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Military to operate 'experimental' unit to test-drive restructuring

All Headlines 11:00 June 28, 2009

By Lee Joon-seung

SEOUL, June 28 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean military will set up an "experimental" unit to test-drive new policies that aim to build a more streamlined fighting force, a government source said Sunday.

The regiment-size unit will adopt new organization structures, weaponry and tactics ahead of other units, according to the defense ministry official.

Its creation is part of a plan that "will be completed by 2020, and calls for sweeping changes to personnel, weaponry, tactics and budget allocation that need to be tested thoroughly beforehand to reduce complications," said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

"The new unit will also engage in joint operations with other Army units along with those from the Air Force and Navy to test how well it can act as a cohesive force to deter foreign aggression," the official said.

Under the defense reform plan, Seoul plans to overhaul the number of corps, divisions and brigades and bases scattered around the country.

By the target year, the number of military bases will be slashed from 1,800 at present to around 850, with corps being reduced from 10 to seven. Divisions will also be cut from 47 to 28, although brigades are to be increased to 24 from 16 at present.

The official said the measures will make the country's military more agile and improve its ability respond to modern-day threats


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