You would think that all countries have military or armed forces right? Wrong! There are actually countries that have no military or armed forces.
The term countries refers to only sovereign states that are not dependent on other countries.
Some of them have long standing arrangement with their former occupying country to be responsible for their security. An example – The Compact of Free Association countries (Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau) depend on the United States for their defence.
We dug in to find all the countries and independent states that Have no Military or Armed Forces. If you are interested in learning military tactics this illustrated manual will teach you a lot.
And these are what we found.
- Andorra: Andorra has no standing army but has signed treaties with Spain and France for military protection. It has a small volunteer army that is purely ceremonial in its function. It has a national police responsible for internal security.
- Dominica: Dominica has not had a standing army since 1981. The country’s defence is the responsibility of the Regional Security System.
- Grenada: The country has not had a standing army since the Peoples Revolutionary Army was disbanded in 1983. The Royal Grenada Police Force maintains a paramilitary special service unit for internal security. The Regional Security System handles the country’s defence.
- Kiribati: The only forces permitted are the police. The national police includes a maritime surveillance unit equipped with small arms and one patrol boat. Australia and New Zealand helps with the country’s defence under an informal agreement between the three countries.
- Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein disbanded its army in 1868 because it was thought to be too costly. The country only permits an army during war but that has not happened in their history. It however maintains a police unit equipped with small arms to carry out internal security. Austria and Switzerland provides defence assistance under an informal agreement among the three countries.
- Marshall Islands: Like the Kiribati this country only has a police force with a maritime surveillance unit equipped with small arms and one patrol boat for internal security. Like Grenada, the defence of the country is the responsibility of the Regional Security System. The country has not had a military since its foundation.
- Federated States of Micronesia: The country has not had a military since its formation. It has a police, with a maritime surveillance unit equipped with small arms and three patrol boats for internal security.
- Nauru: Nauru has a relatively large armed police force but no army. Australia is responsible for its national defence under an informal agreement.
- Palau: Palau has no army but has a police force with a 30 person maritime surveillance unit for internal security. The unit has small arms and 2 patrol boats. The United States provides defence assistance under the Compact of Free Association
- Saint Lucia: Saint Lucia maintains two small paramilitary forces consisting of 116 people responsible for internal security – the Special Service Unit and the Coast Guard. Defence is the responsibility of the Regional Security System.
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: the country has two small paramilitary forces – the Special Service Unit and the Coast Guard, responsible for internal security and patrolling coastal waters respectively. The Regional Security System provides defence assistance.
- Samoa: The country has had no military force since its formation. It has a small police force and a maritime surveillance unit (with small arms and a patrol boat) for internal security. Based on a 1962 Treaty of Friendship New Zealand is responsible for its defence.
- Solomon Islands: The country maintained a paramilitary force until a heavy ethnic conflict where Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific countries had to intervene to restore law and order. Since then it has not kept a military force. However it has a relatively large police force and a maritime surveillance unit for internal security. The maritime unit has small arms and two patrol boats
- Tuvalu: The country has never had a military force. It has a small police force and a maritime surveillance unit for internal security.
- Vatican City: It has a Gendarmerie Corps for internal security. The Pontifical Swiss Guard (though officially under the authority of the Holy See and not the Vatican City) is an armed unit charged with protecting the Pope. Informally the Italian Armed Forces protect the Vatican though there is no official defence treaty.
Some of them (eg Iceland and Monaco) have no standing armies but have what you can call a non-police military force in some cases. Countries with limited military but no standing army or military force include;
- Costa Rica: A Standing army has been forbidden since 1949 based on article 12 of the constitution. Costa Rica however has a Public Force with limited military capacities whose main role includes law enforcement, internal security and command of the Air Vigilance Service.
- Iceland: Though a member of NATO it has not maintained a standing army since 1869. However it has a military expeditionary peacekeeping force, an air defence system, a militarised coast guard, a police service and tactical police force. It also has agreements regarding military and other security operations with Norway, Denmark and other NATO countries.
- Mauritius: Mauritius has not had a standing army since 1968. All military, police and security functions are handled by 10,000 active duty police personnel under the Commissioner of Police. This consists of the 8,000 person strong National Police Force responsible for domestic law enforcement, the 1500 member Special Mobile Force and a 500 member National Coast Guard both regarded as paramilitary units equipped with small arms.
- Monaco: Defence is the responsibility of France though Monaco maintains two small military units; one to protect the Prince and the Judiciary, the other responsible for civil defence and firefighting. There is also an armed national police for internal security.
- Panama: In 1990 Panama abolished its army; this was ratified/confirmed by by a unanimous parliamentary vote for constitutional change in 1994. It has a public force which includes the National Police, National Borders Service, National Aeronaval Service, and Institutional Protection Service which have some warfare capabilities.
- Vanuatu: it maintains a paramilitary force called the Vanuatu Mobile Force for internal security. It is manned by almost 300 hundred people equipped with small arms.
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