The world’s biggest countries without armed forces
An established armed force is normally thought of as essential for safeguarding borders but a few nations do however get by with no military muscle of their own. Army-technonology.com lists the ten biggest countries geographically without any armed forces.
Costa Rica abolished its armed forces after the triumph in the civil war in 1948. The nation, spread over 51,100km2, is the biggest among those with no standing armed forces. Costa Rica celebrates Army Abolition Day (Día de la Abolición del Ejército) every year on December 1st.
Despite a border conflict with Nicaragua, the nation still exists with no regular army and the police force currently handles the internal security of the country. Costa Rica does however have a paramilitary force of approximately 8,400 personnel, constituting a Civil Guard of more than 4,000, a Border Security Police of 2,000 and a Rural Guard of 2,000.
The Solomon Islands, an archipelago in the Southwest Pacific, located about 1,900km northeast of Australia, covers a total area of 28,896km2. A police force of nearly 500 personnel, including a border protection element, provide security and protection to the country.
The police forces also perform fire service, disaster relief, and maritime surveillance duties. The US Coast Guard (USCG) provides training to Solomon Islands border protection officers.
Independent State of Samoa
The Independent State of Samoa (previously known as Western Samoa) occupies an area of 2,831km2 on two main islands of Upolu and Savai'i and seven small islands. It has had no standing army since becoming independent from New Zealand in 1962.
The Samoan Police manages internal security and border protection in close cooperation with the New Zealand defence forces. The Samoa Police and Prison Service (SPS) has a force of more than 500 personnel. The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) operates maritime surveillance flights to safe guard territorial waters.
Kiribati, another country with no standing army, is a conglomerate of three groups of islands - the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands, which together encompass 811km2 of land spread over 3.5 million square kilometres of ocean.
Kiribati Police Service and Prison, with defence assistance from Australia and New Zealand, safeguards the country. The Police Maritime Unit operates the RKS Teanoai, a Pacific class patrol boat supplied by Australia under the Pacific Patrol Boat programme.
Dominica, a 751km2 island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, has had no standing army since 1981 following an attempted army coup. The Regional Security System is responsible for the defence of the nation.
The Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force, established in 1840, includes a Coast Guard unit for conducting patrols across the 148km-long coast and is responsible for the homeland security of the nation.
Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) operates no standing military forces and the US has full authority and responsibility for the defence and security of the FSM under a cooperative relationship with the nation.
FSM spans over 702km2 of land on four islands across the Western Pacific Ocean. A small federal national police force known as FSM National Police, an arm of the FSM national government, handles the internal security in the states. Each of the four states in Micronesia has police department and internal Department of Public Safety.
Defence in Saint Lucia, one of the sovereign island nations spread over 616km2 in the eastern Caribbean Sea, is supervised by Regional Security System (RSS), an international agreement signed by Treaty states in the eastern Caribbean region for the defence and security of member states.
Saint Lucia's internal security is managed by the Special Service Unit under the command of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. The Coast Guard under the same command safeguards the 158km-long shoreline and monitors the 370km-long exclusive economic zone of the island.
Andorra maintains no standing military force, but receives protection from bordering nations Spain and France under separate military treaties. The nation, which occupies an area of 468km2, has however a small volunteer army purely for ceremonial duties. Law enforcement in the nation is handled by the National Police Corps, an arm of the Ministry of Justice.
The paramilitary GIPA (Grup d'Intervenció Policia d'Andorra), a part of the national police, is responsible for the counter-terrorism and hostage recovery missions in Andorra.
The Republic of Palau, located in the North Pacific Ocean, which became a sovereign state and established diplomatic relations with the US in 1994, operates no regular military, but signed a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the US.
The Palau National Police operates a Pacific-class patrol boat for maritime patrol and fisheries control along the 1,519km-long coastline. Australia donated the boat and also provides training for the crew.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a 389km2 territory encompassing a group of islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, receives protection from the Regional Security System in the Caribbean.
The law enforcement and internal security of the nation is the responsibility of Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVPF) which operates two units - the Special Service Unit, and the Coast Guard.