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Command Transfer Issues Still Linger

Posted November. 24, 2006 06:50,   


Will Korean and U.S. forces use a joint command and control Internet network? Or will they have a separate network to boost military self-reliance?

Korea and the U.S. agreed that Korea will independently exercise wartime operational control and will dismantle the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC), but it seems that they have different ideas about how to run and operate the Command-Control-Communication-Computer Intelligence (C4I) infrastructure that is at the core of modern warfare after dismantling the CFC.

The C4I issue has emerged as a focal point of discussions over the command structure transition between the two alliance members, foreign and security authorities and officials of the CFC said Wednesday.

One Korean government official said that Seoul and Washington have agreed in principle to dismantling the CFC and to the timetable for the transfer of wartime operational control, but software restructuring, which involves C4I, has been confirmed to be a dividing issue between the two countries.

Another official said that while Korean forces are sharing the U.S. Global Command and Control System (GCCS), it is the official stance of Seoul that after the dismantlement of the CFC, the Korean forces will use the Korea Joint Command and Control System (KJCCS), which is under construction by Korea, in a message delivered unofficially to the U.S.

Korean forces using the KJCCS will still exchange intelligence in case of contingencies with the GCCS.

The official stressed that building up an independent command and control structure is another pillar for realizing military self-reliance along with the assumption of wartime operational control.

However, the U.S. signaled that even after the removal of the CFC, it will allow Korea to share the US C4I in the interests of collective security, said one official.

In fact, Burwell Bell, chief of the CFC, has said that the U.S. and Korea can finalize the transfer of wartime operational control within three years and that the Korea-U.S. military alliance readjustment will not be that complex given the fact that the two still will share C4I while dismantling the hardware of the CFC.

One U.S. military official said that there have not been specific discussions regarding C4I and that it certainly will be a vital issue.

One military expert in the private sector said while Korea and the U.S. for once managed to agree on the grand premise of the transfer of wartime operational control, a close look into details reveal that the two have been dreaming two different dreams.