Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


General Brooks Weighs in on Recent Gunfire Exchange at the DPRK-SK Demilitarized Zone

Jun 16, 2020 |

General Vincent K. Brooks, Strauss Center Distinguished Senior Fellow and recently retired four-star general in command of all U.S. Forces in Korea, recently participated in an on air discussion on the recent exchange of gunfire between North and South Korea in the demilitarized zone between the two countries. General Brooks fielded a question regarding the delay in response on the South Korean side, noting that further investigation would be needed to ascertain if there was in fact a weapons malfunction, or if weather conditions played a role in the delay time. He then commented on the prospects of a thorough investigation, given that North Korea will not comply with a UN investigation. General Brooks affirmed that it is indeed difficult, if not impossible, to get evidence from the North Korean end and that this lack of transparency is cause for concern.

General Brooks then commented on the recent increase of U.S. surveillance aircrafts flying over South Korea. He argued that these reconnaissance flights are not unusual and that they are necessary to keep tabs on North Korean military disposition. He further noted that such reconnaissance technology is important to help create a fuller picture of North Korean posturing given the country’s history of successful denial and deception. General Brooks also expressed his confidence in the continued military readiness of American and South Korean forces in South Korea despite the ongoing pandemic, noting that COVID-19 has been used as a training opportunity for command and control. Brooks concluded by relaying his concern about the transactional and nationalistic approach being taken by both the U.S. and South Korea to the current negotiations on military budgeting. He said that “alliances fundamentally require a subordination of national self-interest in exchange for collective interest,” and that it is imperative that the two countries do not lose sight of the core matters of the Korea-U.S. alliance. Listen to the full conversation here.