CONTEMPORARY STRUCTURE OF THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE
The Ministry of National Defense was created by an Act of the National Legislature on June 9, 1972. The Executive Law was approved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia on May 11, 1972 and published on June 9, 1972. The Ministry of National Defense was created with the mandate of maintenance of national defense and the governance of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
Before 1972, what is today known as the Ministry of National Defense was called Department of War. An amendment to the Liberian Constitution allowed the previously-named War Department to be renamed the Department of National Defense on February 25, 1955. Then, during the early years of the Tolbert Administration, all departments were renamed Ministries and thus the organization became the Ministry of National Defense.
The immediate control of the Ministry is vested in the Minister of National Defense subject to the authority and direction of the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia. According to the June 9, 1972 Act, “The Minister of National Defense shall be a civilian and shall be nominated and, with the consent of the Senate, appointed and commissioned by the President.”
The Minister of National Defense is the principal administrator of the Ministry. He is assisted by two deputy ministers, administration and operations, respectively. There are five assistant ministers within the Ministry of National Defense. They are Assistant Ministers for Administration, Public Affairs, Coast Guard Affairs, Civil Works and Plans, Policy and Operations.
From 1848-2017, the Secretaries/ Ministers of War/ Minister of Defense of Liberia were the following persons: Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Reginald A. Sherman, Anthony Williams, George B. Padmore, Robert T. Sherman, Wilmot H. Dennis, Columbus Harris, Isaac Moart, James F. Cooper, B.W. Payne, James W. Cooper, Momolu Massaquoi, Joseph Dennis, Henry Reed Cooper, J. Foulton Dunbar, Wilkins Tyler, Isaac Whisnant, Ernest C.B. Jones, Ernest J. Yancy, Harrison Grisby, Robert A. Brewer, Everett Jonathan Goodridge, Allen H. Williams, Harry A. Greaves, M. Burleigh Holder, James Y. Gbarbea, Major Samuel B. Pearson, M/ Gen. Albert B.S. Karpeh, M/ Gen. Gray D. Allison, B/ Gen. J. Boimah Barclay, Dr. Edward B. Kesselly, Gen. (Rtd.) Sandee S. Ware, Gen. (Rtd.) J Hezekiah Bowen, Daniel L. Chea, Sr. and Brownie J. Samukai, Jr.
The current Minister of National Defense is Hon. M/ Gen. Daniel Dee Ziankahn, Jr., (Rtd).
The Ministry’s three-story building used to be located on Benson Street in downtown Monrovia, but upon the conclusion of the DynCorp army training effort in Liberia, moved to the Barclay Training Center, also located in central Monrovia, in July 2009.
Aims and Objectives
In order to ensure that the national security interests and values of Liberia are preserved, the Ministry of National Defense objectives will be guided by the following principles:
- Safeguarding of the integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Liberia’s land, sea and airspace and the resources therein; showing similar respect for other countries, especially in the sub-region;
- Promotion of global peace and security through bilateral and multilateral cooperation and institutions to meet the trans-national security threats and challenges requiring international collaboration;
- Full participation of Liberia’s new armed forces in international peace and security arrangements including, the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), African Union Standby Force (ASF), UN Peacekeeping and others to contribute to global peace and security;
The aims of the Ministry of national Defense are:
- Defeat our Adversaries, Deter War, and Defend the Nation
- Sustain a Ready Force to Meet Mission Needs
- Strengthen and Enhance the Health and Effectiveness of the Total Workforce
- Reform and Reshape the Defense Institution
The Ministry of National Defense objectives are:
- Build capacity for counterterrorism efforts and retain robust capabilities for direct action
- Improve the effectiveness of the Ministry’s support to civil authorities
- Remain alert regarding national vulnerabilities to established and new military threats posed by internal and external agents
- Maintain readiness to deliver, position and sustain forces from any point of origin to any point of employment
- Ensure that service members separating from Active Duty are prepared for the transition to civilian life
- Nurture workforce initiatives that ensure employees are trained, engaged and benefiting from a quality work life
- Maintain a professional military and civilian workforce shaped for today’s and tomorrow’s needs
- Achieve efficiencies and effectiveness to redirect resources to direct support of combat, combat support, and combat service support elements of the MOD
- Ensure improved financial processes, controls and information through audit
Mission and Vision
The mission of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) is to provide the military forces needed to ensure the protection of Liberia’s national interest and territorial integrity, and to protect the citizens and residents within the borders of Liberia from internal and external aggression and in extremis, to respond to natural disaster.
The Vision of the MOD is to ensure preparedness of a viable and sustainable Armed Forces of Liberia that can address the threats posed to Liberia’s national security.