The Army has launched a central operations command, with a view to enhancing combat and command efficiency of the ground forces, the Army said Wednesday.
The Ground Operations Command (GOC), which combined what used to be the Army's First and Third ground commands, will take operational control of the land troops in case of contingency, according to the Army. The GOC will help streamline organizational structures of the Army, allowing the armed forces to remain more agile in handling military missions, it said.
The Ministry of National Defense has pushed ahead with setting up the GOC since 1998 amid calls to deal with a decreasing number of soldiers and improve operational efficiency under a single control tower. The primary role of the GOC includes the handling of the commanding works of front-line troops here, the Army said.
"The GOC should develop the military's operational systems in a more creative and smart way by taking into account the ever-changing weapons systems and scientific development," Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said in a congratulatory speech of the GOC establishment.
The GOC will be headed by Army General Kim Un-yong, the former Third operations commander. On Tuesday, President Moon Jae-in delivered the GOC's squad flag to Kim at Cheong Wa Dae, celebrating the launch of the new ground command.
The ministry also pledged to tighten military readiness despite the ongoing peace momentum on the Korean Peninsula, while at the same time urging the military to continue making thorough preparation for the upcoming transfer of the wartime operational control (OPCON).
"In particular, the armed forces from South Korea and the U.S. plan to carry out verification of Seoul's initial operational capability (IOC) this year," Jeong said. The IOC is aimed at testing whether Seoul has enough capability to carry out military missions on its own in case of war after the planned OPCON transfer.
The GOC will stand at the center for the drive as the key commanding office for the South Korean military, the Army said. Toward the end, the ground forces will continue to introduce more state-of-the-art military information and communication systems, according to the armed forces.