Ron J May and Nicole Haley
In the lead-up to independence, there was debate in Papua New Guinea as to whether a defence force would safeguard national security or pose a threat to democracy. In the event, the Defence force was retained and has played a significant role in maintaining internal security and contributing to national development, as well as securing the country’s borders. But there has been some deterioration since independence in the capacity and morale of the PNGDF, and several instances of tension between the military and the government, especially during the Bougainville conflict. Civil-military relations since independence are briefly traced and the question of why Papua New Guinea has not experienced a military coup is addressed.