List of countries without armed forces

This is a list of countries without armed forces. The term country here means sovereign states and not dependencies (e.g., Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Bermuda) whose defense is the responsibility of another country or an army alternative. The term armed forces refers to any government-sponsored defense used to further the domestic and foreign policies of their respective government. Some of the countries listed, such as Iceland and Monaco, have no standing armies but still have a non-police military force.[1][2][3]

Countries without regular military forces
  States with no military forces
  States with no standing army, but with limited military forces

Many of the 21 countries listed here typically have had a long-standing agreement with a former colonial or protecting power; one example of the latter is the agreement between Monaco and France, which has existed for at least 300 years.[4][5] Similarly, the Compact of Free Association nations of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and Palau rely on the United States for their defense. They ensure their national security concerns are addressed through annual Joint Committee Meetings to discuss defense matters with US Pacific Command. Andorra has a small army, and can request defensive aid if necessary,[6][7] while Iceland has a unique agreement from 1951 with the United States which requires them to provide defense to Iceland when needed, although permanent armed forces have not been stationed there since 2006.[8][9]

The remaining countries are responsible for their own defense, and operate either without any armed forces, or with limited armed forces. Some of the countries, such as Costa Rica and Grenada, underwent a process of demilitarization.[10][11][12] Other countries were formed without armed forces, such as Samoa over 60 years ago;[13] the primary reason being that they were, or still are, under protection from another nation at their point of independence.

Countries without armed forcesEdit

Countries with no official military forces
Country Comments Ref.
 Andorra Andorra has no standing army but has signed treaties by which Spain and France provide defence assistance and protection. It has a small volunteer army which is purely ceremonial in function. The paramilitary GIPA special forces unit of the national police is trained in counter-terrorism and hostage rescue. [14][15]
 Dominica Dominica has not had a standing army since 1981. The Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force has a special forces unit and coast guard. In the event of war or other emergencies, the police force can act as a military force if so directed by the authorities. Defense is the responsibility of the Regional Security System. [16][17][18]
 Grenada Grenada has not had a standing army since the 1983 disbandment of the People's Revolutionary Army, after the US-led invasion. The Royal Grenada Police Force maintains a paramilitary special service unit for internal security purposes. Defence is the responsibility of the Regional Security System. [10]
 Kiribati Under Article 126 of the Constitution, the only forces permitted are the police, which includes a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains one Pacific-class patrol boat, the Teanoai. Defence assistance is provided by Australia and New Zealand under an informal agreement between the three countries. [19][20][21]
 Liechtenstein Abolished its standing army in 1868 because it was deemed too costly. An army is only permitted in times of war, but that situation has not occurred since 1866. Liechtenstein maintains a police force with a police tactical unit, equipped with small arms to carry out internal security duties. Defense assistance is provided by Austria and Switzerland under an informal agreement among the three countries. [22][23]
 Marshall Islands Since the country's foundation no military has been formed. The police includes a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains one Pacific-class patrol boat, the Lomor. Under the Compact of Free Association, defense is the responsibility of the United States. [24][25][26]
 Federated States of Micronesia Since the country's foundation no military has been formed. The police maintain a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains three Pacific-class patrol boats, FSS Palikir, FSS Micronesia, and FSS Independence. Defense is the responsibility of the United States under the Compact of Free Association. [27][28][29]
 Nauru Since the country's foundation no military has been formed. There is a relatively large armed police force, and an auxiliary police force for internal security. Australia is responsible for Nauru's defence under an informal agreement between the two countries. [30][31][32][33][34]
 Palau Since the country's foundation no military has been formed. The police includes a 30-person Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains one Pacific-class patrol boat, Remeliik, and one Japanese-donated patrol boat, Kedam. Defense assistance is provided by the United States under the Compact of Free Association. [35][36][37]
 Saint Lucia The Royal Saint Lucia Police maintain two small paramilitary forces consisting of 116 people, the Special Service Unit, and the Coast Guard, both units are responsible for internal security. Defence is the responsibility of the Regional Security System. [10][38][39]
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines The Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force maintain two paramilitary forces with a combined strength of 94 people (as of 2012); the Special Service Unit, and the Coast Guard, which are responsible for internal security and patrolling coastal waters respectively. Virtually all Coast Guard Commanders have been officers from the Royal Navy. Defence is the responsibility of the Regional Security System. [10][40][41]
 Samoa Since the country's foundation no military has been formed. There is a small police force, and a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains a Pacific-class patrol boat. There are defence ties with New Zealand, which is required to consider any request for assistance under the Treaty of Friendship of 1962. [42][43][44]
 Solomon Islands The Solomons have not had a military force since 1946. There is a relatively large police force, and a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains two Pacific-class patrol boats, the Auki and the Lata. Following heavy ethnic conflict, neighbouring contries intervened to restore law and order in 2003. The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was responsible for defence and policing assistance until 30 June 2017. [45][46][47][48][49]
 Tuvalu Since the country's foundation no military has been formed. There is a small police force, which includes a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Maritime Surveillance Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains a Pacific-class patrol boat, the Te Mataili. [50][51]
 Vatican City The Pontifical Swiss Guard, an armed unit charged with protecting the pope, is officially under the authority of the Holy See rather than the Vatican City State. The Vatican has no defense treaty with Italy, as it would violate the Vatican's neutrality, but informally the Italian Armed Forces protect Vatican City. The Palatine Guard and Noble Guard were abolished in 1970. Internal policing is the responsibility of the Gendarmerie Corps. [52][53][54][55]

Countries with no standing army but limited militaryEdit

Countries with no standing army, but having limited military forces
Country Comments Ref.
 Costa Rica Article 12 of the Constitution has forbidden a standing army since 1949 following a Civil War. The Public Force, whose main role includes law enforcement, internal security and command of the Air Vigilance Service, has limited military capacities. [12][56]
 Iceland Iceland has not had a standing army since 1869, but is an active member of NATO. The Crisis Response Unit is a military expeditionary peacekeeping force.There is also an extensive militarised Coast Guard incorporating an air defence system, and a police service, including a police tactical unit. There is a defense agreement with the United States, which maintained an Iceland Defense Force and a military base in the country from 1951 to 2006. Following its closure, the U.S. announced it would continue to provide for Iceland's defense, but without permanently basing forces in the country. There are also agreements regarding military and other security operations with Norway, Denmark, and other NATO countries. [8][57][58][59][60][61][62]
 Mauritius Mauritius has not had a standing army since 1968. All military, police, and security functions are carried out by 10,000 active duty personnel under the command of the Commissioner of Police. The 8,000-member National Police Force is responsible for domestic law enforcement. There is also a 1,500-member Special Mobile Force, and a 500-member National Coast Guard, which are both considered paramilitary units. Both units are equipped with small arms. [63][64][65]
 Monaco Monaco renounced its general military investment in the 17th century because advancements in artillery technology had rendered it defenseless, but still self-identifies as having limited military forces. Although defense is the responsibility of France, two small military units are maintained; the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince primarily protects the Sovereign and judiciary, while the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers is responsible for civil defense and fire fighting. Both units are well-trained and equipped with small arms. In addition to the military, an armed national police force is maintained for internal security purposes. [4][66][67][68]
 Panama Panama abolished its army in 1990, which was confirmed by a constitutional change in 1994. The Panamanian Public Forces include the National Police, National Border Service, National Aeronaval Service, and Institutional Protection Service, which have some military capabilities. [69][70][71]
 Vanuatu The Vanuatu Police Force maintain a paramilitary force, the Vanuatu Mobile Force, for internal security purposes. The Mobile Force consists of almost 300 men and women, who are well-equipped with small arms. [72][73][74]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit