SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Army on Wednesday established a new hub command in charge of defending Seoul and nearby areas as part of the nation's long-planned military reform.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Ground Operation Command (GOC) was held at its headquarters in Yongin, just south of the capital, and attended by Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo.
The new structure combines what used to be the Army's First and Third Army commands, streamlining the system and enhancing the effectiveness of operational capabilities.
It leads seven regional corps and one expeditionary corps, as well as a logistical support command, an artillery bridge and an intelligence unit.
Gen. Kim Un-yong, who used to command the Third Army, has been appointed chief of the GOC.
"As the top-ranked command of ground forces to carry out joint and combined operations, the GOC will come to the fore to complete missions to meet the circumstances of future warfare and create an advanced barracks culture," Kim said in a speech.
A day earlier, he received the unit's flag from President Moon Jae-in.
South Korea floated the idea of creating such a combined ground operation command in 1998.
The Army said the birth of the GOC will be the starting point for the full-scale implementation of the Moon administration's Defense Reform 2.0 scheme.
The Army, which has around 480,000 troops, is a key element in the country's 620,000-strong armed forces. The government plans to reduce the latter number to half a million by 2022 under the reform drive.
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