The North Korean military is one of the largest in the world, featuring over one million active duty soldiers, millions of reservists and paramilitary members, and thousands of tanks. It spends anywhere from a quarter to a third of its budget on its armed forces, and has developed a nuclear weapons arsenal, along with chemical weapons, and even lasers.
But the North Korean army is also a teetering, obsolete, 20th-century force. Their tanks, planes, and submarines are mostly of the Cold War variety. Its nukes are weak, its soldiers hungry, and its leadership uncoordinated and subservient to a dictator with no military experience. Even with all that, though, the DPRK's military has scary capabilities - enough that the US is constantly planning for how to defeat it.Here are some of the most frightening aspects of North Korea's massive military.
The US strategy to fight alongside South Korea and defeat an invasion by the North is called OPLAN 5027. It was developed in the early '70s and revised constantly, as the North's threat capabilities evolve. Versions of the plan usually involve the ROK and US defeating a DPRK invasion at a defensive line about 20-30 miles deep into South Korea, but still north of Seoul. It also incorporates the North's nuclear, biological, and cyber abilities, while leaving enough forces to prevent Seoul from being bombarded. During the Bush years, OPLAN 5027 focused more on offensive warfare, and has reportedly been rewritten again since then.The two countries also have a plan for a sudden collapse of the Kim regime, called OPLAN 5029; as well as a separate plan for a preemptive strike against the North, called OPLAN 5015. Little is known about either of these plans.