North Korea's Military Threat: Pyongyang's Conventional Forces, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Ballistic Missiles   [open pdf - 847KB]

"Since the inception 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. Militarism 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. The KPA emerged from guerrilla origins in the 1920s and then evolved into a hybrid force with elements of Soviet and Chinese doctrines and organization. It has adjusted as a result of learning from conflicts waged elsewhere in the world. This tradition embraces the concept of self-reliance and self-sufficiency consistent with the DPRK ideology of Juche. North Korean military doctrine has shifted dramatically away from the doctrine of regular warfare to a doctrine that embraced People's War."

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