Defense Ministry Announces Changes for 2009

2009-01-05 13:27, MoNDRoK -- A new DNA bank will be established next year to help identify troops killed in action or while on other duty while duty-free cigarettes that have long provided joys to our soldiers will disappear into history.

Also, gears and equipment for the soldiers, such as battle boots and bullet-proof gears, will be significantly improved while a monthly salary of 273,300 won will be paid to each ROTC cadet during their training. The retirement age of defense civilian employees will be extended to 60 years while the disciplinary system for civilian employees will be reinforced as “demotion” will be added as a new disciplinary action.

The Ministry of National Defense announced these changes in defense affairs for next year on Dec. 23, saying, “The Ministry will continue to pursue bold reform measures next year to be better prepared for the changing domestic and international security environments and for the successful implementation of defense reform.”

“There are 17 areas where the Defense Ministry plans to set up new objectives and they are made up of eight objectives in the area of system reforms, four in improving the quality of life for troops and five that deal with providing greater convenience to the people,” Kim Hyong-Ki, director of the ministry’s planning and coordination bureau, said in a press briefing. “Through these efforts, the ministry will show a new and developed side while improving the quality of life for our troops and offering greater convenience to the people.”

Under the plan, a DNA bank will be set up and run from the start of next month, first for troops dispatched overseas, aircraft pilots and submarine crewmembers, but will be expanded to include all servicemembers. The Defense Ministry believes this will enable an immediate identification of troops killed in action or while on duty. For the establishment of the DNA bank, the Defense Ministry has visited the DNA research center of the U.S. Department of Defense and introduced a new bar code system.

The DNA bank, to be established in Jaundae, Daejeon, will allow identification of troops in accident by comparing the DNA of victims with blood samples of troops stored in FTA cards that can be preserved for over 20 years. The Defense Ministry plans to set up strict rules for the operation of the DNA bank that conform to the law on ethics and safety of life.

Duty-free tobacco for servicemembers that began with Hwarang Cigarettes will completely disappear from the start of next year. This change comes under a decision that it will be in conformity with the national policy on health and help build a strong military. Also, battle boots and bullet-proof gears with significantly improved performances will be supplied to troops while new summer flight suits and flight boots that are lighter and softer will be also be introduced to troops.

For troops stationed in Ulleung Island, a price limit will be introduced for passenger ferries, so the troops will be able to use passenger ferries for only 5,000 won when they leave or come into the island on official leaves. The ministry plans to expand this new program to the rest of the country in 2010 after the trial run between Ulleung Island and North Gyeongsang Province next year.

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