National Defence Commission
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politics and government of
|DPRK National Defense Commission|
|Revised Romanization||Joseon minjujuui inmin gonghwaguk gukbang wiwonhoe|
|McCune–Reischauer||Chosŏn minjujuŭi inmin konghwaguk kukpang wiwŏnhoe|
The National Defense Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (NDC) is defined by the 1998 constitution as “the highest guiding organ of the military and the managing organ of military matters.” The Chairman of the National Defense Commission controls the armed forces and, in this state where the military pre-dominates, is the most powerful position in the country and was held by Kim Jong-Il up until his death.
The First Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK unanimously re-elected Kim Jong Il chairman of the NDC of the DPRK with Jo Myong-rok first vice-chairman. Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law Chang Song-taek was also elected an additional vice-chairman.
Currently Kim Jong-un is the First Chairman of the NDC.
The National Defense Commission was created in 1972, with a group of commissions subordinate to the Central People’s Committee, as part of the 1972 DPRK Constitution. The first National Defense Commission consisted of four members (Kim Il-sung; Choe Hyon; O Jin-u; and O Paek Ryong). The NDC was chartered in Chapter VII, Article 105:
The Central People’s Committee establishes a Domestic Policy Commission, a Foreign Policy Commission, a National Defense Commission, a Justice and Security Commission and other respective commissions to assist in its work.
The National Defense Commission, though nominally under the Supreme People's Assembly, was confirmed as the highest state body, with ultimate executive power (including responsibility for the armed forces) resting with its chairman, in 1998 through a constitutional amendment.
The Fifth Session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly, held on April 13, 2012, proclaimed Kim Jong-il as the "Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission". The Constitution was revised to replace it with the First Chairman post, with the late leader's son and successor Kim Jong-un appointed to the new position.
Powers and responsibilities
Article 106 of the Constitution of North Korea states that the National Defence Commission is "the supreme national defense guidance organ of state sovereignty". Article 109 of the Constitution states that the NDC’s powers are to:
- Establish important policies of the state for carrying out the military-first revolutionary line.
- Guide the overall armed forces and defense-building work of the state.
- Supervise the status of executing the orders of the chairman of the DPRK NDC and the decisions and directives of the NDC, and establish relevant measures.
- Rescind the decisions and directives of state organs that run counter to the orders of the chairman of the NDC and to the decisions and directives of the NDC.
- Establish or abolish central organs of the national defense sector.
- Institute military titles and confer military titles above the general-grade officer rank.
As a defense issues guider and coordinator, the security organizations in North Korea are subordinate to the Commission and among them are the Korean People's Army, the Ministry of People's Armed Forces and the State Security Department and the Ministry of People's Security.
Among the departments that are known in the NDC are:
- Administration Department
- Foreign Affairs Department
- Reconnaissance General Bureau
- Policy Department
Security agencies and organizations that subordinated to the Commission:
- Ministry of People's Armed Forces
- Ministry of People's Security
- Korean People's Army
- State Security Department
Current composition of the DPRK NDC as of April 2013
These are the members of the DPRK NDC after their election in the 2013 Supreme People's Assembly plenary session, with two seats vacant due to two members leaving the commission.
- Eternal Chairman: Kim Jong-il
- First Chairman: Kim Jong-un
- Vice Chairmen:
- Members of the Commission:
- "DPRK Holds Election of Local and National Assemblies". People's Korea. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
- Article 109 of the Constitution of North Korea
- CORI Country ReportDemocratic People’s Republic of Korea, October 2012, p. 13