USFK Chief Sees Base Relocation to End in 2015
By Jung Sung-ki
indicated that it could take five or six years before U.S. troops move
to a consolidated military base south of the Han River due to the size
and complexity of the massive relocation project.
Sharp, who also serves as chief of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces
Command and the United Nations Command, made the remarks in an
interview with the Stars and Stripes, a U.S. military news paper.
The four-star general didn't give an exact date for the move,
according to the newspaper. The base relocation had been set by
previous USFK commanders for 2008 and later for 2012.
The move of U.S. troops to south of Seoul is part of a broader U.S.
military realignment abroad and also a major step in the USFK shifting
to a supporting role in the next few years as the South Korean
military assumes the key responsibility for its national defense.
Observers see the mission of Camp Humphreys, the consolidated base in
Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, will be gradually less focused on the
threat from North Korea and more on threats elsewhere in the region.
Works to expand the camp are under way with investment of some $13
"We're progressing well," Sharp said, adding there are still
difficulties coordinating construction and moving troops and their
The move to Humphreys will roughly halve the number of U.S. military
installations in South Korea from about 105 to 45, said the commander.
Sharp said he was satisfied with the results of the latest Key Resolve
joint war exercises with the ROK military, which ended last Thursday.
Part of the exercise tackled what the two countries would do during
and before a North Korean attack, including trying to deescalate the
crisis before it turns into a war and how to bring in additional
troops, he said.
Citing the South Korean staff's active participation in the
simulation-driven command-post exercise, Sharp said, "They were in the
battle rhythm of us making decisions, of us coordinating with them, of
them giving recommendations.
"It was more than them just watching us. It was them participating
with us," he added.
South Korean commanders will take over operational control of their
troops during wartime beginning April 17, 2012. Currently, the USFK
commander holds the responsibility.
About 28,000 U.S. forces are stationed here as a deterrent against North Korea.
* Related article
Stars and Stripes ( * Information thankfully sent from Lindis Percy on March 21, 2010
USFK commander sees Humphreys move in 5 to 6 years
By Ashley Rowland,
Pacific edition, Sunday, March 21, 2010