Monday, February 07, 2005

The BBC reported on South Korea's 2005 White Paper with the lead that they were dropping the "main threat" moniker for North Korea in it.

Reporting on this type of stuff by people in the news business is often risky. Normally they have no clue what they are writing about. Unless you see that they have some type of "military analyst" credentials it is even riskier to take it with anything but a bucket of salt.

One indication of credentials is that they shouldn't make you laugh when they don't intend it. So, I found the credentials of this reporter to be a little weak because of the laugh I got out from this:
"The report said that, in the event that war broke out on the Korean peninsula, the US would sent 690,000 troops and several boats and aircraft.

"The United States has a plan to send more than 40% of its entire navy, more than half of its air force and more than 70% of its marine corps to defend South Korea," the White Paper said."
And this type of stuff just adds to not taking either their reeporting or their journalism seriously. Why is it that report writers cannot just report the information without first introducing the information. Here the reporter could have said, "The report said that, in the event that war broke out on the Korean peninsula, the US would sent 690,000 troops, among that more than 40 % of its navy 50% of its air force and 70% of its Marine corps." It may not be all that shorter, but it would save the reporter the disgrace of having implied the knows that the US has, at least, something more than 4 "boats and aircraft." I would hate to see him then describe the size of a British flotilla.

Anyway, I couldn't help but look for the meat of their report to see if it is fresh or rotten. I didn't find the 2005 report but did find the 2000 report which also helps to put some context on the more recent one. Here's a colored insert wrt augmentation forces that was included in the 2000 white paper:
"Augmentation Forces Status

In an almost simultaneous two major theater wars (2MTW: the Middle East and Korean Peninsula), the United States adopted the Win-Win Strategy as its basic strategy to resist/repulse the North Korean attack before it achieves its objectives. The augmentation forces are designed with this strategy in a view to achieve an early victory on the peninsula. As the main augmentation forces on the peninsula, the TPFDD's capability has the following history. In the early part of the 1990's its troops numbered 480,000 and in the second half of the same decade, it planned to increase the number to 630,000. Recently, it maintains a deployment plan of 690,000 troops, 160 vessels, and 1,600 aircraft. These figures are proof that despite a plan to reduce the overall size of the forces, the US is determined to establish a firm defense of the Korean peninsula. The present forces planned for deployment have a strike capability to attack densely grouped enemy artillery, carrier battle groups with multi-dimensional battle capability, an air capability to secure air superiority, air defense and air strike and a capability to respond to the weapons of mass destruction. In order to ensure smooth deployment of the augmentation forces to the peninsula in the beginning phase of a war, the ROK and US troops, under the supervision of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command, conduct the RSOI exercise annually and inspect the deployment execution system and the administration of transport devices."
As indicated, the White Paper, then, as now, is just doing a head count of availability, while providing hints of how serious the US could be in meeting its treaty obligations, should that be necessary.

I won't bother with a lot of debunking or contextualizing of the BBC report; most of it is just ignorant mischaracterization of information the 2005 White Paper. Besides, the report was most likely planned as a news ditty. It just came off as daffy.

Update: I'm trying to figure out why Hello didn't include the picture. Sorry for the delay.
Update2: The heck with it, I typed up what was on the image in the report and stuffed it where the image would have been. The report is here.

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