Special Operations: Mission Impossible In South Korea


November 27, 2015: In September 2015 South Korea announced it was forming a new special forces brigade (of about 800 troops) for disabling or destroying North Korea nuclear and chemical weapons as well as ballistic missiles used to deliver them to South Korean targets. Over the next few weeks retired South Korean special operations officers went public with a very detailed list of problems with this new brigade. These veterans had trained with their American counterparts and were familiar with the kind of equipment, training and weapons the Americans had and why they had it. The U.S. has the largest and capable special operations force in the world and the South Korean critics pointed out that it was no secret that South Korean special operations forces lacked a lot of the specialized equipment, training and weapons needed to go after North Korean weapons of mass destruction.

In response to this the government went dark and declared there was nothing new to report. But reporters digging for more information did discover that there was an internal debate involving special operations officers and key politicians and officials involved with defense matters. Apparently the public criticism did have basis in fact and now the military and political leaders are trying to find a solution to this self-inflicted problem that won’t cost more than the government can afford.

South Korean Special Forces currently consists of 10,000 personnel. They are organized into seven special forces groups similar to those of the American special forces (who helped form the South Korean special forces in 1959) and continues to provide training and consultation. One of the special forces groups is trained for overseas missions while the other six are for operations against North Korean invaders. There is also special mission battalion (the White Tigers) which are similar to American SEALs or Delta Force.




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