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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel congratulates General Han Min Koo on appointment as South Korea’s new Defense Chief

ROK General Han Min-Koo, chairman of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks during a joint press conference at the defence ministry in Seoul in this Dec 8, 2010 intelligence file photograph.
ROK General Han Min-Koo, chairman of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks during a joint press conference at the defence ministry in Seoul in this Dec 8, 2010 intelligence file photograph.

Readout of Secretary Chuck Hagel’s Call with Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Han Min Koo on July 19, 2014

Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke by phone this evening with the Republic of Korea’s new Minister of National Defense Han Min Koo.

It was the first conversation between the two leaders.

Secretary Hagel congratulated Minister Han on his appointment and looks forward to working with him to continue growing and strengthening the U.S.-ROK Alliance.” End Statement. *

Note: General Han Min-Koo (born 1951), ROKA, was the 40th Chief of Staff of the Republic of Korea Army & 36th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

He is now a minister of national defense. And said to be an expert military tactician and  strategist, who has been described as “brilliant and unorthodox in his approach to war.” **

He has been said to have memorized the entire book of Sun Tzu Art of War and can quote from it verbatim.  His troops say he is fanatical in terms of dedication and discipline.

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise attributed to Sun Tzu, a high-ranking military general, strategist and tactician.

The text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare. It is commonly known to be the definitive work on military strategy and tactics of its time. It has been the most famous and influential of China’s Seven Military Classics, and “for the last two thousand years it remained the most important military treatise in Asia, where even the common people knew it by name.”

According to one high level Pentagon official who wished nopt to be named in this report General Han Min Koo’s devotion and study of this text says a lot about how he views war in general and will conduct war operation in the future if called upon to do so. He then outlined the Art of War this way:

  1. Laying Plans/The Calculations explores the five fundamental factors (the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership and management) and seven elements that determine the outcomes of military engagements. By thinking, assessing and comparing these points, a commander can calculate his chances of victory. Habitual deviation from these calculations will ensure failure via improper action. The text stresses that war is a very grave matter for the state and must not be commenced without due consideration.
  2. Waging War/The Challenge explains how to understand the economy of warfare and how success requires winning decisive engagements quickly. This section advises that successful military campaigns require limiting the cost of competition and conflict.
  3. Attack by Stratagem/The Plan of Attack defines the source of strength as unity, not size, and discusses the five factors that are needed to succeed in any war. In order of importance, these critical factors are: Attack, Strategy, Alliances, Army and Cities.
  4. Tactical Dispositions/Positioning explains the importance of defending existing positions until a commander is capable of advancing from those positions in safety. It teaches commanders the importance of recognizing strategic opportunities, and teaches not to create opportunities for the enemy.
  5. Energy/Directing explains the use of creativity and timing in building an army’s momentum.
  6. Weak Points & Strong/Illusion and Reality explains how an army’s opportunities come from the openings in the environment caused by the relative weakness of the enemy and how to respond to changes in the fluid battlefield over a given area.
  7. Maneuvering/Engaging The Force explains the dangers of direct conflict and how to win those confrontations when they are forced upon the commander.
  8. Variation in Tactics/The Nine Variations focuses on the need for flexibility in an army’s responses. It explains how to respond to shifting circumstances successfully.
  9. The Army on the March/Moving The Force describes the different situations in which an army finds itself as it moves through new enemy territories, and how to respond to these situations. Much of this section focuses on evaluating the intentions of others.
  10. Terrain/Situational Positioning looks at the three general areas of resistance (distance, dangers and barriers) and the six types of ground positions that arise from them. Each of these six field positions offer certain advantages and disadvantages.
  11. The Nine Situations/Nine Terrains describes the nine common situations (or stages) in a campaign, from scattering to deadly, and the specific focus that a commander will need in order to successfully navigate them.
  12. The Attack by Fire/Fiery Attack explains the general use of weapons and the specific use of the environment as a weapon. This section examines the five targets for attack, the five types of environmental attack and the appropriate responses to such attacks.
  13. The Use of Spies/The Use of Intelligence focuses on the importance of developing good information sources, and specifies the five types of intelligence sources and how to best manage each of them.

In many East Asian countries, The Art of War was part of the syllabus for potential candidates of military service examinations.

General Han Min Kee assignment’s prior to assuming Army Chief of Staff were Chief of Strategic Planning, ROK Army Headquarters; Commanding General, 53rd Infantry Division; Commanding General, Capital Defense Command; Deputy Chief of Staff of the Republic of Korea Army.

Education level:

* Sources quoted: DoD http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16837

**Source:  S Korea’s new army chief vows to beef up readiness http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2012137710_apasskoreashipsinks.html