Kim Jong Un has apparently made another major change to the military leadership, this time replacing Kim Jong Gak as the Minister of the People’s Armed Forces with Kim Kyok Sik after only seven months in office. The move is nearly as surprising as former Chief of the KPA General Staff Ri Yong Ho’s sudden dismissal in July. Kim Jong Gak, like Ri, was a Vice Marshal and assumed to be a major part of the succession process on the military side. He was also a member of the Politburo, National Defense Commission and Central Military Commission, one of only eight men in North Korea to hold that distinction, and was informally ranked seventh allegiance nothing more than a “stick” in a recent address to security officials. In addition, he was the 6th most frequent accompanier with Kim Jong Un thus far and one of the “Gang of Eight” that accompanied Kim Jong Il’s casket during his funeral procession. Kim Kyok Sik, for his part, had previously served as a Chief of the KPA General Staff before being removed in February 2009 and demoted to Commander of the Western Region. During his tenure as Commander of the Western Region he is believed to have been responsible for sinking of the South Korean Cheonan and is alleged to have been behind the decision to shell Yeonpyeong Island. More recently he was promoted to Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, and was called a hero.