of duty, he wanted to hit the books straight away, making no time for staying idle.

In Korea’s current draft system, Oh needed to be wise about which month he starts and ends his service. In the best-case scenario, he could return to school right after getting discharged from the military. In the worst-case scenario, he would have to wait for an entire semester.

In the end, it didn’t work out for Oh. The competition was high. Way too many men had the same thoughts as him and the lucky-draw didn’t play out to his advantage.

Oh eventually began in June 2013, one of the least-expected – and most unpopular – month of the entire year.

He was discharged in March 2015, after the spring semester began.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but this is just another example of why I have a lot of respect for the Koreans that complete their mandatory military service.

Picture of the Day: ROK JCS Holds Meeting After Presidential Impeachment Vote

Defense meeting after impeachment

Defense Minister Han Min-koo (R) presides over a meeting of military leaders at the Joint Chiefs of Staff right after the National Assembly passed an impeachment bill against President Park Geun-hye in a vote of 234 for, 56 against and two abstentions on Dec. 9, 2016. (Photo courtesy of defense ministry) (Yonhap)

ROK Defense Minister Warns of North Korean Provocation as Impeachment Vote Looms

I would think the last thing the North Koreans would want to do is create a provocation that would distract attention away from their great enemy Park Geun-hye being impeached and removed from office:

South Korea’s defense chief called on the military Thursday to remain vigilant as North Korea might carry out a provocation amid the ongoing political crisis involving President Park Geun-hye.

On Friday, 300 lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties are set to vote on an impeachment bill against Park. The country has been engulfed by a massive corruption scandal involving Park and her close confidante since late October.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo made the comments during his visit to the 3rd Army headquarters, one of the country’s three field armies in charge of protecting Gyeonggi Province that surrounds Seoul from any military threats by North Korea.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Army’s New Ground Operations Command Part of OPCON Transfer Process

This is a big change for the ROK Army with the merging of FROKA and TROKA into one ground command that will lead to a large reduction in leadership positions, but more responsibility for the ROK Army:

rok army image

Official preparations are underway by the Ministry of National Defense to launch a Ground Operations Command, which will be central to the transfer of wartime operational control of troops and in defense reforms.

The Defense Ministry completed building facilities for the command within the Third ROK Army in Yongin, Gyeonggi, in October, a military source told the JoongAng Ilbo on Monday.

Starting from November, a temporary ground operations command was formed.

In an attempt to reform the military’s structure, the government merged the 1st and 3rd Armies to create the Ground Operations Command to lead frontline units in case of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula and will also function as the Ground Component Command.

The Defense Ministry did not announce the launching of a Ground Operations Command in its defense reform guideline for 2014 to 2030 released in 2014, leading to questions of how serious the ministry was about the plan.

Through the launching of the new command, the 1st and 3rd Armies will naturally dissolve. Thus, overlapping positions of the two armies are expected to disappear, which could mean as many as 10 general positions may be cut. Likewise, overlapping executive and commissioned officer positions are expected to decrease.

Once the Defense Ministry makes an operation plan for the command, it is expected to be tested out in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercise in August 2018.  (……..)

The Ground Operations Command is expected to be transferred the tasks of the Ground Component Command (GCC) as well. The GCC is charged with commanding ground operations of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces during an emergency on the Korean Peninsula and carrying out wartime operational control.

The GCC is currently helmed by the deputy commander of ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC). After the Ground Operations Command is launched, the deputy commander of ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command can focus on the role of supporting the CFC commander.

U.S. and Korean army officials will revise the combined operation plans so that the new command will be able to take on the tasks of the GCC.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.