Military districts are administrative units formed by the armed forces of a country and they have a responsibility to oversee territory that is assigned to them. The Army often forms these units which are tasked with the handling of conscription cycles. The term 'Military Regions' is used to describe such units in some countries in the world using this model of governance. The United States has nine military districts known as Unified Combatant Commands. This article explores other countries around the world with military districts.
Military Districts in Africa
Algeria is an example of a country in Africa that has active military districts.
Such districts are borne out of a colonial history where the country was considered to be the tenth military district of France when it was a French colony. After independence, insurgencies forced the Algerian military to hold on to the military districts as the government sought to ensure that its effort is sustained against the insurgents. Currently, Algeria is divided into six military districts each having headquarters in a major town or city in that assigned region. The district commanders control the bases, logistics, conscript training, and housing. Military operations affairs are handled by the various commanders of the army, air force and navy installations who have to report directly to the Ministry of Defense and the service chiefs of staff.
Military Districts in Europe
France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Poland and the United Kingdom are some of the countries with active military districts in Europe.
In France, the tradition of military districts is strong. During the third republic, there were 21 active military districts each supporting an army corps through its departments. Currently, the fifth republic of France has six active military districts.
Germany used military districts during World War II to ensure that there was a constant flow of supplies and fighting men to the battlefronts. Such districts also handled administrative duties that were previously handled by field commanders. Currently, the federal republic of Germany has four active military districts.
Poland had five military districts after World War I, and after a military reorganization, the number climbed to ten. In 1921, further reorganizations saw the number drop to two which were the Pomeranian and Silesian military districts. The Polish government has since disbanded the military districts after a reorganization in 2011.
The former Soviet Union had six military districts which were formed during the civil war which were increased to 17 after the Nazi invasion of 1940. In 1946, the number had risen to 33 but was later reduced to 21. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has reorganized the military districts into four with the latest reorganization of the northern fleet in 2014 to form a separate joint command.
Sweden has four active military districts after major reorganizations in 2000 which disbanded all military areas.
In the United Kingdom, military districts have undergone reorganizations over a period of 150 years of their existence to the current nine military districts.
Military Districts in Asia
China, Indonesia and Vietnam are some countries in Asia that have active military districts.
Initially, China had 76 military districts which were later reorganized into 12 after the Japanese armed forces invaded mainland China during World War II. Currently, there are five active units after reorganizations by the Peoples Liberation Army in February 2016.
Indonesia adapted the German model of military districts into its own and has 15 military districts known as KODAM standing for Komando Daerah Militer (Military Region Command). The current districts are labelled Kodam Iskandar Muda, Kodam Jay, as well as Kodams 1-6, Kodam 9, Kodams 12-14, and Kodams 16-18.
Vietnam has eight military districts functioning directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam. The Hanoi Capital Command is headquartered in Hanoi and is tasked with defending the capital city. The other districts, numbered 1-7 and 9, defend northeastern Vietnam, northwestern Vietnam, the Red River Delta area, north central Vietnam, south central Vietnam, southeastern Vietnam, and the Mekong Delta respectively.