ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on February 24th, 2008 at 8:33 pm

2nd Infantry Division Relocation Delayed Until 2015

Okay somebody give me a Hanchongnyun head band:

A proposed southward relocation of U.S. frontline troops in South Korea will be delayed for about one to two years, a government source said Sunday.

The envisioned relocation of the 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. forces in Korea (USFK) slated to be completed by 2013 will be put off because of financing problems, the government source said. [Yonhap]

Financing problems? The Korean government has enough money to build a canal across the country and ship over a billion dollars a year to North Korea, but they don’t have enough money to move soldiers from 2ID to Camp Humphreys until 2015? The prior agreed upon 2013 deadline was just a little over a year ago agreed upon to be pushed back fours years from the earlier agreed upon 2009 timeframe. Which by the way was a unilaterally decided on delay by the Korean government which quickly pounced on the opportunity to cut funding and renege on the deal when the prior US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigned.

This delay is also being done in coordination with delay efforts to stop the hand over of war time operational control from the US military to the Korean military. Does anyone also think it is a coincidence that United States Forces Korea (USFK) commander General B.B. Bell was forced to retire because of his advocacy for maintaining the relocation plan along with the transfer of operation control? The Korean government has long been at odds with General Bell and now with him out of the way they are free to begin their delay games with the USFK relocation plan.

Even more suspicious is the timing of this announcement. This announcement was released by the Korean government’s official news agency Yonhap, late on a Sunday right before new Korean president Lee Myung-bak’s big inauguration ceremony on Monday so the local papers will hardly pick up on the 2ID delay story.

This is just more evidence that despite all the Yankee Go Home rhetoric in South Korea the truth of the matter is as the by line of this blog states, is to keep the USFK gravy train rolling along in Korea. The Korean government has never wanted to allow the USFK relocation to Camp Humphreys just like they have never really wanted to take operational control from USFK either. Both the Yongsan and the operational control issues have long served as great cannon fodder by South Korean politicians looking to demagogue the issue to their own political advantage. Plus the Koreans have never wanted to fund the move either. Most importantly to the South Korean government is that by keeping 2ID in their present locations along the DMZ that effectively prevents the United States from conducting any action against North Korea because the soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division are virtual hostages to a North Korean counterattack.

It is also important for the South Korean government to maintain the current force footprint because consolidating the USFK bases on one camp would cut the number of Korean jobs that USFK provides which would create a gaping unemployment problem in northern Kyeongi province where USFK bases are located. Keeping the bases where they are at also is good for the side benefits which come with the black marketing and other scams that centered around US military installations in Korea that could be more effectively monitored with the majority of soldiers stationed on one camp.

The South Korean government is not the only ones happy about this news. The Fifth Column in South Korea, organized by North Korean agents have wanted to stop the move because North Korea wants to keep 2ID and USFK locked into their current locations that are well within artillery range of North Korea which would mean their easy destruction if any US action is taken against North Korea. The consolidation of US forces at Camp Humphreys would remove all US forces out of North Korean artillery range and additionally under the ballistic missile protection of US Army PATRIOT missile batteries. This would create better force protection for USFK forces along with giving USFK commanders more flexibility during war time. If the North Koreans cannot get the removal of US forces from the peninsula it is best to keep them right where they are at where they can serve as virtual hostages to the guns of North Korean artillery.

So effectively the South Korean government has greatly limited the American government’s ability to take any tough measures against North Korea will simultaneously ensuring that the USFK gravy train continues to roll on the peninsula. With the gravy train continuing the roll the money can keep flowing from South Korea to pay off Kim Jong-il while the North Korean military keeps their artillery guns pointed at the 2nd Infantry Division. Everyone wins except for the soldiers in the 2ID serving one year unaccompanied tours away from their families in substandard living conditions. The US taxpayers are losing as well as they continue to fund this gravy train all for the supposed defense of South Korea. Just think the Korean government built their new and massive Inchon International Airport in less time then it is supposedly going to take them to build a few barracks at Camp Humphreys to move the soldiers of 2ID into. This is utterly ridiculous and the only guy holding the Korean government’s feet to the fire was General Bell and now he is being forced to retire.

I think it may be getting close to ultimatum time. If the American government is truly committed to making this relocation happen, then considerations to remove 2ID from the peninsula should seriously be considered. Someone needs to call the Korean bluff. Is it too late to bring General Trexler out of retirement?


UPDATE: You can DIGG this story by clicking here.

  • The Captain’s Journal » 2nd Infantry Division Deploys to Iraq - No, Not Really!
    2:14 am on February 25th, 2008 1

    [...] Korea at ROK Drop writes to tell us of the “delays” in redeployment of 2ID in Korea.  Drop by and read his post until it makes you rather sick. Okay somebody give me a Hanchongnyun [...]

  • foflappy
    3:02 pm on February 24th, 2008 2

    I agree that although the canal is a grand idea/pipe dream. That being said, LMB has stated that the canal will be built with private investment funds, not government moneys. True or not, he has not, to my knowledge, pledged tax Won to this half-baked idea.

  • Kingkitty
    3:07 pm on February 24th, 2008 3

    Besides with the relocation of Camp Casey and Stanley, the bulk for the supply for a thriving black market business would be cut

    Oh the horror

  • Herschel Smith
    6:35 pm on February 24th, 2008 4

    I think you know how I feel about this. The relocation plan was not bold enough to begin with. Here is my plan. 2ID straight to Iraq or Afghanistan, where there is actually a COIN campaign going on. Do it as fast as humanly possible, tomorrow if we could line up the air liners and overfly rights to China. Then SK is free to figure out if they want to continue to pursue their childish "sunshine diplomacy" with NK.

  • Kalani
    9:19 pm on February 24th, 2008 5

    I am not certain if this is the last gasps from the Roh administration to get in its final digs before the inauguration on 25 Feb OR a reflection of the Lee Myeong-bak determination to "renegotiate" the relocation of the forces off the DMZ. This is the same rhetoric that was stated in Nov 2007. The US has remained steadfast that it can use the SMA funds anyway they want once the ROK pays the lump sum.

    Under the current Special Measures Agreement (SMA) system, the lump sum expenditure by Korea is spent at the discretion of the U.S. military. Once the total expenses that form the basis of the SMA fund are agreed to, Korea contributes the agreed sum to the U.S. military. The U.S. forces then spend the SMA funds in accordance with their own needs. The funds are meant to be limited to fees for Korean workers serving in the U.S. bases, logistics expenses, installation construction costs, and other expenditure relating to combined defense.

    However, in January 2007, U.S. Forces Korea announced that it would spend 50 percent of Koreas SMA contributions on the relocation of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, which is currently located north of Seoul, to Pyeongtaek. In a 2004 deal, Seoul and Washington agreed to split the relocation costs equally. Under the agreement, Seoul is responsible for the relocation of the Yongsan Garrison to Pyeongtaek, while Washington is supposed to pay for the consolidation of the 2nd Infantry Division to Pyeongtaek.

    This whole thing may be another ROK "play it in the media" ploy for the on-going Cost-Sharing Meetings. The cost-sharing formula MUST be fixed by Oct 2008 SCM — or at least that was the implied ultimatum from the last SCM.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    11:00 pm on February 24th, 2008 6


    I' assuming by the timing of this that is a ploy from LMB. This comes out right before his inauguration and after General Bell gets canned. Also notice how General Bell was canned after LMB reps went to Washington to meet with Bush and other government officials.

    LMB wants to keep the status quo going so the gravy train is untouched, the US is limited in what they can do in regards to NK, and Korea doesn't want to pay the money necessary to buy the equipment they would need to take operational control from the US.

    Someone in Washington needs to get involved but they all are in love with LMB and could care less about USFK issues anyway.

  • outthere
    11:14 pm on February 24th, 2008 7

    Hey, just load 2ID up and fly'm back to the USA. Screw SK. We left France that quick, so why quibble. We left Germany from 300k down to 50k in less time. So, its time for SK to suck it up quit playing around and grow up.

  • Mark
    11:39 pm on February 24th, 2008 8

    You've got to see the trees through the forest. This is all because of the OHA increase in Area I, but what the Hell do I know.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    1:07 am on February 25th, 2008 9


    The OHA increase is just another car that composes the overall USFK gravy train.

  • Mark
    1:38 am on February 25th, 2008 10

    I think on this train it's the locomotive. :grin:

  • Tim
    2:22 am on February 25th, 2008 11

    This move south for U.S. forces has been on the planning books since the mid 80's and it's still not done.

    First it was, "Oh, we have to put on the Asian Games (1986)" then it was "Oh, we have to put on the Olympics (1988)" then the nK started rattling their nuclear sword so both sides backed off for a while, then it was the lack of monetary commitment from the ROK. There's always going to be an excuse from one side or the other as to why this move will have to be delayed.

    Perhaps we may see the move happen around the 100-year-anniversary of the end of the Korean War or something like that.

    For those of you that advocate us pulling our forces completely out of Korea and relocating them back to the U.S. or Iraq/Afganistan, just remember that nature abhors a vacuum and who is set to rush in and fill this vacuum that would be left by a pullout of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula? Can you say the PRC? The commies are waiting to consolidate their position on the peninsula and have been since 1953. I know this sounds imperialistic but if we leave, China has no deterrent left to propping up nK for as long as they want and possibly infiltrating the South either by military force or economic means. I know, you all are probably thinking, "Here's another crackpot idea from someone who really doesn't know all the facts" but isn't that what blogs are for? Hehehehe….

    Tim in Angeles sendzzzzzzzzzzz :grin:

  • Kalani
    2:22 am on February 25th, 2008 12

    What's OHA? For me, it's the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

  • Lee Myung-bak Sworn in as 17th President of Korea
    7:28 pm on February 25th, 2008 13

    [...] these changes he is talking about do not apply to the soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division, which Lee has refused to allow to be relocated.  Lee in his speech also talked a lot about making [...]

  • Mark
    2:34 am on February 25th, 2008 14


    Funny…it does seem to be a well-orchestrated machination between North and South Corea to keep us here as long as possible, doesn't it? :roll:


    Overseas Housing Allowance. Essentially a variable BAH that in theory could increase or decrease monthly based on actual rent but in Korea only seems to increase.

  • GI Korea
    2:45 am on February 25th, 2008 15


    I'm not advocating full withdrawal but if the Koreans will not allow the move of 2ID then it is time to pull them out and then rotate Strykers on the peninsula to train with the ROK Army and keep a ground presence on the peninsula.

    It is ridiculous to accept that by 2015 US soldiers will still be living in crappy conditions in 2ID and doing unaccompanied tours away from their families because the Korean government doesn't want to foot the bill for their own defense and wants to maintain the USFK gravy train.

    I'm curious on how the Korean government is going to next delay the Yongsan move? If they can get away with this delay Yongsan will be next on their target list.

    Also guys I put a DIGG link at the bottom of the posting. If you don't mind DIGG this story so it can get maximum attention.

  • Brendon Carr (Korea
    2:46 am on February 25th, 2008 16

    I agree that although the canal is a grand idea/pipe dream. That being said, LMB has stated that the canal will be built with private investment funds, not government moneys. True or not, he has not, to my knowledge, pledged tax Won to this half-baked idea.

    I work with the sort of private investors who would "invest" in LMB's canal. They require the Korean government to guarantee a minimum revenue level, and make up any shortages by contributing general tax revenue. The highway to Incheon is an example — a private investment fund owns and operates that road, and the toll collections are producing only half the revenue forecast by the government. Taxpayers are paying the road operator as much as the operator collects in tolls.

    Not really a "private" investment after all, when you consider the government guarantee. Yet without it, these things don't get built.

  • Gerry
    3:12 am on February 25th, 2008 17

    Why do I feel we're continuing to be used and abused in South Korea. South Korea should have taken over its own security years ago, but between the US toe hold that we refuse to give up and the South Korean use 'em and abuse'em policy I see a no win situation for our troops who bear the brunt of this antiquated policy. South Korea and the North are on a reunification journy that will eventually take place. The rival Chinese are hoping to become an indisplacible entity in the future economy of a united Korea over which we have nor should have any control. Its time to leave and let them do thier thing.

  • MilBlogs (Daily Archive)
    9:20 am on February 26th, 2008 18

    [...] reasons for this South Korean foot dragging are various which I have listed in detail here. Posted at 0952Z | Comments (1) | TrackBack [...]

  • jordan
    4:23 pm on February 25th, 2008 19

    Maybe I missed something, but who is it that decides the disposition and posture of U.S. forces? I thought it might perhaps be the U.S. government. Time and time again over the years they've chaffed at U.S. "authority" and "control" over their country. Here's an opportunity for them to follow through on the independence and self-reliance that they've always said the U.S. wouldn't allow.

    It's not in America's interest to have the 2ID up so close. It's just barely in America's interest to have them halfway down the peninsula. But, somehow we've allowed them to gum up the works to the point where ROK is in the driver's seat on this matter. How'd that happen?

    Sadly, a General who was standing up for U.S. national interests is out for…standing up for American interests. It might be understandable if, say, ROK was a fullfledged partner in Iraq and Afghanistan, contributing forces beyond medical and construction, but they are not.

    They've made quite clear that they will NOT help out the U.S. on Iraq any further, even as they demand that the U.S. subordinate it's basing plans in Korea to buttress their own economic and political goals. It's really amazing how we let these situations develop — we sit there like a giant in a stupor as busy little men throw ropes and tie our hands and feet to the ground.

    2ID shouldn't be sacrificed for relations with this modern, 1st world, rich, bustling country, just in case they need to be saved a second time. The 58,000 U.S. dead given in the Korean War was quite sufficient, thank you.

    Would they want to talk about contributing larger numbers of true combat troops to Iraq or Afghanistan, as long as 2ID is holding up the walls at their home?

  • usinkorea
    8:00 pm on February 25th, 2008 20

    I'm for complete withdrawal of forces.

    But, change won't happen. The status quo is too powerful – just within the US administration(s) itself.

    The Vietnam War brought about a major downsizing but Nixon did not fullfill the pull out of all troops. Carter thought his authority as commander and chief was enough to get it done and got rudely awakened to the power of the status quo. The end of the Cold War got talks going again but toward nothing. Then 9/11, a war on two main fronts, and Donald Rumsfeld got our hopes up….

    ….but it wasn't enough.

    Things won't change until they must and there is nothing on the horizen that suggests that will happen anytime in the foreseeable future.

  • Tim
    12:49 am on February 26th, 2008 21

    In a comment GIKorea said: (sorry I'm not HTMP-smart enough to figure out how to do a "quote" on here)


    I’m not advocating full withdrawal but if the Koreans will not allow the move of 2ID then it is time to pull them out and then rotate Strykers on the peninsula to train with the ROK Army and keep a ground presence on the peninsula.

    In response to that I say:


    I never said that you were for complete pullout, I said those that are for complete pullout. Anyway, I think your idea has lots of merit and I know that your motivation behind this is to get soldiers better living conditions.

    However, having said that, I believe one of the other commentors here made a good point that it will take a major crisis to overcome the status quo. Both U.S. and ROK governments are completely comfortable with having U.S. troops on the peninsula and I don't believe that will change significantly anytime soon.

    Tim in Angeles sendzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Friday Linkzookery - 29 Feb 2008: Murdoc Online
    7:41 am on March 1st, 2008 22

    [...] 2nd Infantry Division Relocation Delayed Until 2015 Frikkin’ ridiculous. [...]

  • KimcheeGI
    8:11 am on March 1st, 2008 23

    GI Korea,

    Let me play the devil's advocate here:

    As far as the ROK military goes, right now they are the true first line of defense for Korea, as they should be. The ROK Army boasts 690,000 troops and modern Korean versions of the M1 (K1A1 main battle tank), BFV (K200 Korean Infantry Fighting Vehicle), M109 Howitzers (K-9 Thunder) and some good old M198 Howitzers. In contrast, 2nd ID is a shadow of what it was in the 80's and 90's, and is really a token force to show our commitment on the Korean peninsula and NE Asia in general. I think the key to that success is the 57 year ROK-US relationship. It took 57 years to get the ROK where it is now both as a dynamic democracy and a robust economy that ranks 11 th or 12th in the world consecutively in the dawn of the 21st century. And that's the issue that lies with Iraq and Afghanistan. Are we willing to stay the long haul in places the British, Russians (Imperial and Soviet versions), Turks (Ottomans) and Mongols could not or would not stay?

    Back to the Korea question. Withdrawing ground forces totally from Korea has its strategic drawbacks. First off, USFK provides great stability in NE Asia. Next, if we withdrew ground forces from Korea, Japan then, would be the only country in the region to have US Forces; and that could be a point of contention with China, Russia or anyone else with interests counter to US policy. And lastly since the US Army is still in the infancy stages of "transformation," we'll have to rely on sea transport of any major deployment to the ROK for wartime operations. Staying in Korea provides the warm bed that us logisticians need for those RSOI missions.

    Unification on the Korean peninsula is the war game scenario that USFK must get right. There's no "soft landing" in the near future, and believe it or not, some think that bad guy Kim, Jong-Il is actually a stabilizer in the region!! South Koreans looked at what toll it took on West Germany to reunite with East Germany, crunched the numbers, and saw the truth—even with the strong economy, unification would bring South Korea to its knees. That's the rub on the former Presidents Kim Dae-Jung's "Sunshine Policy" and Roh, Moo-Hyun's "Peace and Prosperity" policy. They need to wean the north off life support before anything bad happens. The US and Japan are the biggest aid contributors to north Korea right after South Korea. So looking on the outside in, we like the status quo just as much as everyone else. If the unthinkable happens, and collapse or coup takes place in north Korea, USFK provides stability in the region by showing South Korea that we still have viable interest in NE Asia, and also counterbalances China and Japan. China likes its buffer zone that north Korea provides. The Chinese even have a "border dispute" with the Koreas about the area around north Korea. Under this dispute, China could claim north Korea as a part of China just as they did with Tibet. This issue is very real for South Korea, and even came up during a meeting in 2006 with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Others think that once we leave, China will reassume its big brother role with South Korea, and Japan will get worried, and want to join the nuke club that China and a unified Korea would then belong to in NE Asia. That's an arms race we really don't need.

  • South Korea Trying to Stop USFK Troop Reductions
    7:30 am on March 20th, 2008 24

    [...] Korean delay games continues.  Remember the Korean government is trying to delay the relocation of the 2nd Infantry Division along with trying to play delay games with the funding for the USFK transformation.  On a positive [...]

  • New Korean Defense Minister Supports Operational Control Handover Timeline
    5:08 am on March 27th, 2008 25

    [...] to rest.  However, the Defense Minister did not clarify if the Korean government still intended to delay the relocation of the 2nd Infantry Division or try to halt the planned reduction of US troops on the [...]

  • sma korea government usfk
    6:39 pm on June 4th, 2008 26

    [...] to Camp … Measures Agreement SMA system, the lump sum expenditure by korea is spent at … Hints at USFK Transformation ReviewMeasures Agreement SMA on Korea&8217s cost sharing support [...]

  • Camp Humphrey Relocation Could Be Delayed to 2016
    9:13 pm on June 12th, 2008 27

    [...] trying to delay the operation control of ROK forces, reduction of troops on the peninsula, and the relocation of 2ID.  This latest report is just a continuation of these delay [...]

  • Mark Heathco
    9:19 pm on February 28th, 2012 28

    I served in Korea with the 2ID and we trained hard and live in sub standerd living quarters for one year some times more then a year with a rotation to tent city up on the dmz no hot water, no in door latrine, no centeral heating, no phones, no cars, heating stoves in you qwanson hut, fire guard, two 25 mile full ruck sack marches a month, 7 mile PT runs, six day work week, a pass syistem, cufew, 4 aterts a month, ratation control. we where a hard division ready for war living under the gun 24/7 ready to go at a moments notice sleeping with your boots on the years I served 78 to 91 in 2ID. we need to stop pussying the troops that are there where not in Germany this is a hardship tour because war could brake out anythime and it’s going to take 72 hour before anyone one can get there to help sooooo the 2ID soldier needs to be hard not soft acting like there will never be a war in korea and pushing them to the south is not a good Idea either alot of other soldiers served in a much hasher condations and servied and are better men for it stop pampering them get back to basics a soldier is a soldier to much polictics and to much of trying to make this tour like germany because it’s not.


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