The vision of the Ministry is to support the UPDF to transform it into a modern, professional, efficient and accountable force anchored on a strong civil–military partnership

Uganda Military Doctrine

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The Military Doctrine

The Mandate of the Ministry of Defence & Veteran Affairs and the UPDF’s Primary Functions

The Institution of the Ministry of Defence & Veteran Affairs operates under Article 208 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is responsible for the core defense capabilities of the country and executing military operations for the defense of Uganda and its citizens, based on the primary functions outlined in Article 209 of the Constitution. These functions ensure that the state employs the Defense Forces on behalf of the people of Uganda, and the forces owe loyalty to the State and the citizenry.

Uganda Vision 2040 and Security Measures

The Uganda Vision 2040 highlights security measures that focus on protecting the country from all forms of aggression, peace-building, and conflict management. The government aims to strengthen national defense systems, ensure a professional army and reserve force to defend the country, promote peace, and peaceful coexistence with neighboring countries and the international community.

Anti-terrorism measures are prioritized in this vision. Despite the heightened threat of terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab and isolated criminal activities, the Ministry of Defense performed well in FY 2013/14. The UPDF disarmament exercise in Karamoja has led to stability and development in the region. The ongoing conflict in South Sudan and the instability in Eastern DRC continue to impact national security, resulting in a large influx of refugees and attendant security threats.

Uganda’s military capability must address the five strategic areas of border insecurity, internal insecurity, external insecurity, civil emergency, and technological capability of other countries that could undermine its effectiveness. The UPDF will enhance its military capability through the procurement and maintenance of strategic equipment and improving C4ISTAR capabilities. TISU will continue to research and develop science and technological applications for military purposes.

The Establishment of UPDF and its Functions

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.

Modernizing UPDF through Doctrine Development

In 2001, a Defence Review was undertaken to further consolidate and transform UPDF from a guerrilla army into a modern, accountable, efficient, and professional Defence Force. Among the recommendations made was 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, the successful experiences of the force, and the nature, quality, discipline, and morale required of its personnel.

Establishment of the Centre for Doctrine Synthesization and Development

The implementation of the unit was effected in 2005 with a desk under the office of the Chief of the Defence Forces (CDF). The Doctrine desk was upgraded into a Directorate after two years of preliminary work. In 2009, the C-I-C renamed the directorate the Centre for Doctrine Synthesization and Development, which is currently at the strategic level. Prior to the development of UPDF doctrine, the military’s values and aspirations were guided by the colonial powers’ values, and this is signified by the fact that the military supported the anti-people and exploitative ideologies of the colonialists.

UPDF’s Role in International Crisis Management

Over the past 50 years, Uganda has been independent, and 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 crises in an effective and efficient manner. UPDF’s doctrine will help to standardize operations and facilitate readiness by establishing common ways of achieving ends within available means.

The Need for Doctrine Development

Following the recommendations of the Uganda Defence Review, the UPDF became a bi-service force, with a higher headquarters providing strategic guidance to a Land Force Component and the Air Force. The force now operates in a multinational environment to meet various international obligations. Future operations will be joint, and 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.

Hierarchy of UPDF Doctrine

The strategic doctrine is the apex of military doctrine in Uganda, providing 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. Service Doctrines exist at the second level and are written to guide the services operating in different theaters. Tactical doctrines 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.

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