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In order to understand North Korean thinking, it must be stated that they have a guerrilla mindset derived from state-sponsored propaganda about the Kim family. Kim Il-sung positioned himself as an anti-Japanese guerrilla who served in a sniper unit, killing the oppressors of the Korean people—a claim that is historically dubious at best. The North Koreans have been brainwashed into believing that their neighbors in the south are the ones who have it really bad, starving and living under authoritarian rule.
It is from this population that North Korean infiltrators are selected and trained. “The principal mission of the North Korean Special Purpose Forces is to infiltrate into the enemy’s rear area and conduct short-duration raids. Their most dangerous avenue of approach for their forces includes amphibious approaches, airborne infiltration, and the use of a vast tunnel network” (Krause, viii). Having penetrated into South Korea’s rear areas, these Special Purpose Forces will then begin a campaign of sabotage, terrorism, and mayhem that will disrupt South Korean units fighting on the front lines. The North has over one hundred thousand soldiers prepared to conduct this mission in a standing army of over one million, with many more reservists who can be called back into service.
Foal Eagle is the name of an annual training exercise that takes place each fall and is intended to train those in South Korea’s rear areas to defend against North Korean infiltrations. U.S. Special Forces and South Korean Special Forces would train by conducting direct action missions against South Korean military bases and installations. This would allow friendly forces to practice their defense drills while the special operations units worked on their direct action capabilities.