What is DND? A Comprehensive Overview to the Department of National Defense

Gov 12 1


The Department of National Defense (DND), a Philippine government agency, handles the country’s defense and military affairs. 

DND develops policies, plans, and programs, collaborating closely with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to ensure national security.

The DND is all about keeping the country safe. They handle tricky situations that might arise, functioning as the safety team captain. 

The Secretary of National Defense leads the show, acting as the chief problem-solver and advising the President on keeping the Philippines trouble-free.

This article provides a quick and direct overview of the DND’s crucial role in maintaining the safety and security of the Philippines. 

From their partnership with the AFP to the leadership of the Secretary of National Defense, we’ll unravel the essentials of how this government agency works to safeguard the nation.

History of DND:

 Pre-Spanish Period: Defense at the Barangay Level

  • Before 1521: The Philippines already had a form of defense organization dating back to the pre-Spanish period. Barangays organized able-bodied men for community protection, a precursor to the armed forces.

Katipunan Era: Early Military Leadership

  • 1897: Andres Bonifacio, Supremo of the Katipunan, appointed Teodoro Plata as Secretary of War. Emilio Riego de Dios became Director of War under President Emilio Aguinaldo in the Tejeros convention.

War Against Spain: Demonstrating Military Capability

  • Late 19th Century: Filipinos demonstrated military capability during the war against Spain. Key military officers included Artemio Ricarte and Mariano Llanera.

Capture of Aguinaldo: End of Struggle for Independence

  • March 23, 1901: The capture of Emilio Aguinaldo marked the end of the struggle for Filipino independence against the United States.

American Civil Government: Formation of Philippine Constabulary

  • July 4, 1901: Two weeks after the American civil government establishment, Act No. 175 led to the creation of the Philippine Constabulary on August 1, 1901, to maintain peace and order.

Guerrilla Resistance Groups: Post-War Challenges

  • Post-Philippine Revolution: Resistance groups, like those led by Luciano San Miguel and Macario Sakay, posed challenges for the Constabulary. Various campaigns dealt with outlaws and resistance movements.

Military Mission: Request for U.S. Assistance

  • November 19, 1934: Senate President Manuel L. Quezon requested a military mission from the U.S., leading to the formulation of the National Defense Act by General Douglas MacArthur.

Commonwealth Period: Formation of the Philippine Army

  • January 11, 1936: Executive Order No. 11 appointed Brig Gen. Jose delos Reyes as acting Chief of Staff. The Philippine Constabulary became part of the regular force of the Army.

Challenges in Defense Preparations

  • 1930s: Defense preparations faced challenges like illiteracy, dialect diversity, and shortages. Only a fraction of projected reserve soldiers received intensive training by 1938.

Separation of Constabulary: Challenges in 1938

  • Early 1938: An Act separated the Constabulary from the Philippine Army, depleting training officers. MacArthur’s hands were tied in formulating defense policies.

Formal Creation of DND: End of MacArthur’s Autonomy

  • November 1, 1939: The Department of National Defense was formally created, ending MacArthur’s autonomy. Approval from President Quezon and Secretary Teofilo Sison was required for key decisions.

Pacific War: Involvement in World War II

  • December 7, 1941: The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, drawing the Philippines into World War II. Filipinos fought alongside Americans, facing challenges due to the “Europe First Policy.”

Bataan and Corregidor: Epic Battle and Surrender

  • 1942: The Battle of Bataan showcased indomitable spirit, but eventual surrender marked insurmountable odds. The USAFFE units’ far-flung deployment led to the formation of guerilla groups.

Liberation of the Philippines: MacArthur’s Directive

  • September 14, 1944: MacArthur received a directive for the reconquest of Luzon. The liberation campaign concluded on July 5, 1945, officially ending the war in the Philippines.

Early Postwar: Transfer of Powers to President Osmeña

  • February 27, 1945: MacArthur transferred powers to President Sergio Osmeña. Collaboration charges were investigated, and amnesty was granted to the accused.

Reorganization of Military Police: Ensuring Postwar Security

  • June 7, 1945: Executive Order No. 51 activated the Military Police Command, PA, to enforce regulations, assist civil authorities, and supervise police activities.

Hukbalahap Insurgency: Challenges in Postwar Period

  • Post-World War II: Loose firearms proliferation posed peace challenges. The Hukbalahap, rooted in pre-war feuds, became a formidable insurgency. President Elpidio Quirino appointed Ramon Magsaysay in 1950 to address the issue.

Mission, Vision and Mandates

  The Department of National Defense (DND) in the Philippines has a clear vision, mission, and mandate:

  • Vision 2028: By the year 2028, the DND envisions being a defense organization that ensures the security, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of the Philippines. It aims to be a reliable partner in national development and a key player in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Mission: The DND has a crucial mission—to protect the Philippines from both external and internal threats that could harm our territorial integrity and national peace and security. Additionally, it focuses on caring for the well-being of soldiers, veterans, and their families. This mission is all about achieving national security, upholding our sovereignty and territorial integrity, and supporting socio-economic development and political stability.
  • Mandate: The DND is given the important task of safeguarding our country. This includes dealing with both external and internal threats to ensure national peace and security. Furthermore, the DND is responsible for looking out for the welfare of soldiers and veterans. Additionally, it plays a role in supporting the economic and social development of the Philippines.

In simpler terms, the DND’s vision is to be a strong defense organization by 2028, its mission is to protect the country and take care of our soldiers and veterans, and its mandate is all about keeping the Philippines safe and contributing to our development.


ATTY. GILBERTO C. TEODORO, JR.Secretary of National Defense
IRINEO C. ESPINOUndersecretary of National Defense
PABLO M. LORENZOUndersecretary for Civil, Veterans, and Reserve Affairs
IGNACIO B. MADRIAGAUndersecretary for Strategic Assessment and Planning
ANGELITO M. DE LEONUndersecretary for Capability Assessment and Development
SALVADOR MELCHOR B. MISON, JR.Undersecretary for Acquisition and Resource Management
HENRY A. ROBINSON, JRAssistant Secretary for Plans and Programs
MARITA I. YORO, CESO IIIActing Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessments and International Affairs
ANTONIO L.BAUTISTAAssistant Secretary for Human Resource
GAVIN D. EDJAWANAssistant Secretary for Financial Management
JOSELITO B. RAMOSAssistant Secretary for Logistics, Acquisitions and Self-Reliant Defense Posture 
EMMANUEL ANTHONY V. RAMOSAssistant Secretary for Real Estate and Installations
ATTY. ERIK LAWRENCE S. DYAssistant Secretary/ Chief, Legal and Legislative Affairs

About DND Secretary Gibo Teodoro, Jr.’s Priority Agenda

  • Human Rights Advocacy: Sec. Gibo championed human rights education for military personnel, teaming up with groups like the Commission on Human Rights. Ensuring dignity for everyone, especially children impacted by armed conflict.
  • Institutionalization of Reforms: Sec. Gibo backed reforms to boost defense capabilities, systems, and procedures. Striving for a more robust, strategy-driven national defense policy for an agile Defense Department.
  • Public Assistance: Activating the Public Assistance Desk (PAD), Sec. Gibo ensured swift responses to public requests, spanning benefits, finance, and medical aid. Addressing public concerns promptly.
  • Transparency Measures: Stressing transparency in defense procurements, Sec. Gibo collaborated with watchdog groups for observation and investigations. Guarding against corruption and upholding transparency.
  • AFP Capability Upgrade Program: Sec. Gibo greenlit contracts for military equipment, launching Coast Watch South for sea security. Amplifying the capabilities of the AFP for national defense.
  • Strengthening Legal Offensives: Sec. Gibo formed committees for legal awareness in military operations. Ensuring legal competence and awareness in military actions and operations.
  • Disaster Risk Management: Taking a proactive stance, Sec. Gibo implemented projects for disaster risk management, collaborating with local government units. Enhancing disaster preparedness and response.
  • Support for Veterans Affairs: Prioritizing enhancements for veterans, Sec. Gibo initiated the Task Force “Bayad Agad” for swift pension payments. Elevating support and stimulus packages for eligible WWII veterans.
  • Resolving Internal Security Threat: Targeting internal security threats in 2010, resulting in diminished threat elements, engagements, and firearm recoveries. Safeguarding peace and stability.
  • Support for Nation Building: Executing projects in critical areas affected by insurgency, Sec. Gibo aimed to propel development through initiatives like the Balik-Baril project and Kalayaan Barangay Program (KBP). Contributing to national progress.

Career Opportunities

The Department of National Defense in the Philippines offers a myriad of career opportunities that cater to diverse skill sets and interests. 

Whether you are passionate about national security, technology, or administrative functions, the organization provides a range of roles to suit various career paths.

1. Military Careers:

  • Soldiers: Join the ranks of dedicated men and women serving on the front lines, ensuring the safety and security of the nation.
  • Officers: Take on leadership roles, guiding and strategizing to safeguard the country’s interests.

2. Intelligence and Security:

  • Intelligence Analysts: Analyze data and provide crucial insights to support national security efforts.
  • Security Specialists: Implement measures to protect sensitive information and critical infrastructure.

3. Technology and Cybersecurity:

  • IT Professionals: Contribute to the development and maintenance of cutting-edge technology systems.
  • Cybersecurity Experts: Safeguard the organization against cyber threats and attacks.

4. Logistics and Administration:

  • Logistics Officers: Ensure the smooth flow of resources and supplies to support military operations.
  • Administrative Staff: Handle essential office functions, contributing to the efficient operation of the department.

5. Legal and Policy Advisors:

  • Legal Experts: Provide legal counsel on matters pertaining to national defense.
  • Policy Analysts: Contribute to the formulation and evaluation of defense policies.

6. Public Relations and Communications:

  • Public Affairs Officers: Foster positive relations between the department and the public.
  • Communications Specialists: Manage internal and external communications to ensure transparency and clarity.

7. Health and Medical Services:

  • Military Doctors and Nurses: Provide medical care to military personnel and contribute to health initiatives.

The Department of National Defense recognizes the unique skills and talents of individuals, fostering a culture that encourages professional growth and development. 

Whether you envision a career in leadership, technical expertise, or supporting roles, the organization provides a platform for individuals to carve out their unique career paths.


The Department of National Defense is headquartered at the DND Building, located on Segundo Ave., Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Philippines, with the postal code 1110.

Attached Agencies

The Department of National Defense (DND) plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the security and integrity of the Philippines. 

Under its umbrella, the DND exercises executive supervision over several key attached agencies, each contributing uniquely to the nation’s defense apparatus:

  • Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP): The AFP stands as the country’s primary defense force, responsible for maintaining peace, security, and protecting the sovereignty of the Philippines.
  • Government Arsenal (GA): The GA serves as the manufacturing and procurement hub for defense-related equipment and munitions, ensuring the readiness of the armed forces.
  • Office of Civil Defense (OCD): Tasked with disaster risk reduction and management, the OCD plays a crucial role in preparing and responding to natural and man-made disasters, ensuring the resilience of the nation.
  • Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO): Dedicated to the welfare of veterans, the PVAO provides essential services and benefits to those who have served the nation, honoring their sacrifice and commitment.
  • National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP): As an educational institution, the NDCP contributes to the professional development of military and civilian leaders, fostering strategic thinking and leadership excellence for national defense.

These attached agencies, collectively under the DND’s oversight, form an integral part of the nation’s defense infrastructure, working in tandem to uphold the security and well-being of the Philippines.


From its historical roots, navigating the challenges of war and insurgency, to its modern-day vision, mission, and mandates, the DND stands as a pillar of strength and resilience.

For job seekers aspiring to contribute to the defense and well-being of the Philippines, the DND offers a diverse array of career opportunities. 

Whether you are drawn to military service, intelligence and security, technology, logistics, legal expertise, public relations, or healthcare, the organization provides a platform for individuals to forge unique and impactful career paths.


  1. The Official Website of the Department of National Defense. https://www.dnd.gov.ph//. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  2.  DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE. https://www.dnd.gov.ph/FilesUploaded/Ckeditor/file/UPDATED_CITIZEN_CHARTER-4.pdf. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  3. XVII. DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE A. DND PROPER https://www.dbm.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/NEP2016/DND/DND.pdf. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  4. Department of National Defense | Official Gazette of the Republic of …. https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/section/%20briefing-room/department-of-national-defense/. Retrieved October 9, 2023.