Institute for Defense Analyses Paper

North Korean Policy Elites

Reproduced by permission of the Institute for Defense Analyses (2004).

This study was conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy). The task order, entitled "North Korean Policy Elites," requested an analysis of the North Korean elite to support Defense Department planning. The study goals were to examine any differences that might exist among the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) elite, and to consider how different individuals, groups, or factions might respond to U.S. initiatives. The study identifies top members of the elite, discusses their personal and ideological priorities, examines their main information sources, and considers how they interpret information. The Project Leader was Kongdan "Katy" Oh, Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

For this study, five specialists in North Korean and international security affairs were invited to contribute papers. The project director coordinated the work and hosted initial and concluding project discussions. The five papers are published here as the authors wrote them, without major editorial revisions, the better to reflect each researcher's distinctive approach. The introduction and conclusions were written by the project leader, in collaboration with Ralph Hassig. The authors and the project leader are accountable for their respective papers, although all participants had the opportunity to review all the papers. Dr. Bruce Berkowitz, the DoD study coordinator, provided inputs throughout the study and reviewed the papers, and his prompt response to many questions and demands from the project director are much appreciated.

The project leader, who has prepared a brief field trip report on Asian views of North Korea, is indebted to her many Asian interlocutors for their ideas and suggestions. Because many of them asked that their remarks be kept off the record, in lieu of thanking them individually a collective thanks goes out to them all.