The North Korean Military in the Kim Jong-un Era



This chapter will address the challenges that the North Korean military have faced since Kim Jong-un has taken over as the leader of North Korea. The evidence confirms that Kim Jong-un has struggled to gain total control — and loyalty over the military. North Korea has continued to advance its weaponry and capabilities since Kim Jong-un took over as the leader of the country. The difference in the Kim Jong-un regime is the fact that, unlike his grandfather and his father, he does not appear to have a strong grip on the military. In following a script already laid out for him by his father, Kim Jong-un will continue to maintain and upgrade the conventional military forces, the asymmetric forces, and the nuclear capabilities of his country.


ballistic missiles DPRK military North Korea—Iran North Korean nuclear program North Korean threat 


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  1. 14.
    For more information on the elite class in North Korea, see Robert M. Collins, Marked for Life: Songbun, North Korea’s Social Classification System (Washington DC: The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, 2012), URL: Scholar
  2. 58.
    See Bruce E. Bechtol Jr., “The North Korean ICBM Test-Launch of December, 2012,” HRNK, The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, February 7, 2013, URL: For more details on North Korea’s robust ballistic missile program, see Bruce E. Bechtol Jr., Defiant Failed State: The North Korean Threat to International Security (Washington DC: Potomac Books, 2010), 27–39.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bruce E. Bechtol, Jr. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Angelo State UniversityUSA

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