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15/08/2019 | Intelligence - North Korea Threat Analysis: Kim Family Dynasty Rule of North Korea

Bob Budahl

North Korea is and will continue to be a threat for the immediate future. The U.S. Intelligence Services, Military troops and Facilities, Naval forces and ports, Air Force, Essential Infrastructure, Civilian intellectual property and technology are targeted for exploitation. High Priority Cyber Warfare by N.K. targeting on both Military and Civilian Targets will continue.


Although we have achieved some level of success stopping and eliminating Cyber intrusions. Also, diplomatic relations have warmed slightly in recent events. Focus should be given to De-Nuclearizing North Korea and gaining an official end to the Korean War. Both factors coupled with a gradual lifting of trade bans and economic aid from the U.S. could potentially de-escalate the threat posed by North Korea.

With a dictatorship in place of North Korea, Kim Jong-un wields the resources of the Country at his own discretion. He neglects the people and economic conditions and instead focuses on military strength, intelligence capabilities and isolating the country from the outside world. He trusts no one. The intelligence structure does its best to exploit us via cybermethods.

And HUMINT is used to their best capability. He can lash out militarily at a moments’ notice with ICBM attacks with widely held beliefs that he can reach US territories and most likely the continental U.S.

He could also attack U.S. Forces across the 38thparallel and even without using nuclear weapons it would be horrific. With his agents in South Korea it would be relatively easy for him to perpetrate attacks against U.S. installations and manpower in South Korea. This is one of our largest concerns as if He decides to enact action against South Korea and the United States, he is well placed in S.K. and we could be completely taken by surprise by emplaced forces including operatives’ with The Reconnaissance Bureau. He also would likely simultaneous strike out within cells in the U.S. against Military facilities and personnel. He could also target civilians. His intelligence, clandestine, military and even nuclear options are formidable. He rules with rigid commands and total authority. The small amount of imagery and media that comes out of North Korea from the country show an adoration of the leader and the population tends to accept his authority and presence regardless of the poor economic conditions.

A strong sense of pride in the Military strength is present and the leader takes every step to ensure continuation of the Kim lineage in power. He utilizes the Intelligence service named the Reconnaissance Bureau as one of his tools to exert his power and influence of the entire nation and gathering intelligence on adversaries. It is the sole decision making ability of Kim which is such a danger not only to the United States but the world.“The Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB) is North Korea’s primary foreign intelligence service and is responsible for collection and clandestine operations. The RGB comprises six bureaus with compartmented functions, including operations, reconnaissance, technology and cyber capabilities, overseas intelligence, inter-Korean talks, and service support.”

The Reconnaissance Bureau is located in Pyongyang. In this2010 article Lieutenant General Kim Yong-cho is identified as head of the Reconnaissance Bureau. According to Joseph S. Bermudez Jr the intelligence and security services in North Korea were reorganized 2009-2010 with all intelligence and security forces falling into control of the National Defense Commission. (NDC)

Kim family dynasty reign includes the Grandfather-Kim il-Sung,(original name Kim Song-Ju) succeeded by his son-Kim Jong il and continuing on with his son and current leader Kim Jong-un. I will discuss later the importance North Korea places on continuation of the family in power.

The Reconnaissance Bureau is brutal and even targets its own people. That included an attempted assassination of a high ranking official with the Korean Worker’s Party KWP Secretary Hwang Jang-yop by two Reconnaissance General Bureau Operatives which were Kim Yong-ho and Dong Myong-gwan and that action was taken against a South Korean Military vessel.[i]According to sources Kim Jong iL’s half-brother Kim Jong-Nam survived an assassination attempt in 2012, then pleaded in a letter to the leader begging for his life. He was assassinated a few years later in Malaysia.

The Reconnaissance Bureau resembles the CIA in its desired functions and conducts comprehensive intelligence primarily focusing on South Korea and the United States. The RGB or Reconnaissance Bureau is rumored to have 60,000 trained commandos with some of them trained in attacking large cities and nuclear facilities. Some of the commandos might have even been stationed in the U.S. during the 1990s. Our Human Intelligence officers are a priority for their recruiters and a defector Kang Myong-do indicated there may be hundreds of North Korean operatives working within our country at any given time.

William R. Evanina-Director for NCSC synthesizes our dilemma as with all the openness and freedoms we have in essence is what makes us vulnerable to Foreign Intelligence threats, intrusions and manipulations of our great Country. From the NCSC’s report the primary objectives of Foreign Intelligence Entities is to gain access to our decision-making apparatus and Intelligence organizations. Likely targets include our Counterintelligence operations, cyber-threats, physical threats to official U.S. Government facilities and personnel, supply chain threats, intellectual property and technologies, and U.S. Critical Infrastructure. The vast number of potential targets within the Critical Infrastructure is a serious and very dangerous situation that we must take immediate action to protect and safeguard. Some of these targets can include our nuclear facilities, communications networks, government facilities, financial services, information technology, dams, transportation systems, water and wastewater facilities, food and agriculture industry, energy facilities, emergency services, defense industry, healthcare, critical manufacturing and chemical facilities. These targets would be a crippling action on our nation..

Our space system has long provided us with a technological edge over our adversaries that allows us to conduct warfare in the manner we do-with focus, accuracy, acquiring vast amounts of information which some countries lack the technology and capability to achieve.

Capabilities once reserved for the Big 3 nations is now a threat from emerging countries. These include North Korea. Jamming, intrusion or destruction of our space satellites and technologies would be crippling and is a very real threat. Kinetic means of hitting the satellite or device, non kinetic ways such as lasers, microwave or an electronic pulse can wreak havoc on our assets. A nuclear explosion in space emits extreme radiation which hastens the life of a satellite. Cyber-attacks are attainable by a lessor means that some other attacks. “There is some evidence that North Korea may be developing or has already acquired non-kinetic physical counter space weapons such as a nuclear EMP device.” They are also known to have electronic means of interfering with satellites and have already been accused of jamming GPS and suspected other targets. General Vincent Brooks noted that North Korea’s cyber-attacks are some of the best in the world.

Communication services are a high probability and are very vulnerable to attack. We will be able to recover if attacked but it will require an organized effort by the government with interaction and cooperation with private sector. North Korea has agents specially trained in attack of installations such as Nuclear facilities and Government buildings. If an official attack were ordered probability is high they would achieve some success. Even though we are susceptible to this kind of attack I doubt that it would be carried out.

Financial Services including the Federal Reserve Bank and electronic Bank capabilities is possible and if their hacking skills have acquired access prior to an attack it could possibly happen but is unlikely.

Transportations systems would most likely be targeted and are at high risk of being interrupted. We can recover well from an attack fairly quickly in this area. Defense Industries have security procedures and practices and would be moderately vulnerable, with low probability of attack since a conflict with North Korea would be very brief. Recovery though would require rebuilding the facilities. I do not feel our Dams are at danger of attack from North Korea, including in all-out war.

It would require bombing, rockets or other sabotage. Our water and wastewater facilities are at high vulnerability but low probability of attack. I think this would be considered an action taken in a long-term conflict and a conflict with North Korea would not be sustainable by them for any period of length, The food and agriculture industry are very susceptible to attack but again would only be undertaken in a long term and sustained attack, which North Korea will never have the ability to conduct.

Energy facilities are also extremely vulnerable but low as a probably for attack. They would be considered a target in mid to long term conflict of which North Korea will never have the capability of. If an attack did take place though, it would have a significant crippling effect and it would be difficult to recover from. It would involve rebuilding infrastructure.

Critical manufacturing is very vulnerable but low probability of risk. Chemical facilities have moderate risk of attack which correlate to toxicity and contamination risks. If mass contamination is possible it might be theorized. It would be low on the priority list of targets.

Healthcare would be extremely vulnerable but low probability of occurrence. Recovery time would be moderate.

The Director of National Intelligence in a 2017 report noted that North Korea has chemical weapons and knowledge of biological weapons. They are known to have provided missile and other information to other countries, including Iran. They continue to progress on ICBM development. The United States is estimated at having 6550 nuclear warheads whileNorth Korea has approximately 15.According to “CNN” North Korea has tested an ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland. It was fired high into the atmosphere during the test but if on a flatter trajectory would reach well into the US. It is unclear if they have the “complete package” to conduct a nuclear armed ICBM launch, but it might already exist. This is very dangerous.

The Military Threat is the overall power projection which Kim holds to threaten and bully his adversaries. The Nuclear threat appears to be real but even with this method of mass destruction his only objective could be to cause death and destruction to what extent he is able.

And he might be able to inflict hundreds of thousands of casualties. Possibly millions. But we have vastly significant forces that would retaliate and defeat them decisively. The threat of a nuclear attack by him on us or our allies is small unless he does not possess sane mental capacity. It is also likely we would survive and recover from a nuclear strike and they would not.

Modern Diplomacy (Grecia)


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