Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A Roadmap North?

For over sixty years, 8th US Army has defended South Korea from North Korean mechanized invasion. But as the North Korean conventional military threat has rotted away, the mission is changing in what appears to be a very interesting way:

Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson released a roadmap called "How We Fight" to outline the mission change.

"The potential for proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the emergence of global competitors, threats to the global commons and of course the provocative and dangerous regime in North Korea, demand that Eighth Army now assume a more prominent ready posture," said Johnson in the guidance.

Eighth Army is also incorporating lessons learned from a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan to better enable it to seize the initiative from any opponent under the most challenging conditions in some of the most rugged, complex terrain in the world, said Johnson.

"Eighth Army is preparing itself for the full range of unified land operations," said Johnson. "We train to be ready across the spectrum of conflict."

Korea used to be a high-end spectrum game. We didn't have time for the full spectrum given the need to defend Seoul, home to a quarter of South Korea's population and sitting within artillery range of North Korean pieces, from a massive mechanized assault coming across the DMZ.

So now we will train 8th Army (with just a 2nd Division brigade combat team on the ground in South Korea, it is true) on the full spectrum of warfare? (Which ranges from peacetime missions all the way up to nuclear war.)

Seizing the initiative, WMD, and full spectrum scream not just a change in how we fight, but where we fight. I'd say that if North Korea goes belly up, we'll be going north of the DMZ with our South Korean friends.

And establishing a no-launch zone is just the the first phase line. Securing WMD sites, controlling refugee flows, humanitarian aid, maintaining order, and making peaceful contact with any Chinese forces coming south are all likely spectrum missions, I'd say.

UPDATE: Thanks to Stones Cry Out for the link.