Historical evidence shows human settlements in Maldives dating back 2500 years. Throughout its history, Maldives remained an independent and sovereign nation, expect for a period of about 15 years when Maldives was occupied by the Portuguese (in the 16th century) and when Maldives was placed under the protectorateship of the British Empire (from 1887 to 1965). Despite its significant geostrategic location, small size and smaller population, Maldives retained its independence through adroit diplomacy and through the selfless sacrifice of countless Maldivians who had fought valiantly to defend the motherland.

After having freed Maldives from under Portuguese occupation, our most prolific hero Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaan Al A’zam Siree Savaadheeththa Mahaaradhun (who hailed from the northern island of HA. Utheemu) instituted the first known organized military structure. He raised the corps of “Hagu beykalun.” However, the military, in its present form was raised on 21 April 1892 AD, during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Nooraddin Siree Sundura Kaththiri Bavana Mahaaradhun. The military force was given the name ‘Sifain.’

The military force has undergone several transformations in its long history. In 1979, the military, which had till then been called the National Guard was re-branded as the National Security Service and placed under the Ministry of Defence and National Security. The police remained as an integral part of NSS until it was declared a civil body under Ministry of Home Affairs and renamed as the Maldives Police Service on 1 September 2004. On 21 April 2006, National Security Service was renamed as the Maldives National Defence Force.