The South Korean military is mainly defensive in its force size, structure, and doctrine. Whereas North Korean doctrine has emphasized building a military capable of reunifying Korea, South Korean doctrine was based on maintaining the post-war status quo by defending its borders. This was a less demanding task than building an aggressive force; necessitated a substantially smaller military, particularly as South Korea could count on ample US assistance. Believing that in an inter-Korean conflict, North Korea would essentially be the invader, South Korea has largely structured it is competent military towards defense.
There are significant parallels between the organization of South Korea’s military and that of the US military. The President serves as Commander-in-Chief. The President is also the head of the National Security Council, which comprise the Prime Minister, the National Defense Minister, and other government ministry heads as selected by the President. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) is charged with the military activities of South Korea. South Korea also has a Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) office that is divided into numerous different directorates. South Korea’s military is divided into an Army, Air Force, and a Navy. (Marquez)
Total active military personnel number roughly 672,000, with a reserve force of around 4,500,000. The 2000 defense budget was set at 14.4 trillion won ($12.9 B), which symbolizes an increase of 5% over the previous year’s budget. South Korea’s Army is the largest of the military branches. Most troops are position along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the 38th parallel. The 1st Army patrols the western half of the DMZ, and the 3rd Army patrols the eastern half. Overall Army manpower is 560,000, with another 600,000 in reserves. (Marquez)
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