Forces: U.S. Revamps Korean Force


November 21,2008: The U.S. is withdrawing half its 48 AH-64 helicopter gunships from South Korea, while adding a dozen A-10C ground attacks aircraft, two MH-53E naval mine clearing and one or more U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.

South Korea has been upgrading its armed forces considerably since the Cold War ended in 1991. South Korea now has 5,800 modern armored vehicles and smart bombs for its over 500 combat aircraft. At the same time, the North Korean armed forces have been in sharp decline over the last decade. As a result of that, and the need for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the two U.S. combat brigades were withdrawn from South Korea. U.S. planners see South Korea as more than capable of handing an invasion from the north. The U.S. would operate in a support role. The South Korean generals are down with all that.

The number of American combat troops has been steadily falling since the end of the Korean War 55 years ago. During the 1960s, there were six American infantry brigades in South Korea. Now there is one. There are about 30,000 American troops in South Korea, most of them Army support troops, air force personnel and some navy and marine personnel. 


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