The National Goals and Directive Principles enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution form the basis for the National Vision. They are:
- Integral Human Development
- Equality and Participation
- National Sovereignty and Self-Reliance
- Natural Resources and Environment
- Papua New Guinea Ways
These National Goals and Directive Principles form the basis upon which the Papua New Guinea Defence Force was established as a State Service under Section 188 (1) (c) of the Constitution. This same Section authorized the enactment by Parliament of the Defence Act, 1974 and its subsequent amendments of 1975 and 1976.
The Functions of the Defence Force are set out under Section 202 of the Constitution as follows:
- To defend Papua New Guinea and its territory;
- To assist in the fulfillment of Papua New Guinea’s international obligations;
- To provide assistance to the civilian authorities in meeting civil disasters, the restoration of public order and security and meeting national emergencies; and
- To contribute to national development tasks.
The Duty of the Defence Force to carry out the lawful orders of the Government…is stipulated under Section 4 of the Defence Act.
The Functions of the Department of Defence as stipulated under Section 5 (a) of the Defence Act, although not clearly defined, except to state that they run in conjunction with the provisions of the Public Services (Management) Act dealing with formulation and implementation of Government policies, provision of efficient administration to the Defence Force and the accounting for and control of all public money legally appropriated for the purpose of defence administration, there are several high source documents which provide indications of what is expected of the Department and its Head. These documents include the Constitution, the Public Service (Management) Act and the Public Finance (Management) Act.
The amendment to Section 190 of the Constitution, which authorized the enactment by Parliament of the Public Services (Management) Act 1986 and its subsequent amendments of 1995 and 1998, superimposed the establishment and existence of the Department of Defence as stipulated under Section 5 of the Defence Act.
The Defence Act 1974, the Manual of Personnel Administration and the other subordinate Regulations, provide the framework for the Command and Control and Administration of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and its personnel. The civilian personnel of the Department are administered under the Public Services (Management) Act in line with Section 20 of the Act, which authorizes the Department of Personnel Management to make provisions for Public Sector management, specifically as it relates to performance, human resources, and organization management.
Other Legislations that appear to indicate some level of involvement by the Defence Force in the performance of their roles and functions include the National Disaster & Emergency Act, the National Surveillance Act, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Act, the National Intelligence Organisation Act, the National Fisheries Act, among others.