The Panamanian Government has converted the former Panama Defense Forces (PDF) into a civilian "public force," subordinate to civilian officials and composed of four independent units: the Panamanian National Police, the National Maritime Service (Coast Guard), the National Air Service, and the Institutional Protective Service (VIP Security). A constitutional amendment, passed in 1994, permanently abolished the military.

Law enforcement units that have been separated from the public force, such as the Technical Judicial Police, also are directly subordinate to civilian authorities. The public force budget, in contrast to the former PDF, is on public record and under control of the executive.

Military branches: an amendment to the Constitution abolished the armed forces, but there are security forces (Panamanian Public Forces or PPF includes the National Police, National Maritime Service, and National Air Service) and an armed Institutional Protection Service or SPI for protection of public buildings.

Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 761,568 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 521,487 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $132 million (FY97)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.6% (FY97)

Military - note: on 10 February 1990, the government of then President ENDARA abolished Panama's military and reformed the security apparatus by creating the Panamanian Public Forces; in October 1994, Panama's Legislative Assembly approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting the creation of a standing military force, but allowing the temporary establishment of special police units to counter acts of "external aggression"

See also : Panama