Military Structure and Capabilities for North Korea Term Paper

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Military Structure and Capabilities of North Korea

The objective of this study is to examine the military structure and capabilities for North Korea including North Korea's Army, Navy, Air Force, and Special Forces. This work will answer as to how the military is employed in the development and protection of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

Scobell and Sanford (2007) write that since the beginning of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1948 "the Pyongyang regime has had two national strategic objectives: (1) the perpetuation of the regime; and (2) reunification of the Korean Peninsula under North Korea's control." (p. viii) Lovelace writes that militarianism "has remained an essential aspect of the DPRK throughout its existence, and the armed forces constitute a central element of the regime. The Korean People's Army (KPA), the name given to all services of North Korea's military, is the core element for the realization of North Korea's national strategy. This strategy calls for giving priority to military issues over everything else and the DPRK constitutes the most militarized state on earth measured by a variety of indicators." (Scobell and Sanford, 2007, p.viii) Lovelace writes that the KPA is such that emerged in the 1920s from guerrilla origins then evolving into a "Hybrid force with elements of Soviet and Chinese doctrines and organization." (Scobell and Sanford, 2007, p. viii) Embraced by this tradition, according to Lovelace are concepts of "self-reliance and self-sufficiency" which are reported as being "consistent with the DPRK ideology of Juche." (Lovelace, Scobell and Sanford, 2007, p. viii)

II. North Korean Military Doctrine

The military doctrine of North Korea is reported as having shifted away from "the doctrine of regular warfare to a doctrine that embraced People's War." (Scobell and Sanford, 2007, p. viii) Lovelace reported that Kim II Sun "espoused Four Military Lines" including those stated as follows:

(1) arm the entire population;

(2) fortify the entire country;

(3) train the entire army as a 'cadre army'; and (4) modernize weaponry, doctrine, and tactics under the principle of Juche in national defense. (Scobell and Sanford, 2007, p. viii)

Military doctrine is reported to have been further refined to "incorporate the concept of 'combined operations' and 'two-front war'." (Scobell and Sanford, 2007, p.viii) The combined operations doctrine directs the guerilla warfare operations to integrate with convention ground force operations and is a doctrine reported to have been modified now including Weapons of Mass Destruction. The two-front war doctrine sets out close coordination of conventional frontline operations with guerilla and special operations deep within South Korea and possibly elsewhere." (Scobell and Sanford, 2007) It is reported that the first front has been historically the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), while the focus for the Second Front has been the rear area of South Korea." (Scobell and Sanford, 2007, p.ix) The KPA is reported to have developed into a 1.2 million strong force with military capabilities described and conventionally and unconventional substantial in nature. The KPA is reported at the world's four largest army in regards to its manpower and the largest in the world in terms of its Special Operations Forces (SOF) and submarine fleet. The ground forces are reported to have "eight conventional infantry corps, four mechanized corps, and armored corps, an artillery corps and the Pyongyang Defense Command's Capital Defense Corps dedicated to wartime operations. The most significant development in the ground forces for North Korea is reported as the ongoing deployment of long-range artillery systems. North Korea is reported as having in excess of 4,000 medium and light tanks and assault guns as well as more than "2,000 T-54-55 main battle tanks of Soviet 1950s-era design." (USCIA, nd, p.1) Also reported is "North Korea has indigenously produced about 700 T-62 tanks - a more capable version of the T-55 that was the Soviet Union's main battle tank in the 1960s. Light tanks are also fielded in large numbers and include variants of the former Soviet PT-76 and Chinese Type 62/63. An additional tank (T-34) and assault guns (ASU-85/100) reside with the reserve infantry divisions." (USCIA, nd, p.1) The army is light infantry and has approximately 2,300 armored personnel carriers. The North Korean Navy is comprised by 46,000 members and is mostly a coastal defense force. The Navy is reported as "organized into 13 naval commands under separate East and West Coast Fleets directly subordinate to the Supreme Navy Command. The two fleets do not share vessels. The East Coast Fleet is headquartered at Toejo Dong, with major bases at Najin and Wonsan. The West Coast Fleet is headquartered at Nampo, with major bases at Pipa Got and Sagon Ni. Numerous smaller bases line both coasts." (USCIA, nd, p.1) It is reported that there are four main missions of the North Korean Air Force include: (1) air defense; (2) transport of special operations forces; (3) strategic bombing; and (4) air support to ground forces. (USCIA, nd, p.1) North Korea's air force has "…approximately 840 jet aircraft, 300 transport aircraft, 300 helicopters, and 85,000 people form the Air Force's fighter, bomber, helicopter, and transport regiments." (USCIA, nd, p.1) It is reported that North Korea "…North Korea maintains a large, highly trained special operations force with 100,000 troops assigned to 24 brigades and 28 reconnaissance battalions. These forces have four basic missions: establishing a second front in the enemy's rear area, conducting reconnaissance, performing combat operations in concert with conventional operations, and countering the South's special operations in North Korean rear areas." (USCIA, nd, p.1 )

IV. North Korean WMD

It is reported that the United States, in October 2002, "confronted North Korea about its alleged clandestine uranium enrichment program." (Squassoni, 2004, p.5) The "roots of cooperation" between North Korea and Pakistan are reported as being deep as these two countries are known to have engaged in "conventional arms trade for over thirty years." (Squassoni, 2004, p.6) Lovelace reported that nuclear weapons were on Kim II Sung's mind beginning in 1945 and states that he was "…impressed by the power of the bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both in terms of their destructive capacity and their value as a political weapons." (Squassoni, 2004, p.6) Lovelace reports that the reasons held by Pyongyang for keeping the WMD program are many and the reasons for giving it up nonexistent.

The Global Security Organization reports that the chemical warfare program in North Korea is "believed to be mature and includes the capability, since 1989, "to indigenously produce bulk quantities of nerve, blister, choking, and blood chemical agents as well as a variety of different filled munitions systems. North Korea is believed to possess a sizable stockpile of chemical weapons, which could be employed in offensive military operations against the South." (Global Security Organization, nd, p. 1)

Additionally reported is that North Korea has further "…devoted considerable scarce resources to defensive measures aimed at protecting its civilian population and military forces from the effects of chemical weapons. Such measures include extensive training in the use of protective masks, suits, detectors, and decontamination systems. Though these measures are ostensibly focused on a perceived threat from U.S. And South Korean forces, they could also support the offensive use of chemical weapons by the North during combat. North Korea has yet to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and is not expected to do so in the near-term, due to intrusive inspection and verification requirements mandated by the agreement." (Global Security Organization, nd, p.1)

The Global Security Organization reports that North Korea has several facilities that it maintains that are "…involved in producing or storing chemical precursors, agents, and weapons. North Korea has at least eight industrial facilities that can produce chemical agents; however, the production rate and types of munitions are uncertain. Presumably, sarin, tabun, phosgene, adamsite, prussic acid and a family of mustard gases, comprising the basis of KPA chemical weapons, are produced here. North Korea has the capability to produce nerve gas, blood agents, and the mustard-gas family of chemical weapons." (Global Security Organization, nd, p.1)

There are reported to be "as many as 170 mountain tunnels" and at least 180 to 250 and one estimate states that North Korea is capable of producing various chemical agents including "…adamsite (DM), chloroacetophenone (CN), chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), hydrogen cyanide (AC), mustard-family (H or HD), phosgene (CG and CX), sarin (GB), soman (GD), tabun (GA), and V-agents (VM and VX). For operational and technical reasons, the DPRK is thought to have concentrated on mustard, phosgene, sarin, and the V-agents." (Global Security Organization, nd, p.1)

The National Committee on North Korea reports that the DPRK "…The DPRK may have deployed as many as 50 KN-02, a SRBM with a range of 100-120 km (62-75 miles). It may have deployed an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), the Musadan (also known as the Nodong-B), with a range of 2,500-3,000 km (about 1,555-1,865 miles). Some sources say that the DPRK may have deployed 10 Taepodong-1, a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) with a range of 1,500-2,500 km (930-1,555 miles) while others think the Tapedong-1 is not…

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