A military is a highly organized, heavily armed force authorized and maintained by a sovereign state. A military is intended primarily for warfare.
The purpose of a military is to engage in combat to defend a nation and to win. This has been the primary focus of any military throughout history. Large militaries are often seen as a sign of power and can provide a sense of security for countries.
The United States spends more on its military than any other country in the world. The 2019 discretionary budget for the Department of Defense was $686.1 billion. This is more than China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil combined.
Despite the U.S. and several other countries allocating large portions of their budgets for their militaries, several countries do not have a standing military or any armed forces. These countries prove that they can maintain their territorial sovereignty without having military forces.
Countries without militaries have either been demilitarized, never established a military when the country was created, or are former colonies/dependencies of nations with militaries and are still under the protection of those countries. For example, the French military is responsible for Monaco’s defense. The United States is responsible for the defense of the Marshall Islands. Additionally, France and Spain provide military support to Andorra because of their proximity.
The Vatican City does not have its own military; however, it is home to the Swiss Guard, which is responsible for protecting the territorial integrity of the Holy See and for protecting the pope. For this reason, the city-state is considered to have a military.
Countries with No Military
According to the CIA World Factbook, 36 countries and territories do not have a military. Per the CIA’s definition, several of these states do not have a “regular military force,” but their national police forces act as de facto military forces. For example, Costa Rica’s Public Forces of Costa Rica are responsible for protecting their country’s borders.
- Cayman Islands
- Cook Islands
- Costa Rica
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- French Polynesia
- Macau (China S.A.R.)
- Marshall Islands
- Federated States of Micronesia
- New Caledonia
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- San Marino
- Sint Maarten
- Solomon Islands
- Svalbard (unincorporated region of Norway)