RAND on North Korea's Nuclear Capabilities

RAND researchers have developed a deep body of work on North Korea's nuclear capability and its implications for U.S. policy. Specifically, we focus on the regional security dynamics of the North Korean nuclear threat; the North Korea nuclear threat and the technical hurdles North Korea faces in building its capabilities; and dealing with North Korean nuclear weapons in the event of a regime collapse.

The work listed below is in the public domain. Additional relevant work on North Korea is completed and will be in the public domain shortly.

Regional Security Dynamics of the North Korean Nuclear Threat

Commentary

Reports & Journal Articles

The North Korean Nuclear Threat and Technical Hurdles North Korea Faces

Commentary

Reports & Journal Articles

  • Characterizing the North Korean Nuclear Missile Threat September 27, 2012

    Markus Schiller

    The security community generally believes that North Korea has a relatively sophisticated guided ballistic missile program. This report questions this view and seeks to better characterize the North Korean missile threat. The author compares the available data on the North Korean missile program against five hypotheses about the program's origins, sophistication, and scale, highlighting inconsistencies.

  • Uncertainties in the North Korean Nuclear Threat May 24, 2010

    Bruce W. Bennett

    North Korea has denied the United States information about its nuclear weapon program, resulting in a high degree of uncertainty about the number and character of its nuclear weapons, how they might be used, and what impact they might have. This briefing addresses those uncertainties. North Korea could use its nuclear weapons from early on in a war, threatening ROK and Japanese cities to control escalation and strive for some hope of victory.

Dealing with North Korean Nuclear Weapons in Regime Collapse

Commentary

Reports & Journal Articles

  • Preparing for the Possibility of a North Korean Collapse September 19, 2013

    Bruce W. Bennett

    A North Korean government collapse would have serious consequences, including a humanitarian disaster and civil war. The Republic of Korea and the United States can help mitigate the consequences, seeking unification by being prepared to deliver humanitarian aid in the North, stop conflict, demilitarize the North Korean military over time, secure and eliminate North Korean weapons of mass destruction, and manage Chinese intervention.

  • RR541

    Strategy-Policy Mismatch: How the U.S. Army Can Help Close Gaps in Countering Weapons of Mass DestructionSeptember 24, 2014

    Timothy M. Bonds, Eric V. Larson, Derek Eaton, Richard E. Darilek

    Although two successive presidents have determined that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) pose the greatest threat to the American people and have listed countering their proliferation as a top strategic priority, neither administration has followed through by allocating appropriate budgetary resources to it. This report addresses and analyzes the ground force capacity and capabilities needed to perform WMD elimination missions and tasks. The authors explore in depth two particularly salient cases: operations to secure loose WMD in the event that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) collapses and a counterfactual scenario in which U.S. operations were ordered to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program in the wake of a Syrian regime collapse.

Contact An Expert