As already shown, the Jamaica Defence Force initially comprised the Force Headquarters (HQ JDF), two regular units and the Jamaica National Reserve. In 1973, for improved command and control, the Support and Services Battalion (Sp and Svcs Bn) was formed to incorporate all the ‘support units’ of the former ‘Headquarters and Support Units’.’.
Women were recruited into the JDF for the first time in 1976 when the JDF Women’s Unit was formed as a sub-unit of the Support and Services Battalion. Women once again began serving in the military in Jamaica, as they had in the two decades immediately prior to independence.
In 1977 the renamed JDF Air Wing and JDF Coast Guard, previously sub-units of Support and Services Battalion, were made autonomous. In the same year the JDF Construction Squadron, which initially comprised non-combatant soldiers and raised to support a government mini-dam program, was established as a sub-unit of the Support and Services Battalion.
Seventeen years after the formation of the JDF, its strength was increased by another regular infantry battalion when the Second Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (2JR) was formed in 1979.
In similar responses to both internal and official civil needs, the engineering elements of the JDF were both upgraded and consolidated in 1991 with the formation of the 1 Engineer Regiment (Jamaica Defence Force), abbreviated 1 Engr Regt (JDF), and incorporated the JDF Engineer Unit and the JDF Construction Squadron.
Currently the Force comprises eight major units, which are listed below in order of precedence:
- First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (1JR) - an infantry unit.
- Second Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (2JR) - an infantry unit.
- Support and Services Battalion - an administrative and logistic unit, which comprises administrative, medical, financial, training, transport, recovery and repair, communication, IT and supply support sub-units.
- JDF Air Wing (JDF AW), which also includes a reserve element (JDF AW (NR).
- The JDF Coast Guard (JDF CG), which also includes a reserve element (JDF CG (NR)).
- 1 Engineer Regiment (1Engr Regt (JDF), which comprises Field, Construction, Support, and Maintenance Squadrons.
- HQ JDF Intelligence Unit (HQ JDF Int Unit).
- Third Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (National Reserve) (3JR(NR)).