National Defence University, Pakistan

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National Defence University
National Defence University, Pakistan Logo.png
National Defence University Logo
Motto "Taught Man Which He Knew Not" [Al-Quran (30:96:5)]
Established January 27, 2007
Type Public
President Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal Ramday, HI(M)
Location Islamabad, 44000, Pakistan

The National Defence University (or NDU) is Pakistan's highest war college which trains almost the entire leadership of the military in national security and strategic studies, under the patronage of the Joint Staff Headquarters (JS HQ) of Pakistan Armed Forces. The university is federally and jointly funded by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The NDU runs training, education, and the development of national security strategy.

The NDU is chartered by the President of Pakistan as its Chancellor, and the management of the NDU is vested in a three-star rank officer from the Pakistan Armed Forces who is designated as the President of the university. Lieutenant-General Javed Iqbal Ramday[1] of Pakistan Army is its current President.

The university's mission is "to impart higher education in policy and strategy formulation with emphasis on national security and defence, and act as a national think tank". The school's master program is a two-year long intensive study program.

Most of the students are civilians in Islamabad, and educated military officers, who have graduated from military institutions. Students take classes in advanced strategic methods, conflict resolutions, nuclear politics and diplomacy. The NDU's institutes serve the university in developing policies of the government, while also creating simulations and war games to help keep the military current with specific concerns.


The NDU is a Pakistani military institution founded in 1963, when the 1st Army War Course started at the Command and Staff College, Quetta. Subsequently, in 1971, a dedicated National Defence College was established at the old building of the National Assembly of Pakistan in Rawalpindi. In 1995, the National Defence College shifted to its present campus at the foothills of Margalla, Islamabad.

By a decree of the Government of Pakistan, the National Defence College was upgraded as the National Defence University. An Ordinance to this effect was signed on 27 January 2007, by the President of Pakistan.

The management of the National Defence University is vested in a three Star General from the Pakistan Army, who is called the President. He is also the head of the faculty. The university is organized into four constituent colleges/institutes:

  • National Security College
  • Armed Forces War College
  • Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS)
  • Institute of Strategic Studies; Research and Analysis (ISSRA)
Organization of NDU

There are three affiliated colleges:

The National Security College, Armed Forces War College and Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS) are the instructional colleges for conducting studies in Defence and Social Sciences, whereas the ISSRA acts as a brain and think-tank apart from conducting the National Security & Media Workshops, Capstone Courses and Symposia/Seminars.

The Headquarters/Administrative Wing provides administrative and technical support to the entire university. The Wing is headed by a one Star General officer.


The origin of the National Defence University goes back to 1963, when the 1st Army War Course started at the Command and Staff College, Quetta. Subsequently, in 1971, a dedicated National Defence College was established at the old building of the National Assembly of Pakistan in Rawalpindi. In 1995, the National Defence College shifted to its present campus at the foothills of the Margalla, Islamabad. The NDU stands established in the same campus.


The mission of the NDU is to impart higher education in policy and strategy formulation at various tiers with emphasis on national security and defence, and act as a national think tank.


The NDU will be the premier institution of the country, distinguished because of the disciplines it will be pursuing. It will be catering for the needs of the senior leadership from various segments of the society, both domestic and international, in comprehending security issues and policy / strategy formulation. It will be a center of excellence in academic and research pursuits in diversified disciplines providing well thoughts out inputs on national security at strategic level. The University will promote the cause of a free, open and critical inquiry and scholarly debate in the service of the society.


Between 1972 and 2009, the NDU program comprised two courses: the War Course which focused on purely military strategy, and the broader National Defence Course which covered strategic and socioeconomic issues. In 2010, the two courses were combined into the National Security and War Course (NSWC)of 48 weeks on an annual basis. The course starts in August and ends in June. Since 1988, officers from friendly countries (such as Nigeria, Malaysia, Jordan) have also attended courses at the National Defence University. So far 3061 participants have graduated from the National Defence University. This includes, 469 officers from the 39 friendly countries and 570 participants of National Security Workshops. Today, the NDU trains the entire military leadership and the bulk of the civilian leadership. An officer cannot become general unless he graduates from the NDU[2]

Thirteen National Security Workshops, each of 6 weeks duration, are held annually.


National Defence University building

The Jasmine wreath in gold is placed upon the green background of the national color. Three services colors are represented in the centre, signifying inter-services organisation. A crossed sword and pen placed up the lower portion of the shield represent honour, strength and achievement through learning. The motto is inscribed in gold letters on the top centre of the shield.

Role as a Think Tank[edit]

The NDU acts as a national think tank on national security matters. Input is provided to the government and armed forces. The NDU maintains academic links with national think tanks and defence universities of friendly countries.


Taught man that which he knew not [Al-Quran (30:96:5)]

Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS)[edit]

The Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS) was formally inaugurated on 3rd September, 2008. National Defence University (NDU) Islamabad, Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS) aims to become a world class hub of education. In addition to its existing professional development programmes, NDU – FCS will evolve as an academic center of excellence in the interdisciplinary fields of Social Sciences. Our Vision is to enhance intellectual and professional capabilities of potential NDU graduates in the fields of Security & Contemporary Studies, to nurture and develop there skills to become enlightened and useful citizens and to serve the nation through the pursuits of excellence in the distinguished academic disciplines by focusing on the contemporary issues of national and international importance.

Faculty of Contemporary Studies has been established to provide goal oriented programs in selected fields of contemporary studies, and an environment conducive for academic, professional and intellectual development; provide advocacy and services to public sector and the civil society through its research endeavors and seminars; be an academic institution for producing effective human resource base and become a center of excellence for educating and training of student, researchers and the faculty; provide and internationally competitive environment for prospective postgraduate students by providing targeted teaching, professional education and tools to conduct applied research and foster national consciousness and human compassion for the development of an enlightened society.


Faculty of Contemporary Studies is offering the below mentioned courses at BS, M.Sc, M.Phil and PhD.

  • Government and Public Policy
  • International Relations
  • Leadership and Management Studies
  • Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Strategic and Nuclear Studies

Institute for Strategic Studies Research and Analysis (ISSRA)[edit]


Major General Noel Israel Khokhar, HI (M) the Director General Institute for Strategic Studies Research and Analysis (DG ISSRA) join Pakistan Army on 24 October 1980. During his illustrious military career, he has attended courses related to military training and educational opportunities as junior as well as senior military commander in prestigious national as well as international institutions. The General Officer is a graduate of Command & Staff College Quetta, French Staff College Paris, National Defence University Islamabad, Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) United Kingdom London. The General has served on varied command and staff appointments to include command of an Infantry Division, an Infantry and Artillery Brigade, as well as Chief of Staff of 10 Corps. The officer has served as Instructor in Pakistan Military Academy, Command and Staff College Quetta and Armed Forces War Course and Chief Instructor for National Security and War Course at National Defence University, Islamabad. He has been a frequent guest speaker on numerous international seminars and conferences on various subjects.


Under the ISSRA, following courses have been offered

  • National Security and War
  • National Security Workshop
  • National Media Workshop
  • Information Operations Course

Sahibzada Yaqub Khan (SYK) Library[edit]

Founded in 1970, the National Defence University Library Islamabad, over the years progressed and expanded significantly. It is now one of the well organized academic cum research libraries of the defence institutions and the capital as well. Its collection is a blend of books, research papers, professional journals, newspaper clippings and digital databases. The library is stocked with 70,000 books, professional journals and other materials on subjects of interest including military history, defence and security studies, nuclear studies, international relations, peace and conflict studies, governance and public policy, economics, politics, international relations, Pakistan affairs, Islam, etc. The books have been classified using Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme (DDC).

By virtue of its dynamic and user friendly services, the library is playing vital role in research support activities. The effective practices of acquisition, organization and dissemination of information have been highly valuable in extension of services to the researchers.



  • Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday
  • Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua
  • Lt Gen Agha Muhammad Umer Farooq
  • Lt Gen Muhammad Yousaf
  • Lt Gen Mohammad Hamid K


  • Lt Gen Raza Muhammad Khan
  • Lt Gen Shahid Hamid
  • Lt Gen Tariq Waseem Ghazi
  • Lt Gen Javed Hassan
  • Lt Gen Saeed Uz Zafar
  • Lt Gen Salahuddin Tirmizi
  • Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmed
  • Lt Gen Muhammad Maqbool
  • Lt Gen Syed Tanwir Husain Naqvi
  • Lt Gen Iftikhar Ali Khan
  • Lt Gen Asad Durrani
  • Lt Gen Rehm Dil Bhatti
  • Lt Gen Syed Zakir Ali Zaidi
  • Lt Gen Muhammad Safdar
  • Lt Gen S M H Bokhari
  • Maj Gen Nishat Ahmed
  • Lt. Gen Jamshed Gulzar Kiani
  • Lt Gen Ejaz Azim
  • Maj Gen Anwar Masood
  • Lt Gen Azmat B Awan
  • AVM M.J. O’Brian
  • Maj Gen M Rahim Khan
  • Maj Gen Nasir Ahmad Chaudhry
  • Lt Gen Abdul Hameed Khan


  • NDU Journal is an annual feature of the university which is based on the research papers by the participants of the National security and war Course. The publications provide ideas on issues of national, regional and international significance.
  • Margalla papers is an annual publication of the National Defence University based on articles written by prominent scholars and writers of the country.
  • ISSRA Paper is a bi-annual paper based on research carried out by researchers of Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA).
  • NDU Monograph is a scholarly researched essay on an issue related to the national security.
  • NDU Newsletter provides a forum for information, discussion and debate on topical issues impacting the national security.
  • The University describes research on the development of policies on key issues facing the country.

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]

Pakistan Army


Lieutenant Generals

Major Generals


Pakistan Air Force

Pakistan Navy

Civil Servants



  • Dr Shahzad Waseem
  • Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri
  • Mr Sanaullah Baloch
  • Mr Babar Khan Ghauri
  • Mr Omar Ayub Khan
  • Mr Muhammad Hanif Abbasi
  • Mr Amanullah Kanrani
  • Engineer Aamir Muqam
  • Miss Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli


  1. ^
  2. ^ Aqil Shah, The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan |(Harvard University Press, 2014), p. 201 [1] ISBN 9780674728936

External links[edit]