The military in Cameroon is placed under the direct control of the Head of State, Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces.
Cameroon’s Defence force is generally apolitical because they are called upon to defend the nation at all times and in all circumstances.
A Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Jospeh Beti Assomo, (a civilian) appointed by the Head of State ensures the day to day coordination of the different corps.
He is assisted by two Secretaries of State; one in charge of the National Gendarmerie, Yves Landry Galax Etoga and another in charge of Ex-servicemen and victims of war, Koumpa Issa, (all civilians).
The most senior military official is the Chief of Defence Staff, a position currently occupied by a Lieutenant General, Rene Claude Meka.
Cameroon’s military was officially born in 1960 from the arches of the French colonial army.
The infantry and the National Gendarmerie were the first to be created.
In 1961, following the reunification of Cameroon, Cameroonian soldiers who served in the Nigerian army returned home and were integrated into the national army.
Since its creation, the Cameroon defence force recruits Cameroonians aged between 18 and 23 years.
The Youth of both sexes from all ten regions, irrespective of ethnic, linguistic or political background are recruited and trained as soldiers of the rank and file, non commissioned officers and officers.
The Cameroon military has grown in size and experience with specialised corps, including the Air force, the Navy, the Military Engineering corps and the National Fire Brigade.
Other specialised units include the Rapid Intervention Battalion, the Special Forces, anti terrorist squadrons and the Multipurpose Intervention group of the National Gendarmerie.
During the 50th Anniversary of the Defence Forces celebrated in Bamenda in 2010, the Head of State laid the ground work for the professionalization and modernisation of defence forces.