Ministry of National Defense

Korean armed forces modified their command system on October 1, 1990, from a trilateral system of three services to the joint force system, and reformed the organizations and functions of the Ministry of National Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS] and the headquarters of three services in April 1995 to enhance the capabilities of crisis management and to complete the self-reliant systems of the joint planning and integrated operations. Meanwhile, unit structure is under improvement towards qualified unit structure focused on efficiency of operations and on a balance of three services so that integrated combat capabilities are maximized. The Ministry of National Defense is organized into bureaus responsible for force development, budget, personnel, reserve forces, logistics, military installations, medical affairs, the defense industry, and the military education system.

Until mid 1960's the procurement of military materiel for the Republic of Korea largely relied upon military aid from the United States. However, with the goal of modernizing and developing domestic weapon production capability, the Defense Procurement Agency (DPA) was established in Jan 1, 1971 by integrating the Defense Construction Agency, procurement organizations of each service, and the Laboratory of Army Research and Development Command under the 5402nd order of the president. DPA has continued to carry out its functions, undergoing ten reorganization processes in its history. In 1990 South Korean industries provided about 70 percent of the weapons, ammunition, communications and other types of equipment, vehicles, clothing, and other supplies needed by the military.

In order to attain the national security objectives in the face of rapidly changing security environments and various defense conditions, the ROK Ministry of National Defense defines national defense objectives and pursues national defense policies in a consistent and effective manner. The present defense objectives, which were established in 1972 and revised in 1981 and in 1994, are consistent with the national security objectives and national security strategy principles set by the Participatory Government in 2004.

To achieve national security objectives and defense objectives, the Ministry of National Defense defined the basic directions of the national defense policy: (1) establishment of a firm defensive posture; (2) reinforcement of future-oriented defense capability; (3) building an advanced defense management system; and (4) establishment of credible image of the military.

Assuming various types of crisis situations in the Korean Peninsula, the ROK military has prepared a manual for responding to each crisis circumstance. The crisis management entities comprising the ROK Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) constantly pursue the alignment of their command post automation systems and the improvement of their functionality in order to ensure rapid discernment of relevant circumstances and the execution of effective measures by sharing information in an early stage.

The National Defense Reform Act (No. 8097, 2007) aimed to build a advanced, elite, and strong force, as well as establish a highly efficient and low-cost, advanced military management system. "Expansion of the civilian base" refers to the expansion of civilian participation in the national defense decision-making process based upon the principle that the Ministry of National Defense must effectively manage and support the ROK Armed Forces by realizing the national defense policy in the military aspect, while the specialty and expertise of civilians and military personnel are mutually balanced and harmonized.

The Minister of the National Defense draws up the basic plan for the national defense reform for the innovation of the defense management system, the reform of military structure, and the promotion of military culture in order to effectively undertake national defense reform with the approval of the President. The Minister of National Defense formulates and implements a five year national defense reform plan "( five-year plan") to undertake the basic plan of the national defense reform. Such a plan shall reflect the results of mid-term and final period analysis and evaluation of the security environment such as the development of the ROK-United States alliance, changes in the North-South Korean military relationship, and the performance of the national defense reform during the five years.

Classification 2014 Target Year Increase / Decrease
Army Field Army Level 3 2 -1
Corps Leve 8 6 -2
Division Level 42 31 -11
Brigade Lavel 23 16 -7
Navy Fleet Command Level 3 4 +1
Flotilla / Defense Command 6 5 -1
Marine Corps Division 2 2 0
Air Force Combat Command 2 2 0
Fighter Wing 9 9 0

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