South Korea’s security concerns are not all caused by the massive North Korean military machine just to the north of Seoul. Many of the problems are self-induced. William Drennan, a retired Air Force colonel and defense consultant (see above), said Seoul’s “sunshine policy” essentially became a policy of appeasement that let the communist North dictate the terms of the relationship with the South. Over the past decade, anti-American sentiment flourished, the US military presence was reduced and renegotiated, and money and goods flowed to the North. All this despite the fact that it can be argued the North has never lived up to the terms of any treaty it has signed. In 2002, Pyongyang admitted it had illegally resumed a nuclear weapons program. In 2006 it launched a missile in the direction of Japan and tested a nuclear weapon later that year. Drennan said that because of intense desire among Koreans to reunify the peninsula, even the military is not immune from myopia about the North—many younger or enlisted members of the South’s armed forces fail to see North Korea as the same type of threat as the US military. Despite all of this, however, Drennan asserts that a continued US military presence on the peninsula is stabilizing and a good thing.
The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness revised the Defense Department’s COVID-19 guidelines. The new rules clarify what’s meant by being “up to date” on vaccinations and when personnel must wear masks in vehicles, among other changes.