Defence Reform 2020: Getting Back on TrackQ4 2015
Defence Reform Plan 2020 (DRP 2020) was a plan originally put into place in 2005 by the Roh Administration. It envisaged reducing the size of the armed forces significantly (by approximately 25%, mainly through the alteration of the conscription policy) and creating a modern, technologically advanced fighting force which would compensate for the reduced numbers and enable the Republic of Korea to project power overseas. The plan called for vast levels of defence expenditure, and assumed that the South Korean economy would grow at an average rate of approximately 7% per year between 2005-2020.
The Roh Administration's reform plans were based on the notion that the North Korean threat would reduce over time as his engagement strategy (the so-called 'Sunshine Policy') bore fruit, and the RoK could focus more of its efforts on the wider region. President Roh assumed that the carrots being offered to Pyongyang, coupled with the reduction in the South's military posture, would encourage the North to follow suit and begin to demilitarise. This approach failed; instead, the North maintained its conventional military forces and, in 2006, detonated its first nuclear device. A nuclear-armed North Korea was now a reality.
The Lee Administration revised DRP 2020 in 2009, and again in 2011. The 2009 revision reduced the planned cuts in manpower and focused the military budget on more essential systems. It was clear that the ambitious level of defence spending increases ($505 billion over the course of DRP 2020) was not sustainable and the global economic crisis of 2008 mean that 7% growth in the South Korean economy was unlikely to be achieved.
The 2011 reforms, named DR 307, were made in response to the North Korean sinking of the RoKS Cheonan and the North Korean artillery barrage of Yeonpyeong Island. These actions, combined with the 2009 missile test and nuclear test by North Korea, saw a shift in opinion by the South Korean public. They now saw the DPRK as a major threat once again, and the Lee Administration opted to re-examine the reform programme and refocus it.
DR 307 focused on preparing the RoK Armed Forces for regaining wartime operational control from the United States and addressing concerns that South Korea's demographics may cause shortfalls in conscripts in the future. It extended the scope of the plan, from 2020 to 2030.
DR 307 also sought to give the RoK the ability to respond to small-scale North Korean provocations and also to provide the RoK with a precision strike capability, which had primarily been provided by US Forces Korea (USFK) in the interim. In particular, Defence Minister Kim announced that with the proposed reforms in DR 307, “it will take one or two days for our military to destroy North Korea’s long-range artillery pieces, from the current one week.”
Following the North Korean missile test earlier in 2015, the potential withdrawal of US forces from the Peninsula and the questionable commitment of the United States as the RoK's major ally given, the Park Administration had seen fit to make further modifications to the plan. Named DR 310, the proposed changes include the following:
- An increase in manpower of the RoK Marine Corps of 4,000 volunteer personnel by 2020;
- An increase in the manpower of the RoK Army Special Warfare Command by 2,000 by 2020;
- An increase in the defence procurement budget of 10 percentage points (from 15% to 25%). This will occur in two stages; to 20% in 2016 and 25% in 2017 (see here
- The procurement of a missile defence system, possibly in cooperation with Japan;
- Improvements in South Korean surveillance technology, including via satellite and UAVs;
- Improvements to the system used for mobilising reserves, including limited mobilisation at lower alert levels;
- Further procurement of attack helicopters;
- A increased focus on cyberwarfare and cyberdefence;
- Improved training for anti-submarine warfare, following the DPRK's development of a submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles.
(OOC: Everything up to the stuff about DR 310 is basically an overview of South Korean defence reform from 2005-2012. Obviously the situation in-game has altered things once again.)