General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army

The General Political Bureau (GPB) is the internal politburo of the Korean People's Army (KPA), used by the leadership of the North Korean government to exert political control over the military. The GPB is subordinate to the Ministry of Defence and operates under the direction of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.[1] The GPB controls units of the KPA on all levels down to company level. It primarily exerts control through propaganda, education, and cultural activities. Under directions of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, it also controls troop movements.[2]

General Political Bureau
CountryNorth Korea
RoleCivilian control of the military
Part ofMinistry of Defence
DirectorColonel General Jong Kyong-thaek

During Kim Jong Il's Songun (military first) era in particular, the GPB remained relatively independent and unchanged for decades. However, after the 2016 7th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea under Kim Jong Un, the party had regained enough power to exert influence over the GPB. Consequentially, in 2017 the party Central Committee was ordered to carry out an inspection of the GPB, the first of its kind in 20 years. The inspection was carried out by Choe Ryong-hae.[3]

As of January 2023, the Director of the General Political Bureau is Jong Kyong-thaek, who succeeded Kwon Yong-jin.

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Minnich 2008, pp. 242–244.
  2. ^ Minnich 2008, p. 244.
  3. ^ Kim Ji-seung (23 November 2017). "Party reasserts power over military with inspection of General Political Bureau". Daily NK. Translated by Zwirko, Colin. Retrieved 2 December 2017.

Works citedEdit

  • Minnich, James M. (2008). "National Security". In Worden, Robert L. (ed.). North Korea: A Country Study (Fifth ed.). Washington: Government Printing Office. pp. 237–282. ISBN 978-0-16-088278-4. LCCN 2008028547.