Insoo Kim / David Kuehn

The Ministry of National Defence in South Korea: Military Dominance Despite Civilian Supremacy?

Journal of Strategic Studies | 2022

  • Abstract

    South Korea’s transition from military-controlled authoritarianism to consolidated civilian-dominated democracy is widely considered a success story. However, civilians’ roles within the MND remain severely limited due to the institutional design of the MND. A decentralised structure emerged in the MND, delegating policy decision-making in critical areas to professional soldiers. Data analysis on 1,060 employees in 21 MND departments shows a clear cut between the military domain and the civilian domain within the MND, which enabled the military to thwart 30 years of civilian efforts to reform the military structure without challenging the principle of civilian supremacy.

    Research Programmes


    Journal of Strategic Studies







    Ass. Prof. Dr. Insoo Kim

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Insoo Kim

    Department of Political Science, Korea Military Academy


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