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Title: Searching For New Security Paradigms: Israel And South Korea?s Defense Transformation (1990-2011)
Keywords: Diffusion of Military Innovation, Revolution in Military Affairs, Defense Transformation, Israel Defense Forces, Republic of Korea Armed Forces
Issue Date: 10-Oct-2011
Citation: MICHAEL RASKA (2011-10-10). Searching For New Security Paradigms: Israel And South Korea?s Defense Transformation (1990-2011). ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This dissertation investigates the impact of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and its diffusion in military modernization of Israel and South Korea. It argues that with the changing strategic realities of the post Cold War era, both Israel and South Korea have been searching for a new strategic paradigm and operational concepts that would allow greater flexibility, adaptability, and autonomy under conditions of strategic uncertainty. In doing so, both Israel and South Korea have studied, benchmarked, and debated selected RMA concepts, while attempting to leverage and exploit emerging RMA technologies in their use of force. In this context, however, Israeli and South Korean RMA trajectories show considerable variation in the pace, direction, and character of their diffusion and adaptation. Israel?s RMA path reflects a unique pattern of early adoption/implementation, speculation, and experimentation in the context of multiple operational adaptations. Israel has been one of the first countries to apply RMA-related technologies in combat in the early 1980s under the conceptual umbrella of ?integrated battle.? However, until the late 1990s, the IDF has not viewed the emergence of the RMA as a relevant paradigm shift, nor has initiated a comprehensive and disruptive defense transformation drive. Israel?s combat experiences concomitant with action-oriented lessons-learned from high-low intensity conflicts have accelerated IDF?s `bottom-up? user-oriented military innovation by increasing the pressure to find practical solutions rather than focus on theoretical conceptualizations. In contrast, the RMA diffusion trajectory in South Korea reflects patterns of speculation and experimentation in terms of selected concepts and technologies, but relatively limited implementation in the organizational force structure and the use of force. Since the early 1990s, South Korea has been attempting to undertake a comprehensive military modernization in order to respond to the widening spectrum of threats, mitigate technological and interoperability gaps with the U.S. forces, and eventually attain self-reliant defense posture. In the process, South Korea attempted to emulate and adapt selected U.S RMA-oriented defense transformation concepts, which have gradually permeated into the U.S.-ROK combined training and operations, and subsequently shaped the character and direction of South Korea?s military modernization. However, the compelling and relatively ambitious character of Korean RMA-oriented defense reform plans have been in sharp contrast to the prevailing structural and political realities, including contrasting calibrations of defense requirements, structural dependence on the U.S.-ROK Alliance, static, defensive force posture, and asymmetric organizational force structure that have sustained the relevance of traditional security paradigm. Accordingly, there has not been a distinct Korean RMA-oriented conceptual innovation. The empirical cases of Israel and South Korea thus show that RMA diffusion trajectories can take multiple facets and rarely proceed in a synchronized rate, path, or pattern. Given the range of external and internal variables - enablers and constraints that shape the receptivity of states to absorb military innovation, RMA-oriented diffusion is not sequential nor does it follow a particular model. Technological innovation may precede conceptual and organizational adaptation, or conceptual speculation may lead to exploration and experimentation, but not implementation. Only if military innovation meets implementation in both policy and strategy, one can theorize about `disruptive? RMA-oriented defense transformation. The analytical framework used in this study should help policy-makers to make more accurate assessments in this direction.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D Theses (Open)

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