Ministry of Defence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A Ministry of Defence or Defense (see spelling differences), also known as a Department of Defence or Defense, is the common name for a part of the government found in states where the government is divided into ministries or departments, responsible for matters of defence. Such a department usually includes all branches of the military, and is usually controlled by a Defence Minister, Minister of Defence, or Secretary of Defense.

Historically, such departments were referred to as a Ministry of War or Department of War, although such departments generally had authority only over the army of a country, with a separate department governing other military branches. Prior to World War II, most "Ministries of War" were Army ministries, while the Navy and the Air Force, if it existed as a separate branch, had their own departments, as late as 1953, for example, the Soviet Union had a "Ministry of War" alongside a "Ministry of the Navy".

The tendency to consolidate and rename these departments to highlight their purpose as providing "defence" arose after World War II; in India, for example, "the name of the War Department was found objectionable in the sense that the concept had an aggressive aspect which was inconsistent with Indian traditions".[1]

Ministries of defence[edit]

Named "Ministry"[edit]

Named "Department"[edit]

Other names[edit]


Named "Ministry of Defence"[edit]

Named "Ministry of War", "Department of War" or "War Office"[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Defence diplomacy, refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives through the peaceful employment of defence resources and capabilities
  • Defence minister, assigned to the person in a cabinet position in charge of a Ministry of Defence
  • War Ministry (Portugal), the Portuguese government department responsible for military affairs from 1950 to 1974
  • War cabinet, a committee formed by a government in a time of war


  1. ^ Nagendra Singh, The theory of force and organisation of defence in Indian constitutional history: from earliest times to 1947 (1969), p. 253.