The Somali Armed Forces (SAF) are the military forces of Somalia, officially known as the Federal Republic of Somalia. Headed by the President as Commander in Chief, they are constitutionally mandated to ensure the nation's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
The SAF was initially made up of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police Force. In the post-independence period, it grew to become among the larger militaries in Africa. The subsequent outbreak of the civil war in 1991 meant that the Somali National Army 'ceased to exist'. In 2004, the gradual process of reconstituting the military was put in motion with the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The Somali Armed Forces are now overseen by the Ministry of Defence of the Federal Government of Somalia, formed in mid-2012. The Somaliland and Puntland regional governments maintain their own security and police forces.
Historically, Somali society conferred distinction upon warriors (waranle) and rewarded military acumen. All Somali males were regarded as potential soldiers, except for the odd religious cleric (wadaado). Somalia's many Sultanates each maintained regular troops. In the early Middle Ages, the conquest of Shewa by the Ifat Sultanate ignited a rivalry for supremacy with the Solomonic dynasty.