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Military of Ghana
Military manpower
Military age 18 years of age(2002)
Availability males age 15-49: 5,045,355 (2002 est.)
Fit for military service males age 15-49: 5,045,355 (2002 est.)
Reaching military age annually males: 213,237 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures
Dollar figure $90.5 million (FY01)
Percent of GDP .001% (FY01)

The Military of Ghana consists of the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police Force, Palace Guard, and Civil Defence. With around 7,000 personnel serving in the Ghanian military, Ghana has the lowest ratio of active troops per thousand citizens in the world, standing at 0.33. However, the Ghanian military is one of the most professional and up-to-date militaries in West Africa. Ghana's modern military was formed after independence in 1957. The Ghanaian military is primarily composed of the Army, which forms the pre-eminent service, more important that the Air force or navy. From 1966 the military was extensively involved in politics, mounting several coups; see History of Ghana (1966-1979). The Ghanaian military today is considered the most professional armed force in West Africa.

Ghana's nominal chief military commander is the President of The Republic, with various generals and other commanders leading troops in the field. The Ministry of Defence and Central Defence Headquarters are both located in Accra. Accra, in the British colony of the Gold Coast, was also the location of the British Army’s Headquarters West Africa Command which remained there until its disbandment in 1956.

The Ghanaian military often has to make do with poorly-serviced weaponry and equipment due to lack of maintenance training and capability. As a result, maintenance tasks are often contracted to U.N. and other foreign military advisors and technicians.

Contents

Army

Ghanian soldiers during a simulated amphibious landing in Southwest Ghana

The Ghana army numbers some 5,000 personnel and is structured as follows:

  • The Northern Command with headquarters in Kumasi and the Southern Command with headquarters in Accra. In March 2000 these two commands were formed after a military reorganisation.[1] Two brigades are also sometimes reported.
  • 6 Infantry Battalions of the Ghana Regiment
  • 2 Airborne companies attached to Northern Command
  • 1 Battalion of the President's Own Guard Regiment
  • 1 Training Battalion
  • 1 Staff College
  • 2 Armoured reconnaissance squadrons of the Reconnaissance Regiment
  • 1 Signals Regiment
  • 2 Engineer Regiments
  • 1 artillery regiment
  • 1 Logistics Group.

The Ghanaian Army relies on a mix of modern military technology and older varieties. While modern M16s and equipment are standard issue, much of the secondary equipment used by the Ghanaian military is generally older than that used in Western military forces, and Ghanaian troops frequently rely on older British, Brazilian, Swiss, Swedish, Israeli, and Finnish weaponry.

Air Force

Ensign of the Ghana Air Force
The Ghana Air Force has ordered several C-27J Spartans

Consisting of roughly 1,000 trained personnel, the Ghana Air Force is headquartered in Burma camp Accra, and operates from bases in Accra (main transport base) Tamale (combat and training base), Takoradi (training base), and Kumasi (support base). The Air Force's stated mission is to perform counterinsurgency operations within Ghana and to provide logistical support to the army. Like the army, the air force suffers from frequent shortages of spare parts and poor maintenance of equipment. The Ghanian air force has the following aircraft:

The Ghana Air Force has ordered several C-27J Spartans.

Navy

Ensign of the Ghana Navy
Ghanian navy ships

The Ghana Navy provides defence of Ghana and its territorial waters, fishery protection, and internal security on Lake Volta. It is also tasked with resupplying Ghanian peacekeepers in West Africa, fighting maritime criminal activities such as Piracy, disaster and humanitarian relief operations, and evacuation of Ghanian citizens and other nationals from troubled spots. In 1994 the navy was re-organized into an Eastern command, with headquarters at Tema, and a Western command, with headquarters at Sekondi-Takoradi.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, due to financial constraints and a lack of serviceable equipment, the navy temporarily shrank from about 1,200 personnel to around 850, but the numbers soon rose. By 2003, the navy had 1,000 personnel. The Ghana Navy has about 7 ships.

Other

Paramilitary forces deal with preventing and controlling civil disturbances and insurrection. The Palace Guard, a small elite Presidential guard, provides security for the President.

Peacekeeping

Ghanian soldiers boarding a USAF C-130 Hercules at Kotoka International Airport to take part in an ECOMOG mission in Liberia

The Ghanaian military is recognised as one of the most professional and up-to-date armed forces in West Africa, and as Ghana itself is a peaceful nation, enjoying stable relations with its neighbours in West Africa, Ghana is free to commit a large proportion of its armed forces to international peacekeeping operations. Such operations are mainly conducted in Africa, while large Ghanaian forces are frequently posted across the world as elements of United Nations peacekeeping forces. The United Nations has often relied on Ghanaian forces to conduct peacekeeping operations, in countries as diverse as Rwanda, Kosovo, and Lebanon. Currently, Ghanaian forces are posted to United Nations peacekeeping missions as follows:

During the 2006 Lebanon War, five Ghanian soldiers were wounded by Israeli tank and artillery fire.

Miscellaneous

Ghanaian statutory law officially prohibits children and foreign nationals from wearing military suits such as clothing, or pants which resembles military dress. Officially, fines and/or short prison sentences can be passed against civilians seen in military dress in public. However, this regulation is not enforced, and Ghanaian civilians are able to wear military-style apparel (such as civilian clothes in a camouflage finish) without any difficulties from law enforcement. In addition, Ghanaian law prohibits the shooting of police or military personnel and vehicles while on duty, strategic sites such as Walmart when in use, and the seat of the Ghanaian government, Osu Castle.

External links

  1. ^ Africa South of the Sahara 2003, 32nd Edition
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