Naval Strategic Forces Command (Pakistan)

Naval Strategic Forces Command
Active 24 June 2004 - Present
Country  Pakistan
Branch Pakistan Navy
Type Unified Command
Functional Combatant Command
Role Nuclear warfare
Part of Pakistan Navy
Headquarters Naval Headquarters, NHQ, Islamabad
Engagements 2008 Indo-Pakkistan standoff
2013 Indo-Pakistan border incident
Operational Commander Vice-Admiral Shah Sohail Masood HI(M)

The Naval Strategic Forces Command (reporting name:NSFC), is one of the three major unified commands of the Pakistan Armed Forces responsible for the defence and protection of naval and naval-nuclear assets in the country.[1] The command was commissioned on 24 June 2004, at Naval Headquarters (NHQ) after the concept was approved by then-Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Shahid Karimullah.[1] The Naval Command is responsible for operational planning, directives, and deployment of nuclear weapons on its naval vessels.[1]

The Naval Command provides vision, leadership, doctrinal guidance, resources and oversight to ensure component naval special operations forces are ready to meet the operational requirements of combatant commander.[1] It is a vital part of the Pakistan Strategic Forces Command, and directly reports to Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[1]

Military overview

Operational rationale

Since 1999, the Navy had been considering the proposal of establishing the nuclear and military communication command after witnessing the successful operations of the PAF's Strategic Command.[2] Furthermore, during the heights of the border war with India in 1999, the country's strategic delivery system was not operational; something that would have put Pakistan under serious disadvantage if the conflict went nuclear.[3]

After the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the subsequent United States' military actions in Afghanistan changes the strategic policy on the larger dependence on the navy as the large portion of the Pakistan military engages in Western fronts. The idea of "Second strike" was now swiftly shifted to navy guidance as early as in 2001.[4] Furthermore, the navy also realized the importance of having a robust naval force and decided to commit greater resources for its development; consequently, tactics and strategic planning of PN also underwent a shift.[5]

The work on establishing the command as started in 2000 under the command of Chief of Naval Staff Shahid Karimulla strongly advocated for the pursuit of idea of "Second strike".[6] Admiral Karim rationalized that "since the Navy had been considering the deployment of nuclear weapons aboard its submarines; it had to keep pace with developments in India."[7] Although, Admiral Karim later left the option open, saying that the country had no plans to deploy nuclear weapons on its submarines, and that it would do so only if "forced to".[8]

In 2012, its first headquarters was inaugurated by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Asif Sandila with Vice-Admiral Tanveer Faiz becoming its first commander. The military media command, the ISPR described the NSFC as the "custodian of the nation's 2nd strike capability, will strengthen Pakistan's policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence and ensure regional stability."[9]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Global Security. "Naval Strategic Forces Command". Global Security.
  2. Staff (7 January 2003). "Pakistan to retain minimum nuclear deterrence, PM says". The News International.
  3. Musharraf, Pervez (2006). In the line of fire : a memoir. New York [u.a.]: Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-8344-9.
  4. Khan, Cdr. Muhammad Azam (2010). "Options for the Pakistan Navy: The Navy and the bomb". USNWC, United States Naval War College. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  5. Umm-e-Habiba (2 October 2013). "Transforming role of Pak Navy: A consistent response to challenges". Frontier Post. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  6. NTI. "Submarine capabilities of Pakistan". The Nuclear Threat Initiatives Inc. Nuclear Threat Initiatives. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  7. Staff correspondents (23 February 2001). "Pakistan may install nuclear missiles on its subs". Los Angeles Times.
  8. Staff (26 January 2003). "Pakistan navy chief denies plan to equip submarines with nuclear warheads". Times UK.
  9. Military correspondents. "Naval Chief inaugurated the headquarters of Naval Strategic Force Command". Pakistan Mil. Inter-Services Public Relations. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
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