The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) was previously a liberation force known as the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA). The Law No 19/2002 of 17/05/2002 renamed the RPA as the Rwanda Defence Force.
Since 2002, the RDF adopted a Joint Structure with a Chief of Defence Staff at the helm of the Defence Force. He is the Joint Commander. The Structure and Force design offer flexibility required to respond to a variety of contingencies.
The Rwanda Defence Forces’ mission as provided in the constitution is :
to defend the territorial integrity and the national sovereignty of the Republic;
to collaborate with other security organs in safe-guarding public order and enforcement of law;
to participate in humanitarian activities in case of disasters;
to contribute to the development of the country;
to participate in international peace-keeping missions, humanitarian assistance and training.
The RDF comprises of the Rwanda Army (Land Forces), the Rwanda Air Force (Air Forces), the Rwanda Reserve Force and Special Units.
The RDF Structure reflects a Joint Headquarter; Commands and Institutions placed directly under the CDS; Service Headquarters and various staff groups.