Korea National Defense University was established in 1955 as the National War College under the Ministry of National Defense. The objectives were three-fold: First, the integrated operation of national defense covering all the fields of politics, economy, military, and concept, etc. Second, to attain deep understanding and cooperation between the military and the civilian sector. Third, to necessitate integrated operation and cooperation between the army, navy, and air force for national defense. The college moved to Goyang city in 1956 and started a 5 month pilot course. After the first graduation, the course was expanded to its 10 month regular program.
In 1961, the college was renamed as the National Defense College (NDC) and the Research Institute on National Security Affairs (RINSA) was opened. In 1980, two major programs, the national defense program and master degree program were opened. The night time master program with 3 majors began in 2002.
NDC and two other neighboring military institutions were merged into the National Defense University in 2000 according to 5 year master plan for national defense reform. KNDU has 4 academic institutions and 2 research institutes: 3 colleges (the national security college, national defense management college, and chief of joint staff college), 1 short-term education institution (duty training center), RINSA for issues on national defense and policies, and joint doctrine center for doctrine study on joint/cooperation operations.
The purposes of KNDU are as follows: First, to be the best national related university to bring up leaders of the highest level in national aspects . Second, to serve as a terminal education institution to bring up high ranking policy administrators in military aspects as well as function as a think tank for the Ministry of Defense . Finally, to serve as an education and research institution leading the technology/information era and create a peaceful and prosperous era.
Many graduates from the National Security College have held top offices in government: 3 former prime ministers, 80 minister level officials, and 154 at deputy secretary level.