Shield of the Great Leader: The armed forces of North Korea

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Allen & Unwin, 2001 - History - 375 pages
North Korea is home to one of the world's few remaining Stalinist dictatorships. Still technically at war with South Korea, the political system of this rogue state can at best be described as volatile. Years of self-imposed isolation have contributed to the slow collapse of economic and social structures; its public image is unreliable. And yet North Korea maintains the fifth largest armed forces and the largest special operations force in the world, and occupies the dubious position of leading exporter of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

Despite a decade of financial crisis, famine and natural disaster, the Korean People's Army remains a significant threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula and to East Asia. Here, for the first time at an unclassified level, is an authoritative and in-depth analysis of North Korea's armed forces, its secret intelligence agencies and its efforts to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Based upon years of research, Shield of the Great Leader makes use of diverse collections of declassified intelligence documents, interviews with intelligence and government officials throughout the world, and extensive debriefings of North Korean defectors. Individual chapters cover command and control, organisation, the Korean People's Air Force, Korean People's Navy, paramilitary forces, intelligence services, weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. The book includes numerous organisational charts, tables and maps.

Shield of the Great Leader is essential reading for anyone interested in Korean or East Asian security and intelligence affairs. For foreign policy officials and academics concerned with the crucial issues of ballistic missiles development in the Third Word and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to the general public interested in world affairs, this is the most comprehensive account of the military capabilities of North Korea available.

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Command and control
Korean Peoples Army ground forces
Korean Peoples Navy Command
Korean Peoples Air and Air Defence Command
Paramilitary and reserve forces
Intelligence and internal security services
Weapons of mass destruction
Ballistic missiles
Order of battle

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Page 238 - If a war breaks out, the United States and Japan will also be involved. In order to prevent their involvement, we have to be able to produce rockets that fly as far as Japan. Therefore, it is the mandate for the National Defense University to nurture those personnel who will develop mid- and long-range missiles.
Page xv - ForLucinda, who put up with having an absentee husband for many months and without whose love and support I would not have been able to write this book.
Page 236 - WMD capabilities within the region this has cret ted the potential for the rapid escalation. In both scope and lethality, of almost any local conflict. Without the DPRK sales the ballistic missile capabilities and developments in these countries would be five-ten years behind their current levels and South Asia would be more stable. When studying the development of ballistic missiles within the DPRK the attribute which is most Impressive is the speed at which It has occurred. Given the known levels...
Page 237 - who provided this assistance?.* and 'when and what did it entail?." The detailed answers to these questions are presently unknown. What Is known is that the DPRK has: engaged in missile technology exchanges with Egypt. Iran. Libya. Pakistan, Syria and possibly Iraq; it has openly and covertly obtained— and is continuously seeking to obtain— ballistic missile technologies. components, and matei-ials from Europe.
Page 237 - UNSCOM inspections of Iraq have demonstrated, to underestimate the dedication and abilities of the DPRK's own missile designers, engineers and specialists. Especially when considering that the ballistic missile program has long been assigned a national priority second only to the nuclear weapons program. Regardless, of how it achieved Its current level of development the DPRK currently stands on the threshold of possessing viable span launch vehicle and intercontinental ballistic mi.tile systems....
Page 213 - For one thing, they will use them [nuclear weapons] if South Korea starts a war. For another, they intend to devastate Japan to prevent the United States from participating. Would it still participate, even after Japan is devastated? That is how they...
Page xiii - Inevitably a certain amount of the information in this volume will be incorrect. Other material may be misinformation, disseminated by interested parties to serve their own purposes. The catch words probably, estimated, are believed to and apparently must appear frequently in any work of this type.
Page 237 - When studying the development of ballistic missiles within the DPRK the attribute which is most impressive is the speed at which it has occurred. Given the known levels of science and technology and industrial development within the DPRK it is almost impossible to believe that it has achieved its current level of missile development (especially within the areas of guidance and engines) without significant external assistance. The questions then become 'Who provided this assistance?' and 'When and...

About the author (2001)

Joseph S Bermudez Jr is an internationally recognised analyst or North Korean defense and intelligence affairs. He has authored three books and more than 100 articles, reports and monographs on North Korea. His books are considered by many to be the definitive 'open source' works on their subjects and have been translated into Korean and Japanese. Mr Bermudez is currently a consultant to Jane's Intelligence Review and a staff member of Jane's Intelligence Watch Report and Jane's Terrorism Watch Report.

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