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  • Writer's pictureDelta One

"It's Time for the 3rd Generation Partnership" - from Let's Go Together to Let's Work Together

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

"The U.S. and Korea should move toward the third generation industrial cooperation."

said Mr. Kang Eunho, Minister of Defense Acquisition, during the CSIS - DAPA conference on the U.S.-Korea Defense Cooperation in Biden Administration on February 10, 2022.

The concept of the third generation partnership, proposed by CSIS President and CEO Dr. Hamre in the 2018 CSIS-DAPA conference, involves an extended partnership where the U.S. and Korea industrial bases and companies partner in a wide range of things, from joint R&D and joint production to joint marketing. The first generation industrial cooperation between the U.S. and Korea is characterized by the Military Assistance Program (MAP) and grants and the second generation industrial cooperation, by Korea's arms purchases and technology development through technology transfer and technical assistance, and Korean companies' supplies of parts to U.S. contractors, under programs such as offsets. The second generation industrial cooperation is where the U.S. and Korea stand currently. The DAPA has adopted the third generation partnership idea and has been refining what it means and developing what actions need to be taken.

Mr. Kang, noting that Korea has technological competitiveness in certain commercial areas such as semiconductor, secondary battery and IT, stated that Korea has been making robust investments in defense science and technology development and defense industry promotion programs, continuing to increase defense R&D spending. Since there are some overlaps between the DoD's modernization priorities and Korea's defense R&D priorities, he believed that there are opportunities for collaboration between the two defense industrial bases.

In its 2019-2033 Defense Science and Technology Promotion Policy Paper, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) identified eight (8) defense S&T areas as follows:

  1. Autonomous/AI based ISR

  2. Hyper-connectivity, hyper-intelligence Command & Control

  3. Ultra high speed & high power precision strike

  4. Future propulsion and stealth platforms

  5. Manned/Unmanned hybrid warfighting

  6. State-of-the-art technology based individual combat system

  7. Active response to cyber threats & protection

  8. Future new technologies - quantum technology, renewable energy, directed energy defense, synthetic biology, high energy laser, etc

In the New Defense Industry Promotion Strategy announced on September 9, 2021 jointly with the Job Creation Committee in the Presidential Office, Mr. Kang had identified five (5) industry sectors to nurture and create jobs.

  1. Space

  2. Semiconductor

  3. AI

  4. Drone

  5. Robotics

Keynote speakers Mr. Kang and GEN(R) Brown emphasized that the U.S. and Korea not only "go together (같이 갑시다)" but also should "work together (같이 일합시다)". For the new catchphrase to work, for the third generation partnership to take off, the U.S. and Korea should overcome the Buy American Act as well as Korea's newly implemented defense industrial quota system (as part of the Buy Korean initiative). High ranking officials in the DAPA are optimistic, and hopeful, about resolving such issues.

There are huge obstacles in both countries, such as the Buy American Act, Buy Korean, licensing, etc, but as we Delta One say, opportunities lie where the needs and wills of both sides meet, and we can overcome those obstacles through cooperation.

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