Ministry of Defence (North Korea)

The Ministry of Defence (Korean국방성; Hanja國防省, formerly 인민무력성/人民武力省 or Ministry of the People's Armed Forces) is the government agency tasked with general administrative and logistical coordination of the Korean People's Army (KPA). Prior to 1992, it was under the direct control of supreme commander and president, with guidance from the National Defence Commission and the Workers' Party Central Military Commission. The 1992 amendment to the Constitution of North Korea shifts its control to the National Defence Commission. The 2016 amendment shifted its control to the State Affairs Commission. The current Minister of National Defence is Kim Jong-gwan, who was appointed to the post in December 2019.[1]

Ministry of Defence
Agency overview
Jurisdiction North Korea
39°3′39″N 125°44′20″E / 39.06083°N 125.73889°E / 39.06083; 125.73889Coordinates: 39°3′39″N 125°44′20″E / 39.06083°N 125.73889°E / 39.06083; 125.73889
Minister responsible
Parent agencyState Affairs Commission
Ministry of Defence
조선민주주의인민공화국 국방성
朝鮮民主主義人民共和國 國防省
Revised RomanizationJoseon Minjujuui Inmin Gonghwaguk Gukbangseong
McCune–ReischauerChosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Kukpangsŏng


Until December 1972, the Minister of the People's Armed Forces was called the Minister of National Defence (민족보위상).[2] It then changed to the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces.


The Ministry of Defence is essentially an umbrella agency gathering the KPA's logistical, political, and personnel components.[3] The ministry also has departments which coordinate relations with foreign militaries, as well as regulating Government-owned corporations related to the defence industry and other foreign currency earning ventures.

The ministry, through the General Staff Department is responsible for the daily operational planning and management of the KPA's ground, naval, and air commands. It develops strategy, conducts education and training, conveys the orders and guidance of the KPA Supreme Command and completes certain signals intelligence tasks.


The Ministry of National Defence contains the following departments:[4]

Both the Director of the General Political Bureau and Chief of the General Staff have more power than the Minister.

Ministers of DefenceEdit

No. Portrait Minister Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
1Yong-gon, ChoeVice Marshal
Choe Yong-gon

September 1948September 19579 years  Korean People's Army Ground Force
2Kwang-hyop, KimGeneral
Kim Kwang-hyop

September 1957October 19625 years, 1 month  Korean People's Army Ground Force
3Chang-bong, KimGeneral
Kim Chang-bong
October 1962December 19686 years, 2 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
4Hyon, ChoeGeneral
Choe Hyon

December 1968May 19767 years, 5 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
5Jin-u, OMarshal
O Jin-u

May 1976February 199518 years, 9 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
6Kwang, ChoeMarshal
Choe Kwang

October 1995February 19971 year, 4 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
7Il-chol, KimVice Marshal
Kim Il-chol

(born 1933)
February 1997February 200912 years  Korean People's Army Ground Force
8Yong-chun, KimVice Marshal
Kim Yong-chun

February 2009April 20123 years, 2 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
9Jong-gak, KimVice Marshal
Kim Jong-gak

(born 1941)
April 2012November 20127 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
10Kyok-sik, KimGeneral
Kim Kyok-sik

November 2012May 20136 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
11Jong-nam, JangGeneral
Jang Jong-nam
May 2013June 20141 year, 1 month  Korean People's Army Ground Force
12Yong-chol, HyonGeneral
Hyon Yong-chol

June 201412 May 201511 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
(12 May 2015 – 11 July 2015)
13Yong-sik, PakGeneral
Pak Yong-sik

(born 1950)
11 July 20154 June 20182 years, 10 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
14Kwang-chol, NoGeneral
No Kwang-chol

(born 1956)
4 June 2018December 20191 year, 6 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force
15Jong-gwan, KimGeneral
Kim Jong-gwan
December 2019Incumbent1 year, 11 months  Korean People's Army Ground Force

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "N.K. state media confirms appointment of new defense minister". Yonhap News Agency. 22 January 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  2. ^ Tertitskiy, Fyodor (7 February 2018). "The unusual history of North Korea's military foundation day". NK News. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  3. ^ "38 North Special Report: Recent Changes in Kim Jong Un's High Command". Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  4. ^ Worden, Robert L., ed. (2008). North Korea: A Country Study. Library of Congress, Federal Research Division. p. 242. ISBN 9780160814228.