2019 Guide on becoming a member of the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF)

2019 Guide on becoming a member of the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF)



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SUGGESTED: 2019 Guide on Joining the Department of Correctional Services as a Correctional Officer

SUGGESTED: 2019 Guide on becoming a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)

The Jamaica Defence Force

History

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) was formed on 31 July 1962 with the West India Regiment – disbanded just the day before – providing the nucleus. On formation, the Force comprised two regular units ‘Headquarters and Support Units’ (colloquially known as “Staff and Services”), and the First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (1JR), as well as the Jamaica National Reserve, at that time comprising one infantry battalion.

The Third Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (3JR(NR)), which was formed in 1961 as the then sole component of the Jamaica National Reserve, became a part of the Jamaica Defence Force on 31 July 1962. Headquarters and Support Units comprised the Force Headquarters, the Garrison Administrative Unit, the Jamaica Military Stores Depot, the Jamaica Military Workshop, the Military Estates Office and the Jamaica Military Pay and Records Office. In 1963 the Jamaica Air Wing, the Jamaica Sea Squadron and the Force Engineer Unit (incorporating the Military Estates Office) were formed as sub-units of Headquarters and Support Units.

The Jamaica Military Band (the band of the original West India Regiment of 1795 which, following the Regiment’s disbanding, had been renamed ‘Jamaica Military Band’ in 1927 with semi-military status) had become a purely civilian unit in 1959 as a corporate body under the Ministry of Home Affairs. It now became a part of the Jamaica Defence Force with the advent of Independence in 1962.

 

National roles of the JDF

The JDF is required to effectively protect Jamaica’s sovereignty, by having the capability to detect, identify and respond to enemy threats against Jamaica. It is intended that a combination of land, maritime, and air forces would conduct defensive operations against any military threat, bolstered by existing/potential bilateral or multilateral agreements with partner nations to support the Jamaica/JDF in the event of a (protracted) conflict. At present, the JDF currently consists of approximately one (01) Brigade Group, along with other essential supporting elements.

Based on Jamaica’s approximately 275,000 km2 maritime area, the JDF is required to have an air and maritime capability to detect and identify aircraft and vessels within Jamaica’s airspace and maritime areas on a 24 hour basis, interdict vessels involved in illegal activities and refugee movement, respond to oil/chemical spills, and undertake environmental and resource protection tasks. Under the proposed Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Project, the JDF will acquire the remaining resources required to fulfill this capability, including maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to complement the three (03) new Damen Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

This wide varying task requires the JDF to maintain a range of expertise/skill sets, including the capability to provide air medical services, manage and maintain essential services in an emergency, and give advice on as well as participate in national construction projects. The resources used to achieve this capability are primarily air, maritime, infantry and engineer assets. There are ever-increasing demands on the JDF for its human capital on national projects and programs, which are a major source of manpower utilization.

International roles of the JDF

This task involves the JDF rendering external humanitarian assistance and participating in peacekeeping and conflict prevention operations regionally and internationally. The JDF maintains the flexibility to package its forces with the requisite equipment for deployment on a wide range of missions. Jamaica also has the capability to assist our regional partners in the event of such contingencies, much as we would expect them to help us under similar circumstances.

Ranks

Rank is split between Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers. Commissioned Officers are middle and upper managers and leaders in the Jamaica Defence Force. Members of the Regular Force are employed full time by the JDF whilst the National Reserve is a part-time service with members being required to give voluntary service for a set number of days each week with the ability to have gainful employment elsewhere.

Private (NS)

Regular

  • Private
  • Lance corporal
  • Corporal
  • Sergeant
  • Staff sergeant
  • Warrant Officer Class 2
  • Warrant Officer Class 1
  • Officer Cadet
  • Second Lieutenant
  • First Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Colonel
  • Brigadier
  • Major General

Coast Guard

  • Ordinary Seaman
  • Able Seaman
  • Leading Seaman
  • Petty Officer
  • Chief Petty Officer
  • Master Chief Petty Officer II
  • Master Chief Petty Officer I
  • Midshipman
  • Sub-Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant (junior grade)
  • Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant commander
  • Captain Commander
  • Commodore
  • Rear admiral

Units

The Jamaica Regiment

The Jamaica Regiment is the operationalization of a terrestrial and combat-focused Regular Force formation with an overarching operational headquarters in command of five (5) battalions; the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Battalions the Jamaica Regiment (1, 2, 4, 5 JR) and the Combat Support Battalion (Cbt Sp Bn).

1st Battalion The Jamaica Regiment

To conduct infantry operations in conventional warfare and operations other than war in support of the Jamaica Defence Force’s mission.

2nd Battalion The Jamaica Regiment

To conduct infantry operations in conventional warfare and operations other than war in support of the Jamaica Defence Force’s mission.

Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing

To provide aviation services to support the operational objectives of the Jamaica Defence Force.

Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard

To provide maritime services in order to meet the operational objectives of the Jamaica Defence Force.

Combat Support Battalion

Combat Support Battalion (CSB) will facilitate an agile, high-readiness JDF through training and specialized capabilities so as to enable the JDF to effectively deter and/or defeat threats to Jamaica and/or the national interests.

3rd Battalion The Jamaica Regiment

To always be ready to provide service to the country and promote nation-building through the development of people. Such is driven by commitment, selflessness, volunteerism and the desire to serve.

Support Brigade

The Support Brigade is a Regular Force formation that will provide both combat support and service support functions with an overarching operational headquarters for five (5) units; the Directorate of Training and Doctrine ( Dir of Trg and Doct), 1 Engineer Regiment JDF (1 Engr Regt (JDF), the Support and Services Battalion (Sp and Svcs Bn), the Military Police Battalion (MP Bn) and the Health Services Corps (HSC). In addition, it will also see the creation of the Caribbean Military Academy (CMA). The CMA is the academic institutional arm of the JDF that will provide internationally recognized, accredited, doctrinally relevant professional military education and training to a common standard in support of the operational needs of Jamaica and also to partner military and paramilitary organizations across the Caribbean region and around the world.

1 Engineer Regiment (JDF)

To provide military engineering support to meet the operational objectives of the Jamaica Defence Force.

Support & Services Battalion

To provide timely combat service support to the JDF

Where Jamaica National Service Corp (JNSC) Comes in

Effective May 2017, the Jamaica National Service Corp (JNSC) is the standard mode of enlistment for persons joining the JDF to serve as full-time soldiers. The JNSC service is different from service in the Regular Force in that it is not career service but rather, a preparatory phase for future careers. The JNSC is structured to provide continual development over this one-year service period. The objective is to develop a range of life skills and build sound character, in order to make persons more versatile and better equipped for success in their chosen career path.

As the end of the one year period, the JDF will reserve the option of inviting persons to apply to enlist in the Regular Force or the National Reserves based on the vacancies that exist in the Force at the time, and the suitability of the individuals based on their qualifications and aptitude, as well as their performance and character while serving.

The development mechanisms and rigors of the JNSC are designed to make persons very eligible candidates, not just for the JDF, but for careers in other public sector entities such as the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), the Jamaica Customs Agency, the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), as well as other public and private sector agencies.

Persons completing the program will earn a JNSC Completion Certificate and a JNSC Record of Service, which will provide pertinent information in relation to their service, inclusive of any special accomplishments or contribution to the Force.

Benefits of Being a Soldier

There are many benefits such as tertiary education and training, medical coverage, living quarters, opportunities to travel etc. Serving in the military, you will also experience a bond with your coworkers that no civilian job can offer. Once you’ve put your life in someone else’s hands, and they’ve put theirs in yours, you’re not just coworkers anymore, your brothers/sisters.

Most important though, you become a symbol of courage, loyalty, duty, sacrifice, and love of country, that serves as an example to others.

Before you Apply

The Military’s Constitution

Once you enlist, the majority of Jamaica’s constitution no longer applies to you. While serving, you fall under the jurisdiction of the JDF. While for the most part, you enjoy most of the same basic rights, some big differences are:

  • No free speech/press/assembly in the Military
  • You still have freedom of religion but generally persuaded to abstain from radical religions such as Islam or other unpopular religions to Jamaica
  • You have no right to privacy (implied or otherwise).
  • You have no right to protection from unreasonable search
  • No Industrial Dispute Resolution outside of the Army. Goodbye IDT
  • You will be under constant observation.
  • You can be arrested and held against your will at the JDF’s detention center (Red Fence) or confined to your barracks if you are an officer.

What skills are you bringing to the table?

If you are already proficient with certain skills, perhaps you would like to hone these skills in the military. Whether it is working with computers, mechanics, or administrative duties, the military can provide you with the best training in a wide variety of areas. If you lack a skill & fail to develop one, expect a slow promotion process.

You Will Be Expected To Kill

As a soldier, you’re not a diplomat. It’s not your job to talk to people, or reason with them. Whether it’s prepping ordinance (bombs) for use in combat, or taking part in small arms gun battles, you’re not trying to “maim” your enemy, you are trying to kill him. Let that sink in for a moment. It will be your job to take lives. While you may have a non -combat job, the enemy doesn’t care about that, and they will shoot at lawyers and cooks the same as they will an infantryman. That’s why everyone who joins the military, regardless of job, get’s taught to shoot, and how to fight. Thankfully, we are not at war but we need to be prepared just in case.

Application Check List

Minimum Academic Qualification:

Regular Officer & Regular Soldier

  • 5 CXCs/CSEC/GCE O Levels, inclusive of Mathematics and English Language. Applicants with tertiary qualifications who have not passed Mathematics and English Language at the stated examinations must present a transcript of the Mathematics and English Language results from the University they attended.
  • 2 ‘A’ Level/CAPE passes or equivalent (Associate Degree or Diploma). Applicants must have successfully completed both Units (Units 1 and 2) of CAPE
  • Applicants with appropriate Aviation or Maritime qualifications can join the JDF Air Wing Reserves or the JDF Coast Guard Reserves.

Reserve soldier

  • Applicants must take and pass each of the recruiting tests and interviews, covering: READING, DICTATION, ENGLISH LANGUAGE, MATHEMATICS, GENERAL KNOWLEDGE. A candidate holding passes in CXC/GCE ‘O’ Level Mathematics and the English Language will be exempt from sitting those portions of the exam

Age Limitation

  • 22-28 years old for Reserve soldier
  • 22-28 years old for Reserve Officer
  • 18-23 years old for Regular Officer (Up to age 25 for persons with tertiary qualifications)
  • 18-23 years old for Regular Soldier (Up to age 25 for persons with tertiary qualifications)
  • 17-year-olds can apply but will need a letter of consent from their parent or guardian

Supporting Documents Required

Birth Certificate, ID, TRN, NIS, Letter of consent and relevant Exam Certificates.

Height, Weight & Age Requirements

  • Minimum 5″ 7″ (Males)
  • Minimum 5′ 4″ (Females)
  • There are instances where females were accepted with a height of 5’ 2”

Nationality

Jamaican citizen

Disqualifying Illness & ailments

The JDF will not accept you if you have any one of these illnesses or conditions:

Asthma, Scoliosis, Hernia, Major abdominal surgery, Hypertension/high blood pressure, Colour vision deficiency, Sickle cell, Diabetes, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Human t-lymphotropic virus (HTLV), Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Significant dental caries (cavities) or misalignment of teeth, Flat feet, Bone or joint deformities, History of mental illness, Obesity, Any other significant medical illness.

Reason: Military training is a rigorous and demanding ordeal. All recruits will be exposed to a combination of high altitude, extreme temperatures, physical activity and dehydration, persons with these illnesses, are more likely to be faced with a life-threatening situation during training and work.

 

References/Testimonials Required

  • Candidates must submit at least two (02) recent testimonials; One (01) from a Justice of the Peace and the other(s) from prominent persons of the community. Such persons include:
  • Member of Parliament, High Court Judge, Resident Magistrate, Public Officer (SEG 1 and above)
  • Consular Officer, Attorney-At-Law, Commissioner of Oaths Notary Public, Parish Councillor, Bank Manager, Credit Union Manager, Clerk of Courts, Marriage Officers, Army Officer (Major & above), Dental Surgeon, Medical Practitioner, Police Officer (Gazetted Ranks), Passport Officer, Veterinarian or a Principal (Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Educational Institutions).

 

The Application Process

Step 1. Application Form

The first step in applying to join the Jamaica Defence Force is to fill out and complete the online application form. Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation that it has been received and is being processed. Note, however, that there is consistently a large pool of applicants to join the service and so it is difficult to say if/when you will be called.

Step 2. Accept Invitation to Up Park Camp

Successful applicants are called and advised of testing date At the preliminary processing, which is done inside Up Park Camp, roll call will be taken and your documents verified. Here, you will also sign an indemnity form, and be briefed by a Senior JDF Officer.

Step 3. Medical Assessment

Finally, you will move on to do an Initial Medical Screening. The JDF has very strict medical requirements and so persons with the following medical conditions will be immediately excluded: Asthma, Scoliosis, Hernia, Major abdominal surgery, Hypertension/high blood pressure, Colour vision deficiency, Sickle cell, Diabetes, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Human t-lymphotropic virus (HTLV), Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Significant dental caries (cavities) or misalignment of teeth, Flat feet, Bone or joint deformities, History of mental illness, Obesity, Any other significant medical illness.

Reason: Military training is a rigorous and demanding ordeal. All recruits will be exposed to a combination of high altitude, extreme temperatures, physical activity and dehydration, persons with these illnesses, are more likely to be faced with a life-threatening situation during training and work.

Blood Test, Chest X-ray, Medical Examination, Dental Examination, Psychological Assessment

Note: Candidates should be fully immunized against TUBERCULOSIS, BCG VACCINE POLIO MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA (MMR), DIPHTHERIA, TETANUS, HEPATITIS B and HEPATITIS C.

Step 4. Entry Examinations at New Castle

If you are successful at this level, you will then be invited to travel to the Newcastle Training Depot where you will spend two days on a JDF Potential Officer Selection Board, which includes a series of physical, mental, and academic tests, all conducted under the most strenuous of circumstances.

If your application was successful, you will receive a call and be given Joining Instructions. These instructions will include the relevant dates and times for you to come in and you will be asked to take in a number of documents with you.

The entry assessment for Commissioned Officers is done through a process called a Selection Board. This board entails interviews, medical screens, physical assessments and an assessment of leadership potential and communication skills. The entry assessment for Non Commissioned Officers is done through a process called the recruit assessment test. This comprises computer-based mathematics, English Language and General Knowledge test, as well as medical screens and a physical fitness test.

Step 5. Recruit Evaluation Fitness Test (REFT)

Recruit Evaluation Fitness Test (REFT). This will determine the candidate’s upper body, core, and cardiovascular fitness levels. While it is not a requirement to be able to swim to join the JDF, you must be able to learn to swim and pass the Military Swim Test before completing basic training. Upon completion of the physical tests, you will then be asked to conduct an impromptu presentation to determine your public speaking and presentation skills.

Step 6. Antecedent Investigations (ongoing)

Candidates should not have any criminal records nor court cases pending. Candidates will be vetted if successful, inclusive of being fingerprinted

Step 6 Initial medical screening.

First Medical Test- This will include X-Rays and blood tests. Blood will be tested for abnormal alcohol levels, illegal substances.

Step 7. Final Medical Test

This involves more comprehensive medical and dental tests

Step 8. Acceptance

Acceptance Letter received, Attestation (final interview and contract signing) and departure for Newcastle Training Depot

Step 9. Begin Basic Training

 

Training

Training for Commissioned Officers can range from nine (09) to fifteen (15) months, depending on the training institution. Training for Soldiers is six (06) mths.

Accommodation

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you Join the JDF if you are married?

Yes, but JNSC soldiers are not eligible for monetary allowances or benefits associated with marriage.

How long can my enlistment contract be?

Up to 6 years

Can I have a part-time job during training?

No. Military training is a rigorous and demanding ordeal and requires total mental and physical commitment

Can I pause training at any time to attend to my studies?

No. Military training is a rigorous and demanding ordeal and requires total mental and physical commitment

I have a tattoo on my body. Can I still join the JDF?

While tattoos are not recommended, they may be permitted if they are not visible whilst wearing a vest and shorts.

Application Form Download

 


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