Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fighting Domestic Enemies of the State

North Korea has a relatively large special forces component of their military. But except for a small portion of that (5,000), it is not comparable to our special forces.

This isn't as scary as it sounds:

North Korea has long maintained elite commando forces, troops who were carefully selected, then paid, housed and fed better, and given access to better equipment. About 15 percent of the 1.2 million North Korean military personnel are in these elite units.

That small country does not have 180,000 special forces, as we would count them. They are better than the mass rabble that would probably break up the moment they advanced into a South Korean mall where they'd stop to loot (seriously, South Korea should put malls and consumer goods warehouses all along the likely invasion routes to Seoul).

Their primary role is very different from high value raids as traditional special forces carry out. No, the North Korean special forces have a far more traditional role than that:

While the North Korean special operations troops are grumbling about not getting all the training resources (ammo and fuel) they need, they remain a highly motivated and generally loyal force. The government uses these troops to insure the loyalty of the other 85 percent of the military, and more and more elite troops are being used to assist the secret police in going after dissidents and corrupt officials.

These special forces are more like Saddam's Republican Guard was, a better combat force that was capable of defeating the regular army if it got ambitions of regime change.

But the North Koreans have added the job of helping the secret police, which Strategypage says likely harms their morale by exposing them to the fact that things back on the block aren't as good as their political officers claim in the barracks lectures.