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New DAPA chief takes office, calls for improved work culture

All News 16:27 June 23, 2022

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- Eom Dong-hwan, the new minister of South Korea's state arms procurement agency, took office Thursday, highlighting his resolve to improve work efficiency and harness cutting-edge technologies for stronger national defense.

His inauguration as the head of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) came as South Korea seeks to strengthen deterrence against North Korea's evolving security threats and cement its defense sector into a "national strategic industry."

"We have to improve the way we work and organizational culture," Eom said, stressing the need to remove old practices that make employees bear "inordinate" responsibilities if a project goes wrong.

"Let us boldly get rid of those practices ... and I will take the lead to ensure that you can work with determination and confidence," he added.

Eom was referring to the growing tendencies among DAPA personnel to be more risk-averse and passive in embracing challenging tasks for fears that a misstep would lead to disciplinary action.

He also underscored the importance of utilizing cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and autonomous driving, as part of efforts to beef up national defense.

"Let us find ways to more rapidly and effectively roll out new technologies," he said.

A graduate of the Korea Military Academy, Eom previously worked for the state-run Agency for Defense Development.

Eom Dong-hwan, new minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), takes an oath of office during his inauguration ceremony at the DAPA building in Gwacheon, just south of Seoul, on June 23, 2022 in this photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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