Chief Of Doctrine Synthesization and Development

Centre for Doctrine Synthesization and Development

About CDSD

The Centre for Doctrine Synthesization and Development is responsible for the development of Uganda People's Defence Forces' (UPDF) doctrine. It is located at the Ministry of Defence/UPDF General headquarters, at Mbuya hill, in Kampala. It is currently headed by a senior officer at the rank of Major General with the title of Commander. The centre has full time staff; Civilian and UPDF personnel in active service, as well as the retired.


To enhance research and doctrine development in order to contribute to the generation and consolidation of UPDF capabilities;

Meaning of Doctrine

Doctrine is a "set of beliefs that are held to be true by a given body" - Gen YK Museveni. It is what is believed to be the best way to do things. Military doctrine provides the framework within which the planning and execution of decisions and actions about military operations is conducted. It provides guidance for the training and preparations of the forces; their positioning and employment in the battlefield; and to the understanding of what is to be achieved, why and how. It is descriptive but not prescriptive, and the detailed application is left to the field commanders. Military doctrine is a guide to action which provides a common framework for reference across the military. It serves as a concise expression of how the military forces contribute to campaigns, battles and engagements

Doctrine in the UPDF

After the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, the National Resistance Army (NRA) became UPDF. Article 208 of this constitution establishes the Forces while Article 209 spells out its functions as Preserving and defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda; cooperating with civilian authority in emergency situations and in case of natural disasters; fostering harmony and understanding between the defence forces and civilians; and engaging in productive activities for the development of Uganda. In 2001, in order to further the consolidation and transformation of the UPDF from a guerrilla army into a modern, accountable, efficient and professional Defence Force, a Defence Review was undertaken, and amongst others, it recommended the development and formalization of a doctrine for the force as one of the modernization themes. It was recognized that doctrine would be influenced by support and direction from the political authority; and the successful experiences of the force, while guiding the type, size, and character of the force structure; and the nature, quality, discipline, and morale required of its personnel. The implementation of the unit was effected in 2005 with a desk under the office of the Chief of the Defence Forces (CDF). Preliminary work began and after two years, the Doctrine desk was upgraded into a Directorate. In 2009, the C-I-C renamed the directorate the Centre for Doctrine Synthesization and Development that is currently at Strategic Level.


Whereas Uganda has existed since 1894 as a nation state with some military formations of sorts up to 1980, there has not been any documented doctrine for Uganda's military. What guided the military, then, were the values and aspirations of the colonial powers. This is signified by the fact that the military supported the anti-people and exploitative ideologies of the colonialists. In the past 50 years, Uganda has been independent, the UPDF (formerly NRA) has fought more wars than any former military establishment. Even in the Eastern Africa and Great Lakes region, UPDF has fought more wars than any other force. The UPDF is now part of the regional and continental mechanisms for prevention, resolution and management of crisis in an effective and efficient manner. UPDF's doctrine, therefore, will help to standardize operations and facilitate readiness by establishing common ways of achieving ends within available means. Following the recommendations of the Uganda Defence Review, the UPDF became Bi-service force; with a higher headquarter providing strategic guidance to a Land Force Component and the Air Force. Furthermore, the force now operates in a multinational environment in order to meet various international obligations. It is fair, therefore, to assume that future operations will be Joint, and that many will be combined. Technological advancements will also not only offer new weapon systems but also demand new capabilities, which should drive UPDF's organizations, structures and training. This increased complexity will require improvements in procedures, planning and execution of operations guided by strategic thought written in the form of a doctrine.

Levels of Doctrine in the UPDF

Doctrine in the UPDF is written at various levels that are mutually supportive:

The Strategic Doctrine

This is the apex of military doctrine in Uganda. It provides the strategic conceptual framework for making strategic military decisions. It establishes the rationale, articulates the philosophy and general principles that guide military activity within the UPDF; conveys understanding but not instructions, based directly on government policy and designed specifically for the UPDF. It functions to establish the framework of understanding of the approach to warfare in order to provide the foundation for its practical application.

Service Doctrines

They exist at the second level and are written to guide the services operating in different theatres. They are sponsored by particular theatre or service commanders, deriving authority from the strategic doctrine. Their purpose is to give guidance to formations and units, and to inform the execution of campaigns, operations and tactical maneuvers.They may be classified to a large extent.

Tactical doctrines

These are the third part of the hierarchy that provides the main body of instructions of the force. They arise from both strategic and Operational Doctrines, providing a common foundation on which all tactical commanders base their plans. The various Field Manuals and standing operating procedures provide the core of this doctrine.

Current Projects and Programs of the Center Doctrine Development (In progress)

The Center has so far developed the strategic Doctrine that is awaiting validation and will be launched this year (2014). Thereafter, component doctrines will be written for the Land Forces, Air forces and other Services. It is hoped that in coming years, the goal of having written doctrines at all levels will be achieved.


The center conducts military history and contemporary research on the military development.

Lessons learnt

In all these engagements, there have been victories and defeats worth taking account of and have lessons learnt that support leadership, organizational and operational goals and procedures by promoting recurrence of successful outcomes and precluding the recurrence of unsuccessful outcomes. This program aims to build a repository of actionable knowledge, lessons learned and best practices that can easily be retrieved and applied.

Resource center and Library Department

The Centre for Doctrine Synthesization and Development operates a library which was established to serve the MoD/UPDF Officers and men. This Library was formerly housed at TISU and was shifted to the CDSD on the 13 April 2013, due to inadequate space at TISU and its usability.

Vision of the library

To have an information centre that is well equipped and organized to provide updated information, as well as preserving MoD/UPDF Publications.

Mission of the library

To provide sources of information for research and decision making to all levels of Command.

Objectives of the library

  • Supporting Research for Center
  • Ensure safety and custody of the information sources
  • Preserving literature for reference
  • Promoting current awareness

Nature of stock

The library is stocked with books, magazines, write ups, speeches and MoD publications. It is organized into four sections; Open shelves, Reserve section, Periodical section, and Reference section.

Basing on the research requirements of the users, the library covers several thematic subject areas which include: Military Art and Science, History, Political Science, Management, Health Science, Social economic, and Technology, among others. The stock is mainly sourced through direct purchases and donations. Currently the library collection has grown to a total number of 800 books and 15 titles of magazines.

Library organization

The library is organized according to ten classes of Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme. These include:

  • 000 - Generalities
  • 100- Philosophy and psychology
  • 200 -Religion
  • 300- Social science
  • 400- Language
  • 500- Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • 600-Technology
  • 700- The Arts
  • 800- Literature and Rhetoric
  • 900-Geography and History

Library automation

WINISIS- Library software was installed to ease library management. It is user friendly and it is used to retrieve and access the materials. In other words it serves as a library catalogue.

Library staff

The Library has got two full time librarians and one system Assistant who handles the technical activities and ensures that it operates effectively.

Library rules and regulations

Like any other institution, the library has got rules and regulations which are used as guidelines while conducting library business. Thus, both the staff and library users have to respect them.

Library hours

The library operates as follows;

Monday to Friday: 8:30 to 5:00pm

The library remains closed on Weekends and public holidays

Military history and UPDF museum (future program)