The Office of the Secretary of the Defence has released its annual report to Congress on North Korea’s military, and the findings are worrying.
The report is long and gives a full account of the North Korean military. The majority of the information can be summarized through these three maps below.
The majority, 70%, of North Korea’s ground forces are deployed in a forward strike position within 100 kilometers of the demilitarized zone. Ground forces include long-range cannons and rocket artillery that can fire deep into South Korean territory, even reaching as far as the South Korean capital Seoul.
However, economic failings and food shortages have led to many troops being ill equipped and poorly trained.
Due to this, North Korea is beginning to rely more heavily on its well fed and highly trained special forces and the idea of asymmetrical warfare.
By and large, the North Korean air force is ageing, with its primary use now being providing air support to ground troops. There are a few newer aircraft in its force, with MiG-29 and MiG-23 aircraft being the most capable planes they have.
Defensively, North Korea operates several surface-to-air missile sites throughout the country alongside anti-aircraft artillery.
The North Korean navy is the country’s smallest military force. The majority of its boats are old due to years of sanctions, and are generally smaller carrying anti-ship cruise missiles.
With a fleet of 70 submarines, North Korea does have one of the largest submarine fleets in the world. For comparisons sake, the U.S. currently has a fleet of 72 active submarines.
Submarines remain a major threat due to their stealth capability, and the ease with which they can sink larger ships.
Not shown in these maps are North Korea’s growing ballistic missile capability. These missiles are hard to account for as their locations are either kept hidden, or they are constantly on the move as part of the regime’s mobile missile fleet.
Ballistic missiles remain a primary concern since, if launched properly, they could hit the United States or any location within South Korea.
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