By Song Sang-ho
SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Army has announced a plan for the transition this fall of its rotational force in South Korea to a new brigade combat team employing the Stryker armored fighting vehicle in a move to ensure capabilities to "rapidly respond to any acts of aggression."
The planned shift from the current armored brigade combat team (ABCT) to a Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) comes as Seoul and Washington are striving to sharpen deterrence against evolving North Korean military threats.
The ABCT operates M-1 Abrams tanks and M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, while the Stryker team uses the eight-wheeled armored vehicle, which the U.S. military says combines firepower, battlefield mobility, survivability and versatility with reduced logistics requirements.
"This transition will enable the U.S. to maintain capabilities on the Korean peninsula to rapidly respond to any acts of aggression," the U.S. Army said in a release posted on its website Thursday.
"This transition to a Stryker BCT demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the ROK-US Alliance and enhances defensive capabilities," it added. ROK stands for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.
The SBCT is an infantry-centric unit with over 4,400 soldiers who offer speed, efficiency, increased mobility and strategic flexibility to senior commanders, according to the Army.
The existing ABCT equipment, including M-1 Abrams tanks, will be maintained in South Korea to further ensure robust defense capabilities.
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