Senior U.S. and South Korean military officials signed an agreement Thursday that helps outline the transfer of operational wartime command on the peninsula.

Combined Forces Commander U.S. Army Gen. B.B. Bell and Chairman of the Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Kim Kwan-jin signed the agreement, which sets several milestones in the turnover of operational wartime command to South Korea.

The United States and South Korea agreed in October 2006 to the “New Alliance Military Structure Roadmap,” and decided that a transition plan should be completed by mid-2007.

According to a Ministry of National Defense news release, Thursday’s agreement allows South Korea to “achieve initial operational capability as the theater warfighting command by late 2009 and attain full operational capability by the end of 2011.”

South Korea is slated to take full operational command from the Combined Forces Command at 10 a.m. on April 17, 2012.

“During this time … USFK will transition into a supporting war- fighting command,” according to the release.

Strategic coordination will take place through the establishment of an Alliance Military Coordination Center.

“The theater operation coordination system will be established, enabling military command relationships to incorporate robust coordination at all command levels throughout armistice maintenance, crisis management and war,” according to the release.

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