REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The leader of South Korea’s army learned from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command what it means to secure the high ground during a visit to Redstone Arsenal, Jan. 24.
Gen. Park Jeong-hwan, chief of staff of the Republic of Korea Army, met with senior U.S. military officials at USASMDC, the U.S. Army Materiel Command and the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office during his two-day visit to the installation.
“In the year of the 70th anniversary of the Korea-U.S. alliance, we want to visit the core commands of the U.S. Army, including SMDC, to deepen the upgrading and exchange cooperation of the ROK-U.S. Army relationship and expand the ROK-U.S. Army cooperation to prepare for the future army,” Park said.
As the ROK and U.S. armies work to ensure they are prepared to conduct combined, joint and multi-domain combat operations across the spectrum of conflict, both armies strive to coordinate efforts along the lines of security cooperation, modernization, interoperability, strategic engagement, advanced science and technology, and cooperation in the development of space power so they are prepared to face future threats and develop future-oriented ties such as sharing advanced science technologies and combat development systems.
“Through our visit to SMDC, we would like to expand our space field exchanges and cooperation with the U.S. Army to draw a blueprint for ROK army space power,” Park said. “In a rapidly changing environment, such as the development of advanced science and technology, the reduction of troops, and the implementation of combat through minimal sacrifice, our army’s power and innovation in troop and troop structure are required to effectively respond to new areas such as threats from North Korea, space and cyber.”
The ROK army does not yet have space forces; its space forces consist of joint forces. Park said they want to learn from USASMDC’s experience and know-how.
“The ROK army recognizes the space zone as the ultimate high ground like the U.S. Army,” Park said. “At a time when North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are growing, the U.S. Space Forces in Korea was created last year, and now the ROK army also recognizes the need to carry out independent operations and strengthen the ROK-U.S. united space capabilities.”
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, said Park’s visit was an opportunity to share perspectives and space priorities between the two nations. Referencing a chart showing Army space capabilities, he emphasized to Park that the U.S. Space Force, U. S. Space Command, and USASMDC all have different focus areas.
“When I ask Guardians to look at the chart, where do you think their eyes go?” Karbler asked. “To the top and the on-orbit capabilities. They don’t look at the ground, and that’s why we need Army space.”
Karbler added Army space is land-centric, mobile, scalable and expeditionary.
“Forward-stationed and positioned around the globe, Army space forces support the ground commander,” Karbler said. “We address what the adversary can do to us through and in space.”
Lt. Gen. Robert “Rob” A. Rasch, Jr., director of U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, said the visit from the Chief of Staff of the ROK Army was significant.
“It demonstrates the importance of the US-ROK relationship to date,” he said, “and the strong desire, from both sides to continue to coordinate and collaborate going forward for the benefit of both.”
Lt. Gen. Christopher Mohan, deputy commanding general of Army Materiel Command and senior commander of Redstone Arsenal, said it means a great deal for Team Redstone that Park made time for an in-person visit and cares about modernization for the future.
“AMC works closely with our allies and partners across multiple initiatives and efforts to build their capacity and readiness, while supporting combatant commander priorities,” Mohan said.
He said with more than 75 organizations focused on space operations, logistics, research and intelligence, Redstone Arsenal has evolved into a federal center of excellence and is a must-see when learning about the U.S. Army’s capabilities.
“What makes Redstone exceptional is the synergy created by diversity of agencies, commands and activities that make this installation critically important to our nation’s security and defense,” Mohan said.
View more photos of Gen. Park Jeong-hwan's visit to USASMDC on Flickr.