US: Stoppage of US, Korea exercises cause readiness loss

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WASHINGTON – The general nominated to take command of U.S. and allied forces in South Korea says the decision to cancel several major military exercises on the Korean peninsula this year caused a slight degradation in the readiness of American forces.

Gen. Robert Abrams tells the Senate Armed Services Committee that commanders are planning a number of smaller staff exercises to rebuild the ability of U.S. and allied forces to work together. He says planning is ongoing for large exercises next year, but alliance leaders will decide if they are canceled or not.

Abrams says America must remain clear-eyed about the military and nuclear threats from North Korea, while allowing diplomacy to move forward.

Navy Vice Adm. Craig Faller, nominated to take over U.S. Southern Command, is also testifying before the panel.

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