Gen. Pace: Technology could help reduce USFK troop levels
October 16, 2003
SEOUL — The United States can reduce its troops in South Korea because of technological advances and war-fighting techniques used in Afghanistan and Iraq, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday.
Any reduction would have to be in concert with improvements and consultations between the United States and South Korea, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said in an address to the Council on U.S.-Korean Security Studies in Washington, D.C.
“I personally believe that the numbers of U.S. troops in Korea can, in fact, be reduced, at the same time that the U.S. capabilities to defend Korea are increased,” Pace said, according to a transcript on the Defense Department’s Web site.
New technologies and tactics would provide “the opportunity to do a better, more efficient, more effective defense of Korea with our Korean counterparts in a way that will benefit both of our countries,” Pace said, citing advances such as laser-guided munitions and smaller, more flexible task forces like those used in Iraq.
The reduction in troops on the Korean peninsula would be part of a larger effort to assess the U.S. military posture worldwide; top Pentagon officials say they want to transform the U.S. military into a “leaner,” more agile force.
“We may want to rearrange the footprint on the Korean peninsula … to be able to move more quickly,” Pace said.
U.S. and South Korean officials have held a series of negotiations in recent months to try and hash out an agreement on where, when and how to shuffle the 37,000 U.S. forces stationed around South Korea.
Officials from both sides said the latest round of talks, which were expected to reach some agreement, ended last week without progress.