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Foundation and Development of theRepublic of Korea Army

박재용 1

1육군군사연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article is to retrace the steps that the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) has taken in the past by examining the process of development from the founding of the ROKA to this day and to explore the direction that the ROKA should take in the future. Upon the liberation of Korea, the ROKA was started by numerous organizations at that time which vigorously led activities of building the military forces. However, those efforts did not lead to act of the ROK Army immediately. Under the United States Military Administration, the movements were incorporated into Joseon Garrison and became the basis to establish the ROKA. With the foundation of Republic of Korea, Joseon Garrison (Korea Constabulary), which became transferred to the ROK Armed Forces, was officially launched, involving branches of Army and Navy. Before the ROKA prepared for the self-reliant defense position, it had to face the Korean War. While executing the Korean War, the ROKA achieved the quantitative expansion and the strengthening of military forces by means of reinforcement. After the war, the ROKA renovated its structure thus began to possess the modernized form. The ROKA's rapid progress had been started since 1970s. And this implies that economic growth was the foundation for promoting defense industry and strengthening of military force from 1970s. The confidence that was gained from the success of the 1st and 2nd Military Reinforcement Plan and 818 Plan later resulted in the offensive deterrent strategy against the North Korea which was shifted from the defensive posture. This was due to the conclusion that yet North Korea's military strength was still ahead of the ROK, the ROK had advantages in terms of quality such as development of weapon system. The change in the phase of warfare, which appeared in 1990, made us feel that our forces were also looking for a turning point. Recently, the new phase of warfare prefers combats conducted by large-scale military force, emphasizing long-range strikes using high technology precision weapons and maneuver by means of massive firepower. Therefore, the ROKA has been trying to prepare for the future warfare by promoting troops with intelligence and technology rather than numerical reinforcement. So far, the ROKA has been playing the key role in practicing national defense against North Korea's standing force which owns numerical superiority over the ROK's. However, as the importance of joint operation is highlighted and the concept of warfare is being modified by the advanced weapons and the development of intelligence, the roles of the ROKA are getting minimized relatively. To follow this common trend, all countries around the world also tend to reduce the size of the ground force while increasing the military strength of the Navy and the Air Force. However, North Korea still possesses a ground force 1 million strong and 12,000 troops of Special Operation Forces. North Korea has forward deployed 70 percent of its military force against the ROK and maintained its capability and posture of raid. Considering that the metropolitan area is within 40km from the Military Demarcation Line, the ROKA is the only force that can react to the North Korean People's Army's quick raid, unconventional warfare, and blitz tactics. For this reason, the ROKA will have to come up with forces that can quickly respond to the North Korea's provocation and develop efficient system which prepares for the future warfare simultaneously.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.