It is because of news like this that I continue to maintain that I will have to see USFK actually move out of Yongsan and close that post with my own two eyes before I will ever believe it will happen:
Influential senators called Wednesday on the United States to freeze plans to relocate military bases in Japan and South Korea, describing the moves as politically unfeasible and too costly.
The three senators — John McCain, Carl Levin and Jim Webb — also suggested that Japan needed to focus on rebuilding from its massive earthquake and tsunami disaster rather than wade into a political quagmire.
The base realignment plans “are unrealistic, unworkable and unaffordable,” the senators said in a joint statement. (………………..)
The US military is also looking to consolidate dozens of bases around South Korea into two hubs — Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Seoul, and Daegu, 300 kilometers (180 miles) southeast of the capital.
The move would allow US forces to leave their huge Yongsan base in Seoul, which was set up for the 1950-53 Korean War but now lies in the heart of the developed and densely populated city, leading to frictions with residents.
But the senators called for a halt, saying there was not enough clarity on who would pick up rising costs at Pyeongtaek where the US military wants to start shifting troops next year.
The senators also questioned the Pentagon’s plan to allow more of the 28,500 US troops based in South Korea to bring families.
“There is an inherent contradiction in planning to increase the number of US military family members in South Korea when there is the real potential that a destabilizing security situation in North Korea could unfold rapidly and unpredictably,” Webb said. [Associated Press via reader tip]
Were these same people worried about a destabilizing security situation during the Cold War in West Germany when the US brought many more families there than what are in currently in Korea? I am a big supporter of bringing families to Camp Humphreys which lots of planning and work has already been done to accommodate the influx of these families. With many military families experiencing long separations from deployments there is no reason why an assignment to Korea should be yet another family separation.
Anyway for those unfamiliar with the USFK relocation plan I recommend reading a “Historical Overview of the Camp Humphreys Expansion“. Some other recommended reading on this subject is this posting, “Debating the Future of the US Military Presence In South Korea“.
The first negotiations to move Yongsan Garrison occurred in the early 1990′s and was scuttled due to the 1994 nuclear crisis. Since then back in 2004 decisions were made to execute the latest USFK plan to move Yongsan Garrison and 2ID to Camp Humphreys and a variety of Korean governmental delay games have pushed this date out to 2017. Now due US governmental delay games I can only imagine how much further out this date will now move to? The nonsense going on Okinawa is equally frustrating to see play out.
I already know the answer to this question but it still is worth repeating. How is it that the Korean government can get an entire city built on what was once ocean faster than the US can expand a military base for a few thousand soldiers? I also wonder if the Korean government will use any possible Camp Humphreys delays as further justification for further delaying the hand over of operational control as well?