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Abstract

At the request of Republic of Korea (ROK) Assemblyman Jin-Ha Hwang, a member of the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee, this analysis was performed of the ROK Defense Reform Plan (DRP). It examines the overall nature of the DRP, identifies major risks in the plan, and discusses how those risks can be managed. It concludes that the DRP is a good approach to potential ROK security dilemmas, but the plan faces major risks, especially in meeting potential ROK security requirements. The DRP could be strengthened by adding concepts for managing its major risks. This paper discusses the background of the DRP and the manpower problem it needs to address. It then presents the author’s estimates of the force changes that would occur and how those forces appear to fit the force requirements the ROK will likely face in the coming years. It examines the budget requested for the DRP and whether it will cover the necessary costs, addresses the effects that the DRP could have on ROK military morale and how the United States may view the DRP, and concludes by recommending steps the ROK could take to manage the key risks identified throughout this analysis.

The research described in this report was prepared for Republic of Korea National Assemblyman Jin-Ha Hwang. The publication was supported by the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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