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South Korea restructures missile commands

The RoKAF's Air Defense Missile Command will feature the Cheongung II medium-range surface-to-air missile system (elements of which are pictured above). (DAPA)

Seoul has announced a restructure of elements of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces' missile and missile-defence command units.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said that the restructure – formally approved on 1 April and promulgated through a presidential order issued on the same day – is a direct response to growing missile threats from North Korea.

The reorganisation affects the Republic of Korea Army's (RoKA's) Missile Command and the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) Air Defense Missile Command.

The former's name has been changed to RoKA Missile Strategic Command, while the latter becomes RoKAF Missile Defense Command.

South Korea‘s Defense Minister Suh Wook said at an MND ceremony to mark the restructure that the move signals greater emphasis on developing RoK Armed Forces‘ missile and missile-defence capability.

“[These two units] are pillars of our deterrence force against North Korea, leading the South Korean military's missile attack and missile defence,” he said.

Suh added that the government is committed to developing the unit's capabilities so that they “can overwhelmingly respond to the changing missile threat from North Korea”.

The MND did not elaborate on the restructuring plans.

However, legal documents supporting the reorganisation state that the restructure of the RoKA's missile command is intended to prompt a shift from the unit's previous operational requirement of “strike operations” to one that is focused on “strategic and operational target-strike missions”.

The documents added that the restructure of the RoKAF's Air Defense Missile Command will enable enhanced monitoring of “strategic and operational air threats” and to perform “complex and wide-area multilayered missile defence and regional air-defence missions”.

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