In crisis or wartime, the NDF has the principal responsibility for defending Namibia's navy domain and coastline against attack. To ensure that the NDF would be able to undertake this task when required, a professional military navy force was created. This force trains and operates routinely as part of an offshore protection force.
It is a fundamental principle that, in designing and establishing a maritime patrol capability, consideration is given to its utility in crisis and war, since the means acquired for peacetime operations will inevitably have a war role. The MOD recognises that the defence role should be but one of the tasks of a national offshore protection force.
In peacetime, the Navy has a role of augmenting civil offshore patrol forces, particularly providing the means and the expertise to execute enforcement action effectively. Specific tasks include: assisting civil forces to combat illegal immigration, smuggling (arms, drugs etc.) and threats to the environment; conducting maritime surveillance, search and rescue and assisting the Ministry of Fisheries with enforcing a fisheries protection regime. A longer term peacetime task is the protection of offshore oil, gas, diamonds, and other installations.
A navy aerial surveillance component is a necessary part of the defence system. Arrangements for the transfer of vessels owned by other ministries and commercially owned vessels to the NDF during crisis or war will also need to be made. Joint training, co-ordination and planning with any other ministries involved is essential.