Stop the mud fightAfter North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan warship and its bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island, ways to strengthen joint operability of the military emerged as a top priority in the nation. The military has indeed endeavored to augment such a capability by appointing a Navy general to the pivotal post of operation director at the Joint Chiefs of Staff after the Cheonan sinking.
But many experts criticized the JCS after it replaced the operation director with an Army general after the North’s Yeonpyeong attack. In addition, most of the 73 recommendations to reform national defense, which were proposed by a presidential defense modernization committee and reported to the president, are reportedly being assigned to the Army again.
In the military, ground forces assume a special burden, thanks to the U.S. Air Force and Navy power that will be dispatched to the Korean Peninsula in times of crisis under the Korea-U.S. Combined Command. As a result, major posts of the JCS have been occupied by the Army, with operational capability largely concentrated in the Army, which also needs lower costs compared to other branches of the armed forces. The problem is that such a practice eventually results in conflicts among the Army, Navy and Air Force, even to the point of hampering efficient operation of the entire force.
Therefore, how to improve joint operability has become a hot topic. We are deeply worried about the level of efforts our military has made to upgrade their ability to wage modern warfare. When such a capacity is improved, the military can not only maximize its fighting strength, but also minimize our casualties and the damage inflicted on us.
Indisputably, the most important factor required to meet the goal is the commanders’ understanding of the importance of integration and efficient communication among different branches of the armed forces.
However, the current situation of our military gives the impression that each branch is bent on maintaining its vested interests. The Army is busy underscoring its superior status in the military, while the Navy and Air Force are immersed in expressing dissatisfaction with the excessive attention given their counterpart. The more they do so, the more distant our dream to maximize our combat capability becomes. What we need is a military that fights well, regardless of whether it’s the Army, Navy or Air Force. But our military is stuck in a mud fight to protect various interests. Wake up, military!