List of countries without armed forces

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

This is a list of countries without armed forces. The term "country" is used in the sense of independent state; thus, it applies only to 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 armies, but still have a non-police military force.[1][2][3]

Many of the 21 countries listed here typically have had a long-standing agreement with a former occupying country; one example is the agreement between Monaco and France, which has existed for at least 300 years.[4][5] The Compact of Free Association nations of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and Palau have no say in their respective countries' defense matters, and have little say in international relations.[6][7][8] For example, when the FSM negotiated a defensive agreement with the United States, it did so from a weak position because it had grown heavily dependent on American assistance.[9] Andorra has a small army, and can request defensive aid if necessary,[10][11] while Iceland had a unique agreement with the United States that lasted until 2006, which required them to provide defense to Iceland when needed.[12][13]

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, Haiti, and Grenada, underwent a process of demilitarization.[14][15][16] Other countries were formed without armed forces, such as Samoa over 50 years ago;[17] the primary reason being that they were, or still are, under protection from another nation at their point of independence. All of the countries on this list are considered to be in a situation of "non-militarization."[18]

Japan is not included in this list because, while the country may officially have no military according to Article 9 of its Constitution, it does have the Japan Self-Defense Forces, a military force for national territory defence that may only be deployed outside Japan for UN peacekeeping missions.[19][20]

Countries without armed forces[edit]

Countries with absolutely no military forces
Country Comments Ref(s)
 Andorra Andorra has no standing army but signed treaties with Spain and France for its protection. Its small volunteer army is purely ceremonial in function. The paramilitary GIPA (trained in counter-terrorism and hostage management) is part of the national police. [21][22]
 Costa Rica The constitution has forbidden a standing military since 1949. It does have a public security force, whose role includes law enforcement and internal security. For this reason Costa Rica is the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and also the United Nations' University for Peace. [16][23]
 Grenada Has not had a standing army since 1983 because of an American-led invasion. The Royal Grenada Police Force maintains a paramilitary special service unit for internal security purposes. Defense is the responsibility of the Regional Security System. [14]
 Kiribati Under the Constitution the only forces permitted are the police, which includes a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Maritime Surveillance is equipped with small arms, and maintains one Pacific-class patrol boat, the Teanoai. Defense assistance is provided by Australia and New Zealand under an informal agreement between the three countries. [24][25][26]
 Liechtenstein Abolished its army in 1868 because it was deemed too costly. An army is only permitted in times of war, but that situation has never occurred. However, Liechtenstein maintains a police force and a SWAT team, equipped with small arms to carry out internal security duties. [27][28]
 Marshall Islands Since the country's foundation the only forces permitted are the police, which includes a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Maritime Surveillance 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. [6][29][30]
 Federated States of Micronesia Since the country's foundation no military has been formed. The only forces permitted are the police, which maintain a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Maritime Surveillance is equipped with small arms, and maintains one Pacific-class patrol boat, the Independence. Defense is the responsibility of the United States under the Compact of Free Association. [7][31][32]
 Nauru Australia is responsible for Nauru's defense under an informal agreement between the two countries. However, there is a relatively large armed police force, and an auxiliary police force for internal security. [33][34][35][36][37]
 Palau Since the country's foundation the only forces permitted are the police, which includes a 30-man Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Maritime Surveillance is equipped with small arms, and maintains one Pacific-class patrol boat, the President H.I. Remeliik. Defense assistance is provided by the United States under the Compact of Free Association. [8][38][39]
 Saint Lucia The Royal Saint Lucia Police maintain two small paramilitary forces consisting of 116 men and women, the Special Service Unit, and the Coast Guard, both units are responsible for internal security. Defense is the responsibility of Regional Security System. [14][40][41]
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines The Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force maintain two small paramilitary forces consisting of 94 men and women, called the Special Service Unit, and the Coast Guard, both units are responsible for internal security purposes. All Coastguard Commanders with the exception of Lieutenant Commander David Robin have been officers from the Royal Navy. Defense is the responsibility of Regional Security System. [14][42][43]
 Samoa Since the country's foundation no military has been formed; however, there is a small police force, and a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Maritime Surveillance Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains one Pacific-class patrol boat, the Nafanua. In accordance to a 1962 Treaty of Friendship, New Zealand is responsible for defense. [44][45][46]
 Solomon Islands Maintained a paramilitary force until a heavy ethnic conflict, in which Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific countries intervened to restore law and order. Since then no military has been maintained, however, there is a relatively large police force, and a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Maritime Surveillance Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains two Pacific-class patrol boats, the Auki and the Lata. Defense and policing assistance is the responsibility of the RAMSI. [47][48][49][50][51]
 Tuvalu Since the country's foundation no military has been formed; however, there is a small police force, and a Maritime Surveillance Unit for internal security. The Maritime Surveillance Unit is equipped with small arms, and maintains one Pacific-class patrol boat, the Te Mataili. [52][53][53]
 Vatican City Maintains a Gendarmerie Corps for internal policing. The Swiss Guard is a unit belonging to the Holy See, not the Vatican City State. There is no defense treaty with Italy, as it would violate the Vatican's neutrality, but informally the Italian military protects Vatican City. The Palatine Guard and Noble Guard were abolished in 1970. [54][55][56][57]

Countries with no standing army but limited military[edit]

Countries with no standing army, but having limited military forces
Country Comments Ref(s)
 Haiti The Haitian military was disbanded in June 1995, but rebels have demanded its re-establishment. The 9,000-strong Haitian National Police maintains some paramilitary units and a Coast Guard; these units are considered to be larger than what is required, considering the much smaller militaries of some neighboring countries. In April 2012, Haitian President Michel Martelly demanded the re-establishment of the Army, which he deems necessary for the stability of Haiti. [58][59][60]
 Iceland Has not had a standing army since 1869, but is an active member of NATO. There was a defense agreement with the United States, which maintained an Iceland Defense Force and a military base in the country from 1951 to 2006. However, the U.S. announced it would continue to provide for Iceland's defense, but without permanently basing forces in the country; Naval Air Station Keflavik closed in late 2006 after 55 years. Even though Iceland does not have a standing army, it still maintains a military expeditionary peacekeeping force, an air defence system, an extensive militarised coast guard, a police service, and a tactical police force. There are also agreements about military and other security operations with Norway, Denmark, and other NATO countries. [12][61][62][63][64][65][66]
 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. [67][68][69]
 Monaco Renounced its general military investment in the 17th century because the advancement 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; one primarily protects the Prince and judiciary, while the other 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][70][71][72]
 Panama Abolished its army in 1990, which was confirmed by a unanimous parliamentary vote for constitutional change in 1994. The Panamanian Public Forces include the National Police, National Borders Service, National Aeronaval Service, and Institutional Protection Service, which have some warfare capabilities. [73][74][75]
 Vanuatu The Vanuatu Police Force maintain a paramilitary force, called the Vanuatu Mobile Force for internal security purposes. The Vanuatu Mobile Force is manned by almost 300 men and women, who are well-equipped with small arms. [76][77][78]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The Defence Act | Defence and Security Affairs | Subjects | Ministry for Foreign Affairs". Mfa.is. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  2. ^ "Direction de la Sûreté Publique / Département de l'Intérieur / Le Gouvernement / Gouvernement et Institutions / Portail du Gouvernement - Monaco" (in French). Gouv.mc. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  3. ^ "Comparative Criminology | Europe - Monaco". Rohan.sdsu.edu. 2002-01-01. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  4. ^ a b "Monaco signs new treaty with France". Monaco Consulate. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  5. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  6. ^ a b "Background Note: Marshall Islands". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  7. ^ a b "Inspection of Embassy Kolonia, Federated States of Micronesia (ISP-I-02-09)". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  8. ^ a b "PALAU". Encyclopedia of the Nations. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  9. ^ Hara, Kimie. "Micronesia and the Postwar Remaking of the Asia Pacific: "An American Lake"". Japan Focus. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  10. ^ "Documento BOE-A-1993-16868". BOE.es. 1993-06-30. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  11. ^ "Andorra Defense Forces - 1990". CIA World Factbook. 1990. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  12. ^ a b "Iceland Defense Force". Global Security. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Military Forces Leaving Iceland". Usmilitary.about.com. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Treaty Establishing the Regional Security System (1996)". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  15. ^ Schanche, Don A. (1990-03-17). "Breakup of Palace Guard Helps to Demilitarize Haiti - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  16. ^ a b "Costa Rica". World Desk Reference. Retrieved 2008-02-27. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Top 10 Countries Without Military Forces | Top 10 Lists". TopTenz.net. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  18. ^ "Non-militarization". Demilitarization. Retrieved 2008-02-27. [dead link]
  19. ^ "ASIA-PACIFIC | Q&A: Japan's Self Defence Force". BBC News. 2001-09-28. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  20. ^ "Japan’s About-Face ~ Video: Full Episode | Wide Angle". PBS. 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  21. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  22. ^ "El Sometent | Tourism". Turisme.andorralavella.ad. 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  23. ^ El Espíritu del 48. "Abolición del Ejército". Retrieved 2008-03-09.  (Spanish)
  24. ^ "Kiribati Defense Forces - 1991". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  25. ^ "Kiribati". Freedom House. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  26. ^ Australian Government, Department of Defence (1943-11-20). "Operation KIRIBATI ASSIST - Department of Defence". Defence.gov.au. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  27. ^ "Background Note: Liechtenstein". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  28. ^ "Imagebroschuere_LP_e.indd" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  29. ^ Marshall Islands | Freedom House
  30. ^ "Top 10 Countries Without Military Forces | Top 10 Lists". TopTenz.net. Retrieved 2013-03-30. 
  31. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-30. 
  32. ^ Micronesia | Freedom House
  33. ^ "Nauru". The World Factbook. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  34. ^ "Guns in Nauru: Facts, Figures and Firearm Law". Gunpolicy.org. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  35. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  36. ^ "Comparative Criminology | Asia - Nauru". Rohan.sdsu.edu. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  37. ^ "Nauru". Freedom House. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  38. ^ "Palau". Freedom House. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  39. ^ "Palau". State.gov. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  40. ^ "Royal Saint Lucia Police Force". Rslpf.com. 1961-11-04. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  41. ^ "Saint Lucian Military statistics, definitions and sources". Nationmaster.com. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  42. ^ "Comparative Criminology | North America - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines". Rohan.sdsu.edu. 1979-10-27. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  43. ^ "History". Security.gov.vc. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  44. ^ "Samoa". The World Factbook. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  45. ^ "Samoa". State.gov. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  46. ^ "Samoa". Freedom House. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  47. ^ "Australian defence presence in solomon islands". Australian Government Department of Defense. Retrieved 2008-02-27. [dead link]
  48. ^ The Solomons Islands 1998-2003, britains-smallwars.com/.
  49. ^ "Solomon Islands". Freedom House. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  50. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  51. ^ "Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands - Home". RAMSI. 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  52. ^ "Country Context". World Health Organization. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  53. ^ a b http://www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj/library/Paclaw/Tuvalu/Police%20Act.pdf
  54. ^ "Vatican City". World Desk Reference. Retrieved 2008-02-27. [dead link]
  55. ^ http://www.miwsr.com/2012/downloads/2012-008.pdf
  56. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  57. ^ "The Pope's Soldiers: A Military History of the Modern Vatican Modern War Studies: Amazon.co.uk: David Alvarez: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  58. ^ "Haiti". World Desk Reference. Retrieved 2008-02-27. [dead link]
  59. ^ "Prensa Latina News Agency". Plenglish.com. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  60. ^ Michael Norby and Brian Fitzpatrick in Port-au-Prince (2012-05-01). "Haiti's former soldiers demand reinstatement of army | World news | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  61. ^ "U.S. Department of State: Iceland". State.gov. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  62. ^ "A press release from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs". Regjeringen.no. 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  63. ^ "An English translation of the Norwegian-Icelandic MoU at the website of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs." (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  64. ^ Norway Post: Norway and Iceland to sign defence agreement[dead link]
  65. ^ Aftenposten: Norway to help defend Iceland[dead link]
  66. ^ "Danmarks Radio". Dr.dk. 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  67. ^ "Background Note: Mauritius". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  68. ^ "Mauritian Military Data". Nationmaster.com. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  69. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  70. ^ [1][dead link]
  71. ^ [2][dead link]
  72. ^ "La Compagnie des Carabiniers de S.A.S. le Prince - Palais Princier de Monaco". Palais.mc. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  73. ^ "The Panama Defense Forces". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  74. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  75. ^ "Panama military - Flags, Maps, Economy, Geography, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System". Photius.com. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  76. ^ "Vanuatu". Freedom House. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  77. ^ "The Vanuatu Police Force". Epress.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  78. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 

References[edit]

  • Barbey, C. (2001). La non-militarisation et les pays sans armée : une réalité. Switzerland: APRED.