Ulchi Freedom Guardian Kicks Off in South Korea

Ulchi Freedom Guardian, an annual military exercise between US and Republic of Korea forces, kicked off Aug. 22 amid heightened tensions and threats of a nuclear attack from the North. Some 25,000 US military personnel are participating in the 12-day exercise, including 2,500 troops coming from off the peninsula. Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Philippines, United Kingdom, and New Zealand also are scheduled to participate in the exercise, according to a US Forces Korea press release. The strategic-to-operational level exercise focuses on the ability to defend South Korea in the event of a crisis. Because the Korean peninsula is not technically at war or at peace, officials have created a very detailed prepositioned air tasking order that accounts for the first several days of conflict. The “deliberate and planned air scheme” that would be implemented in the event of a new Korean War “utilizes both the forces on peninsula as well as in the region,” officials told Air Force Magazine during a recent visit to Osan AB, South Korea. “This effort will require coordinated and integrated airpower in a congested and contested battlespace and if executed our air campaign will be the largest in modern history with over 2,000 sorties per day.”