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Jung Pak, Senior Fellow and SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies, Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution

Jung H. Pak

SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies

Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies

Jung H. Pak is a senior fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies at Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies. She is the author of “Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Officer’s Insights into North Korea’s Enigmatic Young Dictator” (Ballantine, April 2020). Positioned as an authoritative book on North Korea under Kim Jong Un, this comprehensive account examines Kim’s personality, preferences, and policy choices, and the implications for North Korea’s internal stability, denuclearization, and global security.

At Brookings, Pak focuses on the national security challenges facing the United States and East Asia, including North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities, the regime’s domestic and foreign policy calculus, internal stability, and inter-Korean ties. Pak is also focused on developing interdisciplinary forums to bolster regional dialogue on counterterrorism, nonproliferation, cybersecurity, and climate change. She also has expertise in broader U.S.-South Korea relations and regional dynamics.

Pak is an accomplished intelligence professional specializing in East Asia political and security issues with strong academic credentials. She has held senior positions at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Prior to her work in national security, Pak taught at Hunter College in New York City and studied in South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar.

As a senior analyst, Pak published hundreds of intelligence assessments, including the President’s Daily Brief. Several of these papers have been considered required reading and important benchmark studies. Countless assessments have had direct policy impact.

From 2014 to 2016, Pak served as a deputy national intelligence officer at the National Intelligence Council in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). In that role, Pak led the U.S. intelligence community’s (IC) production of strategic analysis on Korean Peninsula issues, represented the IC in White House policy meetings, provided direct analytic support to the National Security Council, and advised the DNI and his senior staff on key developments and emerging issues.

At CIA, where she won multiple awards for superior analytic accomplishments and service, Pak produced timely and actionable analysis for the president and also helped to manage and support CIA’s projects related to the U.S. presidential transition.

Pak grew up in New York City and graduated from Colgate University where she served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2015. She received her doctorate from Columbia University in U.S. history.

Outside of Brookings, Pak is providing outside informal counsel exclusively to the Biden campaign for President.

Affiliations:
Colgate University, trustee

Jung H. Pak is a senior fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies at Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies. She is the author of “Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Officer’s Insights into North Korea’s Enigmatic Young Dictator” (Ballantine, April 2020). Positioned as an authoritative book on North Korea under Kim Jong Un, this comprehensive account examines Kim’s personality, preferences, and policy choices, and the implications for North Korea’s internal stability, denuclearization, and global security.

At Brookings, Pak focuses on the national security challenges facing the United States and East Asia, including North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities, the regime’s domestic and foreign policy calculus, internal stability, and inter-Korean ties. Pak is also focused on developing interdisciplinary forums to bolster regional dialogue on counterterrorism, nonproliferation, cybersecurity, and climate change. She also has expertise in broader U.S.-South Korea relations and regional dynamics.

Pak is an accomplished intelligence professional specializing in East Asia political and security issues with strong academic credentials. She has held senior positions at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Prior to her work in national security, Pak taught at Hunter College in New York City and studied in South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar.

As a senior analyst, Pak published hundreds of intelligence assessments, including the President’s Daily Brief. Several of these papers have been considered required reading and important benchmark studies. Countless assessments have had direct policy impact.

From 2014 to 2016, Pak served as a deputy national intelligence officer at the National Intelligence Council in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). In that role, Pak led the U.S. intelligence community’s (IC) production of strategic analysis on Korean Peninsula issues, represented the IC in White House policy meetings, provided direct analytic support to the National Security Council, and advised the DNI and his senior staff on key developments and emerging issues.

At CIA, where she won multiple awards for superior analytic accomplishments and service, Pak produced timely and actionable analysis for the president and also helped to manage and support CIA’s projects related to the U.S. presidential transition.

Pak grew up in New York City and graduated from Colgate University where she served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2015. She received her doctorate from Columbia University in U.S. history.

Outside of Brookings, Pak is providing outside informal counsel exclusively to the Biden campaign for President.

Affiliations:
Colgate University, trustee

Becoming Kim Jong Un

When Kim Jong Un became the leader of North Korea following his father’s death in 2011, predictions about his imminent fall were rife. North Korea was isolated, poor, unable to feed its people, and clinging to its nuclear program for legitimacy. Surely this twenty-something with a bizarre haircut and no leadership experience would soon be usurped by his elders. Instead, the opposite happened. Now in his mid-thirties, Kim Jong Un has solidified his grip on his country and brought the United States and the region to the brink of war. Still, we know so little about him—or how he rules.

Enter former CIA analyst and Brookings senior fellow Jung Pak, whose brilliant Brookings Institution essay “The Education of Kim Jong Un” cemented her status as the go-to authority on the calculating young leader. Becoming Kim Jong Un is a groundbreaking account of the rise of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un—from his nuclear ambitions to his summits with President Donald J. Trump—by a former CIA analyst considered one of the leading American experts on the North Korean ruler inside and outside the U.S. government.

Brookings Essay: The Education of Kim Jong-un

When Kim Jong Un became the leader of North Korea following his father’s death in 2011, predictions about his imminent fall were rife. North Korea was isolated, poor, unable to feed its people, and clinging to its nuclear program for legitimacy. Surely this twenty-something with a bizarre haircut and no leadership experience would soon be usurped by his elders. Instead, the opposite happened. Now in his mid-thirties, Kim Jong Un has solidified his grip on his country and brought the United States and the region to the brink of war. Still, we know so little about him—or how he rules.

Enter former CIA analyst and Brookings senior fellow Jung Pak, whose brilliant Brookings Institution essay “The Education of Kim Jong Un” cemented her status as the go-to authority on the calculating young leader. Becoming Kim Jong Un is a groundbreaking account of the rise of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un—from his nuclear ambitions to his summits with President Donald J. Trump—by a former CIA analyst considered one of the leading American experts on the North Korean ruler inside and outside the U.S. government.

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