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 currently 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).
Brig. Gen. Lloyd Gillett, addresses soldiers at a ceremony marking the completion of training with a U.S. Marine Corps
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). The BDF was founded in 1978 following the disbanding of the Belize Volunteer Guard and the Police Special Force the year before.
The Belize Police Department is staffed by 1200 sworn officers and 700 civilian staff (2008). 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.