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Ministry of People's Armed Forces

The Ministry of People's Armed Forces is organizationally subordinate to the state structure but is controlled by the Korean Workers Party. The ministry is responsible for management and operational control of the armed forces. Prior to 1992, it was under the direct control of the president, with guidance from the National Defense Commission and the KWP Military Affairs Department. The 1992 state constitution shifts its control to the National Defense Commission.

The Ministry of People's Armed Forces has several principal departments. The General Political Bureau guides and supervises party organizations and political activities at all levels of the ministry under direction of the party's Military Affairs Committee. At one time the General Rear Services Bureau controled logistics, support, and procurement activities. Currently, the Rear General Bureau is responsible only for supplying food and clothing to each corps, the Ordnance Bureau is responsible for supplying ammunition, and the Transportation Management Bureau is responsible for providing vehicles and fuel support. Other bureaus include the Military Tribunal Bureau and the Prosecutors' Bureau.

The General Staff Department exercises operational control over the military. The KPA is a unitary unified military command system in which the Office of the General Staff of the KPA commands the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force in a unified manner. Major operational forces include all corps, the Light Infantry Training Guidance Bureau (formerly called the VIII Special Warfare Corps or the Special Forces Corps), the Reconnaissance Bureau, the navy, the air force, the Air Defense Command, and some combat support units. Corps are under the General Staff of the KPA, and an Army corps is believed to be on the same level with the headquarters of the Navy and the Air Force. The Artillery Command, the Armor Command, and some twenty-six bureaus, two departments, and two offices are responsible for doctrine, administration, logistics, and training for functional areas, including the field artillery, air defense artillery, armor, mechanized infantry, ordnance, and chemical warfare [the Chemical Bureau has five to six chemical battalions]. Corps-level commands in peacetime are directly commanded by the General Staff Department.

The General Staff's 44th Department exercises overall control of the MPAF's ventures to earn foreign exchange. The 44th Department plans the military's foreign exchange earning enterprise, determines the type of business each trading company pursues, and coordinates the overall undertaking.

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