This is a list of countries without armed forces. The term “country” is used in the sense of independent state; thus, it applies only to sovereign states and not dependencies (e.g., Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Bermuda), whose defense is the responsibility of another country or an army alternative. The term “armed forces” refers to any government-sponsored defense used to further the domestic and foreign policies of their respective government. Some of the countries listed, such asIceland and Monaco, have no armies, but still have a non-police military force.
Many of the 21 countries listed here typically have had a long-standing agreement with a former occupying country; one example is the agreement between Monaco and France, which has existed for at least 300 years. The Compact of Free Association nations of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and Palau have no say in their respective countries’ defense matters, and have little say in international relations. For example, when the FSM negotiated a defensive agreement with the United States, it did so from a weak position because it had grown heavily dependent on American assistance.
Andorra has a small army, and can request defensive aid if necessary, while Iceland had a unique agreement with the United States that lasted until 2006, which required them to provide defense to Iceland when needed.The remaining countries are responsible for their own defense, and operate either without any armed forces, or with limited armed forces. Some of the countries, such as Costa Rica, Haiti, and Grenada, underwent a process ofdemilitarization. Other countries were formed without armed forces, such as Samoa over 50 years ago; the primary reason being that they were, or still are, under protection from another nation at their point of independence. All of the countries on this list are considered to be in a situation of “non-militarization.” Japan is not included in this list because, while the country may officially have no military according to Article 9 of its Constitution, it does have the Japan Self-Defense Forces, a military force for national territory defence that may only be deployed outside Japan for UN peacekeeping missions.