The North Korean Special Purpose Forces an assessment of the threat
Durtschi, Michael S.
Wirtz, James J.
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The purpose of this thesis is to assess the threat that the North Korean Special Forces pose, and to explore how this threat might be deterred or countered. This thesis will answer three questions. First, in the event of a second Korean War, what will the special forces campaign look like? Second, how could one deter North Korea's use of this capability and, if that fails, can the threat be countered? Finally, what conclusions can be drawn from the North Korean case about the future use of special operations forces in general. This study provides an empirical assessment of the capabilities of the North Korean Special Purpose Forces and the threat they pose to the interests of both South Korea and the United States. It develops two possible campaign models, based on two prominent schools of thought on the use of special operations forces (SOF), autonomous use, or integration with general purpose forces. This thesis then compares the capabilities of the North Korean Special Purpose Forces to the alternate campaign models to predict their possible uses in the event of a second Korean War. Finally, the study addresses how the Republic of Korea and the United States may deter or counter the threat these forces pose. It also discusses what conclusions may be drawn from this study about the future use of special operations forces in general.
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