The Namibian Defence Force was created when South West Africa gained full independence from South Africa in 1990. The constitution of Namibia defines the role of the military as "defending the territory and national interests."
Namibia's military was born from the integration of the formerly belligerent People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), military wing of the South West African People's Organization, and the South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) - a security arm of the former South African administration. The British formulated the force integration plan and began training the NDF, which consists of five battalions and a small headquarters element. The United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG)'s Kenyan infantry battalion remained in Namibia for three months after independence to assist in training the NDF and stabilize the north. Martin Shalli and Charles 'Ho Chi Minh' Namoloh were involved in the negotiations that allowed the Kenyan infantry battalion to remain for that period.
|Namibian Defence Force (NDF)|
NDF Tri-Service Flag
|Founded||21 March 1990 (29 years, 1 month ago)|
|Service branches||Namibian Army|
Namibian Air Force
|Defence Minister||Penda Ya Ndakolo|
|Chief of the Defence Force||Lieutenant General John Mutwa|
|Military age||18-25 years|
|Budget||N$7.2 Billion (2015)|
|Percent of GDP||4.6% (2014 estimate)|
|Domestic suppliers||August 26 Holding|
|Foreign suppliers|| Brazil|
|History||Caprivi Conflict |
Second Congo War
|Ranks||Military ranks of Namibia|
The main roles of the Namibian Defence Force are to ensure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country by guarding against external aggression, both conventional and unconventional; prevent violation of Namibia’s territorial integrity; and provide assistance to civil authorities in guarding and protecting government buildings and key installations as provided in the Defence Act.
Defence spending and percentage of GDP included $90 million in 1997/98, 2.6% of GDP. The 73.1 million figure in 2002 was 2.4% of GDP. These figures are almost certainly CIA World Factbook estimates.
Major General A W Dennis, CB, OBE (rtd), British Army, previously Director of Military Assistance Overseas, made the following comments on the initial phase in Namibia at a conference in Pretoria, South Africa on 6 August 1992:
You will no doubt recall that the Angola accords were signed in Luanda on 22 December 1988. In November 1989 SWAPO won 57% of the votes in the Namibian General Election and immediately requested the help of a British Military Advisory and Training Team following independence on 21 March 1990. The team, initially 55 strong, was duly deployed on 26 March 1990 and the first leaders cadre, for the 1st and 2nd Battalions, was run from 17 April to 2 June. By 1 July, the 1st Battalion, about 1 000 men strong, accompanied by 5 BMATT Advisors, had deployed to the northern border. By November 1990, only four months later, the 5th Battalion had deployed and in early 1991 the 21st Guards Battalion had also been formed, four staff courses had been run, support weapons and logistics training was well advanced (indeed a logistics battalion deployed as early as July 1990) and an operational test exercise had been conducted. In addition the Ministry of Defence, a mixture of civilian and military personnel, was operating as a department of state. No-one would pretend that everything was working perfectly, nevertheless, a great deal had been achieved in the first year following independence. Most people would probably agree that at some 7 500 strong the Army is unnecessarily large, but sensible plans will need to be made for the employment of any surplus soldiers before they are discharged. Integration has not been easy to achieve, at least in part, because of the need to use several interpreters to cope with the wide variety of languages involved. Battalions are made up of approximately 70% ex-PLAN and 30% ex-SWATF. This mixture could have proved explosive but hounded by their BMATT instructors they united in a common task (or perhaps in the face of a common enemy!) and soon realised that they could work well together. At the higher levels, integration has been more patchy, at least in part because of the departure of most white South African and SWATF officers. But the Government's intentions seem clear in that it decided to split the four MOD directorates evenly, appointing two white and two black (ex PLAN) directors. In all this, BMATT Namibia has played a role remarkably similar to that of BMATT Zimbabwe.
In August 1999, a separatist Lozi faction in the Caprivi Strip launched a coup attempt (see Caprivi conflict) which was summarily put down by the Namibian Defence Force. The army has conducted security operations along the northern border with Angola. In the process of these operations, there were allegations in 2001 that the army has tortured people suspected of being UNITA sympathisers. IRIN reported that the Ministry of Defence had admitted that two Namibian soldiers died fighting suspected UNITA rebels in southern Angola in July 2001. The Namibian Defence Force assists in putting out wildfires.
As of 13 October 2010, Sibbinda councillor Felix Mukupi has requested a meeting with the regional army commander in order to request 'the NDF to deploy its troops [on the Namibia/Zambia border area] stretching from Wenela to Kongola' in order to curtail stock thefts by gangs of cattle thieves from Zambia.
On 24 May 2010, Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army and member of the Central Military Commission, met Charles Namoloh and Peter Nambundunga, acting commander of the Namibian Defence Forces, in Windhoek. At their meeting, the two sides had in-depth discussions on further strengthening exchanges and cooperation between the two armed forces. Chen was accompanied by the chief of staff of the Second Artillery Corps and two PLA Military Region chiefs of staff. Chen also met President Pohamba that day.
In 2012, NDF officials announced the suspension of its recruitment campaign due to a lack of "accommodation facilities" for new personnel for a two-year period. The suspension how ever did not include the recruitment of specialist personnel as the Namibian Navy in 2013 had a recruitment exercise for sailors(officers and men) and marines. In 2014 recruitment resumed after accommodation issues were resolved.
The Chief Of Defence Force is the highest-ranking officer and exercises overall executive command of the force. Service Chiefs are two star General Officers, Air Officers and Flag Officers in command of their respective arms of service. NDF directorates are led by one star General Officers, Air Officers and Flag Officers.The exception however is the Joint Operations Directorate whose head is a Major General, who also doubles up as the GOC Special Forces.The Joint Operations Directorate is responsible for Force deployment in the Military.
The Chief of Defence Force is always a commissioned three star General/Air/Flag Officer from the officer corps.The first chief of the NDF was Lieutenant-General Dimo Hamaambo. He was previously the leader of PLAN, and a survivor of the Battle of Cassinga. Lieutenant-General Hamaambo was the first to be laid to rest at the Heroes' Acre memorial outside Windhoek, a few days after its official opening in 2002. Lieutenant-General Solomon Huwala replaced Hamaambo as Chief of the NDF on Hamaambo's retirement. After Lieutenant-General Huwala retired in October 2006, Lieutenant General Martin Shalli headed the NDF.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba suspended Lieutenant-General Shalli from his post as Chief of Defence Force in 2009 over corruption allegations, dating back to the time when Shalli served as Namibia’s High Commissioner to Zambia. During the time of the suspension, Army Commander Major General Peter Nambundunga acted as Chief. Shalli was eventually forced to retire in January 2011; the post of Chief of the NDF was given to Epaphras Denga Ndaitwah. Ndaitwah served until 31 December 2013 when the NDF Chief's position was given to Maj Gen John Mutwa.
As of February 2012, it was reported that a Chinese company paid US $499,950 into Shalli's account in Zambia while he was the NDF chief. Poly Technologies was supplying equipment to the NDF at the time.
NDF Sergeant Major is the highest appointment a Non Commission Officer may receive. Duties of the NDF Sergeant Major includes making sure that discipline, drills, dressing code, performance standards and morale of the non commissioned officers are maintained. The current NDF Sergeant Major is Warrant Officer Class 1(WO1) Albert Siyaya. He took over from retired Namibian Navy WO1 Isak Nankela.
Previous Sergeant Major are:
The Force's Medical Service provides medical services to service personnel, it operates sick bays at all bases and units as well the Grootfontein Military Hospital and the Peter Mweshihange Military Health Center in Windhoek. The Medical Health Services also operate a Mobile Field Hospital received as a donation from Germany. The Mobile hospital is rated as a United Nations Level II hospital.Plans are underway to construct another military hospital in Windhoek.
There are some units that report directly to the Chief of Defence Force. These are the:
The Namibian military's unconventional warfare specialists are part of this command. Specialist training, tough training courses and some of the best soldiers are found in the Namibian Special Forces.
NDF ranks are based on the Commonwealth rank structure. There is no approved four star General rank in the NDF. The Chief of Defence Force is a singular appointment comes with an elevation to the rank of Lieutenant General for an Army officer, Air Marshal for an Air Force officer and Vice Admiral for a Navy officer. Arms of Services Commanders i.e. Army, Air Force and Navy Commanders have a rank of Major General, Air Vice Marshal and Rear Admiral. The rank of Brigadier has also been transformed into Brigadier General. Directorate heads are always Brigadier Generals, i.e. the Chief of Staff for Defence Intelligence.
|General Officers||Air Officers||Flag Officers|
|Lieutenant General||Air Marshal||Vice Admiral|
|Major General||Air Vice Marshal||Rear Admiral|
|Brigadier General||Air Commodore||Rear Admiral (Junior Grade)|
|Senior Officers||Senior Officers||Senior Officers|
|Lieutenant Colonel||Wing Commander||Commander|
|Major||Squadron Leader||Lieutenant Commander|
|Junior Officers||Junior Officers||Junior Officers|
|Captain||Flight Lieutenant||Lieutenant (Navy)|
|Lieutenant||Flying Officer||Lieutenant (Junior Grade)|
|2nd Lieutenant||Pilot Officer||Ensign|
|Warrant Officers||Warrant Officers||Warrant Officers|
|Warrant Officer 1||Warrant Officer 1||Warrant Officer 1|
|Warrant Officer 2||Warrant Officer 2||Warrant Officer 2|
|Senior NCOs||Senior NCOs||Senior NCOs|
|Staff Sergeant||Flight Sergeant||Chief Petty Officer|
|Junior NCOs||Junior NCOs||Junior NCOs|
|Lance Corporal||Leading Aircraftman||Able Seaman|
Warrant Officer Class 1 Appointments
Any warrant officer class 1 could be posted to substantive posts, including
|Sergeant Major of the Namibian Defence Force||Sergeant Major of the Namibian Defence Force||Sergeant Major of the Namibian Defence Force|
|Sergeant Major of the Army||Sergeant Major of the Air Force||Master-at-Arms of the Navy|
|Formation Sergeant Major||Formation Sergeant Major||Command Master-at-Arms|
|Regimental Sergeant Major||Regimental Sergeant Major||Master-at-Arms|
The landward arm of service for the Defence force is the Namibian Army, it is also the largest of the NDF's service branches.
The aerial warfare branch is small, but was bolstered with deliveries of some fighter jets in 2006 and 2008.
Development of the maritime warfare branch has been slow, and the force was only formally established in 2004, 14 years after independence. Today, it numbers over 1100 personnel and deploys a small number of lightly armed patrol vessels. Extensive Brazilian aid assisted in its development.
The Joint Headquarters is an Arm of Service level institution in the Defence Force and is created by the Minister of Defence in terms of section 13 of the Defence Act.
The Namibian Military School is the main training and academic unit of the Namibian Defence Force. It offers Officer Cadets and NDF officers an opportunity to get a military-oriented academic qualification. Training and teaching in the institution ranges from Basic Military Training to technical mechanical training.
The School of Military Science, run in conjunction with the University of Namibia, offers officers in the Defence force qualifications ranging from bachelor of Science Honors' degrees in the field of nautical, Army and Aeronautical, to a post-graduate diploma in Security and strategics studies, and a Master of Arts in Security and Strategic Studies (MA-SSS).
The Namibian Command and Staff College offers the Junior Staff Course (JSC) and the Senior Command and Staff Course (SCSC). It provides staff training to prepare students for staff appointments. The NCSC's commandant is Brigadier General Simon Titus.
The force's parachute airborne school is based at the Grootfontein Air Force Base. Here students from all service branches are training to qualify as Parachute specialists. The school was set up with help by the South African private military parachute training company Chute Systems who are training Namibia's airborne forces and associated staff e.g. parachute riggers.
The Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) is the professional head of the Namibian Defence Force. He is responsible for the administration and the operational control of the Namibian military. The position was established after Namibia became independent from South West Africa, and Namibian Defence Force was created. The current chief is Lieutenant general John Mutwa.Epaphras Denga Ndaitwah
Lieutenant General Epaphras Denga Ndaitwah (psc,fwc,dipl,MSc,SS) (born 13 December 1952) is a Namibian diplomat and military commander. He was the chief of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) from 24 January 2011 to 31 December 2013.Born in Ohangwena Region, Ndaitwah joined SWAPO's military wing, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), in 1974 and participated in Namibia's struggle for independence in various positions. He attended military training in Russia, Yugoslavia, India, Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania. At Namibia's independence in 1990 he became the first military assistant to the Chief of the Defence Force, Dimo Hamaambo. He held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at that time. He became Deputy Commander of the Army in 1997. Until 2006 Ndaitwah served as Chargé d’affaires of Namibia to the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was promoted to Major General in 2008, and to Lieutenant General in 2011 at the occasion of his appointment as Chief of the Namibian Defence Force, succeeding Martin Shalli. He served in that position until the end of 2013 when John Mutwa was appointed new Chief of the NDF.In 2007, Ndaitwah graduated with a master's degree in Strategic Studies from University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is currently a student of Public Management at the Polytechnic of Namibia.Epaphras Denga Ndaitwah is married to Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Namibia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.Jesaya Elago Kambonde
Brigadier General (retired) Jesaya Elago Kambonde (born 22 April 1955) is a Namibian former military commander. He was Chief of Staff responsible for finance in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) from 2006 to 2011.John Mutwa
Lieutenant General John Sinvula Mutwa, M.E.O.E. is a Namibian military officer who is the current Chief of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF). He was appointed the Commander of the Namibian Army in 2011, and NDF Chief on 31 December 2013.Lawrence Sampofu
Lawrence Alufea Sampofu (born 1955) is a Namibian soldier and politician. He is the governor of Zambezi Region since 2010.Sampofu was born on 10 August 1955 in Mbabanzi in the Zambezi Region. During Namibia's struggle for independence he joined the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the military wing of SWAPO. He received training in Zambia and Tanzania and was involved in several PLAN battles. After independence he was Head of Military Operations of the Zambezi Region and later Senior Operations Officer. During his military career, Sampofu rose to the rank of Colonel in the Namibian Defence Force. He also served on the MINURCAT and UNMEE United Nations peace keeping missions in Central Africa.Martin Pinehas
Air Vice Marshal Martin Kambulu Pinehas is a Namibian military officer who is serving as the Commander of the Namibian Air Force. He was appointed the Commander of the Air wing of the Namibian Defence Force in 2000. He has over 3700 flight hours of experience, including 700 as an instructor.Military ranks of Namibia
The Military ranks of Namibia are the military insignia used by the Namibian Defence Force. Being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Namibia shares a rank structure similar to that of both the United Kingdom and South Africa.Namibian Army
The Namibian Army is the landward defence branch of the Namibian Defence Force.Namibian Marine Corps
The Namibian Marines Corps is the Naval Infantry of the Republic of Namibia and is part of the Namibian Navy and the Namibian Defence Force.Namibian Military School
The Namibian Military School is a training unit of the Namibian Defence Force. It is the premier training institution of the Namibian military and offers a variety of training ranging from basic military training to mechanical trainingNamibian Navy
The Namibian Navy is the Maritime Warfare Branch of the Namibian Defence Force.Namibian Special Forces
The Namibian Special Forces is a special operations command of the Namibian Defence Force responsible for special forces and special operations capable units. The command consists of Army commandos, Army Airborne paratroopers and the Marine Corps amphibious special operations unit. The Army commandos specialise in airborne and land borne insertion while the Marine Corps amphibious special operations unit specialise in small-unit maritime operations that originate from a river, ocean, swamp and delta. The army units receive training assistance from former South African Special Forces (Recces) and the marine corps from the Brazilian Marine Corps. The units regularly participate in Southern African Development Community (SADC) special forces exercises.Orders, decorations, and medals of Namibia
The Republic of Namibia has an honours system comprising orders, medals, military decorations, and police decorations. Legislation also provides for the establishment of decorations and medals for the intelligence service, the prisons service, and the fire services.These honours and awards superseded those used by the then territory of South West Africa before independence in 1990.Peter Vilho
Rear Admiral Peter Hafeni Vilho is a Namibian military officer who served as the Commander of the Namibian Navy. He was appointed the Commander of the maritime wing of the Namibian Defence Force in 2002.As of September 2017 he is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence.School of Military Science (Namibia)
The School of Military Science is a academic unit of the Namibian Defence Force. As per international norm the School is a military unit of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) and is co-located at the School of Military Science of the University of Namibia.
It is an academic unit Namibian military and offers a variety of training ranging from undergraduate as well as postgraduate academic qualification. It provides officers from the branches-of-service an opportunity to earn a military science-oriented academic qualification.Solomon Huwala
Dumeni Solomon "Jesus" Huwala (also spelled Hawala and Auala) is a former Namibian lieutenant general. Huwala was the deputy commander of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia before independence. He earned the nickname "Butcher of Lubango" for allegedly running detainee camps of SWAPO opponents in the southern Angolan city of Lubango during the Namibian War of Independence. Upon independence in 1990, Huwala was appointed as Army Commander in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF). In 2000 he replaced Dimo Hamaambo as head of the NDF. He retired in October 2006 and was replaced by Martin Shalli.Special Field Force
The Special Field Force (SFF) is a Namibian Police Force paramilitary police unit created in 1995 by the late commissioner Ruben "Danger" Ashipala as an auxiliary aggressive unit to complement the Special Reserve Force (SRF). It encompasses border guards, VIP Protection Unit and Installation unit. Approximately half of the Namibian Police's (NAMPOL) overall complement is assigned to the SFF which is made up primarily of combatants from the former People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and South West African Territorial Force (SWATF).Among the population the Special Field Force is seen as the less educated and more brutal wing of the Namibian Police. They have been implicated in the intimidation, assault, torture and also murder of civilians in the secessionist uprisings in Namibia's Caprivi Strip in 1998 and 1999.Also later, under normal and calm political conditions, human rights groups accused the Special Field Force of several atrocities, e.g.:
2002 in May officers of the Special Field Force detained and assaulted Namibian men suspected of being gay.
2003 in October nine minors were arrested on suspicion of housebreaking. Several police officers wearing SFF uniforms, as well as plain-clothes detectives, reportedly beat and tortured them with whips and electric shocks.
2006, on February 17, two off duty members of the Okahao Police's Special Field Force, constables Amadhila and Kamanya, allegedly led a mob in the assault of two women accused of witchcraft.
2006, March 2, members of the SFF police unit and the Namibian Defence Force (NDF), who were sent to Mariental to maintain law and order after a flood, randomly assaulted residents of the town.
2007, on June 5, SFF executed an unprovoked attack on demonstrating war veterans.Victor Simunja
Victor Simunja (born 23 March 1958) is a Namibian politician. A member of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), Simunja was appointed to the National Assembly of Namibia in 2000 and served as Deputy Minister of Defense from 2000 to 2009. Simunja rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Namibian Defence Force prior to entering political office. He is a member of the Mafwe ethnic group, indigenous to the Caprivi Strip.Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik
Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik (WMF) is a Namibian defense contractor located in Windhoek, Namibia and operated by the Namibian Defence Force. WMF designs and manufactures monocoque V-hull armoured combat vehicles. WMF is responsible for the armoured bodywork fabrication while engines, transmissions and axles are built by MAN.
Militaries of Africa
|States with limited recognition|
|Dependencies and other territories|