The navy of a crucial U.S. ally in the Far East has quietly been modernizing by leaps and bounds. The imperative now for the U.S. Navy is to help its Republic of Korea counterpart become the force it set out to be.
Outside the Asia-Pacific region, few headlines have featured the recent, rapid modernization of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy. The U.S. Navy and other Asia-Pacific maritime services, however, clearly see how the Korean naval waterfront has changed. New, impressive platforms with the latest search/detection/track equipment and modern weaponry are present not only in Korean ports, but increasingly throughout the region, at Pearl Harbor, in the Indian Ocean, and beyond. How quickly this force-structure modernization occurred has been nothing short of extraordinary. But with that transition in such a compressed time, challenges are sure to emerge.