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This entry includes miscellaneous military information of significance not included elsewhere.

Afghanistan

the Taliban’s primary security threats include ISIS-Khorasan and anti-Taliban resistance elements known as the National Resistance Front and Afghanistan Freedom Front (2023)

Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Akrotiri: defense is the responsibility of the UK; Akrotiri (aka the Western Sovereign Base Area) has a full Royal Air Force base, headquarters for British Forces Cyprus, and the Episkopi Cantonment
Dhekelia: defense is the responsibility of the UK; Dhekelia (aka the Eastern Sovereign Base Area) includes the Dhekelia Garrison and Ayios Nikolaos station connected by a roadway

Albania

the Albanian Armed Forces (AAF) are responsible for defending the country’s independence, sovereignty, and territory, assisting with internal security, providing disaster and humanitarian relief, and participating in international peacekeeping missions; the it is a small, lightly armed force that has been undergoing a modernization effort to improve its ability to fulfill NATO missions, including training and equipment purchases; the AAF has contributed small numbers of forces to several NATO missions since Albania joined NATO in 2009, including peacekeeping/stability missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Iraq, and multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria and Latvia; it has also contributed to EU and UN missions (2024)

Algeria

the ANP is responsible for external defense but also has some internal security responsibilities; key areas of concern include border and maritime security, terrorism, regional instability, and tensions with Morocco; Algeria supports the pro-independence Polisario Front in Western Sahara and accuses Morocco of supporting the Algerian separatist Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie (MAK); border security and counterterrorism have received additional focus since the Arab Spring events of 2011 and the rise of terrorist threats emanating from Libya and the Sahel; the Army and Ministry of Defense (MND) paramilitary forces of the Gendarmerie and the border guards have beefed up their presence along the frontiers with Tunisia, Libya, Niger, and Mali to interdict and deter cross-border attacks by Islamic militant groups; the ANP and MND paramilitary forces have also increased counterterrorism cooperation with some neighboring countries, particularly Tunisia, including joint operations

the ANP has also played a large role in the country’s politics since independence in 1962, including coups in 1965 and 1991; it was a key backer of BOUTEFLIKA’s election in 1999 and remained a center of power during his 20-year rule; the military was instrumental in BOUTEFLIKA’s resignation in 2019, when it withdrew support and called for him to be removed from office (2023)

American Samoa

defense is the responsibility of the US

Andorra

defense is the responsibility of France and Spain

Angola

the Angolan Armed Forces were created in 1991 under the Bicesse Accords signed between the Angolan Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA); the current force is responsible for country’s external defense but also has some domestic security responsibilities, including border protection, expulsion of irregular migrants, and small-scale counterinsurgency operations against separatist groups; the Army and Air Force are some of the largest and better equipped forces in the region (2024)

Anguilla

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Antarctica

the Antarctic Treaty of 1961 prohibits any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military maneuvers, or the testing of any type of weapon; it permits the use of military personnel or equipment for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes

Antigua and Barbuda

the ABDF’s responsibilities include providing for internal security and support to the police in maintaining law and order, interdicting narcotics smuggling, responding to natural disasters, and monitoring the country’s territorial waters and maritime resources; established in 1981 from colonial forces originally created in 1897, it is one of the world’s smallest militaries

the country has been a member of the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) since its creation in 1982; RSS signatories (Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Argentina

the Argentine military’s primary responsibilities are territorial defense and protecting the country’s sovereignty; other duties include border security, countering narcotics trafficking, and other internal missions, such as disaster response and infrastructure development; it also conducts support operations in Antarctica to promote an active presence in areas of national territory that are sparsely populated; the military participates in both bilateral and multinational training exercises and supports UN peacekeeping operations

Argentina participates in the Tripartite Command, an interagency security mechanism created by Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay to exchange information and combat transnational threats, including terrorism, in the Tri-Border Area; in addition, Argentina and Chile have a joint peacekeeping force known as the Combined Southern Cross Peacekeeping Force (FPC), designed to be made available to the UN; the FPC is made up of infantry, command and control, air, naval, and logistics support elements; Argentina has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

the Army and Navy were both created in 1810 during the Argentine War of Independence, while the Air Force was established in 1945; the military conducted coups d'état in 1930, 1943, 1955, 1962, 1966, and 1976; the 1976 coup, aka the "National Reorganization Process," marked the beginning of the so-called "Dirty War," a period of state-sponsored terrorism that saw the deaths or disappearances of thousands of Argentinians; the defeat in the 1983 Falklands War led to the downfall of the military junta (2023)

Armenia

the Armenian Armed Forces were officially established in 1992, although their origins go back to 1918; the modern military’s missions include deterrence, territorial defense, crisis management, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response, as well as socio-economic development projects; territorial defense is its primary focus, particularly in regards to tensions with neighboring Azerbaijan; Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in open conflicts over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in 1991-94 and 2020; Azerbaijan seized the entire enclave in 2023 

Armenia has traditionally had close military ties with Russia and has hosted Russian military forces at two bases; it has been a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 1994 and committed troops to CSTO's rapid reaction force; Armenia has relations with NATO going back to 1992 when Armenia joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council; in 1994, it joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and has contributed to the NATO force in Kosovo, as well as the former NATO deployment in Afghanistan (2023)

Aruba

defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the Aruba security services focus on organized crime and terrorism; the Dutch Government controls foreign and defense policy; the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) provides maritime security; the Dutch military maintains a presence on Aruba, including a marine company and a naval base (2024)

Ashmore and Cartier Islands

defense is the responsibility of Australia

Australia

Australia has been part of the Australia, New Zealand, and US Security (ANZUS) Treaty since 1951; Australia is also a member of the Five Powers Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK

Australia has long-standing bi-lateral defense and security ties to the UK, including defense and security cooperation treaties in 2024 and 2013; in 2020, Australia and the UK signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the building of a next generation of frigates for their respective navies; the Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) is their premier bilateral forum on foreign policy, defense, and security issues 

Australia also has a long-standing military relationship with the US; Australian and US forces first fought together in France in 1918 and have fought together in every major US conflict since; Australia and the US signed an agreement in 2014 that allowed for closer bi-lateral defense and security cooperation, including rotations of US military forces and equipment to Australia; Australian military forces train often with US forces; Australia has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation 

in 2021, Australia, the UK, and the US announced an enhanced trilateral security partnership called “AUKUS” which would build on existing bilateral ties, including deeper integration of defense and security-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains, as well as deeper cooperation on a range of defense and security capabilities; the first initiative under AUKUS was a commitment to support Australia in acquiring conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy

the ADF's missions include protecting Australia’s borders and maritime interests, responding to domestic natural disasters, and deploying overseas for humanitarian, peacekeeping, and other security-related missions; it regularly participates in bi-lateral and multi-lateral exercises with foreign militaries (2024)

Austria

the military’s primary responsibilities are national defense and protecting Austria’s neutrality; it also has some domestic security and disaster response responsibilities; each of the nine federal states has a military command that provides a link between the military and civil authorities; the main tasks of these commands include providing military assistance during disasters and supporting security police operations

the Austrian military contributes to international peacekeeping and humanitarian missions; Austria has been constitutionally militarily non-aligned since 1955 but is an EU member and actively participates in EU peacekeeping and crisis management operations under the EU Common Security and Defense Policy; Austria is not a member of NATO but joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace framework in 1995 and participates in some NATO-led crisis management and peacekeeping operations; it has provided troops to international peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EU), Kosovo (NATO), and Lebanon (UN) in recent years; more than 100,000 Austrian military and civilian personnel have taken part in more than 50 international peace support and humanitarian missions since 1960 (2024)

Azerbaijan

the Azerbaijani military was established in 1991, although its origins go back to 1918; much of the military’s original equipment was acquired from former Soviet military forces that departed Azerbaijan by 1992; territorial defense is the military’s primary focus, particularly with regards to neighboring Armenia; a secondary focus is guarding against Iran; Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in open conflicts over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in 1991-94 and 2020; tensions continued following the 2020 conflict, and Azerbaijan seized the entire enclave in 2023 

Turkey has been Azerbaijan’s strongest military partner, a relationship that has included weapons transfers, technical advice, bilateral training exercises, and key support during its conflicts with Armenia; Azerbaijan is not part of NATO but has had a cooperative relationship with it dating back to when it joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and has provided troops to NATO-led missions in Kosovo (1999-2008) and Afghanistan (2002-2014) (2023)

Bahamas, The

established in 1980; the RBDF's primary responsibilities are disaster relief, maritime security, and counter-narcotics operations; it also provides security at a detention center for migrants and performs some domestic security functions, such as guarding embassies; the RBDF is a naval force, but includes a lightly-armed marine infantry/commando squadron for base and internal security, as well as a few light non-combat aircraft; the maritime element has coastal patrol craft and patrol boats; the RBDF maintains training relationships with the UK and the US (2024)

Bahrain

the BDF is a small, but well-equipped military focused on territorial defense and support to internal security; its primary concern is Iran, both the conventional military threat and Tehran's support to regional terrorist groups; the BDF participates in multinational exercises and has conducted small deployments outside of the country; in 2015, for example, Bahrain joined the Saudi Arabia-led military intervention in Yemen, supplying a few hundred troops and combat aircraft

Bahrain’s closest security partners are the US and Saudi Arabia; it hosts the US Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT; established 1983), which includes the US 5th Fleet, several subordinate naval task forces, and the Combined Maritime Forces (established 2002), a coalition of more than 30 nations providing maritime security for regional shipping lanes; in 2003, the US granted Bahrain Major Non-NATO Ally status, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation; Bahraini leaders have said that the security of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are “indivisible”; Saudi Arabia sent forces to Bahrain to assist with internal security following the 2011 uprising; Bahrain also has close security ties to other Gulf Cooperation Council  countries, particularly Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the UK (2023)

Bangladesh

the military’s primary responsibility is external defense but it also has a domestic security role and has traditionally been a significant player in the country’s politics, as well as its economy; the military has a long history of participating in UN peacekeeping missions, which has provided operational experience and a source of funding; it runs an international institute for the training of peacekeepers; the military also conducts multinational and bilateral exercises with foreign partners, particularly India; it has commercial business interests in such areas as banking, food, hotels, manufacturing, real estate, and shipbuilding, and manages government infrastructure and construction projects (2024)

Barbados

formed in 1979, the Barbados Defense Force (BDF) is responsible for protecting national security, but it may also be called up to maintain internal public order in times of crisis, emergency, or other specific needs, such as special joint patrols with the police; it also provides humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations both domestically and regionally under the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS); other duties include assisting with national development, such as through the training of the country's youth with the units of the Barbados Cadet Corps 

Barbados has been a member of the RSS since its creation in 1982; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security; the RSS is headquartered in Barbados (2024)

Belarus

the military of Belarus is responsible for territorial defense; it is a mixed force of conscripts and professionals that is equipped with Russian or Soviet-era weapons; Russia is the country’s closest security partner, a relationship that includes an integrated air and missile defense system and joint military training centers and exercises; Russia leases from Belarus a strategic ballistic missile defense site operated by Russian Aerospace Forces and a global communications facility for the Russian Navy; in 2020, the countries signed an agreement allowing for close security cooperation between the Belarusian Ministry of Interior and the Russian National Guard, including protecting public order and key government facilities and combating extremism and terrorism; in 2022, Belarus allowed Russian military forces to stage on its territory for their invasion of Ukraine and continues to supply arms and other aid to the Russian military, including logistical support, medical care, and airfields for Russian combat aircraft; in 2023, Belarus agreed to permit Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on its soil

Belarus has been a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 1994 and has committed an airborne brigade to CSTO's rapid reaction force; the military trains regularly with other CSTO members (2023)

Belgium

the Belgian military is a small, professional, and all-volunteer force equipped with modern Western equipment; its responsibilities include territorial defense, humanitarian/disaster relief, assistance to the police if required, international peacekeeping missions, and support to its NATO and EU security commitments, which Belgium considers vital components of its national security policy; outside of the country, the military operates almost always within an international organization or a coalition, such as its ongoing deployments to Africa for the EU and UN, eastern Europe as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission, and the Middle East with an international coalition to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham; Belgium was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) establishing NATO in 1949; it hosts the NATO headquarters in Brussels; Belgium also cooperates with neighboring countries, such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands, in conducting joint patrols of their respective air spaces and in a composite combined special operations command with Denmark and the Netherlands (2024)

Belize

the Belize Defense Force (BDF) is responsible for external security but also provides some support to civilian authorities; it has limited powers of arrest within land and shoreline areas, while the Coast Guard has arrest powers and jurisdiction within coastal and maritime areas; the BDF traces its history back to the Prince Regent Royal Honduras Militia, a volunteer force established in 1817; the BDF was established in 1978 from the disbanded Police Special Force and the Belize Volunteer Guard to assist the resident British forces with the defense of Belize against Guatemala

the British Army has maintained a presence in Belize since its independence; the presence consists of a small training support unit that provides jungle training to troops from the UK and international partners (2024)

Benin

in addition to its defense against external aggression duties, the Beninese Armed Forces (FAB) may be required to assist in maintaining public order and internal security under conditions defined by the country's president; it may also participate in economic development projects

a key focus for the security forces of Benin is countering infiltrations into the country by terrorist groups tied to al-Qa'ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) operating just over the border from northern Benin in Burkina Faso and Niger; in 2022, the Benin Government said it was "at war" after suffering a series of attacks from these groups; later that same year, President TALON pledged to increase the size of the military, modernize military equipment, and establish forward operating bases; in addition, the FAB participates in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) along with Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria against Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa in the general area of the Lake Chad Basin and along Nigeria's northeastern border

the FAB has a close working relationship with the Belgian armed forces; the Belgians offer military advice, training, and second-hand equipment donations, and deploy to Benin for limited military exercises (2024)

Bermuda

defense is the responsibility of the UK; the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s responsibilities include maritime security of Bermuda’s inshore waters, search and rescue, ceremonial duties, humanitarian/disaster assistance, security of key installations, and assisting the Bermuda Police with maintaining public order; it includes explosive ordnance disposal, diver, maritime, security police, and support units (2024)

Bhutan

the Army is responsible for external threats but also has some internal security functions such as conducting counterinsurgency operations, guarding forests, and providing security for prominent persons; Bhutan relies on India for military training, arms supplies, and the country’s air defense (2023)

Bolivia

the Bolivian Armed Forces (FAB) are responsible for territorial defense but also have some internal security duties, particularly counternarcotics and border security; the FAB shares responsibility for border enforcement with the National Police (PNB), and it may be called out to assist the PNB with maintaining public order in critical situations

Despite not having a coastline since its defeat at the hands of Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879-1883), Bolivia has a small naval force for patrolling some 5,000 miles of navigable rivers to combat narcotics trafficking and smuggling, provide disaster relief, and deliver supplies to remote rural areas, as well as for maintaining a presence on Lake Titicaca; the Navy also exists in part to cultivate a maritime tradition and as a reminder of Bolivia’s defeat in the war and its desire to regain access to the Pacific Ocean; every year on 23 March, the Navy participates in parades and government ceremonies commemorating the Día Del Mar (Day of the Sea) holiday that remembers the loss (2024)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AFBiH) are comprised of the former Bosnian-Croat Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Vojska Federacije Bosne i Hercegovin, VF) and the Bosnian-Serb Republic of Serbia Army (Vojska Republike Srpske, VRS); the two forces were unified under the 2006 Law on Defense, and the combined force includes each ethnic group; the 2006 law also established the country’s Ministry of Defense

the AFBiH is responsible for territorial defense, providing assistance to civil authorities during disasters or other emergencies, and participating in collective security and peace support operations; each of the AFBiH's three combat brigades are headquartered inside of their respective ethnicity territory, while its main headquarters is in Sarajevo; Bosnia and Herzegovina aspires to join NATO; it joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) program in 2007 and was invited to join NATO’s Membership Action Plan in 2010; the AFBiH is undergoing a defense modernization and reform program for preparing to join and integrate with NATO; it has contributed small numbers of troops to EU, NATO, and UN missions

NATO maintains a military headquarters in Sarajevo with the mission of assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina with the PfP program and promoting closer integration with NATO, as well as providing logistics and other support to the EU Force Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR), which has operated in the country to oversee implementation of the Dayton/Paris Agreement since taking over from NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR) in 2004; EUFOR has about 1,100 troops from 22 countries (2023)

Botswana

the BDF’s key functions include defending the country's territorial integrity on land and in the air, ensuring national security and stability, and aiding civil authorities in support of domestic missions such as disaster relief and anti-poaching; it participates in regional and international security operations

Bechuanaland/Botswana did not have a permanent military during colonial times, with the British colonial administrators relying instead on small, lightly armed constabularies such as the Bechuanaland Mounted Police, the Bechuanaland Border Police, and by the early 1960s, the Police Mobile Unit (PMU); after independence in 1966, Botswana militarized the PMU and gave it responsibility for the country’s defense rather than create a conventional military force; however, turmoil in neighboring countries and numerous cross-border incursions by Rhodesian and South African security forces in the 1960s and 1970s demonstrated that the PMU was inadequate for defending the country and led to the establishment of the Botswana Defense Force (BDF) in 1977 (2023)

Bouvet Island

defense is the responsibility of Norway

Brazil

the Brazilian Armed Forces (BAF) are the second largest military in the Western Hemisphere behind the US; they are responsible for external security and protecting the country's sovereignty but also have a considerable internal security role; the BAF’s missions include patrolling and protecting the country’s long borders and coastline and extensive territorial waters and river network, assisting with internal security, providing domestic disaster response and humanitarian assistance, and participating in multinational peacekeeping missions

in the past decade, the BAF has mobilized thousands of troops to conduct counternarcotics operations, support the police in combating crime, assist with disease outbreaks and humanitarian missions, and provide security for major events such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics; it has also cooperated regularly with neighboring countries such as Argentina and Paraguay on border security to combat smuggling and trafficking 

Brazil has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

the origins of Brazil's military stretch back to the 1640s; Brazil provided a 25,000-man expeditionary force with air and ground units to fight with the Allies in the Mediterranean Theater during World War II; the Navy participated in the Battle of the Atlantic (2023)

British Indian Ocean Territory

defense is the responsibility of the UK; in November 2016, the UK extended the US lease on Diego Garcia until December 2036

British Virgin Islands

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Brunei

the Royal Brunei Armed Forces were formed in 1961 with British support as the Brunei Malay Regiment; "Royal" was added as an honorary title in 1965 and its current name was given in 1984; the military is responsible for ensuring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as countering outside aggression, terrorism, and insurgency 

Brunei has a long-standing defense relationship with the UK and hosts a British Army garrison, which includes a Gurkha battalion and a jungle warfare school; Brunei also hosts a Singaporean military training detachment
(2023)

Bulgaria

the Bulgarian military is responsible for guaranteeing Bulgaria’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, providing support to international peace and security missions, and contributing to national security in peacetime, including such missions as responding to disasters or assisting with border security; the military trains regularly including in multinational exercises with regional partners and with NATO since Bulgaria joined the organization in 2004; it also participates in overseas peacekeeping and other security missions under the EU, NATO, and the UN; in 2022, Bulgaria established and began leading a NATO multinational battlegroup as part of an effort to boost NATO defenses in Eastern Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; in 2021, Bulgaria approved a 10-year defense development program, which included calls for equipment upgrades and procurements, boosts in manpower, organizational reforms, and greater focus on such areas as cyber defense, communications, logistics support, and research and development

the Bulgarian military has participated in several significant conflicts since its establishment in 1878, including the Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885), the First Balkan War (1912-13), the Second Balkan War (1913), World War I (1915-1918), and World War II (1941-45); during the Cold War it was one of the Warsaw Pact’s largest militaries with over 150,000 personnel and more than 200 Soviet-made combat aircraft (2023)

Burkina Faso

the FABF has a history of interference in the country’s politics, having conducted eight coups since its formation in 1960-61, including the most recent in September of 2022; several combat units were disbanded in 2011 following mutinies; while the FABF is responsible for external defense, it has an internal security role and can be called out to assist internal security forces in restoring public order, combating crime, securing the border, and counterterrorism; indeed, for more than a decade, its focus has largely been counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and it is actively engaged in combat operations against terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qa'ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), particularly in the northern and eastern regions; the FABF is struggling to contain the groups, however, and a large portion of the country—40% by some estimates—is not under government control

in the north, Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), a coalition of al-Qa'ida linked militant groups that act as al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Islamic Magreb's (AQIM) arm in the Sahel, has exploited ethnic tensions and perceptions of state neglect, as well as grievances over corruption, patronage politics, social stratification, and land disputes; in 2023, JNIM was active in 11 of the country's 13 provinces; the ISIS-Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) terrorist group operates in the eastern part of the country (2024)

Burma

since the country’s founding, the Tatmadaw has been heavily involved in domestic politics and the national economy; it ran the country for five decades following a military coup in 1962; prior to the most recent coup in 2021, the military already controlled three key security ministries (Defense, Border, and Home Affairs), one of two vice presidential appointments, 25% of the parliamentary seats, and had a proxy political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP); it owns and operates two business conglomerates that have over 100 subsidiaries; the business activities of these conglomerates include banking and insurance, hotels, tourism, jade and ruby mining, timber, construction, real estate, and the production of palm oil, sugar, soap, cement, beverages, drinking water, coal, and gas; some of the companies supply goods and services to the military, such as food, clothing, insurance, and cellphone service; the military also manages a film industry, publishing houses, and television stations

the Tatmadaw's primary operational focus is internal security, and it is conducting counterinsurgency operations against anti-regime forces that launched an armed rebellion following the 2021 coup and an array of ethnic armed groups (EAGs), some of which have considerable military capabilities; it has been accused of committing atrocities in the conduct of its campaign against the pro-democracy movement and opposition forces 

the military is supported by hundreds of pro-government militias; some are integrated within the Tatmadaw’s command structure as Border Guard Forces, which are organized as battalions with a mix of militia forces, EAGs, and government soldiers that are armed, supplied, and paid by the Tatmadaw; other pro-military government militias are not integrated within the Tatmadaw command structure but receive direction and some support from the military and are recognized as government militias; a third type of pro-government militias are small community-based units that are armed, coordinated, and trained by local Tatmadaw forces and activated as needed; the military regime has attempted to raise new militia units to help combat the popular uprising

EAGs have been fighting for self-rule against the Burmese Government since 1948; there are approximately 20 such groups operating in Burma with strengths of a few hundred up to more than 25,000 estimated fighters; some are organized along military lines with "brigades" and "divisions" and armed with heavy weaponry, including artillery; they control large tracts of the country’s territory, primarily in the border regions; key groups include the United Wa State Army, Karen National Union, Kachin Independence Army, Arakan Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army

the opposition National Unity Government claims its armed wing, the People's Defense Force (PDF), has more than 60,000 fighters loosely organized into battalions; in addition, several EAGs have cooperated with the NUG and supported local PDF groups (2023)

Burundi

the FDNB is responsible for defending Burundi’s territorial integrity and protecting its sovereignty; it has an internal security role, including maintaining and restoring public order if required; the FDNB also participates in providing humanitarian/disaster assistance, countering terrorism, narcotics trafficking, piracy, and illegal arms trade, and protecting the country’s environment; the FDNB conducts limited training with foreign partners such as Russia and participates in regional peacekeeping missions, most recently in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Somalia; these missions have provided the force some operational experience and funding; in recent years the FDNB has conducted operations against anti-government rebel groups based in the neighboring DRC that have carried out sporadic attacks in Burundi, such as the such as National Forces of Liberation (FNL), the Resistance for the Rule of Law-Tabara (aka RED Tabara), and Popular Forces of Burundi (FPB or FOREBU)

the Arusha Accords that ended the 1993-2005 civil war created a unified military by balancing the predominantly Tutsi ex-Burundi Armed Forces (ex-FAB) and the largely Hutu dominated armed movements and requiring the military to have a 50/50 ethnic mix of Tutsis and Hutus (2023)

Cabo Verde

the FACV/National Guard is organized into three small territorial commands; its missions are defense of the country and supporting internal security; forces include marines, military police, artillery, and support forces; the Coast Guard's key missions include patrolling, monitoring, and protecting Cabo Verde's territorial waters; it also conducts search and rescue and provides support to the National Guard; the Coast Guard is equipped with a few coastal patrol craft and patrol boats (2024)

Cambodia

the RCAF’s primary responsibilities are border, coastal, and internal security; since 2016, the RCAF has conducted a small annual training exercise known as “Golden Dragon” with the military of China, except for 2021-2022 when it was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic

the RCAF was re-established in 1993 under the first coalition government from the merger of the Cambodian Government’s military forces (Cambodian People’s Armed Forces) and the two non-communist resistance forces (Sihanoukist National Army, aka National Army for Khmer Independence, and the Khmer People's National Liberation Armed Forces); thousands of communist Khmer Rouge fighters began surrendering by 1994 under a government amnesty program and the last of the Khmer Rouge forces (National Army of Democratic Kampuchea) were demobilized or absorbed into the RCAF in 1999

Cambodia continues to be one of the most densely landmine-contaminated countries in the world; by the early 1990s, various aid organizations estimated there were 8-10 million landmines scattered throughout the country, with a particularly heavy concentration on a 1,000-km (620-mile) strip along the northwest Thai-Cambodia border known as the "K5 belt"; the mines were laid during Cambodia’s decades-long war by the Cambodian army, the Vietnamese, the Khmer Rouge, the non-communist fighters, and US forces; part of Cambodia's defense policy is demining the territory with the intent of having the entire country cleared of unexploded ordnances by 2035; over 1 million landmines and over 3 million explosives were discovered and removed from 1992 to 2018; in 2018, the Cambodian government and Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), a government agency, launched the National Mine Action Strategy for 2018-2025 (2023)

Cameroon

the FAC ground forces (Army and the Rapid Intervention Battalion) are largely focused on internal security, particularly the threat from the terrorist groups Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa along its frontiers with Nigeria and Chad (Far North region) and, since 2016, an insurgency from armed Anglophone separatist groups in the North-West and South-West regions; in addition, the FAC often deploys ground units to the border region with the Central African Republic to counter intrusions from armed militias and bandits; the Navy’s missions include protecting Cameroon’s oil installations, combatting crime and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and patrolling the country’s lakes and rivers; the FAC's small Air Force supports both the ground and naval forces (2024)

Canada

the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are responsible for external security; the CAF’s core missions include detecting, deterring, and defending against threats to or attacks on Canada; the military also provides assistance to civil authorities and law enforcement as needed for such missions as counterterrorism, search and rescue, and responding to natural disasters or other major emergencies; it regularly participates in bilateral and multinational training exercises with a variety of partners, including NATO (Canada is one of the original members) and the US; the CAF also contributes to international peacekeeping, stability, humanitarian, combat, and capacity building operations with the UN, NATO, and other security partners

Canada is part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD; established 1958); NORAD is a Canada-US bi-national military command responsible for monitoring and defending North American airspace; traditionally, a CAF officer has served as the deputy commander of NORAD; Canada’s defense relationship with the US extends back to the Ogdensburg Declaration of 1940, when the two countries formally agreed on military cooperation, including the establishment of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense (PJBD), which continues to be the highest-level bilateral defense forum between Canada and the US

British troops withdrew from Canada in 1871 as part of the UK-US Treaty of Washington; following the withdrawal, the first Canadian militia, known as the Royal Canadian Regiment, was organized in 1883 to protect Canadian territory and defend British interests abroad, which it did in the South African War (1899-1902), Canada’s first overseas conflict; militia units formed the backbone of the more than 425,000 Canadian soldiers that went to Europe during World War I in what was called the Canadian Expeditionary Force; the Royal Canadian Navy was created in 1910, while the Canadian Air Force was established in 1920 and became the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1924; the Canadian Army was officially founded in 1942; a unified Canadian Armed Forces was created in 1968 (2024)

Cayman Islands

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Central African Republic

the 2013 coup resulted in the institutional collapse of the FACA; its forces were overwhelmed and forced to flee to neighboring countries; it has been estimated that only 10% of the FACA returned after the coup, and it has struggled to rebuild in the years of instability since, despite considerable foreign assistance; considerable portions of the country remain outside state control and are ungoverned, with the presence of multiple armed actors creating insecurity in much of the country 

in late 2020 and early 2021, the Coalition des Patriotes pour le Change (CPC), a loose coalition of armed groups comprised largely of former Seleka and anti-Balaka fighters, attacked the capital Bangui; CAR Government forces, along with Russian private military contractors and Rwandan troops, repelled the attack while the CPC retreated to its rear bases and into neighboring countries and continued conducting attacks; as of 2023, the CAR Government claimed to have restored authority across much of the country, including the capital, although armed groups, including some not affiliated with CPC, continued to carry out violent activities in regions outside the capital, threatening local stability; forces on both sides have been accused of abuses and atrocities in the fighting 

in 2018, the UN Security Council approved Russian security assistance for the CAR to help train and advise FACA personnel, as well as transport them to operational areas, provide logistical support, and assist with medical evacuation; in addition to teams of military trainers, Russia sent private military contractors to provide assistance to the FACA; the Russians have also performed other security roles such as guarding mines and government officials; some Russian contractors and the CAR forces they supported have been accused of carrying out indiscriminate killings, using excessive force against civilians, and looting

the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has operated in the country since 2014; its mission includes providing security, protecting civilians, facilitating humanitarian assistance, disarming and demobilizing armed groups, and supporting the country’s fragile transitional government; as of early 2024, MINUSCA had more than 16,000 military and police personnel 

the European Union Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM-RCA) has operated in the country since 2016, providing advice, training, and educational programs to the country's security forces; the EU mission has trained five FACA territorial infantry battalions and one amphibious infantry battalion; France also provided assistance to the FACA before suspending its support in 2021 (2024)

Chad

the ANT has considerable combat experience against insurgents and terrorist groups; it also has a tradition of deep involvement in domestic politics; over the past decade, the ANT has received substantial foreign military assistance, particularly from France, which maintains a military base in N’Djamena; the ANT's current operational focus is on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations; it is engaged with the Boko Haram and Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in West Africa terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin area; in addition, the ANT conducts frequent operations against internal anti-government militias and armed dissident groups

several rebel groups operate in northern Chad from bases in southern Libya, including the FACT (Front pour le Changement et la Concorde au Tchad), the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic le Conseil de Commandement Militaire pour le salut de la République or CCSMR), the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (le Union des Forces pour la Démocratie et le Développement or UFDD), and the Union of Resistance Forces (le Union des Forces de la Résistance UFR); former Chadian President Idriss DEBY was killed in April 2021 during fighting in the northern part of the country between the FACT and the Chadian Army; some armed groups, including the UFDD and UFR, signed an accord in August 2022 in return for the release of prisoners, amnesty, and an end to hostilities between the Chadian Government and these armed factions; however, other armed groups, including the FACT and CCSMR, refused to join the accord (2023)

Chile

the Chilean military is regarded as one of the top militaries in the region; it is responsible for territorial defense and ensuring the country’s sovereignty; the military also assists with disaster and humanitarian relief and some internal security duties such as border security or maintaining public order if required; a key focus in recent years has been securing the border area with Bolivia and Peru; it trains regularly and participates in bilateral and multinational training exercises, as well as international peacekeeping operations 

Chile and Argentina have a joint peacekeeping force known as the Combined Southern Cross Peacekeeping Force (FPC), designed to be made available to the UN; the FPC is made up of two battalions, one from each country, a command and service company, an air component (a squadron of Argentine and Chilean helicopters), a naval component, and a combined logistics support unit

the Chilean Army was founded in 1810, but traces its origins back to the Army of the Kingdom of Chile, which was established by the Spanish Crown in the early 1600s; Chile's military aviation was inaugurated in 1913 with the creation of a military aviation school; the Navy traces its origins to 1817; it was first led by a British officer and its first ships were largely crewed by American, British, and Irish sailors; by the 1880s, the Chilean Navy was one of the most powerful in the Americas, and included the world’s first protected cruiser (a ship with an armored deck to protect vital machine spaces) (2023)

China

established in 1927, the PLA is the military arm of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which oversees the PLA through its Central Military Commission; the Central Military Commission (CMC) is China’s top military decision making body

the PLA is the world’s largest military; its primary responsibility is external security but it also has some domestic security duties; China’s stated defense policy includes safeguarding sovereignty, security, and development interests while emphasizing a greater global role for the PLA; the PLA conducts air, counterspace, cyber, electronic warfare, joint, land, maritime, missile, nuclear, and space operations; it trains regularly, including multinational and multiservice exercises, deploys overseas, and participates in international peacekeeping missions 

the PRC's internal security forces consist primarily of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the People’s Armed Police (PAP), and the militia; the PLA support the internal security forces as necessary:

--the MPS controls the civilian national police, which serves as the first-line force for public order; its primary mission is domestic law enforcement and maintaining order, including anti-rioting and anti-terrorism

--the MSS is the PRC’s main civilian intelligence and counterintelligence service

--the PAP is a paramilitary component (or adjunct) of the PLA; its primary missions include internal security, maintaining public order, maritime security, and assisting the PLA in times of war; it is under the command of the CMC; the China Coast Guard (CCG) administratively falls under the PAP; the CCG has a variety of missions, such as maritime sovereignty enforcement, surveillance, resource protection, anti-smuggling, and general law enforcement; it is the largest maritime law enforcement fleet in the world

--the militia is an armed reserve of civilians which serves as an auxiliary and reserve force for the PLA upon mobilization, although it is distinct from the PLA’s reserve forces; militia units are organized around towns, villages, urban sub-districts, and enterprises, and vary widely in composition and mission; they have dual civilian-military command structures; a key component of the militia are the local maritime forces, commonly referred to as the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM); the PAFMM consists of mariners (and their vessels) who receive training, equipment, and other forms of support from the Navy and CCG (although the PAFMM remains separate from both) to perform tasks such as maritime patrolling, surveillance and reconnaissance, emergency/disaster response, transportation, search and rescue, and auxiliary tasks in support of naval operations in wartime; the PAFMM’s tasks are often conducted in conjunction or coordination with the Navy and the CCG; it has been used to assert Beijing's maritime claims in the Sea of Japan and South China Sea (2023)

Christmas Island

defense is the responsibility of Australia

Clipperton Island

defense is the responsibility of France

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

defense is the responsibility of Australia

Colombia

the Colombian military is responsible for defending and maintaining the country’s independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity but also has a considerable internal security role, which includes protecting the civilian population, as well as private and state-owned assets, and ensuring a secure environment; the military’s primary focus is the conduct of counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency operations against drug traffickers, several factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the insurgent/terrorist group National Liberation Army (ELN); these operations are challenged by difficult topography and long and porous land borders

the Colombian Government signed a peace agreement with the FARC in 2016, but some former members (known as dissidents) have returned to fighting (note - these dissident groups include the US-designated foreign terrorist groups Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army or FARC-EP and Segunda Marquetalia; see Appendix T); since 2017, the Colombian Government has had periodic cease-fire and peace discussions with ELN and the FARC dissidents with varying degrees of success, including a 6-month cease-fire with the ELN in 2023

the military is also focused on the security challenges posed by its neighbor, Venezuela, where instability has attracted narcotics traffickers, and both the ELN and FARC dissidents operate openly; Colombia shares a 1,370-mile (2,200 km) border with Venezuela; ELN and FARC insurgents have also used neighboring Ecuador to rest, resupply, and shelter

Colombia has close security ties with the US, including joint training, military assistance, and designation in 2022 as a Major Non-NATO Ally, which provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense, trade, and security cooperation; it also has close ties with some regional neighbors, such as Argentina, Chile, and Peru; Colombian military and security forces have training programs with their counterparts from a variety of countries, mostly those from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean; security ties with Ecuador and Venezuela have been challenged by the presence of narcotics traffickers, ELN, and FARC dissidents in the border regions (2023)

Comoros

the focus for the security forces is search and rescue operations and maintaining internal security; a defense treaty with France provides naval resources for the protection of territorial waters, training of Comoran military personnel, and air surveillance; France maintains a small maritime base and a Foreign Legion contingent on neighboring Mayotte (2023)

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

the FARDC’s primary focus is internal security; while the FARDC is large on paper, with an estimated 18 operational infantry brigades, it has struggled to provide security in large portions of the country; the FARDC is widely assessed to suffer from insufficient training, low equipment readiness, poor morale and leadership, ill-discipline, and widespread corruption; it was created out of the armed factions of the Congo wars that ended in 2003, incorporating various militia, paramilitary, and rebel formations; the DRC’s most effective military force, the Republican Guard, is overseen by the office of the presidency rather than the FARDC and focuses largely on protecting the president and government institutions and enforcing internal security

the FARDC is actively conducting operations against a variety of illegal armed groups (IOGs) operating in the DRC, particularly in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu, where more than 15 significant and cohesive IOGs operate; there is also IOG-related violence in Maniema, Kasai, Kasai Central, and Tanganyika provinces; some estimates place over 100 IOGs operating in the country, including organized militias, such as the Nduma Defense of Congo-Renewal (NDC-R), which controls a large portion of North Kivu; Mai Mai groups (local militias that operate variously as self-defense networks and criminal rackets); and foreign-origin groups seeking safe haven and resources, such as the Ugandan-origin Allied Democratic Forces (ADF; aka Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in the DRC), the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), multiple groups originating from Burundi, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), and the March 23 Movement (aka M23 or Congolese Revolutionary Army), which the DRC has accused Rwanda of backing; the FARDC has been accused of collaborating with some IOGs, such as the NDC-R; in 2023, the East Africa Community deployed a regional force to oversee the withdrawal of the M23 rebel group from the country

the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has operated in the central and eastern parts of the country since 1999; as of 2023, MONUSCO had around 14,000 personnel assigned, but it was drawing down its forces towards a complete withdrawal at the request of the DRC Government; MONUSCO includes a Force Intervention Brigade (FIB; three infantry battalions, plus artillery and special forces), the first ever UN peacekeeping force specifically tasked to carry out targeted offensive operations to neutralize and disarm groups considered a threat to state authority and civilian security (2023)

Congo, Republic of the

the FAC's primary focus is internal security; it is organized into approximately nine military zones; the Army's primary combat forces are an infantry brigade and a Republican Guard force

since its creation in 1961, the FAC has had a turbulent history; it has been sidelined by some national leaders in favor of personal militias, endured an internal rebellion (1996), and clashed with various rebel groups and political or ethnic militias (1993-1996, 2002-2005, 2017); during the 1997-1999 civil war, the military generally split along ethnic lines, with most northern officers supporting eventual winner SASSOU-Nguesso, and most southerners backing the rebels; others joined ethnic-based factions loyal to regional warlords; forces backing SASSOU-Nguesso were supported by Angolan troops and received some French assistance; the FAC also has undergone at least three reorganizations that included the incorporation of former rebel combatants and various ethnic and political militias; in recent years, France has provided some advice and training, and a military cooperation agreement was signed with Russia in 2019 (2024)

Cook Islands

defense is the responsibility of New Zealand in consultation with the Cook Islands and at its request

the Cook Islands have a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within its designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2023)

Coral Sea Islands

defense is the responsibility of Australia

Costa Rica

Costa Rica relies on specialized paramilitary units within the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) for internal security missions and countering transnational threats such as narcotics smuggling and organized crime, as well as for participating in regional security operations and exercises; MPS forces have received advisory and training support from both Colombia and the US; since 2012, the US has also provided some military equipment, including aircraft and patrol boats (2024)

Cote d'Ivoire

the military (FACI) was established in 1960 from home defense units the French colonial government began standing up in 1950; the FACI has mutinied several times since the late 1990s, most recently in 2017, and has had a large role in the country’s political turmoil; it is responsible for external defense but also has a considerable internal role supporting the National Gendarmerie and other internal security forces; the operational focus of the FACI, as well as the Gendarmerie and other security forces, is the growing threat posed by Islamic militants associated with the al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorist group operating across the border in Burkina Faso and Mali; AQIM militants conducted significant attacks in the country in 2016 and 2020; Côte d’Ivoire since 2016 has stepped up border security and completed building a joint counter-terrorism training center with France near Abidjan in 2020

Cote d’Ivoire has close security ties with France, which maintains a military presence; the UN had a 9,000-strong peacekeeping force in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) from 2004 until 2017 (2024)

Croatia

the Armed Forces of Croatia (OSRH) are responsible for the defense of Croatia’s sovereignty and territory, contributing to international humanitarian, peacekeeping, and security missions, and providing assistance to civil authorities for such missions as responding to disasters, search and rescue, anti-terrorism, and internal security in times of crisis if called upon by the prime minister or the president; Croatia joined NATO in 2009, and the OSRH participates in NATO missions, including its peacekeeping force in Kosovo and the Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Eastern Europe; it also contributes to EU and UN missions; the OSRH trains regularly with NATO and regional partners  

the OSRH was established in 1991 from the Croatian National Guard during the Croatian War of Independence (1991-95); during the war, the ground forces grew to as many as 60 brigades and dozens of independent battalions, and a single military offensive against Serbian forces in 1995 included some 100,000 Croatian troops; in 2000, Croatia initiated an effort to modernize and reform the OSRH into a small, professional military capable of meeting the challenges of NATO membership; the current 15,000-strong military’s principal combat forces are two mechanized infantry brigades, a small joint service special operations command, a flotilla of missile boats and coastal patrol vessels, and a squadron of Soviet-era fighter aircraft that are in the process of being replaced by more modern French aircraft (2023)

Cuba

the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) are a central pillar of the Cuban regime and viewed as the guardian of the Cuban revolution; the FAR has a large role in the country’s politics and economy; many senior government posts are held by military officers, and a FAR-controlled umbrella enterprise known as the Armed Forces Business Group (Grupo de Administración Empresarial or GAESA) has interests in banking and finance, construction, import/export, ports, real estate, retail, shipping, transportation, and tourism

the FAR is largely focused on protecting territorial integrity and the state, and perceives the US as its primary threat; the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent end of Soviet military aid had far-reaching consequences for the FAR, transforming it from one of the largest and most capable militaries in the region, as well as one that was heavily involved in foreign missions during the Cold War, particularly in Africa, into a much smaller, home-based and defensive force with limited capabilities and armed with Soviet-era weapons and equipment (2023)

Curacao

defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the Dutch Government controls foreign and defense policy; the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) provides maritime security (2024)

Cyprus

established in 1964, the National Guard (EF) is responsible for ensuring Cyprus’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; its primary focus is Turkey, which invaded Cyprus in 1974 and maintains a large military presence in the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; the majority of the force is deployed along the “Green Line” that separates the Greek Cypriots from the Turkish Cypriots; the EF also participates in some internal missions, such as providing assistance during natural disasters; Greece is its main security partner and maintains about 1,000 troops on Cyprus; the EF has conducted training exercises with other militaries including France, Israel, and the US; since Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, the EF has actively participated in the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy and has sent small numbers of personnel to some EU and missions; Cyprus is also part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2023)

Czechia

the Czech military is responsible for national and territorial defense, assisting civil authorities during natural disasters or other emergencies, boosting border security alongside the police, participating in international peacekeeping operations, and supporting its collective security commitments to the EU and NATO, both of which Czechia considers pillars of its national security strategy; Czechia is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, contributes to UN peacekeeping operations, and actively participates in EU military and security missions under the EU Common Security and Defense Policy; the Czech military has been an active member of NATO since the country joined in 2009 and participates in a variety of NATO’s collective defense missions, including contributing to the Enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe, Baltic Air Policing operations, rapid response forces, and operations in Kosovo; it also exercises regularly with NATO partners and maintains close bilateral ties to a number of militaries particularly partner members of the Visegrad Group (Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) and Germany

the military has commands for its land, air, cyber/information operations, and territorial forces, as well as a joint operations command and a special forces directorate; the Territorial Command is responsible for the active reserves and regional military commands that align with each of Czechia’s 13 regions and the capital, Prague (2023)

Denmark

the Danish Armed Forces (Forsvaret) have a variety of missions, including enforcing the country’s sovereignty, monitoring Danish waters and airspace, search and rescue, environmental protection, host nation support for alliance partners, international peacekeeping, fulfilling Denmark’s commitments to NATO, and providing assistance to the police for border control, guard tasks, air surveillance, and during national disasters and other emergencies

NATO has been a cornerstone of Danish security and defense police since it joined in 1949 as one of the organization’s original members under the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty); the Forsvaret regularly exercises with NATO allies and participates in a number of NATO missions, including its Enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe, air policing in the Baltics, naval operations in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic, and an advisory mission in Iraq; the Forsvaret leads NATO’s Multinational Division – North (inaugurated 2019), a headquarters based in Latvia that supports the defense planning of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and the coordination of regional military activities, including NATO’s forward deployed forces; it also takes part in other international missions for Europe and the UN ranging from peacekeeping in Africa to protecting Europe's external borders by patrolling the Mediterranean Sea in support of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency; Denmark is a member of the EU and voted to join the EU’s Common Defense and Security Policy in a June 2022 referendum; the Forsvaret cooperates closely with the militaries of other Nordic countries through the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO; established 2009), which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden in such areas as armaments, training and exercises, and operations; it also has a joint composite special operations command with Belgium and the Netherlands

the Defense Command is Denmark's overall military command authority for land, air, and naval operations, although the Army, Air Force, and Navy also have their own individual service commands; an Arctic Command protects the sovereignty of Denmark in the Arctic region, including the Faroe Islands and Greenland, and conducts maritime pollution prevention, environmental monitoring, fishery inspections, search and rescue, and hydrographical surveys, plus support to governmental science missions; there is also a joint service Special Operations Command, which includes the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol, an elite unit that patrols the most remote parts of northeast Greenland (2024)

Djibouti

Djibouti's military forces are largely focused on border, coastal, and internal security duties, such as counterterrorism; China, France, Italy, Japan, and the US maintain bases in Djibouti for regional military missions, including counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, crisis response, and security assistance (note – France has multiple bases and hosts troop contingents from Germany and Spain); the EU and NATO also maintain a presence to support multinational naval counter-piracy operations and maritime training efforts (2023)

Dominica

Dominica has been a member of the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) since its creation in 1982; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Dominican Republic

the military is responsible for defending the independence, integrity, and sovereignty of the Dominican Republic; it also has an internal security role, which includes assisting with airport, border, port, tourism, and urban security, supporting the police in maintaining or restoring public order, countering transnational crime, and providing disaster or emergency relief/management; a key area of focus is securing the country’s 217-mile (350-kilometer) long border with Haiti; the Army in recent years, for example, has assigned three of its six infantry brigades and some 10-12,000 troops to assist with security along the Haitian border; these forces complement the approximately 700 troops of the Border Security Corps permanently deployed along the border; the Air Force and Navy also provide support to the Haitian border mission; the Army has a brigade dedicated to managing and providing relief during natural disasters; the military also contributes personnel to the National Drug Control Directorate, and both the Air Force and Navy devote assets to detecting and interdicting narcotics trafficking; the Navy conducts regular bilateral maritime interdiction exercises with the US Navy (2023)

Ecuador

the military is responsible for preserving Ecuador’s national sovereignty and defending the integrity of the state; it also has some domestic security responsibilities and may complement police operations in maintaining public order if required; the military shares responsibility for border enforcement with the National Police; it participates in bilateral and multinational training exercises and has sent troops on UN peacekeeping missions; the military has defense ties to regional countries, such as Chile, Colombia, and Peru, and security ties with the US have been revived in recent years

border conflicts with Peru dominated the military’s focus until the late 1990s and border security remains a priority, but in more recent years, security challenges have included counterinsurgency and counternarcotics operations, particularly in the northern border area where violence and other criminal activity related to terrorism, insurgency, and narco-trafficking in Colombia, as well as refugees from Venezuela, have spilled over the border; the military has established a joint service task force for counterinsurgency and counternarcotics operations and boosted troop deployments along those borders; other missions include countering illegal mining, smuggling, and maritime piracy; since 2012, the Ecuadorian Government has expanded the military’s role in general public security and domestic crime operations, in part due to rising violence, police corruption, and police ineffectiveness 

the Joint Command of the Armed Forces (El Comando Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas or CCFFAA) is the military’s highest body for planning, preparation, and strategic conduct of military operations; the chief of the CCFFAA is appointed by the president; the military is deployed throughout the country in five joint service operational commands or task forces; it also has a cyber defense command 

the military has had a large role in Ecuador’s political history; it ruled the country from 1963-1966 and 1972-1979, and supported a dictatorship in 1970-1972; during the 1980s, the military remained loyal to the civilian government, but civilian-military relations were at times tenuous, and the military had considerable autonomy from civilian oversight; it was involved in coup attempts in 2000 and 2010 (2024)

Egypt

the Egyptian Armed Forces (EAF) are responsible for external defense but also have an internal role assisting police and paramilitary security forces during emergencies and in anti-terrorism operations; the EAF also participates in foreign peacekeeping and other security missions, as well as both bilateral and multinational exercises; the military has considerable political power and independence; it has long had a crucial role in Egypt’s politics and has a large stake in the civilian economy, including running banks, businesses, gas stations, shipping lines, and utilities, and producing consumer and industrial goods, importing commodities, and building and managing infrastructure projects, such as bridges, roads, hospitals, and housing

the EAF is the largest and one of the best equipped militaries in the region; key areas of concern for the EAF include Islamic militant groups operating out of the Sinai Peninsula, regional challenges such as instability in Libya and Yemen, and maritime security; since 2011, the EAF has been conducting operations alongside other security forces in the North Sinai governorate against several militant groups, particularly the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham; over the past decade, it has deployed large numbers of troops along Egypt's border with Libya and provided air support to the Saudi-led coalition's intervention in Yemen; the Navy in recent years has sought to modernize and expand its capabilities and profile in the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea, including the acquisition of helicopter carriers, modern frigates, and attack submarines; in 2020, the EAF inaugurated a large joint service military base on the Red Sea to secure the country’s southern coasts, protect economic investments and natural resources, and confront security challenges in the Red Sea region

Egypt is a major security partner of the US and one of the largest recipients of US military aid in the region; it also has Major Non-NATO Ally status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) has operated in the Sinai since 1982 as a peacekeeping and monitoring force to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace; the MFO is an independent international organization, created by agreement between Egypt and Israel; it is composed of about 1,150 troops from 13 countries; Colombia, Fiji, and the US are the leading providers of troops to the MFO (2023)

El Salvador

the Armed Force of El Salvador (FAES) is responsible for defending national sovereignty and ensuring territorial integrity but also has considerable domestic security responsibilities; while the National Civil Police (PNC) is responsible for maintaining public security, the country’s constitution allows the president to use the FAES “in exceptional circumstances” to maintain internal peace and public security; in 2016, the government created a special 1,000-strong joint unit of Army commandos and police to fight criminal gangs; more military personnel were devoted to internal security beginning in 2019 when President BUKELE signed a decree authorizing military involvement in police duties to combat rising gang violence, organized crime, and narcotics trafficking, as well as assisting with border security; since the decree, a considerable portion of the Army has been deployed in support of the PNC; in multiple cases since 2022, for example, as many as 8,000 troops have been deployed alongside thousands of police on single operations against criminal gang members 

the FAES exercises with regional partners and the US, in such areas as internal security and disaster relief operations; it has deployed small numbers of personnel on UN peacekeeping missions and in support of military operations in Iraq (2003-2009) 

the military led the country for much of the 20th century; from 1980 to 1992, it fought a bloody civil war against guerrillas from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front or FMLN, the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Revolutionary Front (Frente Democrático Revolucionario), a coalition of left-wing dissident political groups backed by Cuba and the Soviet Union; the FAES received considerable US support during the conflict; significant human rights violations occurred during the war and approximately 75,000 Salvadorans, mostly civilians, were killed (2023)

Equatorial Guinea

the FAGE’s National Guard (Army) is a small force with a few infantry battalions; in recent years, the country has invested heavily in naval capabilities to protect its oil installations and combat piracy and crime in the Gulf of Guinea; while the Navy is small, its inventory includes a light frigate and a corvette, as well as several off-shore patrol vessels; the Air Force has only a few operational combat aircraft and ground attack-capable helicopters (2023)

Eritrea

the military’s primary responsibilities are external defense, border security, and providing the regime a vehicle for national cohesion; the Army is the dominant service; it is a large, conscript-based force and estimated to have more than 20 infantry divisions, including some that are mechanized, as well as a division of commandos/special forces

since the country's independence in 1991, the Eritrean military has participated in numerous conflicts, including the Hanish Island Crisis with Yemen (1995), the First Congo War (1996-1997), the Second Sudanese Civil War (1996-1998), the Eritrea-Ethiopia War (1998-2000), the Djiboutian-Eritrean border conflict (2008), and the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia (2020-2022); during the Tigray conflict, the Eritrean Defense Forces were accused of widespread human rights abuses (2023)

Estonia

the Estonian military is a compact force that relies heavily on conscripts and reservists and the support of its NATO allies; Estonia’s defense policy aims to guarantee the country’s independence and sovereignty, protect its territorial integrity, including waters and airspace, and preserve constitutional order; Estonia’s main defense goals are developing and maintaining a credible deterrent to outside aggression and ensuring the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) can fulfill their commitments to NATO and interoperate with the armed forces of NATO and EU member states; the EDF’s primary external focus is Russia; since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Estonia has boosted defense spending, sent arms to Ukraine, and sought to boost the EDF’s capabilities in such areas as air defense, artillery, personnel readiness, and surveillance

Estonia has been a member of NATO since 2004 and is fully integrated within the NATO structure; since 2017, Estonia has hosted a UK-led multinational NATO ground force battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative; as the EDF Air Force does not have any combat aircraft, NATO has provided airspace protection for Estonia since 2004 through its Baltic Air Policing mission; NATO member countries that possess air combat capabilities voluntarily contribute to the mission on four-month rotations; NATO fighter aircraft have been hosted at Estonia’s Ämari Air Base since 2014; Estonia also hosts a NATO cyber security center; it cooperates closely with the EU on defense issues through the EU Common Security and Defense Policy and is a member of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a pool of high-readiness military forces from 10 Baltic and Scandinavian countries designed to respond to a wide range of contingencies in the North Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and High North regions; Estonia also has close defense ties with its Baltic neighbors and has bilateral military agreements with a number of European countries, as well as Canada and the US (2024)

Eswatini

the UEDF’s primary mission is external security but it also has domestic security responsibilities, including protecting members of the royal family; the king is the UEDF commander in chief and holds the position of minister of defense, although the UEDF reports to the Army commander and principal undersecretary of defense for day-to-day operations; the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) is responsible for maintaining internal security as well as migration and border crossing enforcement; it is under the prime minister, although the king is the force’s titular commissioner in chief; the UEDF was originally created in 1973 as the Royal Swaziland Defense Force (2023)

Ethiopia

the ENDF is focused on both external threats emanating from its neighbors and internal threats from multiple internal armed groups; since 1998, the ENDF has engaged in several conventional and counterinsurgency operations, including border wars with Eritrea (1998-2000) and Somalia (2006-2008) and internal conflicts with the Tigray regional state (2020-2022), several insurgent groups and ethnic militias (including the ethnonationalist Amhara Fano), and the al-Shabaab terrorist group (see Appendix T); as of 2024, the ENDF was conducting counterinsurgency operations against anti-government militants in several states, including in Oromya (Oromia) against the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), an insurgent group that claims to be fighting for greater autonomy for the Oromo, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group; in 2022, militants from the Somalia-based al-Shabaab terrorist group launched an incursion into Ethiopia's Somali (Sumale) regional state, attacking villages and security forces; the Ethiopian Government claimed that regional security forces killed hundreds of al-Shabaab fighters and subsequently deployed additional ENDF troops into Somalia’s Gedo region to prevent further incursions (2024)

European Union

the EU partners with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); NATO is an alliance of 32 countries from North America and Europe; its role is to safeguard the security of its member countries by political and military means; NATO conducts crisis management and peacekeeping missions; member countries that participate in the military aspect of the Alliance contribute forces and equipment, which remain under national command and control until a time when they are required by NATO for a specific purpose (i.e., conflict or crisis, peacekeeping); NATO, however, does possess some common capabilities owned and operated by the Alliance, such as some early warning radar aircraft; relations between NATO and the EU were institutionalized in the early 2000s, building on steps taken during the 1990s to promote greater European responsibility in defense matters; cooperation and coordination covers a broad array of issues, including crisis management, defense and political consultations, civil preparedness, capacity building, military capabilities, maritime security, planning, cyber defense, countering hybrid threats, information sharing, logistics, defense industry, counterterrorism, etc.; since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the EU and NATO have intensified their work and cooperation; NATO and the EU have 23 member countries in common

there are no permanent standing EU forces, but Europe has a variety of multinational military organizations that may be deployed through the EU, in a NATO environment, upon the mandate of the participating countries, or upon the mandate of other international organizations, such as the UN or OSCE including:

EU Battlegroups (BGs) are rapid reaction multinational army units that form a key part of the EU's capacity to respond to crises and conflicts; their deployment is subject to a unanimous decision by the European Council; BGs typically consists of 1,500-2,000 troops organized around an infantry battalion depending on the mission; the troops and equipment are drawn from EU member states and under the direction of a lead nation; two BGs are always on standby for a period of six months; the BGs were declared operational in 2007 but have never been used operationally due to political and financial obstacles

the European Corps (Eurocorps) is an independent multinational land force corps headquarters composed of personnel from six framework nations and five associated nations; the corps has no standing operational units; during a crisis, units would be drawn from participating states, and the corps would be placed at the service of the EU and NATO; Eurocorps was established in 1992 by France and Germany; Belgium (1993), Spain (1994), and Luxembourg (1996) joined over the next few years; Poland joined in 2022; Greece and Turkey (since 2002), Italy, Romania, and Austria (since 2009, 2016, and 2021 respectively) participate as associated nations; Eurocorps is headquartered in France

the European Gendarmerie Force (EURGENDFOR) is an operational, pre-organized, and rapidly deployable European gendarmerie/police force; it is not established at the EU level, but is capable of performing police tasks, including law enforcement, stability operations, and training in support of the EU, the UN, OSCE, NATO, and other international organizations or ad hoc coalitions; member state gendarmeries include those of France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain; the Lithuanian Public Security Service is a partner, while Turkey's Gendarmerie is an observer force

the European Medical Corps (EMC) was set up in the aftermath of the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2014 to enable the deployment of teams and equipment from EU member states to provide medical assistance and public health expertise in response to emergencies inside and outside the EU; as of 2024, 12 European states had committed teams and equipment to the EMC

the European Medical Command (EMC) was formed to provide a standing EU medical capability, increase medical operational readiness, and improve interoperability amongst the participating EU members; it operates closely with the NATO Framework Nations Concept’s Multinational Medical Coordination Center (MMCC) under a single administrative and infrastructural framework (MMCC/EMC); the EMC was declared operational in May 2022

the European Air Transport Command (EATC) is a single multinational command for more than 150 military air mobility assets from seven member states, including transport, air-to-air refueling, and aeromedical evacuation; the EATC headquarters is located in the Netherlands, but the air assets remain located at member national air bases; the EATC was established in 2010

the European Air Group (EAG) is an independent organization formed by the air forces of its seven member nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK) that is focused on improving interoperability between the air forces of EAG members and its 14 partner and associate nations; it was established in the late 1990s and is headquartered in the UK

the European Maritime Force (EUROMARFOR or EMF) is a four-nation (France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain), non-standing naval force with the ability to carry out naval, air, and amphibious operations; EUROMARFOR was formed in 1995 to conduct missions such as crisis response, humanitarian missions, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and sea control; it can deploy under EU, NATO, or UN mandate, but also as long as the four partner nations agree

the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) is a deployable, combined France-UK military force of up to 10,000 personnel for use in a wide range of crisis scenarios, up to and including high intensity combat operations; the CJEF has no standing forces but would be available at short notice for French-UK bilateral, NATO, EU, UN, or other operations; it was established in 2010 and declared operational in 2020

the 1st German/Netherlands (Dutch) Corps is a combined army corps headquarters that has the ability to conduct operations under the command and control of Germany and the Netherlands, NATO, or the EU; in peacetime, approximately 1,100 Dutch and German soldiers are assigned, but during a crisis up to 80,000 troops may be assigned; it was formed in 1995 and is headquartered in Germany 

the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade (LITPOLUKRBRIG) is comprised of an international staff, three battalions, and specialized units; units affiliated with the multinational brigade remain within the structures of the armed forces of their respective countries until the brigade is activated for participation in an international operation; it was formed in 2014 and is headquartered in Poland

in 2022, the EU approved a new defense strategy (Strategic Compass) designed to increase the bloc’s capacity to act, including setting up a Rapid Deployment Capacity (EU RDC) consisting of up to 5,000 troops by 2025 (2024)

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

defense is the responsibility of the UK, which maintains about 1,200 troops on the islands (2023)

Faroe Islands

the Government of Denmark has responsibility for defense; as such, the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command in Nuuk, Greenland is responsible for coordinating the defense of the Faroe Islands; the Joint Arctic Command has a contact element in the capital of Torshavn

Fiji

established in 1920, the RFMF is a small and lightly-armed force with a history of intervening in the country’s politics, including coups in 1987 and 2006, and a mutiny in 2000, and it continues to have significant political power; the RFMF is responsible for external security but can be assigned some domestic security responsibilities in specific circumstances; it also has a tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping operations, having sent troops on nearly 20 such missions since first deploying personnel  to South Lebanon in 1978; these deployments have offered experience and a source of financial support; the RFMF has an infantry regiment and a small naval element comprised of patrol boats

Fiji has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Fiji's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2023)

Finland

the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) are focused primarily on territorial defense, which is based on having a large, trained reserve force created by general conscription; active-duty FDF units absorb and train more than 20,000 conscripts annually; the resulting pool of trained reservists gives the FDF a wartime strength of approximately 280,000 and a total reserve of some 900,000 citizens with military service; other FDF responsibilities include support to international peacekeeping operations and some domestic security duties, such as assisting the National Police in maintaining law and order in crises

the FDF is also focused on fulfilling its new commitment to NATO; following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Finland reassessed its security policy situation and applied for NATO membership and gained entry in April 2023; as a member of the Alliance, Finland is part of NATO’s collective defense and is covered by the security guarantees enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty); Finland had been part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program since 1994, and the FDF exercised with some NATO members and participated in NATO-led military missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq; in 2024, it joined NATO's Air Policing mission in Eastern Europe; Finland also is a signatory of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy and actively participates in EU crisis management missions and operations; the FDF cooperates closely with the militaries of other Nordic countries through the Nordic Defense Cooperation structure (NORDEFCO; established 2009), which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden and involves cooperation in such areas as armaments, education, human resources, training and exercises, and operations; Sweden, the UK, and the US are close defense partners; in 2022, Finland signed a mutual security agreement with the UK, and since 2014 has been part of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a pool of high-readiness military forces from 10 Baltic and Scandinavian countries designed to respond to a wide range of contingencies in the North Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and High North regions (2024)

France

the French military has a global footprint and a wide range of missions and responsibilities; it operates under France’s overall defense and national security strategy, currently defined through the five major strategic functions of anticipation, prevention, deterrence, protection, and intervention; the military’s responsibilities include protecting French territory, population, and interests, and fulfilling France’s commitments to NATO, European security, and international peacekeeping operations under the UN; it is the largest military in the EU and has a leading role in the EU security framework, as well as in NATO; in recent years, it has actively participated in coalition peacekeeping and other security operations in regions such as Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans, often in a lead role; the military regularly conducts large-scale exercises and participates in a variety of bi-lateral and multinational exercises; it also has a domestic security mission, including providing enhanced security at sensitive sites and large events and support during national crises or disasters, such as fighting forest fires; in recent years, defense responsibilities have expanded to include cyber and space domains 

in 2010, France and the UK signed a declaration on defense and security cooperation that included greater military interoperability and a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), a deployable, combined Anglo-French military force for use in a wide range of crisis scenarios, up to and including high intensity combat operations; the CJEF has no standing forces, but would be available at short notice for French-UK bilateral, NATO, EU, UN, or other operations; combined training exercises began in 2011, and as of 2020, the CJEF was assessed as having full operating capacity with the ability to rapidly deploy over 10,000 personnel capable of high intensity operations, peacekeeping, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance

the French Foreign Legion, established in 1831, is a military force that is open to foreign recruits willing to serve in the French military for service in France and abroad; the Foreign Legion is an integrated part of the French Army and is comprised of approximately 8,000 personnel; its combat units are a mix of armored cavalry and airborne, light, mechanized, and motorized infantry regiments (2023)

French Polynesia

defense is the responsibility of France; France maintains forces (about 900 troops) in French Polynesia

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

defense is the responsibility of France; the French military maintains a Foreign Legion detachment on Mayotte to maintain France’s presence in the region and support French forces operating in the southern zone of the Indian Ocean and the east coast of Africa; the detachment regularly deploys to the outlying Glorioso Islands

Gabon

the Gabonese military is a small and lightly-armed force that is responsible for both external and internal security; in August 2023, it seized control of the government in a coup; some members of the military attempted a failed coup in 2019 (2023)

Gambia, The

the Gambian security forces have a history of involvement in domestic politics, including multiple coups attempts and mutinies, with the latest being an attempted coup in 2022; since 2017, Gambia’s security sector has been undergoing reforms as part of a national reconstruction effort to recover from the 22 years of Yahya JAMMEH’s autocratic rule under which the security forces were severely under-resourced in terms of finances and equipment and were largely directed towards regime protection and suppressing dissent; international partners, including member states of the EU, particularly France and Germany, as well as Turkey and the US have provided support to military and police reforms; several members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have also provided security forces for stability, plus assistance and training through the ECOWAS Mission in the Gambia (ECOMIG); as of 2023, ECOMIG continued to provide about 1,000 military and gendarmerie personnel from Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal

the GAF is a small and lightly armed force responsible for external defense, providing maritime security, countering human trafficking, and aiding civil authorities in emergencies and natural disaster relief; it also engages in activities such as engineering, education, health, and agriculture for domestic socio-economic development; the GAF participates in peacekeeping missions, and since its first deployments in the 1990s, has been involved in more than 10 UN peacekeeping missions while contributing about 4,000 total troops 

the GAF traces its origins to the Gambia Regiment of the British Army; established in 1901, the Gambia Regiment was part of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF, later Royal West African Frontier Force or RWAFF) and served in both World Wars, including the British 1944-45 military campaign in Burma; the Gambia Regiment was disbanded in 1958 and replaced by the Field Force, a police paramilitary unit; the Field Force was responsible for The Gambia’s security until the establishment of the GAF in 1985; in addition, a defense agreement signed in 1965 between The Gambia and Senegal provided mutual assistance in the face of an external threat; from 1981-1989, The Gambia and Senegal formed a Confederal Army that was made up of troops from both countries (2023)

Gaza Strip

since seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, HAMAS has had repeated clashes with Israel, including armed conflicts in 2008-2009, 2012, 2014, 2021, and 2023; Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) also operates in the Gaza Strip and has cooperated with HAMAS; see Appendix T for more details on HAMAS and PIJ (2023)

Georgia

the Defense Forces of Georgia (DFG) are responsible for protecting the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country; the DFG also provides units for multinational military operations abroad and supports the Border Police in border protection and civil authorities in counter-terrorist operations, if requested; it is focused primarily on Russia, which maintains military bases and troops in occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia; a five-day conflict with Russian forces in 2008 resulted in the defeat and expulsion of Georgian forces from the breakaway regions 

Georgia is not a member of NATO but has had a relationship with the Alliance since 1992 and declared its aspiration to join in 2002; the military is working to make itself more compatible with NATO and has participated in multinational exercises and security operations abroad with NATO, such as Afghanistan, where it was one of the top non-NATO contributors, and Kosovo; the DFG has also contributed troops to EU and UN missions (2024)

Germany

the Bundeswehr’s core mission is the defense of Germany and its NATO partners; it has a wide range of peacetime duties, including crisis management, cyber security, deterrence, homeland security, humanitarian and disaster relief, and international peacekeeping and stability operations; as a key member of NATO and the EU, the Bundeswehr typically operates in a coalition environment, and its capabilities are largely based on NATO and EU planning goals and needs; it has participated in a range of NATO and EU missions in Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as global maritime operations; the Bundeswehr has close bilateral defense ties with a number of EU countries, including the Czechia, France, the Netherlands, and Romania, as well as the UK and the US; it also contributes forces to UN peacekeeping missions

the Bundeswehr was established in 1955; at the height of the Cold War in the 1980s, it had nearly 600,000 personnel, over 7,000 tanks, and 1,000 combat aircraft; in addition, over 400,000 soldiers from other NATO countries—including about 200,000 US military personnel—were stationed in West Germany; in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the Bundeswehr shrank by more than 60% in size (over 90% in tanks and about 80% in aircraft), while funding fell from nearly 3% of GDP and over 4% of government spending in the mid-1980s to 1.2% and 1.6% respectively; by the 2010s, the Bundeswehr’s ability to fulfill its regional security commitments had deteriorated; the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and full-scale assault on Ukraine in 2022 led to renewed emphasis on Germany’s leadership role in European defense and NATO and efforts to boost funding for the Bundeswehr to improve readiness, modernize, and expand (2024)

Ghana

the military’s primary missions are border defense, assisting with internal security, peacekeeping, and protecting the country’s territorial waters, particularly its offshore oil and gas infrastructure; it has benefited from cooperation with foreign partners, such as the UK and the US, and experience gained from participation in multiple international peacekeeping missions
 
in 2022, Ghana began beefing up its military presence in the north of the country against threats from the terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), a coalition of al-Qa'ida linked militant groups, which has conducted attacks in the neighboring countries of Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, and Togo; Ghana’s northern frontier with Burkina Faso is also an area with well-established smuggling routes, porous borders, and illegal gold mining; Ghana has also pushed an initiative to bolster security cooperation and intelligence sharing among Gulf of Guinea neighbors and Sahel countries 

the military traces its origins to the Gold Coast Constabulary that was established in 1879 and renamed the Gold Coast Regiment in 1901; the Gold Coast Regiment was part of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF), a multi-regiment force formed by the British colonial office in 1900 to garrison the West African colonies of Gold Coast (Ghana), Nigeria (Lagos and the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria), Sierra Leone, and Gambia; the WAFF served with distinction in both East and West Africa during World War I; in 1928, it received royal recognition and was re-named the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF); the RWAFF went on to serve in World War II as part of the British 81st and 82nd (West African) divisions in the East Africa and Burma campaigns; following independence in 1957, the Gold Coast Regiment formed the basis for the new Ghanaian Army (2023)

Gibraltar

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Greece

the Hellenic Armed Forces (HAF) are responsible for protecting Greece’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; the HAF also maintains a presence on Cyprus (the Hellenic Force in Cyprus or ELDYK) to assist and support the Cypriot National Guard; as a member of the EU, NATO, and other international organizations, the HAF participates in multinational peacekeeping and other security missions abroad, taking a particular interest in missions occurring in the near regions, such as the Balkans, the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, the Middle East, and North Africa; areas of focus for the HAF include instability in the Balkans, territorial disputes with Turkey, and support to European security through the EU and NATO

Greece’s NATO membership is a key component of its security; it became a NATO member in 1952 and occupies a strategic location in the Eastern Mediterranean on NATO’s southern flank; Greece is host to several NATO facilities, including the Deployable Corps Greece (NDC-GR) headquarters in Thessaloniki, the Combined Air Operations Center in Larissa, the Multinational Peace Support Operations Training Center in Kilkis, the Multinational Sealift Coordination Center in Athens, and the Naval Base, Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Centre, and NATO Missile Firing Installation at Souda, Crete (2024)

Greenland

the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command in Nuuk is responsible for coordinating Denmark's defense of Greenland

Grenada

Grenada joined the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) in 1985; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Guam

defense is the responsibility of the US; the US military maintains over 6,000 personnel on Guam, including an air base, an air wing, and a naval installation command (2024)

Guatemala

the military is responsible for maintaining sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the honor of Guatemala, but has long focused on internal security; since the 2000s, the Guatemalan Government has used the military extensively to support the National Civil Police in internal security operations (as permitted by the constitution) to combat organized crime, gang violence, and narco-trafficking; in recent years, however, the military has moved to refocus on border security and preparing for conventional operations; it participates in UN missions on a small scale and has a peacekeeping operations training command that offers training to regional countries; the military has security ties with regional partners such as Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras; cooperation with El Salvador and Honduras has included a combined police-military anti-gang task force to patrol border areas; it also has ties with the US, including joint training exercises and material assistance

the military held power during most of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war (1960-1996) and conducted a campaign of widespread violence and repression, particularly against the country’s majority indigenous population; more than 200,000 people were estimated to have been killed or disappeared during the conflict (2024)

Guernsey

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Guinea

the Guinean military is a small and lightly armed force that is responsible for territorial defense, but also has some domestic security responsibilities and has historically been involved in suppressing public protests; the military has undergone some attempts at reform since 2010, but in 2021 the Army’s special forces led a successful coup (2023)

Guinea-Bissau

the FARP is focused on external security, but also has some internal security duties, and it has been influential in the country’s politics since independence was gained in 1974, having staged at least nine coups as well as several mutinies; FARP members were suspected of coup plotting as recently as 2021, and the military has been accused of involvement in narcotics trafficking; since the 2000s, the FARP has undergone various attempts at defense and security sector reforms with limited success under the auspices of the African Union, the EU, the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), and the UN 

from 2012-2020, ECOWAS deployed a security force to Guinea-Bissau to manage the post-coup transition, including protecting key political figures and public buildings, restoring civil institutions, and re-establishing the rule of law; at the height of the deployment, the force, known as the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB), deployed nearly 700 military and police personnel from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Senegal (2023)

Guyana

the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) was established in 1965; its primary missions are defense of the country, including border security, assisting civil authorities with law and order as needed, and contributing to Guyana’s economic development; key areas of concern include disaster response, illegal fishing, narcotics trafficking, piracy, and porous borders; the GDF participates in both bilateral and multinational exercises and has relationships with Brazil, China, France, the UK, and the US; the GDF’s ground force officers are trained at the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, while coast guard officers receive training at the British Royal Naval College

Guyana joined the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) in 2022; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Haiti

Haiti's military was disbanded in 1995 after it participated in multiple coups and was accused of other political interference and human rights violations; the military was reinstated by former President MOISE in 2017 after the UN ended its peacekeeping operation in Haiti; the reconstituted military established an Army command in 2018 and has received training assistance from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico; the military’s stated mission is to assist with natural disaster relief, border security, and combating transnational crime; in 2023, Prime Minister HENRY called upon the military to assist the National Police (PNH) in combating armed gangs, which have overwhelmed the PNH, killed hundreds of Haitians, and seized control of much of the capital Port-au-Prince since the assassination of President MOISE in 2021; as of early 2024, at least 300 criminal groups were operating in Haiti

in 2023, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of a Kenya-led multinational security support 
mission (MSS) to help bring gang violence under control; the first deployment of MSS personnel from the Kenya National Police Service occured in mid-2024; the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Jamaica have also pledged forces (2024)

Heard Island and McDonald Islands

defense is the responsibility of Australia

Holy See (Vatican City)

defense is the responsibility of Italy

Honduras

the Honduran Armed Forces (FFAA) are responsible for maintaining the country’s territory, defending its sovereignty, providing emergency/humanitarian assistance, and supporting the National Police (PNH); the FFAA’s primary focus is internal and border security, and since 2011 a considerable portion of it has been deployed to support the PNH in combating narcotics trafficking and organized crime; military support to domestic security included the creation of the Military Police of Public Order (PMOP) in 2013 to provide security in areas controlled by street gangs to combat crime and make arrests; the PMOP also has sent personnel to reinforce security operations along the country’s border as part of a tri-national security task force with El Salvador and Guatemala; the FFAA has received military equipment, training, humanitarian, and technical assistance from the US military; the US military maintains a joint service task force co-located with the FFAA at Soto Cano Air Base (2024)

Hong Kong

defense is the responsibility of China

Hungary

the Hungarian Defense Forces (HDF) are responsible for ensuring the defense of the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and citizens, and fulfilling Hungary’s commitments to the EU and NATO, as well as contributing to other international peacekeeping efforts under the UN; the HDF is also responsible for some aspects of domestic security, crisis management, disaster response, and assisting law enforcement forces in border security; Hungary’s most recent national security strategy addressed migration as an important security concern, alongside other issues, such as great power competition and cyber security; modernizing the HDF by replacing Soviet-era equipment with Western systems and building up Hungary’s defense industrial capacity has been a priority over the past decade

Hungary has been a member of NATO since 1999 and considers the collective defense ensured within the Alliance as a cornerstone of the country’s security; NATO membership is complemented by Hungary’s ties to the EU under its Common Security and Defense Policy; the HDF has participated in multiple NATO-led security missions, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo, as well as EU-led missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mali; it hosts a NATO battlegroup comprised of troops from Croatia, Hungary, Italy, and the US, and NATO’s Multinational Division Center, a headquarters capable of commanding a division-sized force (typically 15-20,000 troops) in a crisis; both organizations were established as a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine; Hungary also hosts NATO’s Center of Excellence for Military Medicine; Hungary is a member of the Visegrad Group, a regional platform that brings together Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia to discuss cultural, defense, and political cooperation (2024)

Iceland

Iceland was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949; Iceland is the only NATO member that has no standing military force; defense of Iceland remains a NATO commitment and NATO maintains an air policing presence in Icelandic airspace; Iceland participates in international peacekeeping missions with the civilian-manned Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (ICRU)

Iceland cooperates with the militaries of other Nordic countries through the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO), which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden; areas of cooperation include armaments, education, human resources, training and exercises, and operations; NORDEFCO was established in 2009

in 1951, Iceland and the US concluded an agreement to make arrangements regarding the defense of Iceland and for the use of facilities in Iceland to that end; the agreement, along with NATO membership, is one of the two pillars of Iceland‘s security policy; since 2007 Iceland has concluded cooperation agreements with Canada, Denmark, Norway, and the UK; it also has regular consultations with Germany and France on security and defense (2024)

India

the Indian military performs a variety of missions; it is primarily focused on China and Pakistan and territorial defense, while secondary missions include regional power projection, UN peacekeeping deployments, humanitarian operations, and support to internal security forces; it has fought in several significant conflicts and counterinsurgency operations since 1947 and regularly conducts large-scale exercises; the military may act internally under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) of 1958, an act of the Indian Parliament that granted special powers to put down separatist movements in "disturbed areas"; the AFSPA of 1958 and a virtually identical law, the Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Powers Act of 1990, have been in force since 1958 in parts of northeast India, and since 1990 in Jammu & Kashmir

the short 1962 Sino-India War left in place one of the World’s longest disputed international borders, resulting in occasional standoffs between Indian and Chinese security forces, including lethal clashes in 1975 and 2020; meanwhile, India and Pakistan have fought several conflicts since 1947, including the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 and the Indo-Pakistan and Bangladesh War of Independence of 1971, as well clashes over the disputed region of Kashmir (the First Kashmir War of 1947 and the 1999 Kargil Conflict); a fragile cease-fire in Kashmir was reached in 2003, revised in 2018, and reaffirmed in 2021, although the Line of Control remains contested, and India has accused Pakistan of backing armed separatists and terrorist organizations in Jammu and Kashmir where Indian forces have conducted counterinsurgency operations since the 1980s; in addition, India and Pakistan have battled over the Siachen Glacier of Kashmir, which was seized by India in 1984 with Pakistan attempting to retake the area at least three times between 1985 and 1995; despite a cease-fire, both sides continue to maintain a permanent military presence there with outposts at altitudes above 20,000 feet (over 6,000 meters) where most casualties are due to extreme weather and the hazards of operating in the high mountain terrain of the world’s highest conflict, including avalanches, exposure, and altitude sickness (2023)

Indonesia

the military is responsible for external defense, combatting separatism, and responding to natural disasters; in certain conditions it may provide operational support to police, such as for counterterrorism operations, maintaining public order, and addressing communal conflicts; the TNI has undergone reforms since the 1990s to improve its professionalism and limit its involvement in internal politics

the Army is involved in counterinsurgency operations in Papua against the West Papua Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Organization, which has been fighting a low-level insurgency since Indonesia annexed the former Dutch colony in the 1960s; the Army has also been assisting police in Sulawesi in countering the Mujahideen Indonesia Timur (MIT; aka East Indonesia Mujahideen), a local militant group affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

the Navy is responsible for coastal defense and patrolling Indonesia’s territorial waters where it faces such issues as piracy, transnational crime, illegal fishing, and incursions by Chinese vessels; Indonesia is not a formal claimant in the South China Sea, although some of its waters lie within China's “nine-dash line” maritime claims, resulting in some stand offs in recent years; since 2016, the Indonesian military has bolstered its presence on Great Natuna Island (aka Pulau Natuna Besar), the main island of the Middle Natuna Archipelago, which is part of the Riau Islands Province, and held military exercises in the surrounding waters (2024)

Iran

the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was formed in May 1979 in the immediate aftermath of Shah Mohammad Reza PAHLAVI’s fall, as leftists, nationalists, and Islamists jockeyed for power; while the interim prime minister controlled the government and state institutions, such as the Army, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah KHOMEINI organized counterweights, including the IRGC, to protect the Islamic revolution; the IRGC’s command structure bypassed the elected president and went directly to KHOMEINI; the IRGC played a critical role in helping KHOMEINI consolidate power in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution, and it ensured that KHOMEINI's Islamic revolutionary vision prevailed against domestic challenges from nationalists and leftist factions in the scramble for control after the Shah's departure

the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) transformed the IRGC into more of a conventional fighting force with its own ground, air, naval, and special forces, plus control over Iran’s strategic missile and rocket forces; today, the IRGC is a highly institutionalized and parallel military force to Iran’s regular armed forces (Artesh); it is heavily involved in internal security and has significant influence in the political and economic spheres of Iranian society, as well as Iran’s foreign policy; on the economic front, it owns factories and corporations and subsidiaries in banking, infrastructure, housing, airlines, tourism and other sectors; its special operations forces, known as the Qods/Quds Force, specialize in foreign missions and have provided advice, funding, guidance, material support, training, and weapons to militants in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, as well as extremist groups, including HAMAS, Hizballah, Kata’ib Hizballah, and Palestine Islamic Jihad (see Appendix T for additional details on the IRGC and Qods Force); the Qods Force also conducts intelligence and reconnaissance operations 

the Supreme Council for National Security (SCNS) is the senior-most body for formulating Iran’s foreign and security policy; it is formally chaired by the president, who also appoints the SCNS secretary; its members include the speaker of the Majles, the head of the judiciary, the chief of the Armed Forces General Staff (chief of defense or CHOD), the commanders of the Artesh (regular forces) and IRGC, and the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, interior, and intelligence; the SCNS reports to the supreme leader; the supreme leader is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces

the Iranian Armed Forces are divided between the regular forces (Artesh) and the IRGC; the Artesh primarily focuses on defending Iran’s borders and territorial waters from external threats, while the IRGC has a broader mission to defend the Iranian revolution from any foreign or domestic threat; in 1989, Iran established the Armed Forces General Staff to coordinate military action across both the Artesh and the IRGC; Iran also has a joint military headquarters, the Khatam ol-Anbia Central Headquarters, to command the Artesh and IRGC in wartime (2023)

Iraq

the Iraqi security forces (ISF) are primarily focused on internal security duties; they are actively conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group, particularly in northern and western Iraq; the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), a highly regarded force comprised of three special forces brigades, is the ISF's principal operational unit against ISIS

Kurdish Security Forces (KSF, aka Peshmerga) also conducted operations against ISIS; the KSF were formally recognized as a legitimate Iraqi military force under the country’s constitution and have operated jointly with the Iraqi military against ISIS militants, but they also operate outside of Iraqi military command structure; since 2021, the ISF and the KSF have conducted joint counter-ISIS operations in an area known as the Kurdish Coordination Line (KCL), a swath of disputed territory in northern Iraq claimed by both the Kurdistan Regional Government and the central Iraqi Government; the KSF/Peshmerga report to the Kurdistan Regional Government or Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan parties instead of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense

Popular Mobilization Commission and Affiliated Forces (PMF or PMC), also known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU, or al-Hashd al-Sha’abi in Arabic), tribal militia units have fought alongside the Iraqi military against ISIS since 2014, but the majority of these forces continue to largely ignore the 2016 Law of the Popular Mobilization Authority, which mandated that armed militias must be regulated in a fashion similar to Iraq’s other security forces and act under the Iraqi Government’s direct control; the Iraqi Government funds the PMF, and the prime minister legally commands it, but many of the militia units take orders from associated political parties and/or other government officials, including some with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and some that have been designated as terrorist organizations by the US; the PMF/PMU is an umbrella organization comprised of many different militias, the majority of which are Shia:

--Shia militias backed by Iran; they are considered the most active and capable, and include such groups as the Badr Organization (Saraya al-Sala), Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and Kataib Hizballah

--Shia militias affiliated with Shia political parties, but not aligned with Iran, such as the Peace Brigades (Saray al-Salam)

--Shia militias not connected with political parties, but affiliated with the Najaf-based Grand Ayatollah Ali al-SISTANI (Iraq’s supreme Shia cleric), such as the Hawza militias

--other PMF/PMU militias include Sunni Tribal Mobilization militias, or Hashd al-Asha’iri; some of these militias take orders from the ISF and local authorities while others respond to orders from the larger Shia PMU militias; still other militias include Yazidi and Christian militias and the Turkmen brigades; the links of these forces to the PMU are not always clear-cut and may be loosely based on financial, legal, or political incentives

two international military task forces operate in Iraq to assist the country's security forces at the request of the Iraqi Government; in October 2018, NATO established an advisory, training and capacity-building mission for the Iraqi military known as the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI); in December 2021, a US-led task force that leads the defeat ISIS mission in Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), transitioned from a combat role to an advise, assist, and enable role (2023)

Ireland

Ireland has a long-standing policy of military neutrality; however, it participates in multinational peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, as well as crisis management; Ireland is a signatory of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy and has committed a battalion of troops to the EU’s Rapid Reaction Force; Ireland is not a member of NATO but has a relationship with it going back to 1997, when it deployed personnel in support of the NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ireland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1999; it has been active in UN peacekeeping operations since the 1950s (2023)

Isle of Man

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Israel

the IDF is responsible for external defense but also has some domestic security responsibilities; its primary operational focuses include the threat posed by Iran, instability in Syria, and terrorist organizations, including HAMAS and Hizballah, both of which are backed by Iran, Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham; it has considerable experience in conventional and unconventional warfare; since the country’s founding in 1948, the IDF has been in conflicts against one or more of its Arab neighbors in 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1967-70 (“War of Attrition”), 1973, 1982, and 2006; it bombed nuclear sites in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, and since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, has conducted numerous air strikes in Syria against Iranian, Iranian-backed militia, and Hizballah forces, and Syrian Government targets; over the same period, the IDF has carried out strikes against Hizballah in Lebanon in response to attacks on Israeli territory; these strikes followed an Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006, also to suppress Hizballah attacks; the IDF has conducted operations against HAMAS and PIJ, which operate out of the Gaza Strip and have launched numerous rocket attacks against Israel; HAMAS and Israel fought an 11-day conflict in 2021, which ended in an informal truce, although sporadic clashes continued; in October 2023, HAMAS conducted a surprise ground assault into Israel, supported by rockets and armed drones, killing more than 1,000 Israelis and foreigners living in Israel; the attack sparked another war with Israel, including an IDF ground invasion of Gaza; the IDF also has conducted security operations against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank 

since its creation from armed Jewish militias during the First Arab-Israeli War in 1948-49, the IDF, particularly the Ground Force, has been guided by a requirement to rapidly mobilize and defend the country’s territory from numerically superior neighboring countries

Israel’s primary security partner is the US; consistent with a 10-year (2019-2028) Memorandum of Understanding, the US annually provides over $3 billion in military financing and cooperative military programs, such as missile defense; the US also provides Israel access to US-produced military weapons systems including advanced fighter aircraft; Israel has Major Non-NATO Ally status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has operated in the Golan between Israel and Syria since 1974 to monitor the ceasefire following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and supervise the areas of separation between the two countries; UNDOF consists of about 1,000 military personnel (2023)

Italy

the Italian military is responsible for Italy’s national defense and security and fulfilling the country’s commitments to the EU, NATO, and the UN; it also has some domestic security duties; for example, the Army has provided troops for guarding public buildings and for more than a decade several thousand Army and Carabinieri personnel have been deployed domestically to support the National Police as part of a government effort to curb crime in various Italian cities 

Italy has been an active member of NATO since its founding in 1948, and the Alliance is a cornerstone of Rome’s national security strategy; it is a strong supporter of European/EU defense cooperation and integration; Italy is an active participant in EU, NATO, UN, and other multinational military, security, and humanitarian operations; key areas of emphasis for Italy’s security policy and multinational cooperation are NATO/Europe’s eastern and southern flanks, including the Mediterranean Sea, East and North Africa, and the Middle East and its adjacent waters; Italy is one of NATO’s leading contributors of military forces and participates in such missions as NATO’s Air Policing in the Baltics, the Enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe, and maritime patrols in the Mediterranean and beyond; it hosts NATO’s Joint Force Command in Naples and a NATO Rapid Deployable Corps headquarters in Milan, as well as the headquarters for the EU’s Mediterranean naval operations force in Rome; since 1960, Italy has committed more than 60,000 troops to UN missions, and it hosts a training center in Vicenza for police personnel destined for peacekeeping missions; in addition, Italy has close defense ties with the US and hosts several US military air, army, and naval bases and facilities (2023)

Jamaica

in addition to its responsibility of defending against external aggression, the JDF's primary missions are border, internal, and maritime security, including support to police operations in combating crime and violence; other missions include search and rescue, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping; it has arrest authority and partners with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); both the JDF and JCF are under the Ministry of National Security, which directs policy for the security forces; the JDF participates in bilateral and multinational training exercises, including with the militaries of Canada, the UK, the US, and other Caribbean nations 

while Jamaica had a militia force as early as the 1660s, the JDF was constituted in 1962 from the West India Regiment (WIR), a British colonial regiment which dates back to 1795 (2023)

Jan Mayen

defense is the responsibility of Norway

Japan

the Japan Self-Defense Force's (JSDF) primary concerns are perceived threats posed by China and North Korea, as well as protecting the country’s territorial waters, countering piracy and terrorism, and conducting humanitarian operations; it exercises regularly with the US military and increasingly with other regional countries, such as Australia

Japan’s alliance with the US (signed in 1951) is one of the cornerstones of the country’s security, as well as a large component of the US security role in Asia; approximately 55,000 US troops and other military assets, including aircraft and naval ships, are stationed in Japan and have exclusive use of more than 80 bases and facilities; in exchange for their use, the US guarantees Japan’s security; the Japanese Government provides about $2 billion per year to offset the cost of stationing US forces in Japan; in addition, it pays compensation to localities hosting US troops, rent for bases, and costs for new facilities to support the US presence; Japan also has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

Japan was disarmed after its defeat in World War II; shortly after the Korean War began in 1950, US occupation forces in Japan created a 75,000-member lightly armed force called the National Police Reserve; the JSDF was founded in 1954; Article 9 of Japan’s 1947 constitution renounced the use of force as a means of settling international disputes; however, Japan has interpreted Article 9 to mean that it can maintain a military for national defense purposes and, since 1991, has allowed the JSDF to participate in noncombat roles overseas in a number of UN peacekeeping missions and in the US-led coalition in Iraq; in 2014-2015, the Japanese Government reinterpreted the constitution as allowing for "collective self-defense," described as the use of force on others’ behalf if Japan’s security was threatened; in 2022, the government released three security policy documents that labeled China as an “unprecedented strategic challenge,” declared Japan’s intention to develop "counterstrike” capabilities, including cruise missiles and armed drones, and outlined plans to increase Japan’s security-related expenditures to 2% of its national gross domestic product (GDP), in line with NATO standards; post-war Japan generally has limited defense spending to 1% of its GDP (2023)

Jersey

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Jordan

the JAF traces its origins back to the Arab Legion, which was formed under the British protectorate of Transjordan in the 1920s; it is responsible for territorial defense and border security, but also has a supporting role for internal security; the JAF participates in both bilateral and multinational exercises, UN peacekeeping missions, and has taken part in regional military operations alongside allied forces in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen

the JAF’s primary concerns are terrorist and criminal threats emanating from its 230-mile border with Syria and 112-mile border with Iraq, as well as the potential impact of Israeli-Palestinian tensions; the terrorist group Hizballah and Iranian-backed militia forces operate in southwestern Syria near Jordan’s border while fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group continue to operate in both Iraq and Syria; ISIS fighters have included Jordanian nationals, some of whom have returned to Jordan; individuals and groups sympathetic to Palestine have planned and conducted terrorist attacks in Jordan

the US is a key security partner, and Jordan is one of the largest recipients of US military aid in the region; it cooperates with the US on a number of issues, including border and maritime security, arms transfers, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism; Jordan has Major Non-NATO Ally status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation (2023)

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s armed forces were formed in 1992 following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the disbandment of the Soviet Turkestan Military District whose forces formed the core of the new Kazakh military; the military’s principal responsibilities are territorial defense while the National Police, National Guard, Committee for National Security, and Border Service have primary responsibility for internal security, although the military may provide assistance as required; the military also participates in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations; in 2008, Kazakhstan opened up Central Asia’s first peacekeeper training center for military personnel of Kazakhstan, NATO, and other partners 

in 2022, Kazakhstan initiated a wide-ranging effort to enhance the country’s security sector, including organizational changes such as establishing new National Guard units, enhancing existing ones, and forming a special operations force, spending increases for equipment acquisitions, a new doctrine with renewed emphasis on defense of the border, and reforms to improve professionalism in the military

Kazakhstan has been a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 1994 and has obligated troops to CSTO's rapid reaction force; it also has a relationship with NATO focused on democratic, institutional, and defense reforms; relations with NATO started in 1992, and Kazakhstan joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 1995 (2023)

Kenya

the KDF's chief security concerns and missions include protecting the country’s sovereignty and territory, regional disputes, the threat posed by the al-Shabaab terrorist group based in neighboring Somalia, maritime crime and piracy, and assisting civil authorities in responding to emergency, disaster, or political unrest as requested; it has considerable experience, having conducted operations in neighboring Somalia since 2011 and taken part in numerous regional peacekeeping and security missions; the KDF is a leading member of the Africa Standby Force; it participates in multinational exercises, and has ties to a variety of foreign militaries, including those of France, the UK, and the US 

Kenyan military forces intervened in Somalia in October 2011 to combat the al-Shabaab terrorist group, which had conducted numerous cross-border attacks into Kenya; in November 2011, the UN and the African Union invited Kenya to incorporate its forces into the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); Kenyan forces were formally integrated into AMISOM (now the AU Transition Mission in Somalia or ATMIS) in February 2012

the Kenya Military Forces were created following independence in 1963; the current KDF was established and its composition laid out in the 2010 constitution; it is governed by the Kenya Defense Forces Act of 2012; the Army traces its origins back to the Kings African Rifles (KAR), a British colonial regiment raised from Britain's East Africa possessions from 1902 until independence in the 1960s; the KAR conducted both military and internal security functions within the colonial territories, and served outside the territories during the World Wars (2023)

Kiribati

Australia, NZ, and the US have provided security assistance

Kiribati has a "ship rider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Kiribati's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; ship rider agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2023)

Korea, North

North Korea is one of the most militarized countries in the World, and the Korean People's Army (KPA) is one of the World’s largest military forces; founded in 1948, the KPA’s primary responsibilities are national defense and protection of the Kim regime; it also provides considerable support to domestic economic projects such as agriculture production and infrastructure construction; North Korea views the US as its primary external security threat while South Korea and Japan are treated as extensions of perceived US aggression; the North also sees South Korea’s different economic and political systems as a threat to the regime’s legitimacy; the Kim regime is driven by fears of threats to its power from internal sources as well 

in addition to the invasion of South Korea and the subsequent Korean War (1950-53), North Korea from the 1960s to the 1980s launched a considerable number of limited military and subversive actions against South Korea using special forces and terrorist tactics; including aggressive skirmishes along the DMZ, overt attempts to assassinate South Korean leaders, kidnappings, the bombing of an airliner, and a failed effort in 1968 to foment an insurrection and conduct a guerrilla war in the South with more than 100 seaborne commandos; from the 1990s until 2010, the North lost two submarines and a semi-submersible boat attempting to insert infiltrators into the South (1996, 1998) and provoked several engagements in the Northwest Islands area along the disputed Northern Limit Line (NLL), including naval skirmishes between patrol boats in 1999 and 2002, the torpedoing and sinking of a South Korean Navy corvette in 2010, and the bombardment of a South Korean military installation on Yeonpyeong Island, also in 2010; since 2010, further minor incidents continue to occur periodically along the DMZ, where both the KPA and the South Korean military maintain large numbers of troops

Kim Jong Un is the KPA supreme commander, while operational control of the armed forces resides in the General Staff Department (GSD), which reports directly to Kim; the GSD maintains overall control of all military forces and is charged with turning Kim’s directives into operational military orders; the Ministry of National Defense (MND) is responsible for administrative control of the military and external relations with foreign militaries (2023)

Korea, South

the South Korean military is primarily focused on the threat from North Korea but also deploys abroad for multinational missions, including peacekeeping and other security operations; it also participates in bilateral and multinational exercises

South Korea's primary defense partner is the US, and the 1953 US-South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty is a cornerstone of the country's national security; the Treaty committed the US to provide assistance in the event of an attack; in addition, the Treaty gave the US permission to station land, air, and sea forces in and about the territory of South Korea as determined by mutual agreement; the US maintains approximately 28,000 military personnel in the country and conducts bilateral exercises with the South Korean military; South Korea has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation; the South Korean military has assisted the US in conflicts in Afghanistan (5,000 troops; 2001-2014), Iraq (20,000 troops; 2003-2008), and Vietnam (325,000 troops; 1964-1973)

in 2016, South Korea concluded an agreement with the EU for participation in EU Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) missions and operations, such as the EU Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta, which protects maritime shipping and conducts counter-piracy operations off the coast of East Africa

South Korea has been engaged with NATO through dialogue and security cooperation since 2005 and is considered by NATO to be a global partner; in 2022, South Korea established its Mission to NATO to further institutionalize its cooperative relationship; it has participated in NATO-led missions and exercises, including leading an integrated civilian-military reconstruction team in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, 2010-2013; it has also cooperated with NATO in countering the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden by providing naval vessels as escorts

in addition to the invasion of South Korea and the subsequent Korean War (1950-53), North Korea from the 1960s to the 1980s launched a considerable number of limited military and subversive actions against South Korea using special forces and terrorist tactics; including aggressive skirmishes along the DMZ, overt attempts to assassinate South Korean leaders, kidnappings, the bombing of an airliner, and a failed effort in 1968 to foment an insurrection and conduct a guerrilla war in the South with more than 100 seaborne commandos; from the 1990s until 2010, the North lost two submarines and a semi-submersible boat attempting to insert infiltrators into the South (1996, 1998) and provoked several engagements in the Northwest Islands area along the disputed Northern Limit Line (NLL), including naval skirmishes between patrol boats in 1999 and 2002, the torpedoing and sinking of a South Korean corvette, the Cheonan, in 2010, and the bombardment of a South Korean Marine Corps installation on Yeonpyeong Island, also in 2010; since 2010, further minor incidents continue to occur periodically along the DMZ, where both the North and the South Korean militaries maintain large numbers of troops (2023)

Kosovo

the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) was established in 2009 as a small (1,500 personnel), lightly armed disaster response force; the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) was charged with assisting in the development of the KSF and bringing it up to standards designated by NATO; the KSF was certified as fully operational by the North Atlantic Council in 2013, indicating the then 2,200-strong KSF was entirely capable of performing the tasks assigned under its mandate, which included non-military security functions that were not appropriate for the police, plus missions such as search and rescue, explosive ordnance disposal, control and clearance of hazardous materials, firefighting, and other humanitarian assistance tasks; in 2019, Kosovo approved legislation that began a process to transition the KSF by 2028 into a professional military (the Kosovo Armed Forces) led by a General Staff and comprised of a Land Force, a National Guard, a Logistics Command, and a Doctrine and Training Command; it would have a strength of up to 5,000 with about 3,000 reserves; at the same time, the KSF’s mission was expanded to include traditional military functions, such as territorial defense and international peacekeeping; the KSF’s first international mission was the deployment of a small force to Kuwait in 2021 

the NATO-led KFOR has operated in the country as a peace support force since 1999; in addition to assisting in the development of the KSF, KFOR is responsible for providing a safe and secure environment and ensuring freedom of movement for all citizens; as of 2024, it numbered about 4,400 troops from 28 countries; Kosovo regards the US as a key ally and security guarantor, and the US has provided considerable support to the KSF, including equipment and training (2024)

Kuwait

the Kuwaiti Armed Forces (KAF) are responsible for external defense; the independent National Guard is responsible for protecting critical infrastructure and providing support for the Ministries of Interior and Defense as required, including supporting the KAF Land Forces during a conflict; the National Guard and the Ministry of Interior are the Kuwaiti Government’s lead counterterrorism organizations; Kuwait’s primary security concerns are potential threats emanating from Iran, including regional militias loyal to Iran, and Islamic terrorist groups

the KAF participates in bilateral and multilateral exercises, as well as a limited number of multinational security operations such as maritime patrols in the Persian Gulf; it also provided a few fighter aircraft to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in 2015; the KAF is part of the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Kuwait's key security partner since the 1991 Gulf War has been the US; the US has approximately 13,000 military personnel as well as logistics and training facilities in Kuwait as part of a 1991 Defense Cooperation Agreement and a 2013 Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement; the KAF conducts bilateral exercises with the US military and would look to US assistance in the event of an external attack; Kuwait has Major Non-NATO Ally status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation (2023)

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan has been a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 1994 and contributes troops to CSTO's rapid reaction force; it also started a relationship with NATO in 1992 and joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 1994

the Kyrgyz military’s primary responsibility is defense of the country’s sovereignty and territory, although it also has some internal security duties; elements of the military were called out in 2020 to respond to post-election demonstrations for example, and the National Guard’s missions include counterterrorism, responding to emergencies, and the protection of government facilities; the military also participates in UN and CSTO peacekeeping missions; border disputes with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the threat posed by militant Islamic groups, have been particular areas of concern for both the military and internal security forces; the military’s closest security partner is Russia, which provides training and material assistance, and maintains a presence in the country, including an airbase; the military also conducts training with other regional countries such as India, traditionally with a focus on counterterrorism

the Kyrgyz military was formed in 1992 from Soviet Army units then based in Kyrgyzstan following the dissolution of the USSR (2023)

Laos

the LPAF’s primary missions are border and internal security, including counterinsurgency and counterterrorism; Vietnam is the military's primary security partner, although in recent years, Laos has expanded defense ties with China and Russia (2023)

Latvia

the National Armed Forces are responsible for the defense of the country’s sovereignty and territory; they also have some domestic security responsibilities, including coast guard functions, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and providing support to other internal security services, including the State Border Service, the State Police, and the State Security Service; the Military Police provides protection to the president and other government officials, foreign dignitaries, and key facilities; for external defense, Latvia’s primary security focus is Russia

in 2004, Latvia joined NATO and the EU, which it depends on to play a decisive role in Latvia’s security policy; the Latvian military has participated in NATO and EU missions abroad and regularly conducts training and exercises with NATO and EU partner forces

Latvia also hosts NATO partner forces; since 2017, it has hosted a Canadian-led multinational NATO ground force battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative; in addition, Latvia hosts a NATO-led divisional headquarters (Multinational Division North; activated 2020), which coordinates training and preparation activities of its respective subordinate NATO battlegroups in Estonia and Latvia

the Air Force has no combat aircraft; NATO has provided air protection for Latvia since 2004 through its Baltics Air Policing mission; NATO member countries that possess air combat capabilities voluntarily contribute to the mission on four-month rotations

Latvia is a member of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a pool of high-readiness military forces from 10 Baltic and Scandinavian countries designed to respond to a wide range of contingencies in the North Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and High North regions (2024)

Lebanon

the LAF’s primary responsibilities are defense against external attack, border security, protecting the country’s territorial waters, and assisting with internal security and development projects; on Lebanon’s eastern and northern borders with Syria, the LAF has conducted operations to prevent or eliminate infiltrations of militants linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and al-Qa’ida terrorist groups since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011; in the south, its focus is on maintaining stability along its volatile border with Israel where the LAF and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are separated by the "Blue Line," a demarcation line established by the UN in 2000 following the withdrawal of the IDF, which had occupied southern Lebanon since invading in 1982; since the line’s establishment, the LAF and IDF have had periodic clashes, and IDF aircraft have routinely entered Lebanese air space; the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hizballah is based in south Lebanon and acts as a militia alongside the LAF; it has launched periodic cross-border attacks on Israel and threatened additional attacks, while the IDF has conducted air strikes on Hizballah positions and in 2006 launched a ground invasion into southern Lebanon to suppress the group; in 2022, Israeli and Lebanese officials agreed on a common demarcation of their maritime border after US mediation

the LAF’s domestic security responsibilities include countering narcotics trafficking and smuggling, managing protests, conducting search and rescue, and intervening to prevent violence between rival political factions; in recent years, the military has faced a financial crisis as government debt and national economic difficulties have undercut its ability to train and fully pay and supply personnel, which has sparked domestic and international fears that the armed forces may disintegrate; the UN, as well as countries such as France and the US have provided financial assistance 

the UN Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) has operated in the country since 1978, originally under UNSCRs 425 and 426 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area; following the July-August 2006 war, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1701 enhancing UNIFIL and deciding that in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities, support the LAF as they deployed throughout the south of Lebanon, and provide assistance for humanitarian access for civilians and the return of displaced persons; UNIFIL has approximately 9,500 military personnel deployed in the country and includes a maritime task force (2023)

Lesotho

Lesotho's declared policy for its military is the maintenance of the country's sovereignty and the preservation of internal security; in practice, external security is guaranteed by South Africa; the LDF is a small force comprised of about a half dozen infantry companies; it began in 1964 as the Police Mobile Unit (PMU); the PMU was designated as the Lesotho Paramilitary Force in 1980 and became the Royal Lesotho Defense Force in 1986; it was renamed the Lesotho Defense Force in 1993 (2024)

Liberia

the AFL is responsible for external defense but also has some domestic security responsibilities if called upon, such as humanitarian assistance during natural disasters and support to law enforcement; it is a small, lightly equipped force comprised of two combat infantry battalions and supporting units; the infantry battalions were rebuilt with US assistance in 2007-2008 from the restructured AFL following the end of the second civil war in 2003 when military and police forces were disbanded and approximately 100,000 military, police, and rebel combatants were disarmed

the first militia unit established for defense of the colony was raised in 1832; the AFL traces its origins to the 1908 establishment of the Liberia Frontier Force, which became the Liberian National Guard in 1965; the AFL was established in 1970

the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was established in 2003 as a peacekeeping force; at its height, UNMIL was comprised of about 15,000 personnel, including more than 3,000 troops absorbed from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) peacekeeping mission; Liberian forces reassumed full control of the country’s security in June of 2016, and the UNMIL mission was ended in 2018 (2023)

Libya

Turkey has provided military advisers to train and assist western/GNU Libyan forces and sent thousands of Syrian mercenaries to Libya, as well as ammunition, weapons, and aerial drones; Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt have been the main supporters of the LNA; Russia has provided as many as 2,000 private military contractors; the LNA has also used fighters from other countries, including Chad, Sudan, and Syria; GNU and LNA forces are separated by a fortified line of control running roughly from the coastal city of Sirte south to the vicinity of Al Jufra and Brak (2023)

Lithuania

the Lithuanian Armed Forces are responsible for the defense of the country’s interests, sovereignty, and territory, fulfilling Lithuania’s commitments to NATO and European security, and contributing to UN international peacekeeping efforts; Russia is Lithuania’s primary security focus, which has only increased since the Russian seizure of Crimea in 2014 and subsequent full-scale attack on Ukraine in 2022; Lithuania has been a member of NATO since 2004 and is reliant on the Alliance as the country’s security guarantor; it is actively engaged in both NATO and EU security, as well as bilaterally with allies such as the other Baltic States, Germany, Poland, the UK, Ukraine, and the US; the Lithuanian military has participated in NATO and EU missions abroad and regularly conducts training and exercises with NATO and EU partner forces; it hosts NATO forces, is a member of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, and contributes troops to a multinational brigade with Poland and Ukraine; Lithuania participated in its first UN peacekeeping mission in 1994

since 2017, Lithuania has hosted a German-led multinational NATO ground force battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative; NATO has also provided air protection for Lithuania since 2004 through its Baltic Air Policing mission; NATO member countries that possess air combat capabilities voluntarily contribute to the mission on four-month rotations; NATO fighter aircraft are hosted at Lithuania’s Šiauliai Air Base (2024)

Luxembourg

founded in 1881, the Luxembourg Army is responsible for the defense of the country and fulfilling the Grand Duchy’s commitments to NATO, European security, and international peacekeeping, as well as providing support to civil authorities in the event of emergencies, such as floods or disease outbreaks; the Army is an active participant in EU, NATO, and UN missions and has contributed small numbers of troops to multinational operations in such places as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Mali, Mozambique, and Uganda; it trains and exercises regularly with EU and NATO partners and has contributed to the NATO battlegroup forward deployed in Lithuania since 2017; Luxembourg was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) establishing NATO in 1949

in 2015, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg signed an agreement to conduct joint air policing of their territories; under the agreement, which went into effect in January 2017, the Belgian and Dutch Air Forces trade responsibility for patrolling the skies over the three countries (2024)

Macau

defense is the responsibility of China; the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) maintains a garrison in Macau

Madagascar

the PAF’s responsibilities include ensuring sovereignty and territorial integrity and protecting Madagascar’s maritime domain, particularly against piracy, drug trafficking, and smuggling; it also assists the Gendarmerie with maintaining law and order in rural areas, largely in areas affected by banditry, cattle rustling, and criminal groups; the PAF has a history of having influence in domestic politics and a lack of accountability; members of the Army and the Gendarmerie were arrested for coup plotting as recently as 2021; its closest defense partners have been India and Russia; the PAF’s small Navy has traditionally looked to India for assistance with maritime security (2023)

Malawi

the MDF’s primary responsibility is external security; it is also tasked as necessary with providing support to civilian authorities during emergencies, supporting the Police Service, protecting national forest reserves, and participating in regional peacekeeping missions, as well as assisting with infrastructure development; it is generally considered to be a professional and effective service, although most of its equipment is aging and obsolescent; Malawi contributes regularly to African Union and UN peace support operations

the MDF was established in 1964 from elements of the Kings African Rifles (KAR), a British colonial regiment raised from Great Britain's various possessions in East Africa from 1902 until independence in the 1960s; the KAR conducted both military and internal security functions within the colonial territories, and served outside the territories during the World Wars (2023)

Malaysia

the Malaysian military is primarily focused on internal and maritime security and responding to natural disasters; maritime security has received increased emphasis in recent years, particularly anti-piracy operations in the Strait of Malacca and countering Chinese incursions in Malaysia’s Economic Exclusion Zone, as well as addressing identified shortfalls in maritime capabilities; as such, Malaysia has undertaken efforts to procure more modern ships, improve air and maritime surveillance, expand the Navy’s support infrastructure (particularly bases/ports) and domestic ship-building capacities, restructure naval command and control, and increase naval cooperation with regional and international partners; as of 2023, for example, the Navy had five frigates on order (due in 2026-2029), which would increase the number of operational frigates from two to seven, and complement its small inventory of littoral combat ships (comparable to light frigates in capabilities) and offshore patrol vessels; in addition, the Navy conducts air and naval patrols with Indonesia and the Philippines; it also cooperates with the US military, including on maritime surveillance and training

Malaysia is a member of the Five Powers Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK; the FPDA commits the members to consult with one another in the event or threat of an armed attack on any of the members and to mutually decide what measures should be taken, jointly or separately; there is no specific obligation to intervene militarily (2023)

Maldives

the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) is responsible for defending and safeguarding the Maldives' territorial integrity, economic exclusion zone, and people; it is also responsible for disaster relief, and if requested, assisting the Maldives Police Service in maintaining internal security and law and order; the MNDF is organized into four area commands and a functional Special Forces command; the head of the MNDF reports to the Minister of Defense (2023)

Mali

the FAMa is responsible for defense of the country’s sovereignty and territory, but also has some domestic security duties, including the maintenance of public order and support to law enforcement if required, as well as counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations; it also participates in socio-economic development projects; the military has traditionally played a large role in Mali’s politics; prior to the coup in August 2020 and military takeover in May 2021, it had intervened in the political arena at least five times since the country gained independence in 1960 (1968, 1976, 1978, 1991, 2012)

the FAMa and other security forces are actively engaged in operations against several insurgent/terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qa'ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), as well as other rebel groups, communal militias, and criminal bands spread across the central, northern, and southern regions of the country; the government is reportedly in control of only an estimated 10-20% of the country's central and northern territories, and attacks have increased in the more heavily populated south, including around the capital Bamako; the Macina Liberation Front (FLM), part of the Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) coalition of al-Qa'ida-linked terror groups, has played a large role in a surge in violence in Mali’s central and southern regions; in the north, ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) has regained strength in recent years

the FAMa and the remainder of the security forces collapsed in 2012 during the fighting against Tuareg rebels and Islamic militants and have since been rebuilt with considerable external assistance, including the EU, France, and the UN; for example, the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) from 2013-2022 trained as many as 15,000 Malian soldiers and eight combined arms battalions/battlegroups (Groupement Tactique InterArmes, GTIA), each of which was structured to be self-sufficient with its own motorized/mechanized infantry, light armor, commandos, artillery, engineers, and other support forces; the EUTM and the French military ended their missions in 2022 citing issues with the ruling military government, including human rights abuses and the presence of Russian private military contractors; the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) operated in the country from 2013-2023 with the mission of providing security, rebuilding Malian security forces, protecting civilians, supporting national political dialogue, and assisting in the reestablishment of Malian government authority; MINUSMA had more than 15,000 personnel at its peak strength and lost over 300 peacekeepers during the course of the mission, which was concluded at the end of 2023 after the ruling junta demanded the withdrawal of foreign forces

the military government has increased security ties with Russia; Russia has provided military equipment, and in December 2021, Mali contracted with a Russian private military company to provide training and other support for local armed forces, as well as security for senior Malian officials (2024)

Malta

the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) are responsible for external security but also have some domestic security responsibilities; the AFM’s primary roles include maintaining the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, monitoring and policing its territorial waters, participating in overseas peacekeeping and stability operations, and providing search and rescue and explosive ordnance disposal capabilities; secondary missions include assisting civil authorities during emergencies, supporting the police and other security services, and providing ceremonial and other public support duties

Malta maintains a security policy of neutrality but contributes to EU and UN military missions and joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1995 (suspended in 1996, but reactivated in 2008); it also participates in various bilateral and multinational military exercises; Malta cooperates closely with Italy on defense matters; in 1973, Italy established a military mission in Malta to provide advice, training, and search and rescue assistance (2023)

Marshall Islands

defense is the responsibility of the US; in 1982, the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the US, which granted the Marshall Islands financial assistance and access to many US domestic programs in exchange for exclusive US military access and defense responsibilities; the COFA entered into force in 1986, and its funding was renewed in 2003; the Marshall Islands hosts a US Army missile test site 

the Marshall Islands have a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within its designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2024)

Mauritania

founded in 1960, the Mauritanian military is responsible for territorial defense and internal security; it also assists in economic development projects, humanitarian missions, and disaster response; securing the border and countering terrorist groups operating in the Sahel, particularly from Mali, are key operational priorities; since a spate of deadly terrorist attacks on civilian and military targets in the 2005-2011 timeframe, the Mauritanian Government has increased the defense budget (up 40% between 2008 and 2018) and military equipment acquisitions, enhanced military training, heightened security cooperation with its neighbors and the international community, and built up the military’s counterinsurgency and counterterrorism forces and capabilities; equipment acquisitions have prioritized mobility, flexibility, and intelligence collection, including light ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft, assault helicopters, patrol vessels, light trucks, and surveillance radars; Mauritania has received foreign security assistance from France, NATO, and the US in areas such as commando/special forces operations, counterterrorism, and professional military education (2023)

Mauritius

the country’s primary security partner is India, and Indian naval vessels often patrol Mauritian waters; the MPF has also received assistance and training from France, the UK, and the US; the MPF’s chief security concerns are piracy and narcotics trafficking

the Special Mobile Force was created in 1960 following the withdrawal of the British garrison (2023)

Mexico

the Mexican military is responsible for defending the independence, integrity, and sovereignty of Mexico, as well as providing for internal security, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, and socio-economic development; in recent years, internal security duties have been a key focus, particularly in countering narcotics trafficking and organized crime groups, as well as border control and immigration enforcement; the constitution was amended in 2019 to grant the president the authority to use the armed forces to protect internal and national security, and courts have upheld the legality of the armed forces’ role in law enforcement activities in support of civilian authorities through 2028; the military also provides security for strategic facilities, such as oil production infrastructure, and administers most of the country's land and sea ports and customs services, plus the approximately 2,700 branches of a state-owned development bank; in addition, President LOPEZ OBRADOR has placed the military in charge of a growing number of infrastructure projects, such as building and operating a new airport for Mexico City and sections of a train line in the country’s southeast (2023)

Micronesia, Federated States of

defense is the responsibility of the US; in 1982, the FSM signed a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the US, which granted the FSM financial assistance and access to many US domestic programs in exchange for exclusive US military access and defense responsibilities; the COFA entered into force in 1986 and its funding was renewed in 2003; Micronesians can serve in the US armed forces

the FSM has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within the FSM's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2024)

Moldova

the National Army is responsible for defense against external aggression, suppressing illegal military violence along the state border or inside the country, and supporting other internal security forces in maintaining public order if necessary; its primary focuses are Transnistrian separatist forces and their Russian backers; the 1992 war between Moldovan forces and the Transnistrian separatists backed by Russian troops ended with a cease-fire; the separatists maintain several armed paramilitary combat units, plus other security forces and reserves; Russia maintains approximately 1,500 troops in the breakaway region, including some Transnistrian locals who serve as Russian troops; some troops are under the authority of a peacekeeping force known as a Joint Control Commission that also includes Moldovan and separatist personnel, while the remainder of the Russian contingent (Operational Group of Russian Forces - Transnistria or OGF-T) guard a depot of Soviet-era ammunition and train Transnistrian separatist forces

Moldova is constitutionally neutral but has maintained a relationship with NATO since 1992; bilateral cooperation started when Moldova joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1994; Moldova has contributed small numbers of troops to NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) since 2014, and a civilian NATO liaison office was established in Moldova in 2017 at the request of the Moldovan Government to promote practical cooperation and facilitate support (2023)

Monaco

defense is the responsibility of France

Mongolia

the MAF traditionally has focused on counterterrorism, disaster response, and international peacekeeping duties; the Ground Force is the military’s primary service and is centered on a motorized infantry brigade; it also has a battalion devoted to peacekeeping duties and hosts an annual international peacekeeping exercise known as “Khaan Quest”; Mongolia’s primary military partner is Russia, and in addition to receiving Russian military equipment, the MAF participates in Russia’s large “Vostok” exercise, which is conducted every four years; the MAF has a growing relationship with the US military

Mongolia has been engaged in dialogue and cooperation with NATO since 2005 and is considered by NATO to be a global partner; Mongolia supported the NATO-led Kosovo Force from 2005-2007 and contributed troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from 2009-2014, as well as to the follow-on Resolute Support Mission that provided training, advice, and other assistance to the Afghan security forces (2015-2021) (2023)

Montenegro

the Army of Montenegro is a small military focused on the defense of Montenegro’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, cooperating in international and multinational security, and assisting civil authorities during emergencies such as natural disasters; since Montenegro joined NATO in 2017, another focus has been integrating into the Alliance, including adapting NATO standards for planning and professionalization, structural reforms, and modernization by replacing its Soviet-era equipment; the Army trains and exercises with NATO partners and actively supports NATO missions and operations, committing small numbers of troops in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Eastern Europe; a few personnel have also been deployed on EU- and UN-led operations (2023)

Montserrat

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Morocco

the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) are responsible for defending Morocco’s territorial integrity; key areas of concern for the FAR include regional challenges such as the Polisario Front in Western Sahara and Algeria; Morocco claims the territory of Western Sahara and administers the territory that it controls; the Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), an organization that seeks the territory’s independence, disputes Morocco’s claim of sovereignty over the territory; Moroccan and Polisario forces fought intermittently from 1975, when Spain relinquished colonial authority over the territory, until a 1991 cease-fire and the establishment of a UN peacekeeping mission; the Polisario withdrew from the cease-fire in November 2020, and since then there have been reports of intermittent indirect fire between the FAR and Polisario fighters across the 2,500-kilometer-long berm built in 1987 that separates the two sides; Algeria is considered a regional rival and has openly backed the Polisario Front

the FAR has experience in counterinsurgency, desert warfare, and international peacekeeping and security operations; it participates in both bilateral and multinational exercises and has relations with a variety of partners including the militaries of France, Spain, and the US, as well as NATO, the Arab League, and the African Union; the FAR provided fighter aircraft to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen from 2015-2019; Morocco has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

the FAR was created in May 1956; large numbers of Moroccans were recruited for service in the Spahi and Tirailleur regiments of the French Army of Africa during the period of the French protectorate (1912-1956); many Moroccans fought under the French Army during both World Wars; after World War II, Moroccans formed part of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps during the First Indochina War (1946-1954); the Spanish Army recruited Moroccans from the Spanish Protectorate during both the Rif War (1921-26) and the Spanish Civil War (1936-39)

the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established by Security Council resolution 690 in April 1991 in accordance with settlement proposals accepted in August 1988 by Morocco and the Polisario Front; MINURSO was unable to carry out all the original settlement proposals, but continues to monitor the cease-fire and reduce the threat of mines and unexploded ordnance, and has provided logistic support to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with personnel and air and ground assets (2023)

Mozambique

the FADM is responsible for external security, cooperating with police on internal security, and responding to natural disasters and other emergencies; the current primary focus of the FADM is countering an insurgency driven by militants with ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, an area known for rich liquid natural gas deposits; insurgent attacks in the province began in 2017, and the fighting has left an estimated 6,000 dead and 1 million displaced; several countries from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the EU, as well as Rwanda and the US have provided various forms of military assistance to the FADM; the SADC countries and Rwanda have sent more than 3,000 military and security personnel, while some EU member states and the US have provided training assistance; in early 2024, the SADC began withdrawing personnel, although the insurgency remained active (2024)

Namibia

the NDF’s primary responsibility is external security; it has participated in UN and regional peacekeeping and security missions and provides assistance to civil authorities as needed; it also participates in multinational training exercises

the NDF was created in 1990, largely from demobilized former members of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and the South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF); the PLAN was the armed wing of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO), while SWATF was an auxiliary of the South African Defense Force and comprised the armed forces of the former South West Africa, 1977-1989; from 1990-1995, the British military assisted with the forming and training the NDF (2023)

Nauru

under an informal agreement, defense is the responsibility of Australia

Nauru has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Nauru's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2023)

Navassa Island

defense is the responsibility of the US

Nepal

the Nepali Army is a lightly equipped force responsible for territorial defense, although it has some domestic duties such as disaster relief/humanitarian assistance and nature conservation efforts; during the 10-year civil war that ended in 2006, it conducted extensive counterinsurgency operations against Maoist guerrillas; the Army also has a long and distinguished history of supporting UN missions, having sent its first UN observers to Lebanon in 1958 and its first troop contingent to Egypt in 1974; as of 2023, nearly 150,000 Nepali military personnel had deployed on over 40 UN missions; the Army conducts training with foreign partners, including China, India, and the US

the British began to recruit Nepalese citizens (Gurkhas) into the East India Company Army during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816); the Gurkhas subsequently were brought into the British Indian Army and by 1914, there were 10 Gurkha regiments, collectively known as the Gurkha Brigade; following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India, and Great Britain allowed for the transfer of the 10 regiments from the British Indian Army to the separate British and Indian armies; four regiments were transferred to the British Army, where they have since served continuously as the Brigade of Gurkhas; six Gurkha (aka Gorkha in India) regiments went to the new Indian Army; a seventh regiment was later added; Gurkhas are also recruited into the Singaporean Police and a special guard in the Sultanate of Brunei known as the Gurkha Reserve Unit (2024)

Netherlands

the Dutch military is charged with the three core tasks of defending the country’s national territory and that of its allies, enforcing the national and international rule of law, and providing assistance during disasters and other crises; it also has some domestic security duties, including in the Dutch Caribbean territories; the military operates globally but rarely carries out military operations independently and focuses on cooperating with the armed forces of other countries, particularly with Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the UK 

the Netherlands has been a member of NATO since its founding in 1949, and the Dutch military is heavily involved in NATO missions and operations with air, ground, and naval forces, including air policing missions over the Benelux countries and Eastern Europe, NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, and several NATO naval flotillas, as well as standby units for NATO’s rapid response force; the military has previously deployed forces to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo and also regularly contributes to EU- and UN-led missions; Royal Netherlands Marechaussee detachments have been included in international police units deployed by NATO

the Dutch Army has especially close ties with the German Army, including having its air mobile and mechanized brigades assigned to German divisional headquarters; in addition, the Army shares with the Germans command of a NATO high-readiness corps-level headquarters, which can be ready for deployment inside or outside NATO territory within 20 days; in 2020, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands formed a joint composite special operations component command

founded in the late 1400s, the Royal Netherlands Navy is one of the oldest naval forces in the World and conducts a variety of missions worldwide; in addition to its close ties with NATO, the Navy cooperates closely with the Belgian Navy, including a joint staff known as the Admiralty Benelux; it has a command responsible for the activities of Dutch naval units in the Caribbean, which includes combating drug trafficking, environmental crime, and illegal fishing, as well as providing search and rescue and disaster relief capabilities; the Netherlands has naval bases on Curaçao and Aruba; since 1973, the Dutch Marine Corps has worked closely with the British Royal Marines, including jointly in the UK-Netherlands amphibious landing force

the Dutch military is also part of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a defense framework of 10 Northern European nations designed to provide security to the High North, North Atlantic, and the Baltic Sea Region in response to a crisis (2023)

New Caledonia

defense is the responsibility of France

New Zealand

the NZDF is a small military with considerable overseas experience; it supports the country’s national security objectives by protecting New Zealand’s sovereignty, promoting its interests, safeguarding peace and security, and conducting peacekeeping, humanitarian, and other international missions

New Zealand is a member of the Five Powers Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK; the FPDA commits the members to consult with one another in the event or threat of an armed attack on any of the members and to mutually decide what measures should be taken, jointly or separately; there is no specific obligation to intervene militarily

New Zealand has been part of the Australia, New Zealand, and US Security (ANZUS) Treaty since 1951; however, the US suspended its ANZUS security obligations to New Zealand in 1986 after New Zealand implemented a policy barring nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered warships from its ports; the US and New Zealand signed the Wellington Declaration in 2010, which reaffirmed close ties between the two countries, and in 2012 signed the Washington Declaration, which provided a framework for future security cooperation and defense dialogues; in 2016, a US naval ship conducted the first bilateral warship visit to New Zealand since the 1980s; New Zealand has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation (2024)

Nicaragua

the military is responsible for defending Nicaragua’s independence, sovereignty, and territory, but also has some domestic security responsibilities; key tasks include border security, assisting the police, protecting natural resources, and providing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance; it has ties with the militaries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia; Russia has provided training support and equipment 

the modern Army of Nicaragua was created in 1979 as the Sandinista Popular Army (1979-1984); prior to 1979, the military was known as the National Guard, which was organized and trained by the US in the 1920s and 1930s; the first commander of the National Guard, Anastasio SOMOZA GARCIA, seized power in 1937 and ran the country as a military dictator until his assassination in 1956; his sons ran the country either directly or through figureheads until the Sandinistas came to power in 1979; the defeated National Guard was disbanded by the Sandinistas (2024)

Niger

while the FAN is responsible for ensuring external security, most of its focus is on internal counterinsurgency/counterterrorism operations against terrorist groups operating in the areas bordering Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria, as well as much of northern Niger and the Diffa and Lake Chad regions; these groups include the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) in the Greater Sahara, Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM)

the FAN has conducted training and combat operations with foreign partners, including the French and US; the EU has also provided security assistance, particularly to the Gendarmerie (GN), National Guard (GNN), and the National Police; the FAN also conducts counterterrorism operations with the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), which coordinates the Lake Chad states’ operations against Boko Haram; it conducted counterinsurgency operations against Taureg rebels during the periods of 1990-95 and 2007-09

in recent years, Niger has focused on making its security services more mobile to improve their effectiveness in countering terrorism and protecting the country’s borders; with training support and material assistance from the US and the EU, each security service has created new units or reconfigured existing units with an emphasis on mobility, hybridization, and specialized training; since the 2010s, the Army has created a special operations command, several special intervention battalions, and an anti-terrorism unit known as the 1st Expeditionary Force of Niger (EFoN); the GN has created mobile units modeled on European gendarmerie forces known as the Rapid Action Group—Surveillance and Response in the Sahel (Groupe d'action Rapides—Surveillance et Intervention au Sahel or GAR-SI Sahel); the National Guard (GNN) has developed mobile Multipurpose Squadrons (Escadrons Polyvalentes de la Garde Nationale de Niger or EP-GNN), while the National Police have created Mobile Border Control Companies (Compagnie Mobile de Contrôle des Frontières or CMCF); Niger has also established training centers for special forces in Tillia and peacekeeping in Ouallam; meanwhile, the Air Force has received armed UAVs from Turkey

the Army was established in 1960 from French colonial forces, while the Air Force was formed as the Niger National Escadrille in 1961; the GN received its first Nigerien commander in 1962; since its establishment, Niger’s military has played a significant role in the country’s politics, conducting coups in 1974, 1996, 1999, and 2010, and ruling Niger for much of the period before 1999; it seized control of the government again in 2023 (2023)

Nigeria

the Nigerian military is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest and regarded as one of its most capable forces; the military's primary concerns are internal and maritime security, and it faces a number of challenges; the Army is deployed in all 36 of the country's states; in the northeast, it is conducting counterinsurgency/counterterrorist operations against the Boko Haram (BH) and Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in West Africa (ISIS-WA) terrorist groups, where it has deployed as many as 70,000 troops at times and jihadist-related violence has killed an estimated 35-40,000 people, mostly civilians, since 2009; in the northwest, it faces growing threats from criminal gangs--locally referred to as bandits--and violence associated with long-standing farmer-herder conflicts, as well as BH and ISIS-WA terrorists; bandits in the northwestern Nigeria are estimated to number in the low 10,000s and violence there has killed more than 10,000 people since the mid-2010s; the military also continues to protect the oil industry in the Niger Delta region against militants and criminal activity; since 2021, additional troops and security forces have been deployed to eastern Nigeria to quell renewed agitation for a state of Biafra (Biafra seceded from Nigeria in the late 1960s, sparking a civil war that caused more than 1 million deaths)

the Navy is focused on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea; since 2016, it has developed a maritime strategy, boosted naval training and its naval presence in the Gulf, increased participation in regional maritime security efforts, and acquired a number of new naval platforms, including offshore and coastal patrol craft, fast attack boats, and air assets

the Nigerian military traces its origins to the Nigeria Regiment of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF), a multi-regiment force formed by the British colonial office in 1900 to garrison the West African colonies of Nigeria (Lagos and the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria), Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and Gambia; the WAFF served with distinction in both East and West Africa during World War I; in 1928, it received royal recognition and was re-named the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF); the RWAFF went on to serve in World War II as part of the British 81st and 82nd (West African) divisions in the East Africa and Burma campaigns; in 1956, the Nigeria Regiment of the RWAFF was renamed the Nigerian Military Forces (NMF) and in 1958, the colonial government of Nigeria took over control of the NMF from the British War Office; the Nigerian Armed Forces were established following independence in 1960 (2023)

Niue

defense is the responsibility of New Zealand

Norfolk Island

defense is the responsibility of Australia

North Macedonia

the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia (ARSM) is responsible for the defense of the country’s territory and independence, fulfilling North Macedonia’s commitments to NATO and European security, and contributing to EU, NATO, and UN peace and security missions; the ARSM has participated in multinational missions and operations in Afghanistan (NATO), Bosnia and Herzegovina (EU), Eastern Europe (NATO), Iraq (NATO), Kosovo (NATO), and Lebanon (UN); a key area of focus over the past decade has been improving capabilities and bringing the largely Soviet-era-equipped ARSM up to NATO standards; it has increased its participation in NATO training exercises since becoming the 30th member of the Alliance in 2020 and currently has small numbers of combat troops deployed to Bulgaria and Romania as part of NATO’s Enhance Forward Presence mission implemented because of Russian military aggression against Ukraine (2024)

Northern Mariana Islands

defense is the responsibility of the US

Norway

the Norwegian Armed Forces (Forsvaret) are responsible for protecting Norway and its allies, including monitoring Norway’s airspace, digital, land, and maritime areas, maintaining the country’s borders and sovereignty, contributing to NATO and UN missions, and providing support to civil society, such as assisting the police, search and rescue, and maritime counterterrorism efforts; the military’s territorial and sovereignty defense missions are complicated by Norway’s vast sea areas, numerous islands, long and winding fjords, and difficult and mountainous terrain; a key area of emphasis is its far northern border with Russia

Norway is one of the original members of NATO, and the Alliance is a key component of Norway’s defense policy; the Forsvaret participates regularly in NATO exercises, missions, and operations, including air policing of NATO territory, NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, and standing naval missions, as well as operations in non-NATO areas, such as the Middle East; the Forsvaret also cooperates closely with the militaries of other Nordic countries through the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO; established 2009), which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden; areas of cooperation include armaments, education, human resources, training and exercises, and operations; Norway contributes to the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a pool of high-readiness military forces from 10 Baltic and Scandinavian countries designed to respond to a wide range of contingencies both in peacetime and in times of crisis or conflict with a focus on the High North, North Atlantic, and Baltic Sea regions; the Forsvaret participates in UN missions in such areas as Africa and the Middle East; Norway has close military ties with the US, including rotational US military deployments and an agreement allowing for mutual defense activities and US military forces to access some Norwegian facilities

the Forsvaret's origins go back to the leidangen, defense forces which were established along the coastline in the 10th century to protect the Norwegian coast (2024)

Oman

the SAF’s primary responsibility is external security; it is a small but well-equipped military that trains regularly, including with foreign partners such as the UK, US, and Gulf Cooperation Council countries; the SAF has a longstanding security relationship with the British military going back to the 18th century; the relationship was notable during the Dhofar Rebellion (1963-1976), when the British military provided considerable assistance to the SAF in their eventually successful counterinsurgency campaign; today, the SAF and the British maintain a joint training base in Oman and exercise together regularly; in 2017, Oman and the UK signed an agreement allowing the British military the use of facilities at Al Duqm Port; in 2019, the US obtained access to the port, expanding on previous military cooperation agreements in 2014, 2010, and 1980; Oman also allows other nations to use some of its maritime facilities, including China

Oman has a small but relatively modern navy that conducts maritime security operations along the country’s long coastline, including patrolling, ensuring freedom of navigation in the key naval chokepoint of the Strait of Hormuz, and countering piracy and smuggling; while Oman is not a member of the US-led, multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which operates task forces to counter piracy and smuggling, the Omani Navy has at times participated in CMF-led joint exercises (2023)

Pakistan

the Pakistan military operates largely independently and without effective civilian oversight; it has ruled the country for more than 30 years since independence in 1947 and continues to play a significant role in Pakistan's political arena; it also has a large stake in the country’s economic sector and is involved in a diverse array of commercial activities, including banking, construction of public projects, employment services, energy and power generation, fertilizer, food, housing, real estate, and security services

the military is responsible for external defense but also has a large role in domestic security; its chief external focus is on the perceived threat posed by India; the military is the lead security agency in many areas of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA); it has considerable operational experience, having engaged in several conflicts with India and conducted counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations for decades against various militant groups in the former FATA; it is also one of the longest serving and largest contributors to UN peacekeeping missions; China is its closest security partner

Pakistan and India have fought several conflicts since 1947, including the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 and the Indo-Pakistan and Bangladesh War of Independence of 1971, as well as two clashes over the disputed region of Kashmir (First Kashmir War of 1947 and the Kargil Conflict of 1999); a fragile cease-fire in Kashmir was reached in 2003, revised in 2018, and reaffirmed in 2021, although the Line of Control remains contested, and India has accused Pakistan of backing armed separatists and terrorist organizations in Jammu and Kashmir; in addition, India and Pakistan have battled over the Siachen Glacier of Kashmir, which was seized by India in 1984 with Pakistan attempting to retake the area in 1985, 1987, and 1995; despite a cease-fire, as of 2023 both sides continued to maintain a permanent military presence there with outposts at altitudes above 20,000 feet (over 6,000 meters) where most casualties were due to extreme weather or the hazards of operating in the high mountain terrain of the world’s highest conflict, including avalanches, exposure, and altitude sickness

Pakistan has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation (2023)

Palau

under the Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US is responsible for the defense of Palau and the US military is granted access to the islands; the COFA also allows citizens of Palau to serve in the US armed forces

Palau has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Palau's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2024)

Panama

the Panama National Police is principally responsible for internal law enforcement and public order, while the National Border Service handles border security; the Aeronaval Service is responsible for carrying out air and naval operations that include some internal security responsibilities; key areas of focus are countering narcotics trafficking and securing the border, particularly along the southern border with Colombia where the National Border Service (SENAFRONT) maintains a significant presence

Panama created a paramilitary National Guard (Guardia Nacional de Panamá) in the 1950s from the former National Police (established 1904); the National Guard subsequently evolved into more of a military force with some police responsibilities; it seized power in a coup in 1968 and military officers ran the country until 1989; in 1983, the National Guard was renamed the Panama Defense Force (PDF); the PDF was disbanded after the 1989 US invasion and the current national police forces were formed in 1990; the armed forces were officially abolished under the 1994 Constitution (2024)

Papua New Guinea

the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF) is a small and lightly armed force tasked with defense of the country and its territories against external attack, as well as internal security and socio-economic development duties; following some inter-tribal violence in Wapenamanda in early 2024, the PNGDF was given arrest powers

the PNGDF was established in 1973, and its primary combat unit, the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (RPIR), is descended from Australian Army infantry battalions comprised of native soldiers and led by Australian officers and non-commissioned officers formed during World War II to help fight the Japanese; the RPIR was disbanded after the war, but reestablished in 1951 as part of the Australian Army where it continued to serve until Papua New Guinea (PNG) gained its independence in 1975, when it became part of the PNGDF

PNG's security partners include Australia, France, Indonesia, New Zealand, the UK, and the US; the US and PNG signed a defense cooperation agreement in 2023, which included a shiprider agreement that provides the opportunity for PNG personnel to work on US Coast Guard and US Navy vessels, and vice versa, to tackle maritime crime such as illegal fishing; the agreement also allowed the US military to develop and operate out of bases in PNG with the PNG Government’s approval (2024)

Paracel Islands

occupied by China, which is assessed to maintain 20 outposts in the Paracels (Antelope, Bombay, and North reefs; Drummond, Duncan, Lincoln, Middle, Money, North, Pattle, Quanfu, Robert, South, Tree, Triton, Woody, and Yagong islands; South Sand and West Sand; Observation Bank); the outposts range in size from one or two buildings to bases with significant military infrastructure; Woody Island is the main base in the Paracels and includes an airstrip with fighter aircraft hangers, naval facilities, surveillance radars, and defenses such as surface-to-air missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles; combat aircraft have deployed to the island (2024)

Paraguay

the Paraguayan military is responsible for external defense but also has some domestic security duties; while the National Police are responsible for maintaining internal security, the military works with the police through a Joint Task Force (Fuerza de Tarea Conjunta or FTC) in combatting the Paraguayan People’s Army (Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo or EPP) and transnational criminal organizations; the military has an Internal Defense Operations Command (Comando de Defensa Interna or CODI), which includes the Army, Navy, and Air Force, to coordinate internal security support to the police and other security organizations, such as the National Anti-Drug Secretariat or SENAD

the EPP is a domestic criminal/guerrilla group initially dedicated to a Marxist-Leninist revolution in Paraguay that operates in the rural northern part of the country along the border with Brazil; the activities of the EPP and its offshoots—Marsical López’s Army (EML) and the Armed Peasant Association (ACA)—have consisted largely of isolated attacks on remote police and army posts, or against ranchers and peasants accused of aiding Paraguayan security forces

the Paraguayan military is a small force by regional standards, and its limited equipment inventory is largely obsolete, with some of it pre-dating World War II; it has deployed small numbers of troops on UN missions and cooperates with neighboring countries, such as Argentina and Brazil, on security issues, particularly organized crime and narco-trafficking in what is known as the Tri-Border Area; Paraguay has not fought a war against a neighboring country since the Chaco War with Bolivia in the 1930s (2023)

Peru

the Peruvian Armed Forces (FAP) are responsible for external defense in addition to some domestic security responsibilities in designated emergency areas and in exceptional circumstances; key areas of focus include counterinsurgency, counternarcotics, disaster relief, and maritime security operations; the FAP has contributed to UN missions since 1958 and has ties to regional militaries, particularly Colombia, as well as those of numerous other countries such as China, Russia, Spain, and the US; the FAP’s last external conflict was a brief border war with Ecuador in 1995; the FAP supported the police during anti-government protests in early 2023 and was accused of human rights violations 

the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Peru (Comando Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas del Perú or CCFFAA) has responsibility for the planning, preparation, coordination, and direction of the military’s operations; the CCFFAA has oversight over commands for air, air defense, cyber, maritime, and special operations, as well as five regional commands (Amazonas, central, north, south, and Ucayali) and a Special Command of the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro rivers (CE-VRAEM); CE-VRAEM is responsible for combating the remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group (aka Sendero Luminoso; see Appendix T) and includes several thousand air, ground, naval, police, and special forces personnel; the FAP also provides aircraft, vehicles, and logistical support to the command (2023)

Philippines

the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were formally organized during the American colonial period as the Philippine Army; they were established by the National Defense Act of 1935 and were comprised of both Filipinos and Americans

the US and Philippines agreed to a mutual defense treaty in 1951; in 2014, the two governments signed an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that established new parameters for military cooperation; under the EDCA, the Philippine Government may grant US troops access to Philippine military bases on a rotational basis “for security cooperation exercises, joint and combined military training activities, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities”; the Philippines has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

the Philippine Government faces a number of internal threats from several armed separatists, terrorists, and criminal groups; as such, much of the AFP's operational focus is internal security, particularly in the south, where several separatist Islamic insurgent and terrorist groups operate and up to 60% of the AFP is typically deployed; additional combat operations are conducted against the Communist People’s Party/New People’s Army, which is active mostly on Luzon, as well as the Visayas and areas of Mindanao; prior to a peace deal in 2014, the AFP fought a decades-long conflict against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a separatist organization based mostly on the island of Mindanao; the MILF's armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), had up to 40,000 fighters under arms

the AFP's naval forces are also involved in interdiction operations against terrorist, insurgent, and criminal groups around the southern islands, including joint maritime patrols with Indonesia and Malaysia, particularly in the Sulu Sea; rising tensions with China over disputed waters and land features in the South China Sea since 2012 has spurred the AFP to place more emphasis on blue-water naval capabilities, including acquiring larger warships such frigates, corvettes, offshore patrol vessels, and a landing platform dock (LPD) amphibious assault ship

the Philippines National Police (PNP) has an active role in counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations alongside the AFP, particularly the Special Action Force, a PNP commando unit that specializes in urban counter-terrorism operations (2023)

Pitcairn Islands

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Poland

Poland’s geographic location on NATO’s eastern flank and its history of foreign invasion underpin the Polish military’s heavy focus on territorial and border defense and supporting its NATO and EU security commitments; its chief concern is Russian aggression, particularly following Moscow’s seizure of Crimea in 2014 and full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine in 2022, which has led to increased defense spending and modernization efforts, as well as efforts to boost the NATO and US military presence in Poland

since 2014, Poland has been hosting several NATO military formations designed to enhance the defense of Poland and NATO’s eastern flank, including a US-led multinational NATO ground force battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative, NATO fighter detachments at Malbork Air Base, a NATO-led divisional headquarters (Multinational Division Northeast), which coordinates training and preparation activities of its respective subordinate battlegroups in Poland and Lithuania, and a corps-level NATO field headquarters (Multinational Corps Northeast); since 2022, the US has established a permanent corps headquarters in Poland to command US rotational forces in Europe; Poland also participates in a variety of EU and NATO military deployments in Africa, the Baltic States, Southern Europe, and the Middle East; Poland provided considerable support to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, where more than 30,000 military personnel served over a 20-year period before the mission ended in 2021 (2023)

Portugal

the Portuguese military is an all-volunteer force with the primary responsibilities of external defense, humanitarian operations, and fulfilling Portugal’s commitments to European and international security; maritime security has long been a key component of the military's portfolio, and Portugal has one of the world's oldest navies

Portugal was one of the original signers of the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949 establishing NATO, and the Alliance forms a key pillar of Portugal’s defense policy; Portugal is also a signatory of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy, and it regularly participates in a variety of EU, NATO, and UN deployments around the world; the military’s largest commitments include air, ground, and naval forces under NATO-led missions and standing task forces in the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean Sea; the military also participates regularly in exercises with NATO partners (2023)

Puerto Rico

defense is the responsibility of the US

Qatar

the QAF is a small and well-equipped force that is responsible for defense against external threats; following the downturn in ties with Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in the mid-2010s, the Qatari Government embarked on a major arms acquisition and modernization program to increase the QAF’s capabilities and regional standing; the Air Force has benefited the most, growing from an inventory of 12 older combat aircraft in 2017 to a current inventory of about 60 modern multirole fighter aircraft from France, the UK, and the US; it is slated to grow to about 100 such aircraft by the mid-2020s; other aircraft acquisitions have included US attack helicopters; the Land Force has re-equipped its armored, mechanized, and artillery units with modern tanks, armored vehicles, and self-propelled artillery, mostly with purchases from Germany and Turkey; meanwhile, the Navy over the same period has received several corvettes and offshore patrol vessels from Italy and Turkey

Qatar hosts the regional headquarters for the US Central Command (CENTCOM; established 1983) and several thousand US military forces at various military facilities, including the large Al Udeid Air Base; it has Major Non-NATO Ally status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation; Qatar also hosts Turkish military forces at two bases established in 2014 and 2019 (2023)

Romania

the Romanian Armed Forces are responsible for territorial defense, fulfilling Romania’s commitments to European security, and contributing to multinational peacekeeping operations; the military has a variety of concerns, including cyber attacks and terrorism, but its primary focus is Russian aggression against neighboring Ukraine and Russia's activities in the Black Sea and Romania’s other eastern neighbor, Moldova

Romania joined NATO in 2004, and the Alliance forms a key pillar of the country’s defense policy; it hosts a NATO multinational divisional headquarters (Multinational Division Southeast) and a French-led ground force battlegroup as part of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence initiative in the southeastern part of the Alliance, which came about in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine; NATO allies have also sent detachments of fighters to augment the Romanian Air Force since 2014 because of aggressive Russian activity in the Black Sea region; the Romanian military trains regularly with NATO and its member states and has participated in NATO- and EU-led multinational missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Poland (2023)

Russia

the Russian military is a mixed force of conscripts and professionals (contract servicemen) that is capable of conducting the full range of air, land, maritime, and strategic missile operations; it is also active in the areas of cyber warfare, electronic warfare, and space; in addition to protecting Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the military supports Moscow’s national security objectives, which include maintaining and projecting influence and power outside Russia, particularly in the former Soviet republics, and deterring perceived external threats from the US and NATO

in recent years, the Russian military has conducted combat operations in both Ukraine and Syria; in February 2022, Russia launched an unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the military continues to be heavily engaged there in what is the largest war in Europe since World War II ended in 1945; Russia has occupied Ukraine’s province of Crimea and backed separatist forces in the Donbas region of Ukraine since 2014 with arms, equipment, and training, as well as special operations forces and troops, although Moscow denied their presence prior to 2022; Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war at the request of the ASAD government in September 2015 in what was Moscow’s first overseas expeditionary operation since the Soviet era; Russian assistance has included air support, arms and equipment, intelligence, military advisors, private military contractors, special operations forces, and training

prior to its military operations in Syria and Ukraine, Russia seized the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by force in 2008 (2023)

Rwanda

the RDF is widely regarded as one of East Africa’s best trained and most experienced militaries; its principle responsibilities are ensuring territorial integrity and national sovereignty and preventing infiltrations of illegal armed groups from neighboring countries, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); since 2021, Rwanda has deployed troops to the border region with the DRC to combat the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which it has accused the DRC of backing; the RDF has been accused by the DRC, the UN, and the US of making incursions into the DRC and providing material support to the March 23 Movement (M23, aka Congolese Revolutionary Army) rebel group, which has been fighting with DRC troops and UN peacekeeping forces; the RDF also participates in UN and regional military operations; over 6,000 RDF personnel are deployed in the Central African Republic, Mozambique, and South Sudan 

the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) were established following independence in 1962; after the 1990-1994 civil war and genocide, the victorious Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front's military wing, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), became the country's military force; the RPA participated in the First (1996-1997) and Second (1998-2003) Congolese Wars; the RPA was renamed the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) in 2003, by which time it had assumed a more national character with the inclusion of many former Hutu officers as well as newly recruited soldiers (2023)

Saint Barthelemy

defense is the responsibility of France

Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Saint Kitts and Nevis

SKNDF's missions included defense of the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty, protecting natural resources, interdicting narcotics trafficking, and providing humanitarian relief as needed

St. Kitts joined the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) in 1984; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia has been a member of the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) since its creation in 1982; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Saint Martin

defense is the responsibility of France

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

defense is the responsibility of France

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

the country has been a member of the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) since its creation in 1982; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Samoa

informal defense ties exist with New Zealand, which is required to consider any Samoan request for assistance under the 1962 Treaty of Friendship

Samoa has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Somoa's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2023)

San Marino

defense is the responsibility of Italy

Sao Tome and Principe

the FASTP is one of the smallest militaries in Africa and consists of only a few companies of ground troops and some small patrol boats

in November 2022, the FASTP's headquarters was attacked shortly after the prime minister's inauguration in what São Tomé authorities described as an attempted coup (2023)

Saudi Arabia

the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces (SAAF) are divided into the regular forces under the Ministry of Defense and the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG); the regular forces are responsible for territorial defense, although they can be called for domestic security duties if needed; they include land, naval, air, air defense, and strategic missile forces

the SANG is responsible for both internal security and external defense; its duties include protecting the royal family, guarding against military coups, defending strategic facilities and resources, and providing security for the cities of Mecca and Medina; the SANG is primarily comprised of tribal elements loyal to the Saud family and is comprised of brigades of light infantry, mechanized or motorized infantry, and security forces; it is supplemented by combat helicopter units and tribal levies/militias known as Fowj

the US is Saudi Arabia’s closest security partner; the SAAF conducts bilateral exercises with the US military and hosts US forces; the US has participated in a cooperative program to equip and train the SANG since 1973; much of the equipment for both the regular forces and the SANG has been acquired from the US; Saudi Arabia also has defense relationships with China, France, India, the UK, and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council members

in 2015, Saudi Arabia led a military intervention into Yemen by a coalition of Arab states in support of the Republic of Yemen Government against the separatist Houthis; Saudi forces from both the Ministry of Defense and the SANG participated in combat operations in Yemen; Saudi Arabia also raised and equipped paramilitary/militia security forces in Yemen--based largely on tribal or regional affiliation--to deploy along the Saudi-Yemen border (2023)

Senegal

despite limited resources, the FAS is considered to be a well-equipped, experienced, and effective military; it has a history of non-interference in the country’s political process and positive relations with civil authorities; the FAS is experienced in foreign deployments and has received assistance from the French military, which maintains a presence in Senegal, as well as Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US; the FAS’s primary focuses are border, internal, and maritime security; it is watching the prevalence of multiple active terrorist groups across the region and political instability in neighboring Mali and Guinea and has recently established new military and gendarmerie camps along its eastern border with Mali; the FAS also works with the civilian government in areas such as preventive healthcare, infrastructure development, environmental protection, and disaster response

Senegalese security forces have been engaged in a low-level counterinsurgency campaign in the southern Casamance region against various factions of the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of the Casamance (MDFC) since 1982; the conflict is one of longest running low-level insurgencies in the World, having claimed more than 5,000 lives while leaving another 60,000 displaced; in May 2023, a faction of the MFDC agreed to a peace deal (2023)

Serbia

the Serbian military is responsible for defense and deterrence against external threats, supporting international peacekeeping operations, and providing support to civil authorities for internal security; specific threat concerns of the military include extremism, separatism, and deepening international recognition of Kosovo; Serbia has cooperated with NATO since 2006, when it joined the Partnership for Peace program, and the military trains with NATO countries, particularly other Balkan states; Serbia has participated in EU peacekeeping missions, as well as missions under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN; it also maintains close security ties with Russia and has a growing security relationship with China

the modern Serbian military was established in 2006 but traces its origins back through World War II, World War I, the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, and the Bulgarian-Serb War of 1885 to the First (1804-1813) and Second (1815-1817) Uprisings against the Ottoman Empire (2023)

Seychelles

formed in 1977, the SDF is one of the World's smallest militaries; its primary responsibility is maritime security, particularly countering illegal fishing, piracy, and drug smuggling; it was given police powers in 2022; the Seychelles has close security ties with India (2023)

Sierra Leone

the RSLAF’s principle responsibilities are securing the borders and the country’s territorial waters, supporting civil authorities during emergencies and reconstruction efforts, and participating in peacekeeping missions; it is small, lightly armed, and has a limited budget; since being reduced in size and restructured with British assistance after the end of the civil war in 2002, it has received assistance from several foreign militaries, including those of Canada, China, France, the UK, and the US; the RSLAF has participated in peacekeeping operations in Somalia and Sudan

the RSLAF’s origins lie in the Sierra Leone Battalion of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF), a multi-regiment force formed by the British colonial office in 1900 to garrison the West African colonies of Gold Coast (Ghana), Nigeria (Lagos and the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria), Sierra Leone, and The Gambia; the RWAFF fought in both World Wars (2023)

Singapore

the SAF’s primary responsibility is external defense, but it has trained for certain domestic security operations, including joint deterrence patrols with police in instances of heightened terrorism alerts; the Army includes a “people’s defense force,” which is a divisional headquarters responsible for homeland security and counterterrorism

the SAF's roots go back to 1854 when the Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps was formed under colonial rule; the first battalion of regular soldiers, the First Singapore Infantry Regiment, was organized in 1957; the modern SAF was established in 1965 and is today widely viewed as the best equipped military in Southeast Asia

Singapore is a member of the Five Powers Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK; the FPDA commits the members to consult with one another in the event or threat of an armed attack on any of the members and to mutually decide what measures should be taken, jointly or separately; there is no specific obligation to intervene militarily (2023)

Sint Maarten

defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Slovakia

the Slovak military was created from the Czechoslovak Army after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in January 1993; it is responsible for external defense and fulfilling Slovakia’s commitments to European and international security; Slovakia has been a member of both the EU and NATO since 2004; a key focus of the Slovak military is fulfilling the country’s security responsibilities to NATO, including modernizing and acquiring NATO-compatible equipment, participating in training exercises, and providing forces for security missions such as NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States; since 2022, Slovakia has hosted a NATO ground force battlegroup comprised of troops from Czechia, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the US as part of the NATO effort to boost the defenses of Eastern Europe since the Russian invasion of Ukraine; Slovakia also contributes to EU and UN peacekeeping missions

the Slovak Air Force has only a handful of fighter aircraft and is assisted by NATO’s air policing mission over Slovakia, which includes fighter aircraft from Czechia and Poland; in 2022, Slovakia signed a defense agreement with the US that allows the US to use two Slovak military air bases (2023)

Slovenia

the Slovenian Armed Forces (Slovenska Vojska or SV) are responsible for the defense of the country’s sovereignty and territory, deterring external threats, and contributing to European security and other international peacekeeping missions; the SV is also active in civil-military cooperation, such as the maintenance of local infrastructure; Slovenia has been a member of the EU and NATO since 2004, and one of the SV’s key missions is fulfilling the country’s commitments to NATO, including equipment modernization, participating in training exercises, and contributing to NATO missions; the SV provides troops to NATO’s efforts to enhance its presence in the Baltics (Latvia) and Eastern Europe (Slovakia); it has also participated in other international security missions with small numbers of personnel in such places as Africa, southern Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Middle East; because the SV air component has no fighter aircraft, NATO allies Hungary and Italy provide air policing for Slovenia

the SV was formally established in 1993 as a reorganization of the Slovenia Defense Force; the Defense Force, along with the Slovenian police, comprised the majority of the forces that engaged with the Yugoslav People’s Army during the 10-Day War after Slovenia declared its independence in 1991 (2023)

Solomon Islands

from 2003 to 2017, at the request of the Solomon Islands Governor-General, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), consisting of police, military, and civilian advisors drawn from 15 countries, assisted in reestablishing and maintaining civil and political order while reinforcing regional stability and security; since November 2021, the Australian-led Solomon Islands Assistance Force (SIAF) has supported the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to maintain stability; the SIAF includes police and military from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea; the Solomon Islands Government has also signed police and security agreements with China
  (2024)

Somalia

the Somali National Army (SNA) and supporting security and militia forces are actively conducting operations against the al-Shabaab terrorist group; al-Shabaab controls large parts of southern and central Somalia (see Appendix T)

the SNA is a lightly armed force of more than a dozen brigades; its most effective units are assessed to be the US-trained Danab ("Lightning") Advanced Infantry Brigade and those of the Turkish-trained Gorgor ("Eagle") Special Division; as of 2023, the Danab Brigade numbered about 2,000 troops with an eventual projected strength of 3,000, while the Gorgor Division was estimated to have up to 5,000 trained troops; SNA soldiers have also received training from Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the EU, Uganda, and the UK

the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operated in the country with the approval of the UN from 2007-2022; its peacekeeping mission included assisting Somali forces in providing security for a stable political process, enabling the gradual handing over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces, and reducing the threat posed by al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups; in April 2022, AMISOM was reconfigured and replaced with the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS); the ATMIS mission is to support the Somalia Federal Government (FGS) in implementing the security objectives of the FGS's security transition plan, a comprehensive strategy developed by the FGS and its international partners in 2018 and updated in 2021 to gradually transfer security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali security forces; originally about 20,000-strong (civilians, military, and police), ATMIS began reducing its staffing levels in mid-2023; its planned departure from Somalia is the end of 2024

UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM; established 2013) is mandated by the Security Council to work with the FGS to support national reconciliation, provide advice on peace-building and state-building, monitor the human rights situation, and help coordinate the efforts of the international community; the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS; established 2015) is responsible for providing logistical field support to ATMIS, UNSOM, and the Somali security forces on joint operations with ATMIS (2024)

South Africa

the SANDF’s primary responsibilities include territorial and maritime defense, supporting the Police Service, protecting key infrastructure, and participating in international peacekeeping missions; the SANDF traditionally has been one of Africa’s most capable militaries, but in recent years its operational readiness and modernization programs have been hampered by funding shortfalls

the SANDF participates regularly in African and UN peacekeeping missions and is a member of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Standby Force; in 2021, it sent about 1,500 troops to Mozambique as part of a multinational SADC force to help combat an insurgency, and South African forces have been a key component of the UN’s Force Intervention Brigade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; in recent years, the SANDF has been deployed internally to assist the Police Service with quelling unrest and assisting with border security

the SANDF was created in 1994 to replace the South African Defense Force (SADF); the SANDF was opened to all South Africans who met military requirements, while the SADF was a mostly white force (only whites were subject to conscription) with non-whites only allowed to join in a voluntary capacity; the SANDF also absorbed members of the guerrilla and militia forces of the various anti-apartheid opposition groups, including the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, and the Inkatha Freedom Party, as well as the security forces of the formerly independent Bantustan homelands (2023)

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

defense is the responsibility of the UK

South Sudan

the South Sudan People's Defense Forces (SSPDF) are largely focused on internal security

the SSPDF, formerly the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), was founded as a guerrilla movement against the Sudanese Government in 1983 and participated in the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005); the Juba Declaration that followed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 unified the SPLA and the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF), the second-largest rebel militia remaining from the civil war, under the SPLA name; in 2017, the SPLA was renamed the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF) and in September 2018 was renamed again as the SSPDF

the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has operated in the country since 2011 with the objectives of consolidating peace and security and helping establish conditions for the successful economic and political development of South Sudan; UNMISS had about 15,000 personnel deployed in the country as of 2024

the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has operated in the disputed Abyei region along the border between Sudan and South Sudan since 2011; UNISFA's mission includes ensuring security, protecting civilians, strengthening the capacity of the Abyei Police Service, de-mining, monitoring/verifying the redeployment of armed forces from the area, and facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid; as of 2024, UNISFA had approximately 3,200 personnel assigned (2024)

Spain

the Spanish Armed Forces have a wide variety of responsibilities, including protecting the country’s national interests, sovereignty, and territory, providing support during natural disasters, and fulfilling Spain’s responsibilities to European and international security; the military conducts operations worldwide, and its air, ground, and naval forces participate in a variety of EU-, NATO-, and UN-led missions; Spain joined NATO in 1982 and is fully integrated into the NATO structure; it routinely conducts exercises with EU and NATO partners, and hosts one of NATO’s two combined air operations centers 

the military is organized into commands for air, cyberspace, joint, land, maritime, and space operations; it maintains garrisons in the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Ceuta, and Melilla

the Spanish military has a rich history that goes back to the 13th century; the Army has an infantry regiment, formed in the 13th century, that is considered the oldest still active military unit in the Western world; the Marine Corps, which traces its roots back to 1537, is the oldest naval infantry force in the World; Spain created a Spanish Legion for foreigners in 1920, but early on the Legion was primarily filled by native Spaniards due to difficulties in recruiting foreigners, and most of its foreign members were from the Republic of Cuba; it was modeled after the French Foreign Legion and its purpose was to provide a corps of professional troops to fight in Spain's colonial campaigns in North Africa; in more recent years, it has been used in NATO peacekeeping deployments; today’s Legion includes a mix of native Spaniards and foreigners with Spanish residency (2023)

Spratly Islands

around 70 disputed islets and reefs in the Spratly Islands are occupied by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam

China: occupies seven outposts (Fiery Cross, Mischief, Subi, Cuarteron, Gavin, Hughes, and Johnson reefs); the outposts on Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi include air bases with helipads and aircraft hangers, naval port facilities, surveillance radars, air defense and anti-ship missile sites, and other military infrastructure such as communications, barracks, maintenance facilities, and ammunition and fuel bunkers

Malaysia:  occupies five outposts in the southern portion of the archipelago, closest to the Malaysian state of Sabah (Ardasier Reef, Eric Reef, Mariveles Reef, Shallow Reef, and Investigator Shoal); all the outposts have helicopter landing pads, while Shallow Reef also has an airstrip

Philippines: 
occupies nine features (Commodore Reef, Second Thomas Shoal, Flat Island, Loaita Cay, Loaita Island, Nanshan Island, Northeast Cay, Thitu Island, and West York Island); Thitu Island has an airstrip and a coast guard station

Taiwan: maintains a coast guard outpost with an airstrip on Itu Aba Island

Vietnam: occupies about 50 outposts, plus some 14 platforms known as “economic, scientific, and technological service stations” (Dịch vụ-Khoa) that sit on underwater banks to the southeast that Vietnam does not consider part of the disputed island chain, although China and Taiwan disagree; Spratly Islands outposts are on Alison Reef, Amboyna Cay, Barque Canada Reef, Central Reef, Collins Reef, Cornwallis South Reef, Discovery Great Reef, East Reef, Grierson Reef, Ladd Reef, Landsdowne Reef, Namyit Island, Pearson Reef, Petley Reef, Sand Cay, Sin Cowe Island, South Reef, Southwest Cay, Spratly Island, Tennent Reef, West Reef; the underwater banks with stations include Vanguard, Rifleman, Prince of Wales, Prince Consort, Grainger, and Alexandra; over the past few years, Vietnam has continued to make improvements to its outposts, including defensive positions and infrastructure (2024)

Sri Lanka

the military is responsible for external defense and may be called upon to handle specifically delineated domestic security responsibilities that generally do not include arrest authority; it has sent small numbers of personnel on UN peacekeeping missions; from 1983 to 2009, it fought against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a conflict that involved both guerrilla and conventional warfare, as well as acts of terrorism and human rights abuses, and cost the military nearly 30,000 killed; since the end of the war, a large portion of the Army reportedly remains deployed in the majority Tamil-populated northern and eastern provinces; the military over the past decade also has increased its role in a range of commercial sectors including agriculture, hotels, leisure, and restaurants 

Sri Lanka traditionally has had close security ties to India; India participated in the LTTE war in 1987-1991, losing over 1,000 soldiers; the Sri Lankan and Indian militaries continue to conduct exercises together, and India trains over 1,000 Sri Lankan soldiers per year; in recent years, Sri Lanka has increased military ties with China, including acquiring military equipment, hosting naval port calls, and sending personnel to China for training (2023)

Sudan

the primary responsibilities of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) are internal security, border control, and countering potential external threats from its neighbors; SAF operations have traditionally been supported by militia and paramilitary forces, particularly the Rapid Support Forces (RSF); in the Spring of 2023, heavy fighting broke out between the SAF and the RSF amid disputes over an internationally-backed plan for a transition towards civilian rule, particularly around the capital Khartoum and the western region of Darfur; fighting continued into 2024 with reports of ethnic cleansing, food insecurity, heavy civilian casualties, and millions of internally displaced persons

the Sudanese military has been a dominant force in the ruling of the country since its independence in 1956; in addition, the military has a large role in the country's economy, reportedly controlling over 200 commercial companies, including businesses involved in gold mining, rubber production, agriculture, and meat exports

the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has operated in the disputed Abyei region along the border between Sudan and South Sudan since 2011; UNISFA's mission includes ensuring security, protecting civilians, strengthening the capacity of the Abyei Police Service, de-mining, monitoring/verifying the redeployment of armed forces from the area, and facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid; as of 2024, UNISFA had approximately 3,200 personnel assigned

the October 2020 peace agreement provided for the establishment of a Joint Security Keeping Forces (JSKF) comprised of 12,000 personnel tasked with securing the Darfur region in the place of the UN African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), a joint African Union-UN peacekeeping force that operated in the war-torn region between 2007 and the end of its mandate in December 2020; in June 2021, Sudan's transitional government announced it would increase the size of this force to 20,000 and expand its mission scope to include the capital and other parts of the country suffering from violence; the force would include the SAF, RSF, police, intelligence, and representatives from armed groups involved in peace negotiations; in September 2022, the first 2,000 members of the JSKF completed training; the status of the JSKF since the start of the civil war is unclear (2024)

Suriname

key missions for the National Leger include border control and supporting domestic security; the military police has direct responsibility for immigration control at the country’s ports of entry; in addition, the military assists the police in combating crime, particularly narco-trafficking, including joint military and police patrols, as well as joint special security teams (2023)

Svalbard

Svalbard is a territory of Norway, demilitarized by treaty on 9 February 1920; Norwegian military activity is limited to fisheries surveillance by the Norwegian Coast Guard (2024)

Sweden

the Swedish military is responsible for the defense of the country and its territories against armed attack, supporting Sweden’s national security interests, providing societal support, such as humanitarian aid, and contributing to international peacekeeping and peacemaking operations

the military has a relatively small active duty force that is designed to be rapidly mobilized in a crisis; it is equipped with modern, mostly Swedish-made weapons, exercises regularly, and is backed up by a trained reserve and a Home Guard; the military’s main focus is maintaining itself as a credible and visible deterrent through training and exercises, sustaining high levels of readiness, cooperating and collaborating with both domestic and foreign partners

Sweden maintained a policy of military non-alignment for over 200 years before applying for NATO membership in May 2022 following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine; it became a NATO member in March of 2024; before then, Stockholm joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and contributed to NATO-led missions, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo; the military cooperates closely with the forces of other Nordic countries through the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO; established 2009), which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden; areas of cooperation include armaments, education, human resources, training and exercises, and operations; Sweden is a signatory of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) and contributes to CSDP missions and operations, including EU battlegroups; it also participates in UN-led missions; Sweden has close bilateral security relations with some NATO member states, particularly Finland, the UK, and the US (2024)

Switzerland

the Swiss military is responsible for territorial defense, limited support to international disaster response and peacekeeping, and providing support to civil authorities when their resources are not sufficient to ward off threats to internal security or provide sufficient relief during disasters; Switzerland has long maintained a policy of military neutrality but does periodically participate in EU, NATO, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and UN military and peacekeeping operations; however, Swiss units will only participate in operations under the mandate of the UN or OSCE; Switzerland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1996; it has contributed to the NATO-led force in Kosovo (KFOR) since 1999

the military is comprised of conscripts, militia, and a small professional component; it is led by the Chief of the Armed Forces with an Armed Forces Staff and consists of a Joint Operations Command (JOC), an Armed Forces Logistics Organization, an Armed Forces Command Support Organization, and a Training and Education Command; the JOC controls, among other subordinate commands, the Air Force, the Land Forces, four territorial divisions, the Military Police Command, and the Special Forces Command (2024)

Syria

the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has operated in the Golan between Israel and Syria since 1974 to monitor the ceasefire following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and supervise the areas of separation between the two countries; UNDOF has about 1,000 personnel 

multiple actors are conducting military operations in Syria in support of the ASAD government or Syrian opposition forces, as well in pursuit of their own security goals, such as counterterrorism and border security; operations have included air strikes, direct ground combat, and sponsoring proxy forces, as well as providing non-lethal military support, including advisors, technicians, arms and equipment, funding, intelligence, and training:

pro-ASAD elements operating in Syria have included the Syrian Arab Army, Lebanese Hizbollah, Iranian, Iranian-backed Shia militia, and Russian forces; since early in the civil war, the ASAD government has relied on Lebanese Hizballah (see Appendix T for further information), as well as Iran and Iranian-backed irregular forces, for combat operations and to hold territory; since 2011, Iran has provided military advisors and combat troops from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (including the Qods Force; see Appendix T for further information), as well as intelligence, logistical, material, technical, and financial support; it has funded, trained, equipped, and led Shia militia/paramilitary units comprised of both Syrian and non-Syrian personnel, primarily from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan; Russia intervened at the request of the ASAD government in 2015 and has since provided air support, special operations forces, military advisors, private military contractors, training, arms, and equipment; Iranian and Russian support has also included assisting Syria in combating the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS; see Appendix T) terrorist group

Turkey has intervened militarily several times since 2016 to combat Kurdish militants and ISIS, support select Syrian opposition forces, and establish a buffer along portions of its border with Syria; Turkey continues to maintain a considerable military presence in northern Syria; it has armed and trained militia/proxy forces, such as the Syrian National Army, which was formed in late 2017 of Syrian Arab and Turkmen rebel factions in the Halab (Aleppo) province and northwestern Syria

the US and some regional and European states have at times backed Syrian opposition forces militarily and/or conducted military operations, primarily against ISIS; the US has operated in Syria since 2015 with ground forces and air strikes; the majority the US ground forces are deployed in the Eastern Syria Security Area (ESSA, which includes parts of Hasakah and Dayr az Zawr provinces east of the Euphrates River) in support of operations by the Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS, while the remainder are in southeast Syria around At Tanf supporting counter-ISIS operations by the Syrian Free Army opposition force; the US has also conducted air strikes against Syrian military targets in response to Syrian Government use of chemical weapons against opposition forces and civilians; in addition, France, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UK have provided forms of military assistance to opposition forces and/or conducted operations against ISIS, including air strikes

Israel has conducted hundreds of military air strikes in Syria against Syrian military, Hizballah, Iranian, and/or Iranian-backed militia targets

the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of forces comprised primarily of Kurdish, Sunni Arab, and Syriac Christian fighters; it is dominated and led by Kurdish forces, particularly the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia; the SDF began to receive US support in 2015 and as of 2023 was the main local US partner in its counter-ISIS campaign; the SDF has internal security, counterterrorism, and commando units; Turkey views the SDF as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a US-designated terrorist organization (see Appendix T)

the ISIS terrorist group (see Appendix T) lost its last territorial stronghold to SDF forces in 2019, but continues to maintain a low-level insurgency; in addition, the SDF holds about 10,000 captured suspected ISIS fighters in detention facilities across northern Syria, including 2,000 from countries other than Iraq and Syria

the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS; formerly known as al-Nusrah Front) terrorist organization (see Appendix T) is the dominant militant group in northwest Syria and has asserted considerable influence and control over the so-called Syrian Salvation Government in the Iblib de-escalation zone and the Aleppo province (2023)

Taiwan

the military’s primary responsibility is external security, including the defense of the country’s sovereignty and territory, and the protection of Taiwan’s air space, maritime claims, and sea lines of communication; its main focus is the challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China

the US Taiwan Relations Act of April 1979 states that the US shall provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character and shall maintain the capacity of the US to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan (2024)

Tajikistan

the military is a small and limited force equipped largely with Soviet-era weapons; its primary concerns are terrorism, border security, territorial defense, and instability in neighboring countries

Russia is Tajikistan’s primary security partner and thousands of Russian troops are stationed in the country, primarily at the 201st military base, which is leased until at least 2042; the Russian forces include combat troops and combat aircraft; Russia and Tajikistan have a joint air defense system and they conduct periodic joint exercises; Tajikistan has been a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 1994 and contributes troops to CSTO's rapid reaction force

Tajikistan is the only former Soviet republic that did not form its armed forces from old Soviet Army units following the collapse of the USSR in 1991; rather, Russia retained command of the Soviet units there while the Tajik government raised a military from scratch; the first ground forces were officially created in 1993 from groups that fought for the government during the Tajik Civil War (2023)

Tanzania

the TDPF’s primary concerns are maritime piracy and smuggling, border security, terrorism, animal poaching, and spillover from instability in neighboring countries, particularly Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); it participates in multinational training exercises, regional peacekeeping deployments, and has ties with a variety of foreign militaries, including those of China and the US; it has contributed troops to the UN’s Force Intervention Brigade in the DRC and to the Southern African Development Community intervention force in Mozambique; since 2020, the TPDF has deployed additional troops to its border with Mozambique following several cross-border attacks by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham operating in Mozambique (2023)

Thailand

the RTARF’s missions include defending the country’s territory and sovereignty, protecting the monarchy, ensuring internal security, and responding to natural disasters; it also plays a large role in domestic politics and has attempted as many as 20 coups since the fall of absolute monarchy in 1932, the most recent being in 2014

since 2004, the military has fought against separatist insurgents in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, as well as parts of Songkhla; the insurgency is rooted in ethnic Malay nationalist resistance to Thai rule that followed the extension of Siamese sovereignty over the Patani Sultanate in the 18th century; the insurgency consists of several armed groups, the largest of which is the Barisan Revolusi Nasional-Koordinasi (BRN-C): since 2020, Thai officials have been negotiating with BRN, and has parallel talks with an umbrella organization, MARA Pattani, that claims to represent the insurgency groups; since 2004, violence associated with the insurgency has claimed more than 7,000 lives; the Thai Government has had as many as 100,000 military and paramilitary forces deployed in the south to combat the insurgency

Thailand has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation; the Thai and US militaries host the annual "Cobra Gold" multinational military exercises in Thailand; the exercise is one of the largest multinational exercises in the Pacific region (2024)

Timor-Leste

the F-FDTL is a small and lightly equipped force with both external defense and internal security roles

since achieving independence, Timor-Leste has received security assistance from or has made defense cooperation arrangements with Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, the UN, and the US; some Defense Force personnel train with the Indonesian military (2023)

Togo

since its creation in 1963, the Togolese military has had a history of interfering in the country’s politics with assassinations, coups, influence, and a large military crackdown in 2005 that killed hundreds; over the past decade, however, it has made some efforts to reform and professionalize, as well as increase its role in UN peacekeeping activities; Togo maintains a regional peacekeeping training center for military and police in Lome; the military participates in multinational exercises and has received training from foreign partners, including France and the US

the FAT’s current focuses are primarily terrorism and maritime security; in recent years, it has increased operations in the northern border region of the country to boost border security and prevent terrorist infiltrations from Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), a coalition of al-Qa'ida-affiliated militant groups based in Mali that also operates in neighboring Burkina Faso; in 2022, the Togolese Government declared a state of emergency in the north due to the threat from JNIM following an attack on a Togolese military post that killed several soldiers; the Navy and Air Force have increased focus on combating piracy and smuggling in the Gulf of Guinea (2023)

Tokelau

defense is the responsibility of New Zealand

Tonga

the HMAF’s primary missions are protecting the King and Tonga’s sovereignty; the HMAF has contributed small numbers of personnel to multinational military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Solomon Islands; it is a small force comprised of royal guards, marines, a few naval patrol boats, and a couple of aircraft for maritime patrolling, search and rescue, and training purposes 

Tonga participated in World War I as part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, but the Tonga Defense Force (TDF) was not established until 1939 at the beginning of World War II; in 1943, New Zealand helped train about 2,000 Tongan troops who saw action in the Solomon Islands; the TDF was disbanded at the end of the war, but was reactivated in 1946 as the Tonga Defense Services (TDS); in 2013, the name of the TDS was changed to His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga (HMAF); Tongan troops deployed to Iraq from 2004-2008 and Afghanistan to support UK forces from 2010-2014

Tonga has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Tonga's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2024)

Trinidad and Tobago

the Police Service maintains internal security; the TTDF's primary responsibilities are conducting border and maritime security, assisting civil authorities in times of crisis or disaster, providing search and rescue services, and supporting law enforcement, particularly in countering gang-related crime and trafficking of narcotics and other illicit goods; the Coast Guard is responsible for maritime border security in places with no official ports of entry (2023)

Tunisia

the FAT is responsible for territorial defense and internal security; its operational areas of focus are countering Islamic terrorist groups and assisting with securing the border; it is conducting counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations against militant groups linked to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State of ash-Sham (ISIS) who are fighting a low-intensity insurgency, mostly in the mountainous region along the border with Algeria, particularly the Chaambi Mountains near the city of Kasserine; the military has the lead role for security in this area and also routinely conducts joint operations with Algerian security forces against these groups, as well to counter smuggling and trafficking activities; the FAT in recent years also has increased its role in securing the southern border against militant activity, smuggling, and trafficking from war-torn Libya; in the remote southern areas of the border with Libya, buffer/exclusion zones have also been established where the military has the lead for counterterrorism efforts; outside of these border areas, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) has the responsibility for counterterrorism, particularly for urban areas; the National Police Anti-Terrorism Brigade and the National Guard Special Unit have the lead for MOI counterterrorism operations

the FAT has historically remained largely apolitical and stayed out of the country’s economy; following Tunisia’s 1956 independence, FAT officers were legally prohibited from joining political parties, and the military did not intervene to prop up BEN ALI in 2011; nevertheless, President SAIED’s use of military courts to try civilians and placement of military troops outside of the parliament building after he dissolved the Assembly in 2021 has raised concerns of military politicization
 
the FAT conducts bilateral and multinational training exercises with a variety of countries, including Algeria and other North African and Middle Eastern countries, France, and the US, as well as NATO; it also participates in UN peacekeeping operations

Tunisia has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation (2023)

Turkey (Turkiye)

the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) have a range of responsibilities, including defending and deterring against external threats, participating in international peacekeeping operations, fulfilling Turkey’s military commitments to NATO, providing disaster/humanitarian relief and assistance to domestic law enforcement if requested by civil authorities, and supporting Turkey’s overall national security interests; the TAF also has overall responsibility for the security of Turkey’s borders; Turkey is active in international peacekeeping and other security operations under the EU, NATO, and the UN, as well as under bilateral agreements with some countries; Turkey has established expeditionary military bases in northern Cyprus, Qatar, Somalia, and Sudan

Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 and hosts a considerable NATO and US military presence, including the headquarters for a NATO Land Command and a Rapid Deployment Corps, multiple airbases for NATO and US aircraft, NATO air/missile defense systems, and training centers; the TAF is the second-largest military in NATO behind the US and exercises regularly with NATO partners

the TAF is a large, well-equipped force comprised of a mix of professionals and conscripts; it has considerable operational experience; in addition to peacekeeping and military assistance operations in recent years in such places as Afghanistan (NATO), Bosnia and Herzegovina (EU), Kosovo (NATO), Lebanon (UN), and Somalia (bilateral), it has conducted combat missions of varying duration and scale in Iraq, Libya, and Syria; since the 1980s, the TAF has been involved in a protracted counterinsurgency campaign against the US-designated terrorist group the Kurdistan Worker’s Party or PKK, a Kurdish militant political organization and armed guerrilla movement, which historically operated throughout Kurdistan but is now primarily based in the mountainous Kurdish-majority regions of southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq; other key areas of concern for the TAF include tensions with fellow NATO member Greece over territorial disputes and Cyprus, tensions between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan, threats from the terrorist groups al-Qa’ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, and the Russia-Ukraine war; under a long-range (2033) strategic plan, the TAF continues a considerable effort to modernize its equipment and force structure

Turkey’s military has a rich history that it traces back to 200 B.C., although the modern TAF was formed following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923); the TAF has traditionally had a significant influence in the country as the “guardian” of Turkish politics, but its political role was largely lost after the failed 2016 coup attempt; the military has a substantial stake in Turkey's economy through a holding company that is involved in the automotive, energy, finance, and logistics sectors, as well as iron and steel production (2023)

Turkmenistan

the military is responsible for external defense and works closely with the Border Service on protecting the country’s borders; it is conscript-based and equipped with Soviet-era arms; while Turkmenistan has a policy of permanent and "positive" neutrality and has declined to participate in post-Soviet military groupings such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, it has participated in multinational exercises and bilateral training with neighboring countries, including Russia and Uzbekistan; Turkmenistan joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 1994, but it does not offer any military forces to NATO-led operations

in recent years, Turkmenistan has made efforts to strengthen its naval capabilities on the Caspian Sea, including expanding ship building capabilities and adding larger vessels to the Navy’s inventory; in 2018, Turkmenistan opened its first naval shipyard, and in 2021 the Navy commissioned its largest warship, a corvette that was jointly constructed with Turkey, to complement a small existing force of coastal patrol craft (2023)

Turks and Caicos Islands

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Tuvalu

Tuvalu has a security pact with Australia; Australia also provides support to the Tuvalu Police Force, including donations of patrol boats

Tuvalu has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Tuvalu's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2024)

Uganda

the UPDF’s missions include defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda, assisting the civilian authorities in emergencies and natural disasters, and participating in socio-economic development projects; it supports the police in maintaining internal security and participates in African and UN peacekeeping missions; it is a key contributor to the East Africa Standby Force; the UPDF also has considerable political influence; it is constitutionally granted seats in parliament and is widely viewed as a key constituency for MUSEVENI; it has been used by MUSEVENI and his political party to break up rallies, raid opposition offices, and surveil rival candidates 

the UPDF is viewed as a well-equipped force with considerable operational experience; from 2012-2017, it led regional efforts to pursue the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a small, violent group of Ugandan origin that conducted widespread attacks against civilians in much of Central Africa; Uganda intervened in the South Sudan civil war in 2013-2016, and UPDF forces have clashed with South Sudanese forces along the border as recently as 2023; it is also conducting operations along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) against the Allied Democratic Front (ADF), which has been designated by the US as the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in the DRC (see Appendix T); in December 2022, Uganda sent about 1,000 UPDF troops to the DRC as part of a regional force to assist the DRC Government in combating the M23 rebel group; in addition, elements of the UPDF are deployed in the northeast region of Karamoja against cattle rustlers and criminal gangs

the military traces its history back to the formation of the Uganda Rifles in 1895 under the British colonial government; the Uganda Rifles were merged with the Central Africa Regiment and the East Africa Rifles to form the King’s African Rifles (KAR) in 1902, which participated in both world wars, as well as the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya (1952-1960); in 1962, the Ugandan battalion of the KAR was transformed into the country's first military force, the Uganda Rifles, which was subsequently renamed the Uganda Army; the UPDF was established in 1995 from the former rebel National Resistance Army following the enactment of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda

(2023)

Ukraine

the primary focus of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) is defense against Russian aggression; in February 2022, Russia launched an unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine in what is the largest conflict in Europe since the end of World War II in 1945; as of 2024, the front line of the fighting stretched about 1,000 kilometers (some 600 miles) north and south in eastern and southern Ukraine; Russia’s forces have also launched missile and armed drone strikes throughout Ukraine, hitting critical infrastructure, including power, water, and heating facilities, as well as other civilian targets; Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, occupying Ukraine’s province of Crimea and backing separatist forces in the Donbas region with arms, equipment, and training, as well as special operations forces and regular troops, although Moscow denied their presence prior to 2022; the UAF has received considerable outside military assistance since the Russian invasion, including equipment and training, chiefly from Europe and the US 

Ukraine has a relationship with NATO dating back to the early 1990s, when Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1991) and the Partnership for Peace program (1994); the relationship intensified in the wake of the 2014 Russia-Ukraine conflict and Russian seizure of Crimea to include NATO support for Ukrainian military capabilities development and capacity-building; NATO further increased its support to the Ukrainian military following Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022 (2024)

United Arab Emirates

the UAE Armed Forces (UAEAF) are responsible for external defense and supporting the UAE’s foreign policy objectives; the military’s primary concerns include terrorism, regional instability, particularly in neighboring Yemen, and Iran, including a territorial dispute over three islands in the Strait of Hormuz and Iranian support to proxy forces in the region; in recent years, the UAE has undertaken a large military modernization program to go along with an assertive security policy which has included military interventions in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, as well as peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Somalia; the UAEAF has organized, trained, and equipped tens of thousands of militia forces in Yemen and offered training and equipment to several countries in Africa; the UAE also hosts the region’s first military school for women, which has trained female peacekeepers for deployment in Africa and Asia

the UAE has strong security ties to France and the US; it hosts a multi-service French military base, which includes the French naval command for the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN); the UAE has a defense cooperation agreement with the US and hosts about 3,500 US troops, mostly air and naval personnel; it also has defense ties with a variety of other countries, including Australia, China, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Malaysia, South Korea, and the UK, as well as NATO and fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, particularly Saudi Arabia

the UAEAF traces its origins to the establishment of the Trucial Oman Scouts in 1951, a joint UK-Abu Dhabi organization modeled after Jordan’s Arab Legion, which became the Abu Dhabi Defense Force in 1965; the modern UAEAF were formed in 1976 and are considered to be one of the best-trained and most capable forces in the Persian Gulf region (2023)

United Kingdom

the British military has a long history, a global presence, and a wide range of missions and responsibilities; these responsibilities include protecting the UK, its territories, national interests, and values, preventing conflict, providing humanitarian assistance, participating in international peacekeeping, building relationships, and fulfilling the UK’s alliance and treaty commitments; in addition to its role in the UN, the UK is a leading member of NATO and has made considerable military contributions to NATO missions in such places as Afghanistan, the Baltics, and Iraq, as well the Baltic and Mediterranean seas and the waters of the North Atlantic

the UK is a member of the Five Power Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK; in 2014, the UK led the formation of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a pool of high-readiness military forces from the Baltic and Scandinavian countries able to respond to a wide range of contingencies both in peacetime and in times of crisis or conflict; the UK military also has strong bilateral ties with a variety of foreign militaries, particularly the US, with which it has a mutual defense treaty; British and US military forces have routinely operated side-by-side across a wide range of operations; other close military relationships include Australia, France, and the Netherlands; in 2010, for example, France and the UK signed a declaration on defense and security cooperation that included greater military interoperability and a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), a deployable, combined Anglo-French military force for use in a wide range of crisis scenarios, up to and including high intensity combat operations

the British Armed Forces were formed in 1707 as the armed forces of the Kingdom of Great Britain when England and Scotland merged under the terms of the Treaty of Union; while the origins of the armed forces of England and Scotland stretch back to the Middle Ages, the first standing armies for England and Scotland were organized in the 1600s while the navies were formed in the 1500s; the Royal Marines were established in 1755; the Royal Air Force was created in April 1918 by the merger of the British Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Admiralty's Royal Naval Air Service (2024)

United States

the US is a member of NATO and was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949

the US military's primary missions are to deter potential enemies, provide for the defense of provide for the defense of the US, the Territories, Commonwealths and possessions, and any areas occupied by the US, and to protect US national interests; it has worldwide responsibilities; the separate services operate jointly under 11 regional- or functionally-based joint service "combatant" commands: Africa Command; Central Command, Cyber Command, European Command, Indo-Pacific Command, Northern Command, Southern Command, Space Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command, and Transportation Command

Congress officially created the US military in September 1789; the US Army was established in June 1775 as the Continental Army; after the declaration of independence in July 1776, the Continental Army and the militia in the service of Congress became known collectively as the Army of the United States; when Congress ordered the Continental Army to disband in 1784, it retained a small number of personnel that would form the nucleus of the 1st American Regiment for national service formed later that year; both the US Navy and the US Marines were also established in 1775, but the Navy fell into disuse after the Revolutionary War, and was reestablished by Congress in 1794; the first US military unit devoted exclusively to aviation began operations in 1913 as part of the US Army; the Army Air Corps (AAC) was the US military service dedicated to aerial warfare between 1926 and 1941; the AAC became the US Army Air Forces in 1941 and remained as a combat arm of the Army until the establishment of the US Air Force in 1947 (2024)

United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

defense is the responsibility of the US

Uruguay

the armed forces are responsible for defense of the country’s independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity, as well as protecting strategic resources; it has some domestic responsibilities, including perimeter security for a number of prisons and border security and providing humanitarian/disaster assistance; in 2020, the military deployed more than 1,000 troops to assist the National Police in securing the land border with Brazil and the riverine border with Argentina as part of a border control law passed in 2018; the military also participates in UN peacekeeping missions and multinational exercises with foreign partners; Uruguay has traditionally held security ties with Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and the US; since 2018, it has also signed defense cooperation agreements with China and Russia (2023)

Uzbekistan

the military’s primary concerns and responsibilities are border security, ensuring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, instability in neighboring countries, and terrorism; the military is equipped largely with Soviet-era arms and its units are based on Soviet Army formations that were in the territory of Uzbekistan when the USSR collapsed in 1991; the armed forces were established in January 1992 when Uzbekistan assumed jurisdiction over all former Soviet ground, air, and air defense units, formations, and installations then deployed on its soil; the building hosting the headquarters for the ex-Soviet Turkestan Military District became the headquarters for the Uzbek armed forces; all former Soviet troops departed Uzbekistan by 1995

Uzbekistan joined the Russian-sponsored Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the 1990s but withdrew in 1999; it returned in 2006 but left again in 2012; although it is not part of CSTO, Uzbekistan continues to maintain defense ties with Russia, including joint military exercises and defense industrial cooperation; it also has defense ties with other regional countries, including India, Pakistan, and Turkey; it is part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and participates in SCO training exercises (2023)

Vanuatu

the separate British and French police forces were unified in 1980 as the New Hebrides Constabulary, which was commanded by Ni-Vanuatu officers while retaining some British and French officers as advisors; the Constabulary was subsequently renamed the Vanuatu Police Force later in 1980

the Vanuatu Mobile Force has received training and other support from Australia, China, France, New Zealand, and the US

Vanuatu has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Vanuatu's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2024)

Venezuela

the armed forces (FANB) are responsible for ensuring Venezuela’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity but also have a domestic role, including assisting with maintaining internal security, conducting counter-narcotics missions, contributing to national socio-economic development, and providing disaster/humanitarian assistance; the military conducts internal security operations in large parts of the country and has been deployed against illegal armed groups operating in the Colombian border region and other areas to combat organized crime gangs involved in narcotics trafficking and illegal mining; it has close ties to China and Russia, including weapons acquisitions and technical support

the military has a large role in the country’s economy and political sectors; between 2013 and 2017, Venezuela established at least a dozen military-led firms in economic areas such as agriculture, banking, construction, insurance, the media, mining, oil, and tourism; military officers reportedly lead as many as 60 state-owned companies; as of 2023, 14 of 32 government ministries were controlled by the military, including the ministries of agriculture, food, petroleum, and water

the FANB is deployed throughout the country in one maritime and seven geographical regional commands known as Integral Strategic Defense Regions (Regiones Estrategicas de Defensa Integral or REDI) that are mandated to provide for the defense, security, social, and economic needs of their respective areas of responsibility; the REDIs are further broken down into zones and state commands; the National Guard is also organized into regional commands, while the Bolivarian Militia is reportedly divided into a reserve service, a territorial guard component comprised of local battalions and detachments, and a coastal guard force

members of the terrorist organizations National Liberation Army (ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia dissidents (FARC-People's Army and Segundo Marquetalia - see Appendix T) operate in Venezuela, mostly in the states of Amazonas, Apure, Bolivar, Guarico, Tachira, and Zulia, although the ELN is assessed to be present in 12 of Venezuela’s 23 states; the groups are particularly active in Apure state; the Venezuelan military has been deployed to the border region to patrol border crossings and has clashed with both the ELN and the FARC dissident groups (2023)

Vietnam

the PAVN is the military arm of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and responsible to the Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest party organ on military policy; the CMC is led by the CPV General Secretary

the PAVN is one of the region’s largest militaries and has participated in numerous conflicts since its founding in the mid-1940s, including the First (1946-54) and Second (1950s-1975) Indochina Wars, the Cambodian-Vietnamese War (1978-1989), and the Sino-Vietnamese War (1979); the PAVN’s current missions include protecting the country's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national interests; in recent years, it has placed additional emphasis on protecting the country’s maritime economy and sovereignty in the South China Sea, including strengthening air and naval capabilities; the PAVN also assists with natural disasters and is involved in economic projects, such as electrical infrastructure, oil and gas services, hydroelectric projects, aviation and seaport services, telecommunications, and the shipbuilding industry, while military-owned factories and enterprises produce weapons and equipment (2023)

Virgin Islands

defense is the responsibility of the US

Wake Island

defense is the responsibility of the US; the island serves as a trans-Pacific refueling stop for military aircraft and supports US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) testing activities; the US Air Force is responsible for overall administration and operation of the island facilities while the launch support facility is administered by the MDA (2024)

Wallis and Futuna

defense is the responsibility of France

West Bank

Palestinian Authority security forces maintain security control of 17.5% (called Area A) of the West Bank, as agreed by the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel in the Oslo Accords; Israeli security forces maintain responsibility for the remaining 82.5% of the West Bank, including Area B (22.5%), where the Palestinian Authority has administrative control, and Area C (60%), where Israel maintains administrative control (2023)

Yemen

government forces under the Yemeni Ministry of Defense are responsible for territorial defense, but also have internal security functions; their main focus is on the Houthi rebels and protecting Yemen’s maritime borders, which are susceptible to smuggling of arms, fighters, and other material support for the Houthis and terrorist groups operating in Yemen, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in Yemen; the National Army is organized into brigades of armored, border guard, infantry, mechanized, presidential protection, and special forces; the brigades vary significantly in size, structure, and capabilities; the Air Force has small numbers of mostly Soviet-era aircraft while the Navy and Coast Guard have a few patrol boats

in 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states (UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt) intervened militarily in Yemen in support of the Republic of Yemen Government against the separatist Houthis; Saudi military forces conducted operations in Yemen and raised and equipped paramilitary/militia security forces in Yemen based largely on tribal or regional affiliation to deploy along the Saudi-Yemen border; UAE's participation in 2015 included several thousand ground troops, as well as supporting air and naval forces; UAE withdrew its main military force from Yemen in 2019, but has retained a smaller military presence while working with proxies in southern Yemen, most notably the Southern Transitional Council (STC); UAE has recruited, trained, and equipped tens of thousands of Yemeni fighters and formed them into dozens of militia and paramilitary units

Houthi (aka Ansarallah) forces are organized into combat, presidential protection, special forces, and tribal/militia/paramilitary brigades and independent battalions; the Houthis also have UAV and missile units, as well as naval forces (mines, anti-ship missiles, and some boats); Iran has provided military and political support to the Houthis; in January 2024, the US Government designated the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group; the designation came after the Houthis began launching attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as well as military forces positioned in the area to defend the safety and security of commercial shipping (2024)

Zambia

the Zambia Defense Forces (ZDF) are responsible for preserving the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; it also has some domestic security responsibilities in cases of national emergency; border security and support to African and UN peacekeeping operations are priorities; the ZDF is part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Standby Force and participates in multinational training exercises; it has received training assistance from China and the US

the ZDF traces its roots to the Northern Rhodesia Regiment, which was raised by the British colonial government to fight in World War II; the ZDF was established in 1964 from units of the dissolved Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland armed forces; it participated in a number of regional conflicts during the 1970s and 1980s; Zambia actively supported independence movements such as the Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA), the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC), and the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) (2023)

Zimbabwe

the ZDF’s primary responsibilities are protecting the country’s sovereignty and territory and securing its borders; it also has a considerable role in domestic security and has continued to be active in the country’s politics since the 2017 military-assisted political transition; the ZDF is part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Standby Force and has provided troops to the SADC deployment to Mozambique; Zimbabwe has defense ties with China and Russia

the ZDF was formed after independence from the former Rhodesian Army and the two guerrilla forces that opposed it during the Rhodesian Civil War (aka "Bush War") of the 1970s, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA); the ZDF intervened in the Mozambique Civil War (1983-1992), the Democratic Republic of Congo during the Second Congo War (1998-2003), and the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002) during the late 1990s (2023)