The exercise involves thousands of troops, numerous aircraft and warships from the U.S. and S. Korea. The possibility of war with N. Korea is almost always a possibility so the U.S. and S. Korean forces have to be prepared in case of that eventuality.
Since 1991, the US and South Korea, have shared the expense of having American forces on the continent. About 13,500 U.S. troops will participate in the Foal Eagle exercise March 1-April 30 or the Key Resolve exercise March 11-21, according to Stars and Stripes.
The exercise is being called a "provocation" and is drawing the usual threats from North Korea. The north has demanded a halt to the planned drills and issued a warning if not, they will launch an unimaginable holocaust.
The KCNA state news, of North Korea issued a statement saying:
We sternly warn the US and the South Korean authorities to stop the dangerous military exercises which may push the situation on the peninsula and the north-south ties to a catastrophe.
The exercises in the past have focused on defending the south from possible attacks coming from the north.
The training called Balance Knife 13-1 focuses on how to move special ops forces in and out of North Korea. It will also be working on how to build a successful "indigenous resistance organization" once inside North Korea.
This information about the building of a resistance is contained in the January 2014 edition of Special Warfare, an academic journal of the US Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, according to RT.
Many South Korean commandos are said to still have family members living in North Korea they may or may not have contact. The journal says this would be good for growing “strong relationships that transcend NK ideology and can serve as a foundation for the development of a loyal resistance organization.”
The special ops training is a small part of the Foal Eagle exercise. These drills are conducted near Iksan and Damyan, South Korea. The commandos have to be prepared for the possibility of conducting the guerrilla warfare at a moment's notice in case of a crisis. Currently, the US has over 28,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines in South Korea.
The American special forces are part of the elite Operational Detachment Alphas 1336 and 1333. Both units are a part of the Army’s Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion of the 1st Special Forces Group.
The Balance Knife exercise is training special ops to be prepared for the "worst-case scenario" if a crisis were to erupt on the Korean peninsula. That crisis could happen any day given the instability of Kim Jong Un's regime.
The trainings are not meant to be a backing of a potential insurgency into Pyongyang, the review said, and exercises are intended to be used for defensive preparations in case of a provocation from the North, according to the RT report.
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