The 8th Army in South Korea celebrated the opening of its new headquarters at Camp Humphreys on Tuesday, according to its Facebook page.

The command relocated about 40 miles south from Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, which is closer to the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.

The move, which comes as tensions with North Korea continue to rise, has been years in the making. The roughly $10 billion expansion is set to be complete in 2020, following several delays due to construction problems and quality control issues, Stars and Stripes reported.

The agreement between the U.S. and Seoul to move U.S. forces south of the capital was originally decided in 2004.

The move will allow the U.S. military to close dozens of installations in and north of Seoul, according to Stars and Stripes. The U.S. can then consolidate into regional hubs in Pyeongtaek and Daegu.

Army Times reported in 2015 that the Republic of Korea is paying for about 90 percent of the construction project.

The expansion includes new motor pools, barracks, headquarters, housing, medical and educational facilities for about 24,000 troops.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, 8th Army commander, said Camp Humphreys has tripled in size and will be the largest continuous and most populated overseas installation, according to Stars and Stripes.

The celebration included a ribbon-cutting and the unveiling of the bronze statue of Korean War hero Lt. Gen. Walton Walker. 

Some U.S. military forces will remain near the border, including the 210th Field Artillery Brigade. A joint U.S.-South Korean unit will also continue to provide security for the Joint Security Area — the truce village in the DMZ.

Charlsy Panzino covers the Guard and Reserve, training, technology, operations and features for Army Times and Air Force Times. Email her at   

Charlsy is a Reporter and Engagement Manager for Military Times. Email her at

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