President-elect Park Geun-hye plans to slim down the structure of her presidential office to improve policy coordination and establish a new control tower for national security, the transition office announced Monday.
The slimmed-down Cheong Wa Dae will comprise two offices, led by the chief of staff and the national security chief, and nine senior secretaries, the transition committee’s chairman Kim Yong-joon said.
There are currently three offices, eight senior secretaries and six senior officers.
“We have aimed to show the willingness to cut unnecessary spending and enable the administrative ministries and Cheong Wa Dae to responsibly commit to their duties by unifying the organizational system of Cheong Wa Dae and integrating the functions of the secretariat,” Kim said.
The reorganization envisioned by the president-elect came less than a week after her announcement of a bigger government with a new deputy prime minister for the economy. The proposal includes 17 ministries, three lower ministries and 17 agencies.
Park has pledged to create an efficient presidential office, with much of its authorities delegated to the prime minister and the ministries.
While the simplified hierarchy and integrated role of the new secretariat was aimed to guarantee self-sufficiency for each ministry, such decisions as the designation of the presidential chief of staff to oversee the president’s personnel appointments were seen as securing the president’s power.
“The new secretariat for Cheong Wa Dae will focus on anticipating issues for the state operation and taking care of matters missed by the administration while preparing pre-to-post measures in assisting the president,” Kim said.
He added that each of the ministers would have the substantial authority and responsibility in managing their organization.
The post of chief of policy staff will be abolished, leaving the newly created deputy prime minister on economy as the sole control tower for economic affairs.
The office for national security will be installed as the control center for foreign affairs and security issues along with managing national crises.
The office is expected to take on the role of the previous national security council and be in charge of adjusting policies, managing crisis and preparing mid- and long-term strategies.
“The national security office will be set up as the overseas security situation is radically changing in order to swiftly and responsibly deal with moments of crisis,” Kim said. The transition team refused to elaborate further on the formation of the office.
The post of senior secretary for foreign affairs and national security will be kept, with its own role, the transition committee explained.
The nine senior secretaries will take charge of political affairs, civil affairs, public relations, planning, economic affairs, “future strategy,” education and culture, employment and social welfare, and foreign affairs and national security.
The new post of senior secretary on planning, for instance, will have the job of propel through the president’s state agenda, while the senior secretary for future strategy will be in charge of discovering new growth engines and preparing preemptive strategies, such as those dealing with climate change.
The presidential chief of staff, meanwhile, will also chair a personnel committee “to ensure fairness” in the president’s appointments, Kim said.
Under the president, the new committees on people’s grand unity and youth will be created while all other presidential committees excluding the one for regional development will close.
The current six senior officers, including those in charge of “future strategy” and green growth will be scrapped.
By Lee Joo-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org