North Korea has the fourth-largest army in the world, at an estimated 1.21 million armed personnel, with about 20% of men aged 17–54 in the regular armed forces. The North Korean Armed Forces have five branches: Ground Force, Naval Force, Air Force, Special Operations Force, and Rocket Force. An estimated 20% of men aged 17–54 in the regular armed forces . In the mid 1990s, Kim Jong-il launched the 'military first' or (선군정치, Son'gun chongch'i) policy to maintain a grip on power, devoting even more resources to the key to his maintain in power-the military.
North Korea maintains a single command system: the Chief of the GeneralStaff directly commands and controls ground corps, tanks, light infantry and artillery command,navy command and air command. Kim Jong Un now the supreme commander of the People'sArmed Forces and the chairman of the Military Committee in theroy has overall command ofthe North Korean military apparatus and exercises direct right of military administration and command .
When the most isolated country in the world threatens a nuclear attack, there’s good reason for concern. North Korea may be off-the-grid globally, but their military manpower under Kim Jong-un is surprisingly strong. Just how powerful is North Korea? Is an attack on the U.S. likely?
According to military sources, Korean armed forces operates a very large amount of equipment, including 4,060 tanks (the most common is the Russian T-55 model tanks, the most advanced to Russian T-62 ), 2,500 APCs, 17,900 artillery pieces, 11,000 air defence guns ,at least 915 vessels in the Navy (a green water navy, with a fleet for each coast, which cannot support each other 3 frigates and 70 submarines ) and 1,748 aircraft in the Air Force. North Korea operates a large number of MiG-21PFMs, which are the country's most numerous fighter. Except for a few advanced fighters such as the MiG 29, the North's air force is obsolete. North Korea main advantage is its 1.21 million man army, which seriously outnumbers the 28,000 American troops and 520,000 South Korean troops . Artillery from North Korea could destroy much of Seoul even without the North moving any troops with such guns as the M-1978 (KOKSAN) is a 170 mm self-propelled . In the 1980s, Army force structure became increasingly mobile and mechanized .
A Second Korean War
A second Korea War would most likely be a much bloodier affair than the American invasion of Iraq. North Korean soldiers are better trained and devoted to the regime than the Iraqi soldiers of Saddam Hussien. For example, in 1996, the crew of a North Korean submarine that became stranded in South Korea after an infiltration mission, the crew committed suicide rather than be captured. North Koreans have been conditioned from a very young age to accept the words and deeds of the elder and junior Kims to be absolute truth. The greatest meaning in life lies in becoming "bullets and bombs" in defense of Kim Jong-il.North Korean artillery, tanks and military positions could be pinpointed and attacked by the U.S. and South Korean airforce. However, a U.S. and South Korean invasion into North Korea could provoke a nuclear response from North Korea and a military response from China as it did in the first Korean War.
Examining North Korea's military capabilities
It has been 56 years since North and South Korea agreed to stop fighting the Korean war. But their relationship is in a dire state. Pyongyang abandoned the 1953 armistice and continues to threaten South Korea with "unimaginably deadly blows".
Parade pageantry in Pyongyang: N. Korea marks 60 yrs since Korean War armistice
North Korea has staged a huge parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War. Soldiers and military hardware paraded through Pyongyang in a carefully choreographed display. The 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, although the North and South remain technically at war. July 27, 2013 .
North Korea is estimated to have enough material to produce up to 9 nuclear weapons, with intermediate-range ballistic missiles to deliver them. The Taepodong-2 is a two-stage ( some are three stage ) intermediate-range ballistic missile as a range of about 2800 miles . North Korea is also capable of producing and employing chemical weapons such as nerve gas, blood agents, and the mustard-gas family of chemical weapons. Not as much attention has been given to biological weapons because of the expense and danger of infection its own population.
After the Korean War ended, the United States introduced brought nuclear weapons to South Korea for use in an uncontainable North Korean invasion. In late 1950s nuclear cannons and nuclear tipped missiles were introduced. Later, atomic demolition mines were brought in to contaminate an area for a limited time .Dropping a nuclear weapon on Pyongyang was considered after the seizure of the USS Pueblo . After the Gulf War and the development of smart bombs led to President Bush ordering the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from South Korea in Sept, 1991. As a result of the threat of nuclear attack, North Korea has built a large number of military facilities underground .
North Korea attacks against South Korea are well known, however North and South Korea have been attacking each other with infiltrators since before the Korea War and after. Thousands of South Korean infiltrators and spies have been killed or executed attacking North Korea. South Korea trained a group of ex-convicts to kill Kim Il Sung . But in 1971 the plot was aborted and the commandoes killed their trainers, fought their way into Seoul and blew themselves up.
North Korean film documentary on the military in English
North Korean Air Force - How Powerful is it? 2015
North Korean Air Force Propaganda Video
The threat of the North Korean KN-08 missle .
North Korean Tanks Chonma-Ho VI . The North Korean Tanks Chonma-Ho is North Korea's
indigenous main battle tank , based on the based on the Soviet T-62.
The three stage North Korean ICBM was first introduced to the public in 2012. Using technology from the Unha space launch program and earlier version of the NoDong, this road mobile, liquid fueled ballistic missile is estimated to carry a single warhead (nuclear, chemical, HE) at a range of 6000km.
North Korea: Kim and his missiles
Reports on Kim Jong Un's missile threat - and new concerns over his stability.
April 13, 2016
North Korea has about 70 submarines in total.
North Korea test-fires underwater ballistic missile
North Korea has carried out a successful underwater test of a ballistic missile, the North Korean state news agency reported. Leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test himself
The U.S. House Armed Services Committee says stationing a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense... or THAAD battery here would help the allies defend against North Korea′s nuclear and ballistic missile threats. The committee′s report also mentions how the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea has been pressing for the deployment... as it would allow Seoul and Washington to build a layered and interoperable ballistic missile defense capability.
North Korea vs South Korea 2015- The Statistics
North Korea: nuclear force expansion . North Korea is estimated to have between 10 to 20 nuclear bombs and as many as 8 types of missiles to deliver them .
Kim Jung un has purged many top generals, shifting power away for the military and toward himself .
May 9, 2016 .
Rare Weapons of North Korea
According to Bloomberg, North Korea exports $100 million in weapons and missiles each year in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a UN expert panel’s report that said Iran and Syria may be among countries that received missiles
Kim Il Sung is regarded as having founded the Anti-Japanese People's Guerrilla Army on April 25, 1932 in north Korea. April 25 is Army Day in North Korea, a major holiday. The KPA was actually founded on February 8, 1948. However, in 1978, North Korea established April 25, 1932 as KPA foundation day in recognition of Kim Il Sung’s anti-Japanese guerrilla activities.
North Korean Army flag, with date of founding of Anti-Japanese People's Guerrilla Army
Soldiers of the KPA in the late 1940s
South Korea has the world's sixth largest number of active troops and the world's second-largest number of reserve troops.
As President Obama tries to get N. Korea to resume negotiations over its nuclear weapons program, many are wondering what would happen if these efforts were to fail. David Martin reports . Dec 19, 2009 .
Report on North Korean spies in South Korea