North Korean Civil-Military Trends: Military-First Politics to a Point
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Unlike the study of other authoritarian regimes, first the Soviet Union and more recently China, which have given rise to a cottage industry of analysis on all aspects of things military, the same cannot be said of the Korean Peoples Army KPA, the armed forces of the Democratic People s Republic of Korea DPRK. In the small world of Pyongyang watchers, articles and books devoted to the KPA are few and in most cases deal with the armed forces themselves order of battle rather than the high command that oversees the machinery. This monograph examines the role of the KPA within the power structure of North Korea. The author describes the landscape of military and security institutions that ensure the regime s security and the perpetuation of the Kim dynasty. He also highlights the influential power brokers, both civilian and military, and describes how they fit into the leadership structure. Finally, he considers the role of the KPA in regime politics, especially as it relates to the upcoming succession and economic reform. An understanding of the North Korean leadership does not mean only recognizing the personalities who occupy the top political positions within the regime. In his landmark book, Shield of the Great Leader, Joseph Bermudez noted that over its 50-year history, the DPRK has developed into one of the most militarized countries in the world, with the KPA existing alongside the Korean Worker s Party KWP as the two cornerstones of the regime. During this time, the role of the high command and its ties to the leadership and decisionmaking have changed.
- Government and Political Science
- Defense Systems