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Ulchi Freedom Tests Readiness on Korean Peninsula: US, South Korean, and allied armed forces are in the midst of Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2012 on the Korean peninsula, a combined exercise meant to strengthen readiness to defend against North Korean aggression. The exercise is one of the two peninsula-wide exercises staged each year by the US-South Korean Combined Forces Command, according to a Pentagon release. It runs until Aug. 31, allowing senior leaders to work on decision-making, while commanders and staffs execute combined planning and command and control, and oversee military intelligence, logistics, and personnel issues. Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, New Zealand, and Norway are also participating in Ulchi Freedom, which kicked off on Aug. 20. Seventh Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas said in a statement Air Force assets on the peninsula have an "opportunity to demonstrate US commitment" to South Korea and "stability in Northeast Asia." As the Defense Department shifts its focus to the Asia-Pacific region, Ulchi Freedom exercises will be more important than ever, he said. (AFPS report by Donna Miles)