PYONGYANG, North Korea — Wherever North Korea's young new leader goes, a group of graying military and political officials shadow him.

As Kim Jong Un steps into the role of "supreme commander," these officials can be seen in the background listening attentively, smiling and clapping.

Since his father, Kim Jong Il, died of a heart attack in December, Kim Jong Un has assumed the mantle of leadership with apparent confidence.

But his circle of advisers are never far behind. They lend the young man gravitas and experience while also making clear that he has the backing of the powerful military.

All have long-standing ties to his father or his grandfather.

Klug reported from Seoul, South Korea.