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How much money would the U.S. save by ending Korean "war games"?

Winnefeld on historic North Korea summit
U.S. decision on joint military exercises with South Korea "very reversible," Winnefeld says 04:41

President Trump said Tuesday it would be "inappropriate" for the U.S. to continue joint military exercises with South Korea after his meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. The initial document signed by Mr. Trump and Kim says nothing about the military exercises, but at a news conference following the summit, the president said that in exchange for complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the United States would end its military exercises, or "war games," in South Korea.  

"We have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea, I would like to be able to bring them back home," Mr. Trump said in his press conference early Tuesday morning ET during the summit. "That's not part of the equation. At some point, I hope it would be. We will stop the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money."

The defense community appeared to be surprised by Mr. Trump's offer to halt the military exercises, especially when Mr. Trump initially claimed that he made no concessions to Kim.

The United States Forces Korea, which conducts the exercises, said in a statement that they have received "no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises."

Christopher Sherwood, spokesperson for the Department of Defense, said in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday "the Department of Defense continues to work with the White House, the interagency, and our allies and partners on the way forward following the U.S./DPRK summit."

The next military exercise, titled Ulchi Freedom Guardian, scheduled for the fall, has not yet been canceled or changed.

The Pentagon is still aiming to come up with the cost of the military exercises like Foal Eagle, an annual U.S.-South Korea combined field training exercise which takes place in the spring.

The Air Force has calculated the hourly flying costs for the three types of bombers that fly between Guam and Korea, a cost Mr. Trump had mentioned.

"The Operational Cost Per Flying Hour (OCPFH) is calculated by dividing the total operating and sustainment costs (excluding hardware modifications) associated with a weapon system by the total flying hours flown in the same year," an Air Force Official told CBS News. "Operational Cost includes: Unit-Level Manpower, Unit Operations, Maintenance, Sustaining Support, Continuing System Improvements (excluding hardware modifications), and Indirect Support."

The official gave the following calculations for each of the three bombers used in the flights:

·         B-1B - $95,758

·         B-2A - $122, 311

·         B-52H - $48,880

With these figures for each of the bombers flying the combined 13-hour round trip, the total cost is $3,470,337, a fraction of the budget of the Pentagon's -proposed $681.1 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019.

Furthermore, if these flights were canceled in accordance to Mr. Trump's decree, it is unclear if the money would actually be saved because the flights would likely just be redirected, rather than canceled.

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