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  • DPRK: Highlights of the IISS Threat Assessment
    Posted by Robert Wall 8:01 AM on Jul 21, 2011

    Iran, Libya, and the Middle East and North Africa have taken much of the spotlight of late, as well as Chinese activities in the South China Sea, but a new report by the International Institute of Strategic Studies provides a chance to once again cast an eye on North Korea.

    The extensive report – called a Net Assessment – examines succession issues, the country’s involvement in organized crime, and of course its weapons arsenal. Here are some of the highlights:
    • Nuclear warheads: plutonium for 4-12 “although most likely fewer than ten.”
    • Combat aircraft: 820 (max 620 serviceable) in four air divisions with 33 regiments
    • Helicopters: 300
    • Special ops transport aircraft: 300 An-2s
    • Army: 4,100 tanks, 2,500 APCs, and 8.500 field artillery pieces
    • Navy: 70 submarines, 135 hovercraft, 130 landing craft ships
    • Defense spending as percent of GDP: 22-24%
    But the real meat of the report has less to do with the numbers. The IISS document notes that succession planning for the replacement of leader Kim Jung-Il is taking place in much worse economic conditions than when he succeeded his father, Kim Il-Sung, in 1994. “The Kim family will have to rely heavily on physical power exercised by the military and the state-security apparatus in order to ensure a successful power transition. This exacerbates the potential for conflict.”

    Tags: ar99, DPRK, tacair

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