The U.S. and South Korea Should Focus on Improving Alliance Capabilities Rather Than the OPCON Transition

Washington and Seoul have so fixated on the deadline for transferring wartime operational command of South Korean forces as to be distracted from ensuring robust combined and integrated allied capabilities to deter and defeat the North Korean military threat. Moreover, the current plan to dissolve Combined Forces Command is ill-advised and potentially dangerous during hostilities. For maximum deterrent and warfighting capabilities, the U.S. and South Korea should instead retain the combined command structure, although with Seoul assuming command upon OPCON transition. South Korea should commit to acquiring necessary defense capabilities, including a more effective missile defense system.

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