Thursday, September 09, 2004


In class today someone asked about the number of reservists in South Korea. I found it surprisingly difficult to locate a current estimate. offers the following, dated, data:
Between 1968 and 1988, males between the ages of eighteen and forty were eligible for defense call-up duty; there was no clear policy on the age at which a recruit was eligible for retirement. In January 1988, a new policy was instituted that reduced the age-group of the male population subject to service in the reserves: only males who had been drafted for service between the ages of nineteen and thirty-four were required to serve in the reserves. The period of service was limited to between six and eight years, depending on the individual's age at conscription.
In 1990 there were 1,240,000 men in the reserves: 1,100,000 in the army; 60,000 in the marines; 55,000 in the air force; and 25,000 in the navy.
If anyone can locate more up-to-date information, please let us know.


kannie said...

Not sure whether this is exactly what you're looking for, but the CIA has some info (2004 estimates) -- they say there are 14,233,895 males 15-49 available, i.e. "of draft age", of whom 8,966,241 are "fit for service" . . . that's not broken down by branch, of course, nor does it differentiate between those who are in the military vs. those who could be, but it gives you an estimated pool to draw from if you want to estimate proportionately . . .

KimcheeGI said...

from the MND's Participatory Government Defense Policy 2003, Chapter 4, Section D:

Based on the “Local Reserve Forces Establishment Law”of 1961, the first Reserve Forces were created immediately after the armed infiltrators from
North Korea attempted an assault on Cheong Wa Dae (Presidential Residence) in January 1968. Since then, the Reserve Forces have played a pivotal role in
deterring North Korea's war provocations. Currently, the Reserve Forces stand at 3.04 million strong, organized into regional and workplace units. The MND,
through the Army and Navy Headquarters, commands the Reserve Forces, and the Military Manpower Agency is responsible for maintenance of their structure. During peacetime, reservists receive regular education and training, while maintaining their ability to defend their homeland. During wartime, reservists become supplementary manpower to create new units, reinforcing the existing units and serving as replacements for combat losses.

The report (212 pg .pdf file) at
also has a nice chart of the breakdown of the reserves and the chain of command on pg 55.