Army should develop smart power
By Jung Sung-ki
It’s time for the South Korean Army to develop “soft power” ― the ability to attract and persuade rather than force, a defense experts said Tuesday.
In a security forum in Seoul, retired Gen. Lee Hee-won, a special advisor to the President for defense and security affairs, called for building a “smart” Army to better adapt to changes.
“The ROK Army is facing a new environment that requires a new paradigm of strategy,” Lee, former deputy commander of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command, said in a keynote speech at the 2010 Army Policy Forum at the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan, Seoul.
“Against that backdrop, the Army should make efforts to combine hard and soft power. These efforts will help the Army to build a ‘smart, future-oriented’ structure, as well as create a synergy effect to better respond to situations both in peacetime and wartime,” he said.
He elaborated that the Army should be able to conduct multi-roles in a more efficient way and have an advanced culture.
“While maintaining hard power, the military should streamline its structure and be actively engaged in public diplomacy for men and women in uniform to take pride in what they’re doing,” Lee said.
The government should also come up with legal and systematic measures to help the military develop soft power, he added.
At the forum, Ha Jung-yeol, a retired major general, called for improving the country’s network-centric warfare capability to better adapt the changing security environment and deter North Korea’s aggression.
Other panels cited North Korea’s increasing dependence on irregular warfare tactics and asymmetrical capability to outgun South Korea’s high-tech military.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Hwang Eui-don said, “As seen in the Cheonan incident, North Korea is focusing more on special forces, long-range artillery, nuclear and missile programs, cyber warfare, and biological and chemical warfare. Through these asymmetrical capabilities, the North is ready to start military provocation at any time.”
Pyongyang maintains 1.19 million armed forces mostly equipped with conventional weapons systems. South Korea has 650,000 troops backed by 28,000 U.S. forces.