Background of the Namibian Defence Force Background of the Namibian Defence Force

The Namibian Defence Force was established in 1990 by the Namibian Constitution, Chapter 15, Article 115, and the Defence Act 20 of 1990 as amended. The President is the Commander-In-Chief of the Namibian Defence Force.

At independence, Namibia had no Defence Force and it had to be built from scratch. Since then, significant progress has been made. Former members of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and the South West Africa Territory Force (SWATF) were demobilised and many of them were integrated into a unified Namibian Defence Force (NDF). The Defence Amendment Act (Act 20 of 1990) sets out a variety of legal requirements for the composition and organisation of the NDF. The Defence Policy Paper approved by the National Assembly in March 1992 presents policy guidelines for the development of the MOD and the NDF.

The British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT) effort in Namibia has been directed towards developing a programme for creating and training the army prior to its assuming deployment tasks. The programme timings have been generated by the need to deploy formed units to undertake security tasks. The BMATT training programme covered a period from April 1990 - March 1995 and its tour of duty in Namibia was a tremendous success.

The People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) was an armed wing of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) of Namibia which had waged a protracted liberation war to free the Namibian people from colonial oppression by the then, South African Racist Regime. During the liberation struggle, SWAPO had been waging the struggle on three fronts, namely, Political, Diplomatic and Military front.


Namibian Defence Force consists of three Arms of Service: