Saint Kitts and Nevis Defence Force

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Saint Kitts and Nevis Defence Force
Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis.svg
Active Since 1896
Country Saint Kitts and Nevis
Branch Army/Coast Guard
Type Bi-Service
Role Internal Security
Size One battalion
Garrison/HQ Basseterre
Anniversaries 23
Commanders
Current
commander
Lt Colonel Patrick Wallace

The Saint Kitts and Nevis Defence Force is the military of Saint Kitts and Nevis. It currently consists of an infantry unit (the St. Kitts Nevis Regiment) and a maritime unit (the St. Kitts Nevis Coast Guard). Both units having regular and reserve elements, all under the command Force Headquarters (FHQ, SKNDF). The current Commander of the SKNDF is Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Wallace. The SKNDF has an active force of 300 personnel with a corps of 150 cadets.

The commander takes orders from the Minister of National Security.

Regular Corps[edit]

The regular corps of the SKNDF consists of:

  • 'A' Company: This is the regular infantry unit of the SKNDF. It is under the command of a captain, and consists of an HQ and three rifle platoons.
  • Support and Services Platoon: This is the administrative and logistics element, and includes two other individual units:
    • The Agricultural Corps
  • Coast Guard: This is the marine element, and is divided into three sub-units:
    • CG Headquarters
    • Engineer Unit
    • Flotilla – this is responsible for the operation of the five vessels of the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard's lone off shore patrol vessel was donated by the United States

Equipment[edit]

Reserve Corps[edit]

The reserve corps of the SKNDF consists of:

  • 'B' Company: This is the reserve infantry unit, and mirrors 'A' Company in structure.
  • Coast Guard: This provides reserves for the Coast Guard.
  • St Kitts and Nevis Defence Force Band
  • St Kitts and Nevis Defence Force Cadet Corps consisting of 150 cadets: 80 senior & 70 junior.

History[edit]

The SKNDF was originally formed as a volunteer unit in 1896 in response to riots in several sugar plantations. The regular defence force did not come into being however until 1967, when it was decided that a regular army was needed following public disturbances on the island of Anguilla, which was attempting to secede from its federation with Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the determination that the existing volunteer force was not adequately trained to deal with the situation.

The first Defence's manpower came from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force's Tactical Unit and the Special Service Unit.

The forming of the regular defence force was a major policy of the ruling Labour Party, and was adamantly opposed by the opposition People's Action Movement (PAM). Thus, when the PAM came to power in 1980, they made the decision to disband the regular force, leaving only the reserve. However, the election of Denzil Douglas in 1997 saw the new government reform the regulars.

Mission[edit]

The SKNDF performs a number of roles. The primary mission of the land force element is the internal security of St Kitts and Nevis, in conjunction with the local police, while the coast Guard is responsible for guarding the country's territorial waters. One of the major roles of the entire SKNDF is the war on drugs, which is often undertaken together with the local police and the Royal Navy. The SKNDF is also used in the provision of relief after natural disasters, and in overseas peacekeeping roles.

Facilities[edit]

  • Kitts and Nevis Defence Headquarters Building at Camp Springfield
  • Bath Village

References[edit]