SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Korea Bizwire) – Retired Lieutenant General Chun In-bum, the former commander of the South Korean army’s Special Warfare Command, recently announced that he would be joining the Moon Jae-in presidential campaign, to much surprise.
Chun said that his decision to back Moon was aimed at improving the condition of the equipment used by the special forces, which he called “abysmal,” and that he believed Moon, who also served in the SWC, was the one to help make the changes.
According to Chun, he made several proposals during his time as the SWC commander (2013 to 2015) to upgrade personal military gear, but to no avail, and it was recently brought to light that a handful of projects that he had spearheaded had been scrapped, including allocating funds to issue survival knives to the soldiers.
“For special forces to successfully carry out missions in modern warfare, it is essential to gather enemy intelligence and neutralize threats beforehand,” Chun said in an interview with the Yonhap News Agency. “The condition of the equipment that the soldiers are currently issued for missions is abysmal.”
Chun pointed to survival knives, pistols, gloves, safety glasses, and hearing protection as some of the essentials that are not available to soldiers at the moment as personal equipment.
He criticized the government for its tight-fisted budget approach, noting that soldiers were still training with outdated K1A standard issue rifles, which were introduced in 1982, and he argued that special forces need a greater variety of submachine gun types with minimum recoil.
“The military needs to update the basic supplies that the special forces use. They also should provide extra wages for special ops units in the army, navy, air force, and marines.”
In response to the criticism, the military released an official statement refuting Chun’s claims, saying that it plans to raise 1.85 billion won ($1.62 million) by 2022 to issue tactical knives, which will be better than what was initially recommended.
An official from the military said that “special ops units must be equipped with improved gear that befits their role and their missions,” adding that “their existence must not be for show.”
The SWC plans to establish this year a special brigade solely dedicated to taking out North Korean leadership, including Kim Jong-un, as a contingency.
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)