Thursday, April 21, 2011
Text Fwd: 'USFK ready to fight when called'
'USFK ready to fight when called'Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson
By Lee Tae-hoon
The commander of the U.S. 8th Army said Wednesday that the transfer of wartime operational control and troop relocation plans won’t affect his troops’ commitment to defend its ally.
In a media briefing, Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, who oversees some 20,000 of the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea, reaffirmed that his troops will always be fully prepared to counter possible attacks by North Korea.
He claimed that the relocation of U.S. bases and facilities to Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi Province will not create a security vacuum or make South more vulnerable to armed provocation.
“The plan for the move to Pyeongtaek is based on ensuring we have no gaps in our ability to execute the mission,” Johnson said.
The three-star general said the relocation will rather help his troops be better prepared to “fight when called on, and helps strength the alliance” between South Korea and the United States.
“We’ll take every opportunity to rehearse those movements to ensure our plans account for those movements and make sure the first consideration of every move is whether we are able to execute the mission,” he said.
He argued that his troops’ military drills outside the Korean Peninsula are coordinated closely with the South Korean military to ensure there are plans to bring that force back in the event they are needed here.
“So plans are made and transportation is available to make sure if it is necessary to bring them here quickly,” Johnson said.
The U.S. general denied media reports that the number of U.S. troops in the South has dropped more than 2,000 from 28,500.
“At any point in time, due to individual rotations, that number fluctuates in small measures,” he said, underlining that there has been no major reduction in the troop number.
He said individuals with specific skills have been dispatched to Iraq and Afghanistan, but those with “equal skills have been designated to backfill us to ensure we have capability we need here.”
Johnson added that his Army has just completed taking possession of the U.S. Army's newest M1 battle tanks and will deploy improved infantry fighting vehicles later this year.
Asked if there are any immediate signs of provocations from North Korea, including a nuclear or missile test, he said, “I’m not tracking anything out of the ordinary right now, but we stay very vigilant and are watching very closely.”
He noted that U.S. forces are observing forces in North Korea very closely in conjunction with the intelligence capabilities of the South Korean military.
USFK monitoring military movements in N. Korea 'very closely': commander2011/04/20 15:27 KST
미 8군 사령관 "전작권 전환 후에도 미군 임무 변화 없다"
"미8군, 야전군으로 임무 변경.. 해외 군사연습 참가 횟수 늘 것"