Scaparrotti Takes Charge of US Forces Korea

Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti assumed command of US Forces Korea from Army Gen. James Thurman during a ceremony on Wednesday in Seoul. South Korean defense minister Kim Kwan-jin, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey participated in the Oct. 2 ceremony, during which Scaparrotti also took charge of United Nations Command and the Combined Forces Command. During the event, Dempsey praised Thurman for working to increase the state of readiness of US troops on the Korean peninsula and improving cooperation with the South Koreans. Dempsey said Scaparrotti, who previously served as the Joint Staff director, “knows the importance of building relationships and reinforcing trust.” The command change comes at a time when the United States is increasing its involvement with its Asian treaty allies. It also coincided with security consultative talks hosted by South Korea. Those meetings featured the penning of a new “tailored deterrence” strategy, and strong criticisms of North Korea’s reported reinvigoration of activity at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone and AFPS report by Karin Parrish) (See also Outgoing US Forces Korea Commander Praises Joint Progress.)