Leadership: South Korean Brass Unmasked

Archives

June 13, 2010: The South Korean watchdog agency (Board of Audit and Inspection, or BAI) recently issued a report recommending that 25 senior defense officials be disciplined for lapses in judgment and performance leading up to and following the sinking (by a North Korean submarine) of the corvette Cheonan last March. The charges include not increasing readiness after a naval skirmish with North Korean gunboats last November (which included the sinking of a North Korean gunboat), and ignoring the problems with anti-submarine capabilities in coastal waters. This has been a long term problem, even though most North Korean submarines are miniature coastal types.

In the 1990s, one of these boats ran ashore in South Korea, while landing spies. One of the crewmen was captured and debriefed (and is now living as a refugee in South Korea), providing South Korea  with considerable knowledge about North Korean coastal submarine operations. This did not lead to any meaningful effort to improve South Korea's ability to deal with these small subs. Instead, the South Korean Navy switched its efforts to developing a high seas fleet, ignoring the more immediate coastal threat from North Korean subs and commandos.

The BAI also criticized how ineptly the military responded to the sinking of the Cheonan, and implied that there were systemic problems in the South Korean military command that crippled combat effectiveness. American military commanders have long made some of the same complaints, but quietly so as not to cause a diplomatic uproar. Unless the BAI report is quickly swept under the rug, there could be some major changes in the leadership, and practices, of the South Korean armed forces.

 

 

 


Article Archive

Leadership: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close