Under the constitution of Kuwait, the Emir of Kuwait is the supreme commander of the armed forces with a Minister of Defence who directs the Military of Kuwait through the Chief of the General Staff. The National Guard has its own commander, who reports directly to the minister of defence. Public security forces report to the minister of interior. The ruling As Sabah family maintain a tight grip on the centers of power, including many senior posts in the security services.
Since 1999 women have served as part of the police forces.
The Military of Kuwait consists of the following organizations:
The Kuwaiti Army is the primary land force of the Military of Kuwait. Kuwait's postwar equipment orders include 200 M-84 tanks (from Yugoslavia to offset previous Yugoslav oil purchases) and eighteen self-propelled 155mm guns from France. Kuwait also has received United States, Russian, and Egyptian armored vehicles. . The Kuwaiti Navy is the Kuwait Naval Force, is the sea-based component of the Military of Kuwait. The headquarters and sole naval base is Ras al-Qulayah Naval Base, located in the south of Kuwait, approximately 35 miles (56 km) south of Kuwait City. The Kuwait Naval Force numbers approximately 2,000 officers and enlisted personnel, including approximately 400 coast guard. The Kuwait Air Force (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya) is the air arm of the State of Kuwait. The Air Force headquarters is located at Al Mubarak Air Base, with the remaining forces stationed at Air Defence Brigade, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base. The Kuwait Air Force numbers approximately 2,500 officer and enlisted personnel. The Kuwaiti National Guard is an internal and border security force.
Kuwait was a British protectorate from 1899 until 1961 and although a succession of Emirs of the Al Sabah ruled the country, foreign affairs and defence was a British prerogative. Kuwaiti forces consisted of the Emir's guard plus a small 600-man police force or constabulary under British administration. By 1961, a British military mission had converted the constabulary into a combined a brigade of 2,500 men which also established small air and naval forces in 1961.
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