Papua New Guinea Military - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF): Land Element, Maritime Element, Air Element

Ministry of Internal Security: Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) (2023)

Military expenditures

0.3% of GDP (2022 est.)

0.4% of GDP (2021 est.)

0.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

0.3% of GDP (2019) (approximately $100 million)

0.3% of GDP (2018) (approximately $100 million)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 2,500 active-duty PNGDF troops (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the PNGDF is lightly armed; most of its military assistance has come from Australia (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18-27 for a general enlistee or 18-30 for an officer cadet; no conscription (2022)

Military - note

the PNGDF is a small, lightly armed, and underfunded force tasked with defense of the country and its territories against external attack, as well as internal security and socio-economic development duties; the Land Element includes two infantry battalions, an engineer battalion, a signal squadron, an explosive ordnance disposal unit, and a preventive medicine platoon; the Air Element is a small air wing operating a light transport aircraft and two leased helicopters while the Maritime Element consists of four patrol boats and two landing craft

the PNGDF was established in 1973, and its primary combat unit, the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (RPIR), is descended from Australian Army infantry battalions comprised of native soldiers and led by Australian officers and non-commissioned officers formed during World War II to help fight the Japanese; the RPIR was disbanded after the war, but reestablished in 1951 as part of the Australian Army where it continued to serve until Papua New Guinea gained its independence in 1975, when it became part of the PNGDF

Papua New Guinea's traditional security partners are Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the US; Australia and the US are assisting the country with expanding and improving the Defense Force naval base at Lombrum on Manus Island; the US first established a Lombrum base in 1944 during World War II; in recent years, Papua New Guinea has established security ties with France and the UK; the US and PNG signed a defense cooperation agreement in May 2023, which included a shiprider agreement that provides the opportunity for PNG personnel to work on US Coast Guard and US Navy vessels, and vice versa, to tackle maritime crime such as illegal fishing (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Papua New Guinea on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Papua New Guinea 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Papua New Guinea 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.