Thesis Title

Wartime Operational Control Transfer And Its Implications For The ROK-US Military Alliance

Date of Graduation

Summer 2001


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Kerry M. Kartchner


ROK-U.S. alliance, U.S. Forces Korea, Combined Forces Command, Wartime OPCON transfer, strategic flexibility, Defense Reform 2020

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The plan of wartime operational control (OPCON) transfer envisions South Korea as taking the lead in defense against North Korea as well as in other operational plan requirements. As Washington and Seoul prepare for the transfer of wartime OPCON in 2015, the alliance's strength will be determined by their ability to adjust to contemporary threats and constraints. The transfer should occur at a gradual pace and with full preparation in order to ensure that South Korea is not put at risk and that the transition strengthens the alliance rather than undermines it. South Korea should use the transition of wartime OPCON as an opportunity to improve national risk management capability and establish self-reliance. Change and adjustment are essential for the present Republic of Korea (ROK)-U.S. military alliance and effective management of the process is the key determinant of the viability of the future alliance. To effectively manage the adjustment process with controlled degree of change, the two governments should cooperate closely as well as build a consensus on the transition among their people.


© Sung-kwan Chon


Open Access