The Pentagon has released a projected cost savings of $14 million to the Washington Examiner Monday, after saying they did not know last month.
President Trump called for an end to the “war games” after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June and claimed that the U.S. would save a “fortune.” The president also called the drill exercises “provocative” and too expensive to continue.
The Freedom Guardian exercise has been suspended indefinitely by the military to open up space for diplomacy according to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. They deny that bypassing this one exercise will effect the preparedness of the U.S. and South Korean militias.
Pentagon officials say that $14 million is only a small portion of the worldwide cost of training U.S. troops.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning denies that skipping this exercise will affect our ability to fight.
“This one exercise, Freedom Guardian, will not impact the ability of our fighter pilots being able to fly, our infantry being able to shoot, move and communicate, and our ability to navigate the waterways,” he said.
“I’m going to leave that to our commander in chief and the national leadership to decide,” he said. “Certainly they can make a decision whether or not those drills are reinstated if they decide to do so based on North Korea’s actions.”
Manning neglected to comment on the possibility of North Korea going back on its promise to disassemble the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. South Korea boasts almost 19,000 evacuation shelters, but many citizens are unaware of these locations.
We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith – which both sides are!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
Holding back the “war games” during the negotiations was my request because they are VERY EXPENSIVE and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation. Also, quite provocative. Can start up immediately if talks break down, which I hope will not happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 17, 2018
Business Insider reported on Tuesday that the South Korean government has decided to cancel the Ulchi exercise, usually run in tandem with the U.S. Freedom Guardian military drill in August. Seoul will be running their own drills instead to remain prepared, and claimed that halting the dual exercise could expedite nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea.
The country aims to develop and launch a new model by October, which combines Ulchi and the current Taeguk command post exercises according to the South Korean ministers. TIME reports that the Ulchi civilian drills were first implemented in 1968, following an unsuccessful attempt by North Korean commandos to assassinate Park Chung-hee, who served as the South Korean dictator at the time.
“Our military will carry out planned standalone drills this year and decide on joint exercises through close consultations with the United States,” Minister Song Young-moo said.