The Effects of Korean
Unification on the US Military
Presence in Northeast Asia



From Parameters, Winter 2002-03, pp. 120-32.

“The greatest and most fundamental future challenge to the US in the
Asia-Pacific region may simply be to maintain a presence.”


The Korean peninsula remains one of the last bastions of the Cold War. The United States has forward deployed approximately 91,500 personnel to the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, in part to deter North Korean aggression or to provide the initial military response if deterrence fails.2 However, ongoing diplomatic negotiations between the ROK and North Korea show the potential for a peaceful reconciliation and eventual reunification of the two nations. While a unified Korea is not a certainty, a political settlement on unification may be reached by 2015.3 Korean unification would be a catalyst for a major revision of the security architecture in Northeast Asia, involving not only Korea and the United States, but also Japan, China, and Russia.4 One of the principal US concerns is that the perceived regional stability would lead to a call for the withdrawal of US forces based in Northeast Asia. The groundwork needs to be laid now for maintaining a continued US presence after unification in order to fulfill our national interests.5

The focus of this article is on the impact of Korean reunification on the future US military presence in Northeast Asia. The size of US forces in the region should be based on a number of factors, including our national interests, geography, emerging threats, regional powers, the appropriate command and control structure, and the capabilities the individual services provide in attaining our military objectives.

The United States has a vital interest in a secure and stable Northeast Asia. Between 1950 and 1953, over 26,000 Americans gave their lives in defense


of the ROK and our national interests.6 In the 50 years since the Korean War, our national interests in the region have grown. The United States has security alliances with Japan and the ROK and enormous trade and economic interests in Northeast Asia. The US economy depends on access to these markets. Japan ranks as the world’s second largest economy, China as the third largest, and the ROK as the 11th.7 The United States conducts a third of its total trade in the East Asia-Pacific region.8

The region not only has strong economies, but strong militaries. China, Russia, and North Korea currently compose three of the five largest militaries there, while Japan has the most modern military force in Asia.9 China’s and the two Koreas’ historic distrust of Japan has been placated over the years by the US military presence in the region, thus enhancing regional stability. As part of the bilateral US military alliances with the Republic of Korea and Japan, the United States has provided air and maritime power projection capabilities for those two nations that might appear provocative if either had developed them on their own. If the United States withdrew from the region and a power vacuum ensued, the instability between nations with combined strong economies and militaries could lead to an arms race having detrimental effects on regional stability and the global economy.

Without the North Korean threat, however, the US force presence will have to adjust to meet the new security environment. Forces designed to face a specific threat will need to be reshaped to face regional contingencies. Taiwan, to the south, may still be an area of regional tension, but such transnational threats as terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking, and infectious diseases will be the most likely security concerns.10 Transnational threats will pose a greater problem unless Asian nations move forward with a multilateral agenda, rather than the bilateral or unilateral approaches commonly used now.

The US presence will have to be transformed into one that is smaller, is more expeditionary, has the flexibility to deal with numerous types of small-scale contingencies, deters other nations from seeking regional hegemony, and is capable of operating in a complex multinational and interagency environment. US forces will have to progress beyond joint and multinational operations, attaining increased coordination and action with US embassies and various national and international intelligence agencies, law enforcement personnel, medical facilities, and economic institutions if they are to defeat these transnational threats.11

Future forces must also be able to overcome the vast distances that separate key areas in the Asia-Pacific region.12 In such a vital region, there are few


US bases and little supporting infrastructure in comparison to Europe and Southwest Asia.13 The ability to project air, land, or maritime forces rapidly within the region requires a continued US force presence exercising operational reach. If bases become unavailable in the ROK and Japan, Guam will provide the closest US fixed facility to stage forces.

Korea—After Reunification

A unified Korea would resemble the ROK, rather than the failing state of North Korea. North Korea’s decades of international isolationism and prioritizing its military at the expense of economic development stand in stark contrast to the evolution of the ROK into one of Asia’s and the world’s strongest economies. The ROK’s military alliance with the United States has provided the nation with the stability and security necessary to focus its resources on its economy.

The Republic of Korea has not sought military parity with the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA), but instead has maintained strong and capable ground forces while relying on the United States in other critical areas.14 The United States provides the ROK with vital air, naval, command and control, and surveillance and reconnaissance assets.15 As the perceived threat from the NKPA has diminished, the ROK military has looked ahead and attempted to develop military capabilities to reduce its dependence on the United States and to meet future security challenges. The economic crisis of 1997 and the ROK government’s budget priorities, however, have stymied many of these efforts.16

It is difficult to imagine a well-balanced, unified Korean military capability being developed by 2015 based on the continued NKPA hostile acts, the ROK’s current economic constraints, and the financial costs that would be incurred with unification. The inherited NKPA’s antiquated and poorly maintained equipment would not fit within the future Korean security construct and would actually hinder modernization efforts rather than providing an expanded capability.17

Another source of potential liability and instability is the inheritance of NKPA weapons of mass destruction, possibly including nuclear weapons.18 With China and Russia both possessing nuclear weapons, a unified Korea would have to reassure Japan of its nuclear-free intentions in an effort to prevent the Japanese


from pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. With the continued coverage of the US nuclear umbrella, Korea could forego this threat to regional stability and maintain its nuclear-free status.

The countries of primary concern to a unified Korea will be China and Japan. Russia may be viewed as a secondary concern. A unified Korea would not be a regional power on the level of Japan or China, but its alignment with either of those countries would shape the regional security architecture. Although the ROK understands the significance Japan plays in its security today, that significance may diminish when Japan no longer serves as a staging base for US forces coming to the ROK’s assistance against the NKPA. Korea’s long mutual border, increased economic and political ties, and historical bond with China may lead to a stronger relationship with China, rather than Japan.19

A continued US military alliance with the ROK after reunification will depend on the Korean and US leaders at that time, public opinion in both countries, and the diplomatic challenges of a future defense pact.20 It is difficult to predict the national mood in either country 12 or 15 years from now. However, a Korean population confronted with increased urbanization, pollution, and nationalist sentiment—and no longer facing the NKPA or other perceived threats—may have to be persuaded of the strategic benefit of maintaining US forces on the peninsula.

A continued US force presence, albeit smaller, following unification would promote stability within the region and reduce the possibility of the ROK leaning toward China or Japan. The United States also would continue to provide the ROK outward security and stability as it deals with the expected internal financial, social, security, and political issues accompanying reunification. As Korea completes reunification and transforms its military from a ground-centric force to one having complementary naval and air components, it may assume a greater role and influence in security issues beyond Northeast Asia.

Japan—The Linchpin of US Security in Asia

In Asia, Japan has the largest defense budget, the most modern forces, and the greatest economic resources devoted to force improvement.21 Until recently, however, Japan has strictly adhered to its constitutional clause nine that prohibits it from having “normal” armed forces and allows for only self-defense forces.22 Japan has relied on the US military to protect its interests and access to overseas markets, such as the sea lines of communication through the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the Taiwan Strait. In exchange for regional security and stability, Japan has granted the United States basing rights in Okinawa and on the mainland of Japan.23

Domestic and international events, however, continue to pick at the US-Japan alliance. Japan has been under tremendous domestic pressure to reduce the US military presence on Okinawa, despite its strategic geographic location.24


While the Japanese have placed some pressure on the United States with regard to Okinawa, the United States has responded with its own pressure on Japan. The United States has pushed for Japan to become a more “normal” nation and assume a greater role in regional and international security. Five external developments have created an impetus for Japan to move in this direction:

Any move by Japan toward normalcy would undoubtedly be portrayed by some in China and Korea as a reemergence of its militaristic past. Because of Japan’s economic and technological capabilities, it has the capability to transform its military from a self-defense force into one capable of power projection. This transformation could be accomplished in a relatively short time. Although it is ultimately up to the Japanese to allay the concerns of their neighbors that Japan will not repeat its earlier transgressions against them, a continued US presence on Japan would go a long way in providing needed reassurance.

China—Facilitating Regional Stability or Instability?

The United States views China as the most significant long-term security concern in Northeast Asia. The Bush Administration has categorized China as “a competitor and a potential rival, but also a trading partner willing to cooperate in the areas, such as Korea, where strategic interests overlap.”27 The Administration states that China is not an enemy, and that its task is to keep China from becoming one. While the United States views China as having hegemonic aspirations within the region, the Chinese are equally concerned that the United States is pursuing a strategy of containment against them. China views the United States and Japan as the only two nations that could cause it major security concerns in Northeast Asia. However, China’s top security priority appears to be focused internally; it seeks a stable international environment so it might focus on domestic issues and economic development.28

China has increased its military spending, but as a historically land-based power, it has a long way to go to develop power projection capabilities. China lacks a blue-water navy, amphibious capability, aerial refueling assets, airborne early warning, and many of the other highly technological systems pos-


sessed by the United States and Japan.29 At China’s present rate of military transformation, it would probably be 2020 or later before China could effectively challenge the United States militarily.

China will be concerned about any US presence on Korea following reunification, especially if US forces are stationed above the 38th parallel.30 While China does not have a vote on the future US military presence in Northeast Asia, the intentions of the United States and the ROK on continued US basing need to contain a degree of transparency in an effort to promote regional stability.31 During the Korean War, China demonstrated its willingness to expend lives and national treasure to protect its interests.

Russia—A Player in Northeast Asia?

Russia’s military capabilities in East Asia have declined significantly in recent years, but its land border with a unified Korea and its nuclear weapons capability mean it cannot be ignored. Russia’s primary concern in Northeast Asia appears to be maintaining some type of influence over events affecting major policy decisions.32 While the United States has been guilty of excluding Russia from diplomatic initiatives in the past, it is now seeing benefits in encouraging Russia to play an active role in the East Asia-Pacific security arena.33

Russia’s influence and its ability to regain parity with China and Japan related to regional security matters depend to a large extent on its ability to deal with its own economic and political challenges. Until Russia fixes its internal problems, China and Japan will be the principal influences on the Korean peninsula.34

The Role of US Pacific Command

The former Commander of US Pacific Command, Admiral Dennis Blair, stated that whatever the future holds, it is in the best interests of the Republic of Korea and the United States to maintain a US presence on the Korean peninsula.35 Korean and Japanese cooperation, not rivalry, is the key to obtaining long-term stability in Asia.36 While Admiral Blair viewed North Korea as the biggest threat in his area of responsibility, he emphasized that Asia’s regional stability also hinges on China.37

Under Admiral Blair’s leadership, Pacific Command (PACOM) focused on trying to bring Asian countries to multilateralism while maintaining US bilateral relations. Only regional cooperation can defeat the transnational threats that pose the major security concerns of today and the future. While Asian nations have been slow to warm to the idea of multilateralism, the terrorists attacks of 11 September 2001 showed the necessity of nations working together regionally and globally to combat transnational threats. The 11 September events also highlighted the need for nations to work together using all elements of national power, posing the difficult task of coordinating diplomatic, economic, socio-psychological, and military actions to achieve success.


The future security architecture of Northeast Asia after Korean unification will necessitate a change to the way PACOM is structured. Some of the US forces currently stationed in Northeast Asia may be shifted to troubled areas in Southeast or Southwest Asia. Two of PACOM’s sub-unified commands, US Forces Japan (USFJ) and US Forces Korea (USFK), will also need to adapt to the evolving security environment. For the purposes of this article, the focus will be on USFK’s evolution.

US Forces Korea to Northeast Asia Command

In his report to the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2001, General Thomas Schwartz, former Commander of United Nations Command (UNC)/Combined Forces Command (CFC) and Commander, USFK, stated that the USFK role in the future will transition to Northeast Asia regional security. Korea’s reunification would do away with two and probably all three command hats that the United States currently maintains on the peninsula. There would no longer be a role for the United Nations Command to uphold the terms of the Korean War Armistice Agreement. The role of the Combined Forces Command during the armistice is to deter war and, if deterrence fails, to defeat an external armed attack against the ROK.38 Politically, it would be difficult for the ROK and United States to justify retaining Combined Forces Command without identifying China as a likely threat to a unified Korea. With USFK being the joint headquarters by which the United States provides combat forces to Combined Forces Command, USFK may no longer have a mission if Combined Forces Command is dissolved.

The follow-on organization to USFK and USFJ could be a US Northeast Asia Command (NEAC), a PACOM sub-unified command encompassing both Korea and Japan, focused on regional threats.39 If so, in order to gain Korean public support, the headquarters of NEAC should not be in the current UNC/CFC/USFK headquarters in Seoul; rather, the United States should return the Yongsan Garrison to the ROK. The United States agreed in 1990 to do so if the ROK provided an alternate site and funded the move. The relocation talks were suspended in 1993 due to the perceived financial costs and protests from locals at the potential new sites.40 The future location for an NEAC headquarters should be south of the 38th parallel, provide easy access to a major population center, and be near a major military or civilian airfield.

US forces stationed in Korea as part of an NEAC should remain primarily Army and Air Force, based on the long-term working relationship of these services with their Korean counterparts and the political sensitivities of introducing new forces. Both of these services would require a restructuring of their component organizations and bases. Within the next decade, a follow-on agreement should be executed to the Land Partnership Plan (LPP), in which the United States is returning significant parcels of land to the ROK in an effort to consolidate its bases, prevent encroachment, and improve efficiency in exchange for a


few smaller tracts.41 LPP II should include the return of the Yongsan Garrison and the Koon-ni bombing range in Maehyang-ri, Hwaseong, to the ROK; guarantee US access to ports and airfields for contingency operations; and provide for further consolidation and reduction of bases as the US force presence is reduced.

US Army

The Army combat presence in Korea is built around the 2d Infantry Division, which is composed of a heavy and light ground maneuver brigade, an aviation brigade, and its organic artillery. Additionally, a prepositioned heavy brigade set of equipment is stored on the peninsula.42 General Schwartz sought one Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) to replace one of the existing 2d Division brigades for both current missions and to complement the other services’ expeditionary capabilities as the focus transitions to Northeast Asia regional security.43 An IBCT is designed with specific operational and organizational capabilities and would be able to deploy rapidly and conduct early entry operations.44

Unless there is a perceived ground threat from China, which is viewed as unlikely, the Army forces stationed in Korea would need to be reduced and made more expeditionary in design, supporting General Schwartz’s desire for an IBCT.45 Most of the 2d Division could be returned to the United States, with only one IBCT, or perhaps two, and the prepositioned heavy brigade set remaining in Korea.46 US-based Army forces would need to continue training on the peninsula to gain experience in case a reinforcement capability is required.

US Air Force

With the exception of Guam and Diego Garcia, all permanent US Air Force bases in Asia are in Japan and the ROK.47 While the bases in Japan and the ROK are well-suited to counter the NKPA threat, geographic distances make these bases unsuitable to deal with many of the potential flash points in the East Asia-Pacific region. A distance of 500 nautical miles (nm) is considered the unrefueled combat radius of current and next-generation fighters, including the F-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter. If fighter support were required in Taiwan, US bases in Korea are 800 nm; Misawa, Japan, 1,400 nm; and Guam 1,500 nm away.


While these distances do not rule out US Air Force fighter support, they do lead to more complicated air operations with additional refueling support and reduced on-station time.48

Reunification would more than likely lead to a call for a reduced US Air Force presence in Japan and Korea. In Korea, US planners should be prepared for the potential loss of one of the two main operating bases and the possible movement of squadrons to Guam or back to the United States.49 The base at Kunsan is farther south and closer to potential points of instability, so its retention may be preferred over Osan. While it is unlikely there will be the political or military support required to build additional US bases in the region, the designation and preparation of bases placed in caretaker status to accept Air Force aircraft in response to a contingency needs to be studied in greater detail.50

The Air Force may be left with only two options. The first is technology-based and requires the development of long-range, high-speed strike aircraft to minimize the impact of having few land bases. While these aircraft may be specifically designed to support Asia, they would provide flexibility in any region when nations fail to provide overflight rights.51

The second option is for the Air Force to draft a memorandum with the Navy that identifies specific roles and functions in response to an East Asia-Pacific regional contingency. The Air Force might be designated to provide long-range bomber support, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, and battle management capability, while the Navy would provide carrier-based strike aircraft.52

US Navy

The Asia-Pacific region is a maritime environment, and the ROK and Japan have benefitted significantly from the presence of the US Navy. If the United States ever had plans to contain China, the US Navy would be a significant part of any military response.53 While the Navy is slowed by the vast distances in the Pacific, once on-station it can normally remain there for an indefinite period of time without depending on support from nations in the region.

The Navy’s ability to project power ashore increases the flexibility of the United States when responding to contingencies. The initial air strikes in Afghanistan highlighted the importance of carrier-based strike aircraft when land bases are not available to support strike operations. While the US military is not designed around one geographic area or type of operation, Operation Enduring Freedom highlighted the importance of retaining aircraft carriers capable of minimizing the lack of access during the conduct of combat operations.54

The other important role for the Navy in Asia is to project land forces ashore. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) report of 2001 established one of the six critical operational goals of transformation as projecting and sustaining US forces in distant anti-access or area-denial environments and defeating


anti-access and area-denial threats. It further directed the Secretary of the Navy to develop new concepts of maritime prepositioning, high-speed lift, and new amphibious capabilities. However, the QDR did not establish a time-line for transforming these new concepts into warfighting capabilities and maintained the baseline Navy at its current configuration of 12 aircraft carriers and amphibious ready groups.

US Marine Corps

As discussed in the section on Japan, the US Marine Corps presence on the strategically placed island of Okinawa has been a source of friction. Korean reunification would certainly serve as a catalyst for a significant reduction of Marines on the island, if the Marine Corps presence is not reduced sooner. General James Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps, has stated that it is clear the United States will have fewer permanent bases in Asia in the future. General Jones feels that the people on Okinawa will see how protests and political pressure will force the eventual withdrawal of the US military from Vieques, Puerto Rico, and “will draw conclusions from that.”55 However, it is not only the people of Okinawa who may draw these conclusions. On 23 July 2001, a Korea Herald editorial commented that “one victim in a bombing range located within the US dominion brought about its closure, while 12 deaths here [referring to the Koon-ni bombing range] have changed nothing.”56

While the United States has explored various options to minimize Marine presence on the island, a workable long-term solution has not been developed. The Marine Corps is conducting more training off of Okinawa in other Asian countries, and QDR 2001 tasked the Secretary of the Navy to develop new concepts of training in littoral warfare in the western Pacific. In the future, the Marines may be able to retain bases on the island by reducing their size from a Marine Expeditionary Force to a Marine Expeditionary Brigade. However, redeploying the Marines to Hawaii, Guam, or the continental United States without a technological breakthrough in fast-speed sealift would add days and even weeks to their ability to respond. The long-term solution may be, as General Jones describes, “lily pads in the Pacific,” where the US military has arrangements with a number of countries to train on their territory for short periods of time and then depart.57


In Sum

Korean reunification—if it indeed comes about—will change the US military presence in Northeast Asia, and the United States should begin laying the groundwork to ensure that this historic event increases regional opportunities and not challenges. A continued US presence in both the Republic of Korea and Japan would provide unique capabilities and an ability to respond to regional contingencies. Such a continued presence would serve as a stabilizing factor during any period of transition. US forces remain in a unified Germany today for similar reasons, even though the Soviet Union is no longer around to threaten European security.

The decision on whether or not the United States retains bases in the ROK and Japan is ultimately up to each of those governments. If the decision is made by either to remove US bases, there is likely to be increased domestic pressure on the other nation to do the same. Neither wants to be the only nation in Asia allowing foreign forces on its soil.

The island of Guam, due to its small size and distance from the key areas in Asia, cannot make up for the loss of bases in the ROK and Japan. While the United States should strive to maintain its essential bases in Northeast Asia, it should also seek to hedge its position through technological offsets. The QDR 2001 direction to the Secretary of the Navy to develop new concepts of maritime prepositioning, high-speed lift, and new amphibious capabilities suggests ways the United States can maintain an expeditionary presence without having to depend on nations to grant access. The US services, especially the Air Force, should also develop a longer-range, high-speed strike aircraft which will further reduce dependence on land bases.

Finally, the evolving US force presence will operate in a complex multinational and interagency environment. In order to defeat the transnational threats to security in the region, the US military must be capable of coordinating and operating with US embassies and various national and international intelligence agencies, law enforcement personnel, medical facilities, and economic institutions just as easily as it operates within a joint environment today. A small, capable, and expeditionary joint force will be seen as a complementary capability to the Japanese and Korean militaries and will less likely be construed as a threat by the Chinese.


1. Andrew Scobell and Larry M. Wortzel, The Asia-Pacific in the U.S. National Security Calculus for a New Millennium (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 2000), p. 22. Stanley O. Roth, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, expressed a similar view in his remarks to the Asia Society in Washington, D.C., on 11 January 2001. Roth felt one of the greatest challenges potentially facing the Bush Administration was “managing the consequences of success. Specifically, I am referring to the need under these circumstances to address the issue of the forward deployment of U.S. troops in the Asia-Pacific region.” US State Department, internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.


2. The numbers are provided from the USCINCPAC homepage under “US Pacific Command Facts,” internet,, accessed 6 September 2002. In Japan, there are 47,000 US military personnel ashore and 7,000 afloat; in the ROK, there are 37,500.

3. Robert Dujarric, “Korea after Unification: An Opportunity to Strengthen the Korean-American Partnership,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 12 (Summer 2000), 52. Dujarric predicts unification may take place between 2010 and 2020, but it could happen sooner. Jonathan Pollack and Chung Min Lee, Preparing for Korean Unification (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, Center for Asia Policy, International Studies, 1999), internet,, and, both accessed 6 September 2002. Pollack and Lee state the ROK-US alliance must be prepared for a rapid reunification and the follow-on issues that go with it. Andrew Scobell, U.S. Army and The Asia-Pacific (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 2001), p. 19. Scobell states reconciliation may take place within a decade and reunification within 25 years.

4. Eric A. McVadon,China’s Goals and Strategies for the Korean Peninsula,” in Planning for a Peaceful Korea, ed. Henry D. Sokolski (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 2001), p. 131.

5. Ibid., p. 199. McVadon states one of the formulas for failure of a new or evolving Northeast Asia security architecture is waiting for the change on the Korean peninsula to lay the groundwork.

6. Washington Headquarters Services Directorate for Information Operations and Reports on the Korean War 50th Anniversary Home Page, internet, It lists 23,615 killed in action and 2,459 died of wounds.

7. Nicholas Eberstadt and Richard J. Ellings, eds., Korea’s Future and the Great Powers (Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 2001), p. 321.

8. James A. Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, testimony before the Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, House Committee on International Relations in Washington, D.C., 12 June 2001, internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

9. Eberstadt and Ellings, p. 321.

10. Secretary of Defense, The United States Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region, 1998, internet,, p. 1, accessed 6 September 2002. The report identifies transnational challenges as critical elements of “comprehensive security.”

11. Admiral Dennis Blair, in remarks at the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue Conference in Waikiki, Hawaii, on 8 October 2001, stated the current battle on terrorism requires unprecedented cooperation among diplomatic, financial, intelligence, law enforcement, and military forces within the Northeast Asia countries; internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

12. Zalmay Khalilzad, et al., The United States and Asia: Toward a New U.S. Strategy and Force Posture (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2001), internet,, p. 59, accessed 6 September 2002.

13. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report, 30 September 2001, p. 4, internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

14. Secretary of Defense, “2000 Report to Congress on the Military Situation on the Korean Peninsula,” internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

15. Natalie Crawford and Chung In Moon, eds., Emerging Threats, Force Structure, and the Role of Air Power in Korea (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2000), internet,, pp. 98, 104, accessed 6 September 2002.

16. Pollack and Lee, p. 22; Secretary of Defense, “2000 Report to Congress.”

17. Crawford and Moon, p. 84.

18. Ralph A. Cossa, The Major Powers in Northeast Asian Security (Washington: National Defense University, Institute for National Strategic Studies, 1996), p. 30.

19. Pollack and Lee, p. 89. Another view is provided in Kondang Oh Hassig, Post-Unification Korea and America’s Place In It (Alexandria, Va.: Institute for Defense Analyses, 2000), p. 11. Hassig cites a professor in political science at a Korean university who said that once students learned to think strategically in his international relations course, they chose Japan over China.

20. Scobell, pp. 6-7.

21. Institute for National Strategic Studies, Strategic Assessment 1999, Priorities for a Turbulent World (Washington: National Defense University, 1999), p. 62.

22. Uli Schmetzer, “Japan Split on Creating Full Military,” Chicago Tribune, 7 July 2001.

23. Kelly.

24. Scobell, p. 25.

25. Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies conference report on “Domestic Determinants of Security: Security Institutions and Policy-making processes in the Asian Pacific Region,” held in Honolulu, Hawaii, 10-11 January 2001.


26. Doug Struck, “Sinking Renews Debate on Japan’s Military, Critics Doubt Legality of Stopping, Firing at Suspected North Korean Vessel,” The Washington Post, 28 December 2001, p. A15.

27. Kelly.

28. Fei-Lang Wang, Tacit Acceptance and Watchful Eyes: Beijing’s Views about the U.S.-ROK Alliance (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 1997), p. 2.

29. “Long March to Modernization,” Jane’s Defense Weekly, 11 July 2001; Crawford and Moon, p. 82.

30. Eberstadt and Ellings, p. 331.

31. Sokolski, p. 169.

32. Ok-Nim Chung, Solving the Security Puzzle in Northeast Asia: A Multilateral Security Regime (Washington: The Brookings Institution, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, CNAPS Working Paper, September 2000), internet,, accessed 6 September 2002; Cossa, p. 41.

33. Secretary of Defense, The United States Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region, p. 41.

34. Pollack and Lee, p. 86.

35. Admiral Dennis C. Blair, statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee on FY 2002 Posture Statement, 27 March 2001, internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

36. Admiral Dennis C. Blair, briefing to senior Republic of Korea journalists in Seoul, Korea, 20 March 2001, internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

37. “U.S. Forces in Asia Unlikely to See Cutbacks, Says Blair,” Stars and Stripes, 21 July 2001, p. 3.

38. Secretary of Defense 2000 Report to Congress.

39. Richard L. Bogusky, “The Impact of Korean Unification on Northeast Asia: American Security Challenges and Opportunities,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 10 (Summer 1998); William O. Odom, “The US Military in Unified Korea,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 12 (Summer 2000), 27; Scobell and Wortzel, p. 15.

40. Hwang Jang-jin, “Korea, U.S. Consider Relocating Yongsan Base to Southern Suburbs of Seoul,” The Korea Herald, 19 January 2002, p. 1.

41. General Thomas A. Schwartz’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, 27 March 2001. A different perspective on the Land Partnership Plan is provided by Kang Seok-jae, “USFK Urged to Review Land Readjustment Plan,” The Korea Herald, 21 July 2001, p. 1. Seok-jae’s article quotes one of the civic group leaders stating that the plan, “reportedly excludes most of the controversial U.S. bases and training sites our people have long sought to be relocated or closed.” Included in these bases and sites are Yongsan Garrison and the Koon-ri Range in Hwaseong.

42. Secretary of Defense 2000 Report to Congress.

43. Schwartz testimony.

44. Army Transformation Brief on the Interim Force by Major General Jim Grazioplene, 17 October 2000, internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

45. Michael O’Hanlon, “Keep US Forces in Korea after Reunification,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 10 (Summer 1998), internet,, accessed 6 September 2002. While the Quadrennial Defense Review of 2001 called for accelerating the introduction and forward stationing of IBCTs by 2007, Europe and the Arabian Gulf are identified as the first locations.

46. Different perspectives on proposed Army force levels are provided by the following: O’Hanlon; Scobell and Wortzel, p. 18; and Odom, p. 26.

47. Khalilzad, p. 63.

48. Ibid., p. 68.

49. Ibid., p. 59. O’Hanlon makes a similar statement.

50. Ibid., p. 72.

51. One such case was during Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986, when France and Spain would not allow the use of their airspace for a US attack on Libya; see Walter J. Boyne’s article in Air Force Magazine, March 1999, internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

52. Khalilzad, pp. 71-72.

53. Edward A. Olsen, “US Naval Strategy Toward Northeast Asia: Past, Present, and Futures,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 12 (Winter 2000), 200.

54. James W. Crawley, “Afghanistan ‘Validated’ Navy Role, Admiral Says,” San Diego Union Tribune, 16 January 2002, p. B3; Rowan Scarborough, “Air Force Too Slow to Transfer Special Bomb Kits to Navy,” Washington Times, 7 November 2001, p. 1.

55. Robert Burns, “Marines Fear Spread of Vieques-Type Protests,” San Diego Times Union, 25 August 2001.

56. “U.S. Military’s Land Return,” The Korea Herald, 23 July 2001, internet,, accessed 6 September 2002.

57. Burns.

Lieutenant Colonel Carl E. Haselden, Jr., USMC, is an Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL) exercise planner at Combined Forces Command/US Forces Korea in the C/J3 Exercise Division. He is a 2001 graduate of the US Army War College.

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Reviewed 1 November 2002. Please send comments or corrections to