Defense chief nominee seen as field ops expert, fit for OPCON transfer drive

SEOUL, Defense Minister nominee Suh Wook, the current Army chief of staff, is seen as an expert in field military operations and fit to lead South Korea’s envisioned retaking of wartime operational control (OPCON) from the United States.

After a parliamentary hearing process, the 57-year-old general will replace Jeong Kyeong-doo as defense minister. Jeong is leaving after two years on the job. He was the first defense minister hailing from the Air Force in nearly three decades.

Suh was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1985 after graduating from the Korea Army Academy, and has served in various prominent posts in the Army and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). Suh has led the Army since April 2019.

“He has ample experiences in field maneuvers and military operations, and has expertise in joint and combined operations,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kang Min-seok said. “We expect him to contribute to maintaining a strong readiness posture based on experiences and insight through his service for more than 30 years.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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