The army of Gambia
is made up of infantry battalions in the Gambia
National Guard (GNG), Gambia National Army (GNA) and the navy which
are under the Department of State for Defence,
Banjul. There is no
conscription in the Gambia and the age for voluntary enrolment for
men and women is 18
years of age.
Initially recruits are enrolled for a specified minimum
period, in which they undergo training of between 4 to 6 months,
thereafter they may choose to sign-up for another specified time
The army has around 1,900
consists of infantry battalions, the national guard, and the navy, who
under the authority of the Department of State for Defence (a
ministerial portfolio held by President Jammeh). Prior to the 1994
coup, the Gambian army received technical assistance and training from
the US, UK, China,
Turkey and Nigeria. The army
has received renewed assistance from Turkey and new assistance from
Libya and others.
Members of the Gambian military have participated in ECOMOG, the West
African force deployed during the Liberian civil war beginning in
Responsibilities for internal security and law enforcement rest
with the Gambian police / gendarme force under the Inspector General of Police and the
Ministry of Interior.
The main aims of the armed forces as written in the constitution are to defend and preserve the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of The Gambia, to aid civil authorities during
emergencies and national disasters; to engage in productive activities
such as agriculture, engineering,
health and education for the
development of The Gambia.
The development of The Gambia Armed Forces and the expansion of its
primary and principal functions came about as a result of the 1994
change of government. The 1997
Constitution gives The
Gambia Armed Forces additional mandates in the light of the changing
phenomena in the traditional roles of the Armed Forces. These
additional mandates have allowed the expansion of the role of The
Gambia Armed Forces such as Rescue Missions, Emergency and Disaster
Operations, and International Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement
Missions as well as agricultural participation. The Gambia Armed Forces as part of its new and additional
roles has been actively participating in the fight against HIV.
The Gambia Armed Forces has established a close
collaboration with the National Aids Secretariat (NAS), the Medical
Research Council and other health care delivery agencies in its
endeavour to fight against HIV/Aids and other infectious diseases.
This has led to the creation of a special office, which is equipped
and staffed for that purpose. The primary function of this office is
to effectively sensitize the officers and soldiers, their dependants,
the civilian staff and all other members of The Gambia Armed Forces
about the menace of HIV/Aids.
In its move to maintain the welfare of its serving members, The Gambia
Armed Forces has endeavoured to renovate all existing accommodations
in all its barracks. New accommodation structures have already been
built at Yundum Barracks and improvement on these structures had been
undertaken. New accommodation structures have
also been built in Basse. Renovation works
in Farafenni and Kudang Barracks have been completed. The renovation
work at Fajara Barracks is now
completed. All these have been done
to improve on the living conditions of the officers and soldiers as
well as their dependants. Also, a new Armed Forces Headquarters have
been created for effective command and control and for the improvement
of the working conditions of the staff officers.
||0.9% of GDP (2009)
The Gambia was eligible in
the US fiscal year 2007 to receive
Excess Defense Articles
(EDA) on a grant basis under Section 516 of the
Assistance Act. Provision of grant EDA may be used to
support The Gambia’s participation in peacekeeping
operations. In fiscal year 2005, the
Department of State
authorised the export of defense articles and services
valued at $100,000 for Gambia.
Before 1961 there was the
Royal West African Frontier Force
(RWAFF) formed in 1900 by the British
colonial government of
which The Gambia had a section, called the Gambia Company.
This was later changed to the Gambia Auxiliary Force and
subsequently the Field Force.
The Gambia Field Force was established in 1961, three years
The Field Force was
disbanded in 1981, following the failed coup of that year. A new
law was passed in 1984 called the Armed Act which established the
armed forces, consisting of Gambia Army and the Gendarmerie, with the
British Army Training Team (BATT) and
the Senegalese Gendarmerie training the two arms of the service,
The GNA existed alongside the Gendarmerie,
until 1994 when the two institutions were merged under one
In addition to the merger, further re-organisation and restructuring of the
GNA was undertaken in
1986 which resulted in its expansion, and the establishment of the
three services under the Gambia Armed Forces: the National Army,
Guard and Navy.
Each of these military services is overseen by a Commander, with the
Chief-of-Defense-Staff and Chief-of-Staff at the top under the
President who is also the Commander-in-Chief.