North Korea now has the fourth-largest army in the world. It has a projected 1.2 million armed personnel, contrast to about 650,000 in the South. Military spending is expected at as much as a quarter of GNP, with about 20% of men ages 17-54 in the regular armed forces. North Korean forces have an extensive numerical advantage over the South in numerous key categories of offensive weapons for instance tanks, long-range artillery, and armored personnel carriers. (Jimerson)
In addition the North has possibly the world's second-largest special operations force, planned for insertion behind the lines in wartime. While the North has an impressive fleet of submarines, its surface fleet has a very inadequate potential. Its air force has twice the number of aircraft as the South, but, barring a few advanced fighters, the North's air force is outdated. The North deploys the bulk of its forces well forward, along the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Several North Korean military tunnels under the DMZ were exposed in the 1970s. (Jimerson)
Over the last several years, North Korea has moved more of its rear troops to hardened bunkers closer to the DMZ. Given the proximity of Seoul to the DMZ, South Korean and U.S. forces are apt to have little warning of any attack. The United States and South Korea continue to believe that the U.S. troop presence in South Korea remains a successful restraint. North Korea's nuclear weapons program has also been a basis of international tension. (Jimerson)
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