S. Korean, U.S. officials discuss moving 8th Army headquarters
June 9, 2008
SEOUL — South Korean and U.S. defense officials are discussing a possible move of the 8th U.S. Army headquarters from Seoul to Hawaii in 2012, a spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said Thursday.
The spokesman said no decisions have been reached, and ministry officials have not decided if they support the plan.
Lt. Col. Brodrick J. Bailey, 8th Army spokesman, said in an e-mail Friday that "details regarding the reorganization … have not been finalized" and it would be inappropriate to speculate on proposed changes.
He said the reorganization is part of an Army-wide effort to change all numbered headquarters to "ensure each has a war-fighting capability."
"Some of these capabilities will be enhancement of existing command and control systems and streamlining of administrative procedures to allow ground commanders more flexibility and adaptability in contingencies," he wrote in an e-mail response.
The move, as described by the MND spokesman, would put the 8th Army’s administrative offices in Hawaii, home of the U.S. Army Pacific Command, around the same time South Korea is scheduled to take over operational wartime control of troops stationed here.
The United States plans to downsize its troop strength from 28,500 to 25,000 and relocate its military bases in and north of Seoul to Pyeongtaek by 2012.
An 8th Army spokesman said last year that the unit’s administrative offices could move out of South Korea as part of a worldwide transformation of the U.S. military, but its troops would remain.
"It will still be the 8th Army, but you might have the headquarters flag somewhere else. From day to day, nothing will look different to normal people," Maj. Jerome Pionk told Stars and Stripes in July 2007.
On Friday, Bailey wrote that U.S. and South Korean officials would continue to communicate on the process.