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Jamaica - Military Doctrine

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has primary responsibility for internal security. The Jamaica Defense Force (JDF), including the Coast Guard, has responsibility for national defense, maritime narcotics interdiction, and JCF support. The JCF often conducted joint operations with the support of the JDF in particular high-crime areas. The Ministry of National Security exercises the prime ministers authority for oversight of the JCF and JDF. The JCF maintained divisions for community policing, special response, intelligence gathering, and internal affairs. The Passport, Immigration, and Citizenship Agency has responsibility for migration. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the JCF and JDF. The government made limited efforts to investigate and punish abuse and corruption in general.

Despite its proximity to Cuba, Jamaica did not felt a need to maintain a large defense force, perhaps because it has always had powerful protectors. Even with the support of the police, the armed forces would be totally inadequate to resist foreign military aggression, especially from Cuba. Like the other English-speaking island nations in the Caribbean, Jamaica would have to rely on the assistance of a powerful ally in the event of outside military aggression. The nation's combined forces also would be inadequate to control a significant internal disturbance.

Jamaica has not been threatened by military or mercenary invasion or internal insurgencies, however, in part because of its powerful allies but also because of its traditional political stability and its relative isolation from mainland countries and the more vulnerable Eastern Caribbean microstates.

The mission of the Jamaica Defence Force [JDF] is to defend Jamaica against external and internal aggression. The mission is to provide military capability to deter and/or defeat threats against the Jamaican State and/or its interests.

  • To defend Jamaica against military or paramilitary threats.
  • To provide military aid to the Civil Authorities, namely relating to:

    • Restoration/maintenance of law and order;
    • Counter-narcotics operations;
    • Search and Rescue (SAR);
    • Casualty Evacuation;
    • Humanitarian and disaster relief operations;
    • Defence diplomacy;
    • Nation building projects;
    • Contingency planning; and
    • State ceremonial duties.
  • Maintaining the integrity of Jamaica’s waters and airspace by demonstrating sovereignty over the territorial space and protecting the rights and interests in the maritime and aeronautical areas of jurisdiction (including marine environmental and fisheries protection).
  • Counter Terrorism Operations by monitoring and analyzing potential terrorist activities, and preventing or responding to terrorist incidents, including Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) detection, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD).

The JDF is required to effectively protect Jamaicas sovereignty, by having the capability to detect, identify and respond to enemy threats against Jamaica. It is intended that a combination of land, maritime, and air forces would conduct defensive operations against any military threat, bolstered by existing/potential bilateral or multilateral agreements with partner nations to support the Jamaica/JDF in the event of a (protracted) conflict. At present, the JDF currently consists of approximately one (01) Brigade Group, along with other essential supporting elements.

The JDF is required to have the capability to detect, identify and combat insurgencies and/or internal security threats in support of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). The JDF currently supports the JCF on a continuous basis with its Regular and Reserve Infantry battalions. The Force also uses its armoured vehicles as well as its patrol vehicles, communications systems and surveillance helicopters for law enforcement assistance to the JCF.

Though the main responsibility rests with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the JDF maintains the capability to mount post disaster relief (logistics management and rescue), recovery and reconstruction operations. The task of disaster management is done with infantry and air assets, along with engineering equipment and logistics trained personnel. The JDF also works along with other Government of Jamaica Ministries, Departments and Agencies in post disaster relief, recovery and reconstruction.

This wide varying task requires the JDF to maintain a range of expertise/skill sets, including the capability to provide air medical services, manage and maintain essential services in an emergency, and give advice on as well as participate in national construction projects. The resources used to achieve this capability are primarily air, maritime, infantry and engineer assets. There are ever increasing demands on the JDF for its human capital on national projects and programmes, which are a major source of manpower utilization.

Based on Jamaicas approximately 275,000 km2 maritime area, the JDF is required to have an air and maritime capability to detect and identify aircraft and vessels within Jamaicas airspace and maritime areas on a 24 hour basis, interdict vessels involved in illegal activities and refugee movement, respond to oil/chemical spills, and undertake environmental and resource protection tasks. Under the proposed Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Project, the JDF will acquire the remaining resources required to fulfill this capability, including maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to complement the three (03) new Damen Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

The JDF maintains a capability to respond to terrorist threats including hijackings, improvised explosive and explosive ordnance devices (EOD/IEDD), and attacks on key installations. The resources for this capability include specially trained troops, suitably equipped EOD/IEDD teams, as well as the infantry and intelligence forces used for the aforementioned Internal Security task.

The JDF maintains the capability to search for, locate and rescue persons, aircraft and vessels in distress within Jamaicas SAR Region. In order to carry out this task, the JDF currently uses its medium lift helicopters, inshore and offshore patrol vessels to effect rescue missions at sea. For land rescue missions, specifically trained and equipped infantry units enable this task to be conducted effectively.

This task involves the JDF rendering external humanitarian assistance and participating in peacekeeping and conflict prevention operations regionally and internationally. The JDF maintains the flexibility to package its forces with the requisite equipment for deployment on a wide range of missions. Jamaica also has the capability to assist our regional partners in the event of such contingencies, much as we would expect them to help us under similar circumstances.

The JDF maintains the capability to participate in regional training and exchange exercises, in order to maintain interoperability with our partner nations, and liaise with regional and international partners on security matters, including security related MOUs and treaties.

The JDF has the responsibility to provide troops for state ceremonial functions including guards of honour and state funerals, and also to maintain its Military Band, which has continued to chart a proud tradition for Jamaica and the JDF.

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Page last modified: 25-05-2017 19:19:56 ZULU