Case Studies

Revealing intent: North Korea

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Page 1 of 1 MXR-CS-CSIS 12/20 2005 A detailed history Global transparency Very little open source information has been published on Kumchon-ni ballistic missile operating base since the early 2000s. However, access to high-resolution historical imagery dating back to 2000 enabled the CSIS team to detect changes and monitor the development of Kumchon-ni in detail. Between 2000 and 2005, CSIS identified critical infrastructure developments that indicate an increase in personnel assigned to the base. Additional imagery from 2005 through 2010 reveal a substantial second phase, including the expansion of barracks, support facilities (including greenhouses) and monuments as well as a new housing area with a school. In 2011, with Kim Jong-un in power, widespread changes across operational bases indicate heavy investments in training and operational readiness. Maxar satellite imagery provided the clarity, coverage and accuracy to enable detailed assessment of these developments—including insights on potential connecting tunnels for discreet transports. Insight into the development of military bases like Kumchon-ni help intelligence and defense organizations identify indicators and patterns of potential military activity. Maxar satellite imagery provides a cost-effective source of information and insight into remote areas and isolated nations like North Korea. Understanding North Korea's actual wartime capabilities is crucial for assessing risk and planning diplomacy efforts as well as defense policies. The CSIS report Undeclared North Korea: The Kumchon-ni Missile Operating Base gained critical media coverage to raise awareness. Maxar is proud to partner with organizations like CSIS who work to inform and prepare global leaders. 2019 Only Maxar imagery offered the detail needed to see past obscuring vegetation. "…The images ultimately presented in this report were purposely selected for their detailed or historical view of the structures and activities within and around the Kumchon-ni Missile Operating Base." — Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha Undeclared North Korea: The Kumchon-ni Missile Operating Base. September 2019.

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