The defense budget of North Korea is estimated to be $10 billion (or 15.8% of their GDP). The American defense budget is $664 billion (or 2.4% of their GDP).
North Korea’s total population is 24.7 million people with a total of 10 million who are fit for service. 690,000 are active frontline personnel and 4.5 million are active reserve personnel. This means that 21% of the whole country can be activated to fight at any time.
The United States has a population of 316 million people with 120 million fit for service. It has 1.4 million people who are active frontline personnel and 850,000 who are active reserve personnel.
This means US manpower is twice as large as North Korea’s manpower. But if both sides activated their reserves, North Korea’s manpower would be approximately 2.5 times bigger than that of the United States.
When it comes to tanks, the countries are very closely matched:
North Korea has 6,600 tanks, while the United States has 8,300 tanks. But when it comes to AFVs, the United States outnumbers North Korea 10:1 (25,000 units: 2,500 units). AFV is an armored fighting vehicle protected by strong armor and generally armed with weapons, which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities.
Other land units that armies employ are Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs), Towed-Artillery, and Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs)
(North Korea SPGs: 1600, Towed-Artillery: 3,500, MLRSs: 700; US SPGs 1,934, Towed-Artillery: 1,791, MLRSs: 1,330).
When it comes to air power, North Korea is no match for the United States, with its 940 aircrafts compared to the US’s 13,700 aircrafts. The most popular American air fighter is the United States developed F-16 Fighting Falcon. North Korea’s most popular air fighter is the Russian developed MiG-29 Fishbed.
When it comes to Naval Power, North Korea outnumbers the United States by 2:1; however, its fighting power is inferior to that of the US’s. North Korea has 0 Aircraft carriers, 4 Frigates, 0 Destroyers, 6 Corvettes, 78 Submarines, 528 Coastal Defense Crafts, and 23 Mine Warfares, while the United States has 10 Aircraft Carriers, 15 Frigates, 62 Destroyers, 0 Corvettes, 72 Submarines, 13 Costal Defense Crafts, and 13 Mine Warfares.
War is as much a battle of logistics – moving man and machine from points all over – as it is direct combat. Labor Force reflects possible wartime industry strength.
North Korea has 12.2 million people for a potential labor force, 8 major ports and terminals, and 82 serviceable airports.
The United States has a potential labor force of 155 million people, 24 major ports and terminals, and 13,500 serviceable airports.
If it came to nuclear warfare, North Korea is rumored to have enough plutonium to produce 4-8 nuclear warheads. At the same time, the United States has 5,100 warheads on standby. But even if North Korea was able to launch a warhead, it is believed that North Korea’s missiles are not able to reach the United States.
We cannot forget that almost every single tank, aircraft, or naval unit needs fuel to operate. North Korea currently consumes 15,000 barrels of oil a day, but it only produces 150 barrels daily. Not to mention that North Korea has no oil in reserves. On the other hand, the United States consumes 19 million barrels of oil a day, but it only produces 8.5 million barrels daily. That said, it has 20 billion barrels of oil in reserves.
But war isn’t only waged physically anymore. North Korea is estimated to have a hacker force of 1,800 hackers. It is not known how many hackers the United States employs but it is believed that the US is investing heavily in cyber warfare.