South Korea’s Defense Minister, Suh Wook, held a meeting Wednesday on defense reform to evaluate policy achievements made in the past year and to discuss in detail the ministry’s policy direction for the year to come.

“The military has done its utmost to strengthen its defense posture in 2020, which has helped manage situations involving the militaries of the two Koreas, and it is defending against non-traditional security threats by supporting those on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.”

As a part of a series of reform projects to modernize the military, the ministry said by next year it’ll complete the process of shortening the mandatory military service period for all able-bodied men from about two years to 18 months.
Other reforms include raising the proportion of female service members from the current 7.4 percent.
In 2021, the military will speed up the development of next-generation hypersonic missiles and naval ships equipped with laser weapon systems to strengthen its defense capabilities against North Korea’s nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
Also, starting next year, the government will disregard a citizen’s level of education in determining whether they’re fit for active military service if they meet certain physical criteria.
Current law requires at least a high school diploma, and those without one are assigned to the reserves.

“The move is aimed at increasing fairness and it’s expected to impact thousands of applicants each year who don’t have a high school diploma but who can perform active military service.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.

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