The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Papua New Guinea. It originated from the Australian Army land forces of the territory of Papua New Guinea before independence, coming into being in January 1973 and having its antecedents in the Pacific Islands Regiment. The PNGDF is a small force numbering around 2,500 personnel and consists of a Land Element, an Air Element and a Maritime Element. It is a joint force tasked with defending Papua New Guinea and its territories against external attack, as well as having secondary functions including national-building and internal security tasks. Defence accounts for less than 2% of government expenditure, while also receiving significant assistance and training support from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and other nations. The Defence White Paper 2013 has ambitious plans to increase the force to 5,000 personnel and double defence spending to 3% by 2017 and by 2030 have 10,000 personnel.
The PNGDF Land Element includes two infantry battalions, an engineer battalion, a signal squadron, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit, and a preventive medicine platoon. The Air Element is a small air wing operating a light transport aircraft and two leased helicopters. The Maritime Element consists of four Pacific-class patrol boats and two Balikpapan-class landing craft. The army is under the direct command of Headquarters PNGDF, while the air wing and navy have their own commanding officers. The PNGDF does not have a Commander-in-Chief but rather a Commander who advises the Minister for Defence.The PNGDF is under the control of the National Executive Council through the Minister for Defence.