Belize Defence Force

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Belize Defence Force
Brig. Gen. Lloyd Gillett, commander of the Belize Defense Force, addresses Belize soldiers and recruits during a ceremony marking the completion of small unit training with a U.S. Marine Corps mobile
Founded January 1978
Service branches Air Wing, Ground Forces
Leadership
Commander-in-Chief Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General of Belize Colville Young
Minister of National Security the Hon. John Saldivar
Commander Brigadier General David Jones
Manpower
Conscription No
Active personnel Approx 1050 (2012)[1]
Reserve personnel 700 (2012)[1]
Expenditures
Budget $US 32 million (2012)[1]

The Belize Defence Force (BDF) is the military of Belize, and is responsible for protecting the sovereignty of the country. The BDF, The Belize Police Department, and The National Coast Guard are under the Minister of National Security, which is headed by the Hon. John Saldivar; the BDF itself is commanded by Brigadier General David Jones. In 2012, the Belizean government spent about $17 million on the military, constituting 1.08% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).[2]

History[edit]

The military of Belize dates back to 1817, when the Prince Regent Royal Honduras Militia, a volunteer organization, was founded. Between 1817 and 1978, the military force in Belize has had ten different names: The Prince Regent's Royal Militia (1817-1866), The Belize Volunteer Force (1866-1868); The Belize Volunteer Corps (1868-1883); The Belize Light Infantry Volunteer Force (1897-1905); British Honduras Volunteers (1905-1916); British Honduras Territorial Force (1916-1928); British Honduras Defense Force (1928-1944); British Honduras Home Guard (1942-1943), British Honduras Volunteer Guard (1943-1973), Belize Volunteer Guard (1973-1977).[3] The BDF was founded in 1978 following the disbanding of the Belize Volunteer Guard and the Police Special Force the year before.[4]

After Belize achieved independence in 1981 the United Kingdom maintained a deterrent force (British Forces Belize) in the country to protect it from invasion by Guatemala (see Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory). During the 1980s this included a battalion and No. 1417 Flight RAF of Harriers. The main British force left in 1994, three years after Guatemala recognised Belizean independence, but the United Kingdom maintained a training presence via the British Army Training and Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) and 25 Flight Army Air Corps until 2011 when the last British Forces left Ladyville Barracks, with the exception of seconded advisers.[4] The BDF Maritime Wing became part of the Belizean Coastguard in November 2005.[5]

Organization[edit]

The BDF consists of:

  • Three infantry battalions, each comprising three companies[1]
  • Three reserve companies[1]
  • One support group[1]
  • Air Wing[1]

The Belize Police Department is staffed by 1200 sworn officers and 700 civilian staff (2008).[6] The Belize Police Department and National Forensic Science Service report to the Minister of National Security.

As of 2012, there are also 40 British Army personnel stationed in Belize.[1]

Equipment[edit]

Crew-served weapons[edit]

Arms list and details
 Make/Model   Type   Origin   Quantity 
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle Multi-role (anti-armor, anti-fortification, anti-personnel, illumination) Recoilless rifle  Sweden 6[1]
L16 81mm Mortar Mortar (weapon)  United Kingdom 6[1]

Aircraft[edit]

Aircraft list and details
 Make/Model   Type   Origin   Quantity   Notes 
Britten-Norman Defender Transport  United Kingdom 2[1] One BN-2A Defender and 1 BN-2B Defender as at 2012[1]
Cessna 182J Transport  United States 1[1] BDF-03
Slingsby T67M-260 basic training aircraft  United Kingdom 1[1]

Facilities[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n IISS (2012), p. 374
  2. ^ "Belize", CIA World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bh.html
  3. ^ D.N.A. Fairweather, A Short History of the Volunteer Forces of British Honduras (now Belize)
  4. ^ a b Dion E. Phillips, "The Military of Belize" http://www.cavehill.uwi.edu/bnccde/belize/conference/papers/phillips.html, 2002
  5. ^ "Channel 5 Belize", http://www.channel5belize.com/archive_detail_story.php?story_id=15230 December 13, 2007.
  6. ^ "Belize Police Department - About the Department". Police.gov.bz. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
Works cited
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (2012). The Military Balance 2012. London: IISS. ISSN 0459-7222. 

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.