Air Force general to head intelligence
The Defense Ministry broke with tradition and appointed an Air Force general as the intelligence chief of the nation’s military. The post has been filled mainly by Army generals.
“We have named Air Force Lieutenant General Kim Seong-il, currently the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s personnel affairs director, to hold an additional post as the chief intelligence director,” the Defense Ministry said yesterday. Mr. Kim will be the fourth Air Force general to head the country’s military intelligence.
Last month, Lieutenant General Park Seung-chun quit the defense intelligence chief post and retired over his leaking to the press of a military communications log detailing conversations with the North Korean military about a shooting incident involving North and South Korean vessels on July 14.
South Korea’s Minister of Defense was also replaced after the military’s chain of command was criticized for failing to make proper reports.
The new defense minister, Yoon Kwang-ung, has promised to restructure the military’s leadership. On July 30, Mr. Yoon said Army officers had occupied certain posts too long and promised to promote more candidates outside the Army.
Yesterday’s choice of Mr. Kim as intelligence chief was related to Mr. Yoon’s promise, a Defense Ministry official said.
Military experts also note that the selection of a general from the Air Force reflected that military branch’s widened role in the nation’s modern warfare. The experts also forecast that increasing numbers of Navy and Air Force officers, as well as civilian candidates, will be appointed to military leadership posts.
by Kim Min-seok, Ser Myo-ja