A defense policy report focused on North Korea and the Korean Peninsula, not China, predicting a reduction in the ground warfare capability requirement of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) has been published. As the report came about during the time when the U.S. Department of Defense is planning to examine the redeployment of U.S. troops in the Indo-Pacific region, it is garnering attention on how the new report will affect related policies.
The Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) under the U.S. Army War College made the above argument in its report titled “An Army Transformed: USINDOPACOM Hypercompetition and U.S. Army Theater Design" published in mid-July. The report was commissioned by then-Secretary of the Army Mark Esper in 2018, Voice of America reported on Tuesday (local time).
The report predicted that China will become the biggest military competitor of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, given the recent developments. While Russia is focused on Europe and North Korea continues to deploy weapons of mass destruction and missiles, including nuclear weapons, the report forecasted that conventional forces of the U.S. will shrink. This means the importance of the U.S. defense strategy to address North Korean threats is likely to weaken over the next 10 years.
The report says that the U.S. troops’ forward deployment posture in the region to prepare for a second Korean War based on the experiences of the Korean War and the Cold War had been thought to be cost-effective but strategically irresponsible. It also added that demands for the USFK’s large-scale ground warfare capability will decline considering the transfer of wartime operational control and the modernization of the South Korean troops.