The Mandate and Functions of the UPDF
The Institution of the Ministry of Defence & Veteran Affairs derives its mandate from Article 208 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. Article 209 of the Constitution spells out the primary functions of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF). The underlying principle of these provisions is that the state employs the Defence Forces on behalf of the people of Uganda, and that the forces owe loyalty to the State and the citizenry.
Uganda Vision 2040 and National Security
Under the UGANDA VISION 2040, the focus will be on security of the country from any form of aggression, peace-building, and conflict management. Government efforts will strengthen the national defense systems, ensure a professional army and a reserve force ready to defend the country. In addition, the government will prioritize maintaining peace and peaceful coexistence with neighbors and the international community. Anti-terrorism measures will be given paramount importance.
Doctrine Development and UPDF's Evolving Role
Doctrine is a “set of beliefs that are held to be true by a given body” – as stated by Gen YK Museveni. It provides the framework within which the planning and execution of decisions and actions about military operations are conducted. After the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution, the National Resistance Army (NRA) became UPDF, and a Defense Review in 2001 emphasized the development and formalization of doctrine as a modernization theme. The UPDF has since evolved from a guerrilla army into a modern, accountable, efficient, and professional Defense Force, actively participating in regional and continental crisis prevention and resolution mechanisms.
The Need for Comprehensive Doctrine
As Uganda's military continues to face dynamic and ever-changing threats, a comprehensive doctrine is essential. The security environment comprises border insecurity, internal insecurity, external insecurity, civil emergency, and technological capabilities of other countries. Neglecting any of these strategic areas may undermine Uganda’s Military Capability. Doctrine will enhance military capability through strategic equipment procurement and maintenance, as well as the development of Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (C4ISTAR) capabilities. Ongoing research and development on science and technological applications for military purposes will also be a part of the doctrine.
The UPDF's journey from a guerrilla army to a modern and professional Defense Force highlights the importance of doctrine development. Guided by the Uganda Vision 2040 and the need to address complex and diverse threats, doctrine will play a crucial role in standardizing operations, facilitating readiness, and guiding joint and combined multinational operations. It will establish common ways of achieving objectives within available means and solidify UPDF's position as a regional and continental force for peace and stability.