By Kang Seung-woo
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Korea-United States Combined Forces Command (CFC) announced Thursday that ROK and U.S. forces will stage the Key Resolve Exercise and the Exercise Foal Eagle next month.
The Key Resolve drills will run from March 11 to 21, and Foal Eagle from March 1 to April 30.
Key Resolve, an annual combined and joint command post exercise, is designed to improve the Korea-U.S. combined forces' operations and combat capabilities and coordination on the deployment of U.S. reinforcements.
The CFC said that about 10,000 Korean and 3,500 U.S. troops, along with members of the United Nations Command, will participate in the war games.
This year's drill will be the first to be led by Korea's JCS, expected to help improve the Korean military's operational command capabilities and set up a basis for the wartime operations control transition.
"In 2009, Key Resolve was conducted under the Korean forces' control, keeping the transition of wartime operational control in 2012, but this time, the JCS set up all maneuvers for the first time," a JCS official said.
The annual Foal Eagle is a series of combined and joint unit tactical field training exercises, providing valuable military training based on realistic requirements and missions expected of Korean and U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula.
Approximately 10,000 U.S. forces ― the majority of whom are coming from outside Korea ― along with Korean military personnel will participate in the drills.
The United Nations Commanding Military Armistice Commission notified the North Korean military of the exercise dates and the non-provocative nature of the training.
The Stalinist state has routinely denounced the military drills in the South as rehearsals for an invasion of the North.