Ministry of Defence

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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]

List of 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.