North Korean authorities are recruiting large numbers of technology and science students for a special military unit tha oversees North Korea’s ballistic missiles, the Strategic Military Command, Daily NK has learned.

The mass recruitment efforts are likely part of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s desire to deploy the country’s “new weaponry” into the field, a goal he announced during the plenary meeting of the party’s Central Committee in December of last year. 

A Kangwon Province-based military source alerted Daily NK to the regime’s recruitment efforts on Mar. 31. 

“An order by the Supreme Commander [Kim Jong Un] was issued on Mar. 25 to the province’s Military Mobilization Office to recruit all graduates of the province’s Information Technology Academy into the ‘Strategic Military Command,’” the source said. 

The recent order comes after Kim recently observed tests of missiles and tactical guided weapons. 

“Information Technology Academies” are two-year colleges run by the military that teach soldiers about weapons systems, computer programming, metallurgy, and communications. 

The MMO reportedly responded swiftly to Kim’s order and are now “reviewing documentation, including recommendations and physical fitness records, of graduates of Kangwon Province’s Information Technology Academy,” the source said. 

Any graduates who have family members in correctional facilities or have missing relatives are banned from entering the Strategic Military Command, another source added. 

On Mar. 28, the MMO was reportedly ordered to select the first group of graduates to enter the Strategic Military Command by Apr. 3. Any graduates who failed their physical examinations or background checks were reportedly ordered to join the regular army instead. 

Graduates who passed the initial screening with flying colors are expected to head to a training camp for new recruits in the coming days. 

Those selected for the Strategic Military Command will reportedly be given the rank of lance corporals as part of efforts to recognize the two years of training they received at the Information Technology Academy as part of their military service. 

Some graduates shortlisted for recruitment into the Strategic Military Command are reportedly disappointed because they will no longer be able to apply for further education at military universities in Pyongyang or enter the military unit of their choice.

*Translated by Violet Kim

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Jeong Tae Joo is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. He focuses on North Korean military matters. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.