Vice Adm. Kim Myung-soo Appointed as New Chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff

Seoul — Vice Adm. Kim Myung-soo has been named the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), marking the first time in a decade that a Navy officer will occupy the top military post, if confirmed.

According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, Kim was promoted to four-star general in the latest military personnel reshuffle. He is set to replace the current JCS Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum. This is the first time since Adm. Choi Yoon-hee served as the JCS chairman from 2013 to 2015 that a Navy officer has been appointed to the position.

Kim's appointment follows a surprising reshuffle in the military ranks and is noteworthy for being the first such appointment since 1994, when South Korea reclaimed peacetime operational control of its troops from the U.S.-led United Nations Command. While the JCS chairman post has predominantly been filled by Army officers, Kim becomes the fifth appointee from a different branch of the military.

The appointment will now go through a parliamentary confirmation hearing, followed by approval at a Cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday.

In this major military personnel reshuffle, the second under the Yoon Suk Yeol administration that took office in May 2022, Kim and six other three-star generals were promoted to four-star generals. Among them are Lt. Gen. Park An-su, Vice Adm. Yang Yong-mo, and Lt. Gen. Lee Young-su, who were named as the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, respectively.

Kang Shin-chul, who heads the JCS operation headquarters, has been appointed as the deputy commander of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command.

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