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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

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

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 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; the AAF 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 primary ground combat units include a few light infantry battalions (or battle groups), including one trained and certified for NATO missions, and a special operations regiment; the Naval Force and Coast Guard operate a small force of patrol boats while the Air Force has a small inventory of helicopters (2023)

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

the ANP is well-funded and one of the better-equipped militaries in North Africa; over the past decade, it has made large investments in more modern equipment, including armored vehicles, air defense systems, fighter aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and warships, largely from Russia but also China and Western European suppliers; it is a conscript-based force that exercises regularly, including jointly with foreign militaries such as those of Russia, Tunisia, and some Sahel countries; the ANP is part of the African Union’s Standby Force for North Africa; the core combat units of the Land Forces consists of multiple armored and mechanized divisions, as well as a combined airborne and special forces division, plus separate brigades of mechanized or motorized infantry and tanks; the Naval Forces’ principal warships include frigates, corvettes, and attack submarines; in 2015, the Naval Forces acquired from Italy its first amphibious transport dock (LHD) ship, which is capable of carrying helicopters, small landing craft, and more than 300 troops; the Air Force has more than 100 Russian-made combat aircraft, as well as about 200 Russian-made combat helicopters (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 groups like the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda separatists in Cabinda; the Army and Air Force are some of the largest and better equipped forces in the region; a significant portion of the Army's core combat forces--six infantry divisions--are motorized and supported by approximately 300 Soviet-era tanks, while the Air Force has a fleet of approximately 100 combat aircraft, plus a substantial inventory of transport aircraft and helicopter gunships; while naval modernization has received more attention in recent years, the Navy remains a small force of fast attack and coastal patrol craft (2023)

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 (2023)

Argentina

the Argentine military’s primary responsibilities are territorial defense and protecting the country’s sovereignty, but its duties also 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; the Army’s primary combat units include a rapid deployment division with airborne, mechanized infantry, and special forces brigades, a combined armored and jungle warfare division, a mountain infantry division, and a mechanized division; the Navy’s principal warships are approximately 15 frigates, corvettes, and ocean-going patrol ships, as well as two attack submarines, although they are not operational; both the Army and Navy have helicopter aviation components; the Air Force has a few dozen combat aircraft, as well as multipurpose helicopters and support aircraft, such as tankers and transports

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 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; 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 over the Nagorno-Karabakh region; Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in open conflicts over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in 1991-94 and 2020, plus a brief flare-up in 2016; tensions continued following the 2020 conflict; Azerbaijan seized the entire enclave in 2023 

the bulk of the Armenian military’s ground combat forces are organized into five small corps that are typically comprised of one or more Soviet-style “motorized rifle” (mechanized infantry) regiments, plus supporting units of artillery, reconnaissance, and tank forces; there are also separate artillery, air defense, battlefield rocket, and special operations forces, as well as a brigade dedicated to peacekeeping missions; the air combat forces consist of small numbers of Soviet-era ground attack aircraft and attack helicopters; Armenia is landlocked so it has no naval forces  

Armenia has close military ties with Russia and hosts Russian military forces at two bases, as well as Russian border guards along multiple border areas; 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 (2023)

Ashmore and Cartier Islands

defense is the responsibility of Australia; periodic visits by the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force

Atlantic Ocean

according to the International Maritime Bureau and the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation, the risk of piracy and armed robbery of ships in the territorial and offshore waters of the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea off the western coast of Africa is high; some criminals/pirates have operated as far as 200 nm offshore (2023)

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; 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 

Australia has a long-standing military relationship with the US; Australian and US forces first fought together in France in 1918 at the Battle of Hamel, 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 annual rotations of US Marines and enhanced rotations of US Air Force aircraft 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 

Australia also has long-standing defense and security ties to the UK, including a Defense and Security Cooperation Treaty signed in 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 

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 is considered an experienced and professional force equipped with modern weapons; its 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 trains regularly and participates in international exercises; the Army’s principal combat forces include a divisional headquarters with three mechanized brigades and a special operations command; the Navy operates over 40 surface craft and submarines, including 11 destroyers and frigates, two landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships, and six attack-type submarines; the RAF has an air combat group with more than 140 modern combat aircraft, as well as transport and surveillance air groups (2023)

Austria

the military’s primary responsibilities are national defense and protecting Austria’s neutrality; it also has some domestic security and disaster response responsibilities and 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

the Land Forces comprise the bulk of the military, and they are organizationally divided between territorial and operational forces; 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; these military commands have an infantry battalion, a militia battalion (Vienna has two), and typically a militia engineer/pioneer company at their disposal; the operational Land Forces are four combat brigades: a rapid reaction/”fast forces” (schnelle kräftewith) brigade with mechanized and motorized forces, an armored/mechanized infantry (panzer grenadier) brigade, a mountain infantry brigade (gebirgsbrigade), and a light infantry brigade (jägerbrigade) that includes airborne and air assault troops; the military also has separate special operations and cyber defense forces; the Air Forces have a small number of European-made multipurpose fighter aircraft

the militia is comprised of men and women who have done their basic military or training service and continue to perform a task in the armed forces; they are integrated into the military but have civilian jobs and only participate in exercises or operations; missions for the militia may include providing disaster relief, assisting security police, and protecting critical infrastructure (energy, water, etc.), as well as deployments on missions abroad (2023)

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 left Azerbaijan by 1992; territorial defense is the military’s primary focus, particularly with regards to neighboring Armenia; a secondary focus is guarding against Iran; the Ground Forces have five army corps, plus an independent combined arms army, which is assigned to the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxicvan (Nakhichevan); between them, the corps and the combined arms army have more than 20 mechanized or motorized combat brigades; the Ground Forces also have separate brigades of artillery, battlefield rockets, and special forces; the Air Force has a few dozen Russian-origin fighters and ground attack aircraft, as well as some combat helicopters; the Navy patrols the Caspian Sea with a corvette and several coastal patrol craft

Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in open conflicts over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in 1991-94 and 2020, plus a brief flare-up in 2016; tensions continued following the 2020 conflict; Azerbaijan seized the entire enclave in 2023 

Turkey is Azerbaijan’s strongest military partner, a relationship that has included weapons transfers, technical advice, bilateral training exercises, and key support during the 2020 conflict 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 (2023)

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 its 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; the Army’s primary combat units are an armored brigade and a mechanized brigade, plus battalions of royal guards and special forces; in a conflict, the Army would be supported by the paramilitary National Guard; the Navy’s principal warships are a US-provided secondhand frigate, two corvettes acquired from Germany, and a secondhand British offshore patrol vessel; the Air Force has small numbers of US-made combat aircraft and attack helicopters

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

the Army is the dominant service and its primary combat forces are approximately 10 infantry divisions, complemented by several independent brigades and regiments of armor, artillery, and commandos; it maintains a large presence in the Chittagong Hills area where it conducted counterinsurgency operations against tribal guerrillas from the 1970s until the late 1990s; the Navy conducts both coastal and blue water operations and participates in UN and humanitarian missions and multinational exercises; its principal surface warships are a mix of frigates, corvettes, and large patrol ships; it also has a few attack submarines; the Air Force has several squadrons equipped Chinese- and Russian-made combat aircraft; the Air Force has about 50 mostly Chinese- and Russian-made combat aircraft organized into several squadrons (2023)

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 Caribbean 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; the Army’s principal combat forces are divided into two geographically based commands, each with two mechanized brigades and an artillery brigade; there are also separate artillery and surface-to-surface missile brigades; the Special Operations Forces has brigades of airborne, air assault, and special forces (spetsnaz) troops, which serve as the military’s high-readiness units; the Air and Air Defense inventory includes about 100 combat aircraft and attack helicopters, as well as air defense brigades and regiments with surface-to-air missiles

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’s 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

the Belgian military is a small, professional, and all-volunteer force equipped with modern Western equipment; the Land Component’s combat forces are a motorized brigade and a special operations regiment; the Marine Component is a compact but active force that conducts a variety of missions ranging from territorial water patrols to humanitarian and counterpiracy operations, as well as support to multinational security operations; it has two frigates, which are supported by several patrol boats and mine warfare vessels; the Air Component has about 50 US-made F-16 fighter aircraft, which are slated to be replaced by US F-35 stealth multirole fighter aircraft by 2025 (2023)

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 (2023)

Benin

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 May 2022, the Benin Government said it was "at war" after suffering a series of attacks from these groups; later that same year, President TALON said his government would spend more than $130 million to recruit up to 4,000 additional military personnel, modernize military equipment, and build and fortify 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 (2023)

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 (2023)

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; the force is deployed throughout the country in more than a dozen “wings,” each comprised of a few infantry companies; the Army also has units of royal bodyguards and special forces; 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; the Army is the largest service and is organized into six military regions and 10 divisional headquarters; most of the combat units are light, motorized, or mechanized infantry along with a sizeable contingent of mechanized, motorized, or horse cavalry; the Army also has a special operations command with airborne, ranger, and special forces units; the Air Force does not have any fighter aircraft but rather a small force of reconnaissance and transport aircraft and multirole helicopters 

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 desire to regain the access to the Pacific Ocean that the country lost to Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879-1884); 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 (2023)

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; it is a compact and professional force organized into five brigades under an Operational Command: three infantry, one tactical support, and one air and air defense; each of the infantry brigades is headquartered inside of their respective ethnicity territory, while the Operational Command 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; the Ground Force has five small brigades of infantry, light armor, and artillery, plus commandos and a marine unit with boats and river craft for patrolling Botswana's internal waterways and supporting anti-poaching operations; the Air Arm has a small squadron of ageing fighters, as well as some multipurpose helicopters

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; 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

the Army has a considerable internal security role; in the past decade, it 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 with neighboring countries such as Argentina and Paraguay on border security to combat smuggling and trafficking; the Army is organized into regional commands, military regions, and geographically based divisions covering the entirety of the country; it has approximately 30 combat brigades which include light, mechanized, or motorized infantry, light armored/cavalry, special operations, artillery, and helicopter forces; many of the light infantry brigades are specialized for air mobile, airborne, jungle, mountain, or urban warfare operations; the Army has established a battalion-sized (1,000 troops) expeditionary force for foreign international missions that it plans to increase to a 3,000-strong brigade by 2030

the Navy conducts coastal, regional, and riverine operations and has a wide variety of missions ranging from sea patrolling and power projection to countering piracy, illegal fishing, narcotics trafficking, and organized crime; it is organized into nine districts covering the entirety of the country; the Navy’s principal warships include frigates, corvettes, and offshore patrol ships, attack submarines, and a multi-purpose helicopter landing platform (LPH) amphibious assault ship that serves as the fleet’s flagship; it also has a considerable coastal and riverine patrol vessel fleet, an aviation wing with combat aircraft and helicopters, and a marine amphibious force

the Air Force has over 100 fighter and ground attack aircraft, as well as dozens of support aircraft and helicopters for missions such as patrolling, reconnaissance, transport, logistics, special missions, and training

the three national police forces – the Federal Police, Federal Highway Police, and Federal Railway Police – have domestic security responsibilities and report to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (Ministry of Justice); there are two distinct units within the state police forces: the civil police, which performs an investigative role, and the military police, charged with maintaining law and order in the states and the Federal District; despite the name, military police forces report to the Ministry of Justice, not the Ministry of Defense; the National Public Security Force (Forca Nacional de Seguranca Publica or SENASP) is a national police force made up of Military Police from various states

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; the Army is comprised of a few infantry battalions and an armored reconnaissance squadron, while the Navy has several corvettes and patrol vessels for monitoring the country’s territorial waters; the small Air Force does not have any combat aircraft, but operates some maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters 

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, eight ground combat divisions, and more than 200 Soviet-made combat aircraft; the principal combat units of the modern-day Land Forces are two mechanized infantry brigades and regiments of artillery and mountain infantry, while the Air Force has a mix of about 20 US-made and Soviet-era fighter aircraft; it is in the midst of retiring the Soviet fighters and replacing them with additional US-made aircraft; NATO partners provide assistance with protecting Bulgaria’s airspace; the Navy has four frigates, including one Soviet-era and three secondhand vessels acquired from Belgium, plus three Soviet-era corvettes; Bulgaria retired the last of its Soviet-era submarines in 2011; the military also has a joint special operations command, a communications, information support, and cyber defense command, and a joint forces command, which was established in 2021 to coordinate the operations of the services (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

the Army’s combat forces include a mix of approximately eight small (battalion-sized) infantry and combined arms regiments and up to six rapid reaction battalions (bataillon de réaction rapide or BIR), plus battalions of artillery and special forces; the Gendarmerie's primary mission is counterterrorism; it is comprised of “legions” and mobile squadrons, plus a Special Legion that fights organized crime and provides security for high-level officials and government institutions; the Air Force’s primary mission is providing support to the Army; it has small numbers of combat aircraft, combat helicopters, and armed UAVs acquired from Turkey (2023)

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's primary focus is counterinsurgency; the Army is the dominant service and its principal combat forces are organized into 10 centrally-commanded light infantry/rapid reaction divisions, which have a key role in fighting against insurgents; the light infantry divisions are supported by approximately 20 regionally-based, divisional-sized “military operations commands” and several brigade-sized “regional operations commands”; the Army’s counterinsurgency operations are supported by the National Police, which has dozens of paramilitary combat police battalions; the Air Force also has a large counterinsurgency role with more than 100 combat-capable aircraft and helicopters, mostly ground attack aircraft and helicopter gunships, complemented by some multipurpose fighters; the Navy has traditionally been a coastal defense force, and the majority of the combat fleet consists of fast attack and patrol vessels; however, in recent years the Navy has expanded its blue water capabilities and has a small force of frigates and corvettes, as well as a landing platform docking (LPD) amphibious assault ship and two attack submarines acquired since 2020

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 Land Force’s primary units are four regionally based divisions which are comprised mostly of light infantry complemented by a few battalions of artillery, light armored forces, and commandos; the FDNB also has a separate special security brigade for protecting key facilities; the Air Force is lightly equipped with a handful of combat helicopters, while the Naval Force has a few patrol boats for monitoring Burundi’s 175-km shoreline on Lake Tanganyika

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 mostly a ground force with approximately two infantry battalions and a small air component with a maritime patrol squadron; the Coast Guard had a few coastal patrol craft and patrol boats (2023)

Cambodia

outside of periodic border skirmishes with Thailand, 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 Army has a few infantry divisions and a number of independent brigades, including about five rapid reaction “intervention” brigades, a border security brigade, and a prime minister’s bodyguard brigade, as well as an airborne/special operations brigade under a special forces command created in 2020; the Navy maintains a small force of patrol boats and a naval infantry brigade for coastal defense; the Air Force has a small number of combat and transport helicopters; the Royal Gendarmerie is reportedly organized into battalions and several mobile response units

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 to 10 million landmines scattered throughout the country, with a particularly heavy concentration on a 1,000-km 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 is considered a politically independent military; the Army and the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) are organized and equipped for mobile operations; the Army has 4 motorized infantry brigades spread amongst 5 military regions; the US-trained BIR has up to nine battalions, detachments, or groups consisting of airborne, air mobile, amphibious, light, and motorized infantry, armored reconnaissance, counterterrorism, and support units, such as artillery and intelligence; the BIR reportedly receives better training, equipment, and pay than regular Army units

the ground forces 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 an insurgency from armed Anglophone separatist groups in the North-West and South-West regions (as of 2023, this conflict had left more than 3,500 civilians dead and over 500,000 people displaced since fighting started in 2016); 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 Air Force supports both the ground and naval forces and has small numbers of light ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft, as well as attack, multipurpose, and transport helicopters (2023)

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

the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) plans, directs, and leads most CAF operations in Canada, North America, and around the world; it has six standing regional Joint Task Force (JTF) headquarters across Canada, as well as other JTFs deployed overseas; the CJOC is assisted by air, ground, and naval components; the Canadian Army is the land component of the CAF and its largest element; it has four divisional headquarters (plus one under the CJOC), three Regular Force combined arms mechanized brigade groups, and 10 brigade groups in the Reserve Force; the Navy’s principal warships are 12 frigates and four attack submarines, which are supported by six Arctic/offshore patrol ships and 12 coastal defense vessels; the Air Force has over 400 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, including about 100 US-made F/A-18 multirole fighters; Canada has ordered more than 80 US-made F-35 stealth multirole fighter aircraft which the Air Force expects to start receiving in 2026; the CAF also has a separate Special Operations Forces Command with a special operations regiment and a joint task force, plus air, incident response, and training units

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 Canadian Armed Forces 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 (2023)

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, and as of 2023, as many as 2,000 were providing assistance to the FACA, as well as performing 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; in 2023, MINUSCA had about 17,000 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; from 2016-2021, the EU mission trained five territorial infantry battalions and one amphibious infantry battalion; France also provided assistance to the FACA before suspending its support in 2021 (2023)

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 (primarily the Lac Province) and in the Sahel, particularly the tri-border area with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger; 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 

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; the current Army has six divisions, an aviation brigade, and a special operations command; the divisions are comprised of a mix of armored, light infantry, mechanized infantry, motorized infantry, and mountain infantry brigades, regiments, and detachments; Chile's military aviation was inaugurated in 1913 with the creation of a military aviation school; the modern Air Force has about 200 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, including about 50 US-made fighters

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); today, its principle warships are eight frigates, four offshore patrol ships, a landing platform dock (LPD) amphibious assault ship, and four attack submarines; these are supported by a few missile attack craft and dozens of coastal patrol boats; the Navy also has marine amphibious infantry brigade and an aviation force with maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft

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 (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 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 majority of the Ground Forces are organized into 13 group armies with approximately 80 subordinate combined arms brigades--some of which are amphibious units--that serve as the primary ground maneuver forces; each group army also controls artillery, air defense, aviation/air assault, special operations, engineer, and logistics brigades; there are also a several independent mechanized and motorized infantry divisions 

the Navy is numerically the largest in the World with an overall battle force of some 380 ships and submarines; it also has a large naval aviation force, as well as a growing Marine Corps comprised of several amphibious brigades supplemented by aviation and special operations forces
 
the combined aviation forces of the Air Force and Navy are the largest in the region and third largest in the World with nearly 3,000 total aircraft, of which more than 2,200 are combat aircraft, including fighter, bomber, ground attack, and multipurpose fighter aircraft; the Air Force also has an airborne/rapid reaction corps with a mix of airborne, air assault, special operations, and aviation brigades; the PLA's ground-based air defense forces operate surface-to-air missiles, air defense artillery, jammers, and a variety of sensors; the PLA Rocket Force manages the PRC’s land-based conventional and nuclear missile units

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 Central Military Commission; 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 with approximately 150 large patrol craft

--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 an 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); 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; in 2023, the ELN and the Colombian Government agreed to a 6-month ceasefire, which was extended for another 6 months in February 2024; and as part of the cease-fire, ELN had pledged to cease kidnappings for ransom

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

the Colombian National Army is one of the largest and most experienced ground forces in the Western Hemisphere, having spent decades conducting operations against insurgents and terrorist groups; it has also kept a small battalion (about 250-300 troops) in the Sinai Peninsula with the Multinational Observer Force since 1980; the Army’s primary focus is ongoing operations against the ELN, FARC dissidents, and other illegal armed groups, which are challenged by difficult topography and long and porous land borders; the Air Force and Navy play a role in the counterinsurgency campaign but their participation is minor in comparison to the Army; the Army is largely configured for flexibility and mobility, with one mechanized and seven light infantry divisions; the light infantry divisions are not uniformly structured and typically include a mix of conventional infantry and specialized air mobile, counterinsurgency, jungle, mountain, and security brigades; some divisions may also have special task forces for anti-kidnapping, counternarcotics, or urban operations; the Army also has a special forces division, a rapid deployment force (Fuerza de Despliegue Rápido or FUDRA) comprised of special forces and counterinsurgency brigades, and an air assault division with aviation and light infantry/air mobile forces; the National Police works with the Army against illegal armed groups and has a variety of specialized forces, including commandos, quick reaction, counterterrorism, counternarcotics, motorized, and anti-riot (Escuadron Móvil Antidisturbios, or ESMAD) units 

the Navy is responsible for security in Colombia’s waters in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Oceans, the country’s extensive network of rivers, and a few small land areas under its direct jurisdiction; it takes part in multinational naval exercises, and over the past decade has undertaken efforts to modernize; its principal warships are a mix of 10 frigates, corvettes, and offshore patrol ships, and four attack submarines, which are supplemented by dozens of coastal and riverine patrol craft; the Navy also has a 22,000-man marine force comprised of five marine/riverine infantry brigades and a special forces brigade, as well as a small aviation force; the Air Force has an air defense role, but also supports the Army’s counterinsurgency operations; it has a mix of about 50 fighters and ground attack combat aircraft, plus reconnaissance, electronic warfare, logistical, and training fixed-wing aircraft, as well as approximately 100 multirole helicopters 

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 security forces are limited in capabilities to performing search and rescue operations and maintaining internal security; a defense treaty with France provides naval resources for 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 is viewed as having limited capabilities due to obsolescent and poorly maintained equipment and low levels of training; its primary focus is internal security; 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 (2023)

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 (2023)

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; 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

the FACI’s Land Forces are assigned to regions, and its combat units are organized into approximately 10 battalions, most of which are infantry or security forces, complemented by artillery, armored, and air defense battalions; the separate special forces branch has a commando/paratrooper battalion; the Air Force has a few operational combat helicopters, while the Navy operates a handful of patrol boats and two offshore patrol vessels acquired since 2022; the National Gendarmerie has seven “legions” deployed throughout the country (Abidjan has two assigned legions) and is organized into mobile and territorial forces; the Mobile Gendarmerie is responsible for maintaining and restoring order and is considered the backbone of the country’s domestic security; the Territorial Gendarmerie is responsible for the administrative, judicial, and military police; the Gendarmerie also has separate specialized units for security, intervention (counterterrorism, hostage rescue, etc), VIP protection, and surveillance

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 (2023)

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; it 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; the Army, once over 200,000 strong, but now estimated to have about 40,000 troops, is a conscript-based force armed with Soviet-era weapons and equipment and reportedly organized into three regional commands or armies, each with an undetermined number of divisional headquarters and brigades of artillery, light infantry, mechanized infantry, and tanks; the Army also has special forces and airborne brigades, as well as a security brigade that faces the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay; the Navy once boasted several Soviet-made frigates and attack submarines but now maintains a small combat force of aging coastal patrol and mine warfare craft, as well as a midget attack submarine; its largest vessels are two former fishing trawlers that were converted into warships in the late 1970s; the Border Guards also have patrol vessels; the Air Defense force has surface-to-air missiles and hundreds of air defense artillery guns, while the Air Force has a few dozen operational Soviet-era fighter aircraft attack helicopters (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 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

the EF, particularly the Army, would rely heavily on the mobilization of approximately 50,000 available reserves during a crisis; the majority of the active Army is deployed along the “Green Line” that separates the Greek Cypriots from the Turkish Cypriots; its principal combat forces are five infantry brigades, an armored brigade, and regiments of artillery, light infantry, and special forces; the Navy has a small number of coastal patrol craft and boats, as well as a special operations unit, while the Air Force has a few combat helicopters and ground-based air defense units (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 principal combat forces under the Land Force Command include two mechanized brigades, an airborne regiment, and regiments of artillery, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare forces; the Air Force Command is responsible for securing Czech airspace and has about 30 Czech- and Swedish-made light multirole combat fighter aircraft organized in two squadrons, as well as small squadron of Soviet-era attack helicopters; 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

established in 1614, the Royal Danish Army’s combat forces consist of two mechanized brigades; the Air Force (established in 1950) has two fighter squadrons comprised of more than 30 US-made F-16 aircraft, which are being replaced by US-origin F-35 stealth multirole fighter aircraft; the Navy was founded in the early 1500s, but Denmark has a long maritime tradition going back to the time of the Vikings; the modern Navy’s principal warships are nine frigates, three offshore patrol ships, and several other coastal patrol vessels of varying size and capabilities (2023)

Dhekelia

defense of Dhekelia (aka Eastern Sovereign Base Area) is the responsibility of the UK; includes Dhekelia Garrison and Ayios Nikolaos Station connected by a roadway

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 Army is organized into four regionally based divisions and approximately 12 combat brigades, including armored cavalry, artillery, aviation, infantry (including specialized jungle infantry), and special forces; the Navy is a compact force comprised of two frigates, six corvettes, three missile attack boats, and two attack submarines; it also has a small aviation force and a Marine Corps with about 2,000 amphibious infantry and commandos; the Air Force has small numbers of operational jet fighters and light ground attack aircraft, as well as some multirole helicopters  

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 (2023)

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 various enterprises are reportedly profitable enough to make the armed forces largely self-funded

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; since 2014, it has deployed large numbers of troops along its border with Libya and provided air support to the Saudi-led coalition operating 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

the EAF is the largest and one of the best equipped militaries in the region; the Army’s primary combat forces include approximately 13 divisions, which are mostly armored or mechanized, complemented by some independent armored and infantry brigades; the EAF has approximately 5,000 artillery systems, plus surface-to-surface missile forces and a large special operations command, which includes airborne, airmobile, commando, special forces, and other specialized units; the Navy’s principal warships are approximately 20 frigates and corvettes, eight attack submarines, and two French-built helicopter-capable amphibious assault ships (LHDs); the Air Force has more than 300 French-, Russian-, and US-made fighter and multipurpose fighter aircraft, as well as nearly 100 US- and Russian-produced attack helicopters

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 trains regularly, as well as 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 FAES is deployed throughout the country in zones; the Army’s combat units are six infantry brigades, plus a special security brigade comprised of border guards and military police, and an artillery brigade; the Navy operates patrol boats and has a small force of naval commandos; the Air Force has a few dozen light ground attack fixed-wing aircraft and multirole helicopters

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) has only three small infantry battalions with limited combat capabilities; the country has invested heavily in naval capabilities in recent years 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 boats; 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; the Air Force has a small number of Soviet-era combat aircraft and helicopters, while the Navy maintains a limited number of coastal patrol vessels 

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 including executions, rape, and torture of civilians within Ethiopia (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

the Estonian Army features a divisional headquarters, two infantry brigades, and an artillery battalion, plus supporting units; it would rely heavily on mobilized reserves during a crisis, which would be used to fill out active-duty units and staff territorial defense units; the Estonian Navy features a mine warfare flotilla; the EDF also has a special operations command (2023)

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 has traditionally been one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest, most experienced, and best equipped militaries, but it suffered heavy casualties and equipment losses during the 2020-2022 Tigray conflict; the Ground Forces are estimated to have more than 20 infantry divisions, including several that are mechanized, along with at least one division of commandos/special forces; the Air Force has combat squadrons of multipurpose fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, and armed unmanned aerial vehicles; ENDF operations are often supported by sizeable regional state paramilitary units 

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 late 2023, 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 (2023)

European Union

the EU partners with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); NATO is an alliance of 31 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 22 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 6 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; Greece and Turkey (since 2002), Italy, Romania, and Austria (since 2009, 2016, and 2021 respectively) participate as associated nations; Poland joined in 2022; 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 2023, 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 18 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 French-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 (2023)

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; 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; Finland considers Sweden as its closest bi-lateral security partner; the UK and the US are also 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

the bulk of the FDF’s annual intake of conscripts go into the Army; in peacetime, the Army has five combat brigades, which include armored, jaeger/light infantry, and mechanized infantry forces, plus regiments of light infantry, special forces, and helicopter assault forces; the Navy has a mix of missile-armed patrol craft, fast patrol boats, and mine warfare vessels; it is slated to receive four multirole corvettes by 2029; the Navy also has a coastal defense brigade, which includes anti-ship missile and naval special operations forces and a naval infantry brigade maintained at cadre strength that incorporates about 1,500 conscripts annually; the Air Force has about 60 US-made F/A-18 multirole fighters, which are scheduled to be replaced by US-origin F-35 stealth multirole fighters beginning in 2025 (2023)

France

the French military is a large, experienced, and professional force with a long history, 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, frequently taking a lead role in these operations; the military has more than 30,000 troops deployed worldwide and 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 

the first permanent French Army was established in the 15th century; the French Army (or Land Army) today has 12 divisional-level commands, which includes commands for aviation and special forces and two combat divisions comprised of six brigades of airborne, armored, light armored, marine infantry, and mountain infantry forces, as well as a bi-national Franco-German mechanized brigade; the Army also has some garrison units for France’s overseas possessions

the French Navy (created in 1626) operates worldwide and conducts missions ranging from policing illegal fishing to combat operations involving air and missile strikes; it is a key component of France’s nuclear deterrent; the Navy is organized into a surface force, a submarine and strategic force, naval aviation, a marine and commando force, and a maritime gendarmerie; its principal warships include an aircraft carrier, about 20 destroyers or frigates of various types, six ocean-going patrol ships, three helicopter carrier/amphibious assault ships, six nuclear-powered attack submarines, and four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (note – France became a nuclear power in 1960)

French military aviation was officially established in 1912 although its roots go back to the formation of a military balloon unit in 1794; France was the first country to categorize air squadrons into fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance types; the current Air and Space Force is organized into commands for air, air defense, space, and strategic operations; it has over 550 fixed and rotary wing aircraft, including about 200 domestically made fighters and multipurpose fighter aircraft

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; 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; French forces on Mayotte, the Détachement de Légion Étrangère de Mayotte (DLEM), regularly deploys small elements for periodic rotations to Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island

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; the Army’s core forces are the Republican Guard and an airborne infantry battalion, which are supported by several small regionally-based infantry units; the Gendarmerie has regionally-based “legions,” as well as mobile forces, a national parks security unit, and a special intervention group; the Air Force has a small number of older French-made fighter aircraft and some combat helicopters, also mostly of French origin; the Navy has a small force of patrol boats (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, 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, as well as 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 lightly armed force with about five small infantry battalions, a handful of coastal patrol boats, and a few aircraft; in addition to external defense, the responsibilities of the GAF include providing maritime security, countering human trafficking, aiding civil authorities in emergencies and natural disaster relief, and engaging in activities such as engineering, education, health, and agriculture for domestic socio-economic development; the GAF also 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

the DFG is divided into two regional commands (eastern and western); the Ground Forces make up the majority of the DFG, with four infantry and two artillery brigades; the Coast Guard/naval forces operate a mix of coastal patrol craft and patrol boats, while the Air Force has a handful of refurbished Soviet-era ground attack aircraft (2023)

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

the current Bundeswehr Army is comprised of two armored divisions and a rapid forces division; the armored divisions have multiple armored and mechanized infantry brigades, including a Dutch brigade and a bi-national Franco-German brigade; one of the divisions also has a mountain infantry brigade; the rapid forces division has airborne, special operations, and helicopter forces, as well as a Dutch air mobile infantry brigade

the Navy is organized into flotillas for high seas and coastal operations; the high seas flotilla has 12 frigates, while the coastal flotilla has five corvettes and six submarines, plus mine warfare vessels, special operations forces, and marines; the marines cooperate closely with their Dutch counterparts, the Corps Mariniers, and together form a bi-national amphibious group; the Navy also has an aviation command for missions such as maritime surveillance, anti-submarine, and anti-surface warfare

the Air Force has commands for air, transport/logistics, and space operations; it has about 200 combat aircraft, plus dozens of aircraft for other missions, such as transport, tankers, electronic warfare, and reconnaissance, as well as more than 80 helicopters of various types (2023)

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; the government in recent years has committed to an increase in funding for equipment acquisitions, including armor, mechanized, and special forces capabilities for the Army, light attack aircraft for the Air Force, and more modern coastal patrol vessels for the Navy; the Army’s primary combat forces include several battalions of light infantry, a motorized rapid reaction/presidential guard battalion, and small regiments of light armored reconnaissance and special forces; the Navy has 2 ocean-going patrol vessels, several coastal patrol craft, and a special forces unit, while the Air Force operates a few ground attack aircraft and multipurpose helicopters
 
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 

the Hellenic Army (established 1828) consists of the Active Army, the National Guard, the High Readiness Army Reserves, and the Reserves; the active Army has an army and several corps-level command formations, including a command for the Aegean Islands, a corps in Thrace to guard the Greco-Turkish land border, and the NDC-GR; there are several divisional headquarters and about 20 combat brigades, which include air mobile, airborne, amphibious, armored, helicopter aviation, infantry, and mechanized forces; National Guard units are organized into divisional and brigade-sized commands and typically based in border regions, both on the mainland and on some of Greece’s islands

also established in 1828, the Navy’s missions include naval presence operations, the protection of Greek sovereign rights, such as the continental shelf, EEZ, and Greek-owned shipping, the security of Greece’s sea lines of communication, and power projection; it has separate commands for frigates, patrol ships, mine warfare, submarines, the Aegean Sea, surveillance, amphibious, aviation, and special operations; its principal warships include 13 frigates and 10 attack submarines, which are supplemented by fast-attack and patrol vessels of varying size and capabilities

the Air Force, established in 1911, is organized into wings, squadrons, and groups and has nearly 200 combat aircraft of French and US origin, plus early warning, maritime patrol, reconnaissance, tanker, and transport aircraft, as well as helicopters; it also has air and missile defense units (2023)

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 (2023)

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 Land Forces are organized into small combat brigades of infantry, marines, military police, paratroopers, presidential guards, and special forces, including some specialized for jungle and mountain operations that were created to assist in combating crime; the Naval Force has commands for both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, operates a small flotilla of patrol boats, and has a special forces element; the Air Force has a few light fixed-wing ground attack aircraft and multipurpose helicopters; for its internal security missions and supporting the police, the military has typically organized into task forces

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 (2023)

Guernsey

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Guinea

the Guinean military is a small and lightly armed force that is responsible for external 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; the Army has a small mix infantry, light armor, commando, and special forces battalions, as well as a presidential guard force; piracy and natural resource protection in the Gulf of Guinea are key areas of concern for the small Navy, which possesses only a few patrol boats; the Air Force has a handful of serviceable aircraft, including helicopter gunships (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 the 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

the GDF’s ground combat forces include three infantry battalions (one reserve), a special forces squadron, and an artillery company; the coast guard has an offshore patrol craft and a few patrol boats, as well as a small amphibious “raider” force; the air corps does not have any combat aircraft but instead provides tactical observation, transport, casualty evacuation, and other forms of support to the ground forces

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; in 2023, an estimated 200 armed gangs were operating in Haiti

in 2023, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of a multinational armed force to help bring gang violence under control; the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) operated in Haiti from 2004 until 2017; its mission was to help restore stability after President Bertrand ARISTIDE fled the country, including assisting with the political process, strengthening government institutions, and promoting and protecting human rights; following the completion of MINUSTAH’s mandate in 2017, a smaller peacekeeping mission, the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), operated until 2019; its mission was to assist with the further development and strengthening of the national police, as well as Haiti’s justice and prison systems, and to promote and protect human rights; in 2019, the UN established the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) with the political mission of advising the Haiti Government in elections, governance, and security (2023)

Heard Island and McDonald Islands

defense is the responsibility of Australia; Australia conducts fisheries patrols

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

the Army’s combat forces include five infantry brigades, a special operations group, and approximately eight military police battalions; the Navy is a small force focused on coastal and riverine security that operates an ocean-going patrol vessel acquired in 2019 and supported by small flotillas of coastal and riverine patrol boats, as well as a small naval infantry force; the Air Force has a handful of older US-made jet fighters and light ground attack aircraft (2023)

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, and disaster response, and since 2015, under a declared state of emergency prompted by mass migration, it may assist law enforcement forces in border protection and handling mass migration situations; 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 the EU’s 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

the HDF is organized as a joint force under a general staff with commands for land, air, cyber, special operations, territorial defense, and support forces; the combat units of the HDF’s Land Command have recently been reorganized and currently consists of three combined arms brigades, plus a reconnaissance regiment; one of the brigades has a joint Hungarian-Romanian peacekeeping battalion; the Special Operations Command includes a special purpose brigade; the Air Command’s combat forces are a squadron of Swedish-made fighter aircraft, an attack helicopter battalion, and an air defense missile regiment; the Territorial Defense Forces Command has volunteer operational reservists to backfill regular units on occasion and non-deployable volunteer territorial reservists that are organized into local defense units (typically battalions) spread throughout the country (2023)

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 (2023)

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 Army is organized into 14 operational corps; the basic field formations under the corps are approximately 40 armored, artillery, infantry, mechanized, or mountain infantry divisions; there are also a number of independent airborne, armored, and artillery brigades, as well as special operations forces; in 2023, the Army announced that it was reorganizing its operational corps and divisions into division-sized “integrated battle groups,” which the Army assessed would be more agile and flexible

the Navy is a blue water force that operates in seas stretching from the western Mediterranean to the Strait of Malacca and the western Pacific; it routinely conducts months-long deployments, exercises with other navies, and conducts a variety of missions such as counter-piracy, humanitarian, and naval diplomacy; its principal ships include two aircraft carriers, more than 50 destroyers, frigates, corvettes, and large patrol vessels, 16 attack submarines, and two nuclear-powered ballistic missile capable submarines; the Navy also has several combat aircraft and anti-submarine warfare helicopter squadrons, as well as a marine amphibious brigade and a marine commando force

the Air Force is one of the World’s largest with more than 600 British-, French-, Russian/Soviet-, and domestically produced combat aircraft, plus nearly 500 combat helicopters; the tri-service Strategic Forces Command manages all of India’s strategic missile forces 

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)

Indian Ocean

according to the International Maritime Bureau, areas of high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships in territorial waters of littoral states and offshore waters include the Gulf of Aden, along the east coast of Africa, the Bay of Bengal, and the Strait of Malacca; in addition, the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation advises that regional conflict, military activity, and political tensions pose threats to commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Bab al Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, and Somali Basin (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 infantry-heavy Army is the largest service and deployed throughout the country in 14 area (KODAM) and three joint area (KOGABWILHAN) defense commands; it also has a special forces command (KOPASSUS) and three strategic reserve (KOSTRAD) infantry division headquarters; as of 2023, the Army was conducting counter-insurgency 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; it 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 organized and equipped 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; its surface warships include more than 30 frigates and corvettes and a substantial number of patrol vessels; it also has a few attack-type submarines, as well as a maritime aviation component and an amphibious force with several marine infantry brigades and amphibious assault ships; the Air Force has more than 100 combat aircraft

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 (2023)

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

the Artesh Ground Force consists of about 50 combat brigades, mostly infantry with a sizable contingent of airborne, armored, commando, mechanized, and special operations forces; most units are concentrated along the Iran-Iraq border, reflecting the force’s primary mission to defend against foreign invasion; the IRGC Ground Force is organized into corps for each of the 31 provinces and Tehran city; the corps have a broad mix of armored, infantry, mechanized, and commando units and are postured to counter internal unrest or a ground invasion; the IRGC’s special operations forces are known as the Qods Force; the IRGC controls the Basij Paramilitary Forces, which are also organized into provincial corps with mobile/rapid-reaction, security, infantry, and commando battalions

the Artesh Navy is considered Iran’s “blue water” navy and has the primary mission of defending Iranian territorial waters and protecting the country’s economic interests in the Caspian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and beyond; it has approximately 10 frigates and corvettes, plus a small force of attack and midget submarines (note - Iran is the only Persian Gulf nation with a submarine force); the IRGC Navy is tasked with protecting primarily the Iranian littoral waters in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz and employs a force of mostly small, fast attack vessels armed with a variety of weapons systems including anti-ship missiles 

Iran’s air and air defense capabilities are split primarily across three services: the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) and the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force (IRIADF), both under the Artesh, and the IRGC Aerospace Force (IRGCASF); the IRIAF operates the majority of Iran’s combat aircraft and has more than 200 such aircraft, a considerable portion of which are older US models acquired before the 1979 revolution; the remainder includes older Chinese-, French-, and Russian-produced aircraft; the IRIADF controls the country’s surface-to-air missile capabilities; the IRGCASF operates some ground attack aircraft and most of Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicles; it also controls Iran’s cruise and ballistic missile force (2023)

Iraq

Iraqi security forces (ISF), including conventional air and ground forces, 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

the Irish Defense Forces (IDF) trace their origins back to the Irish Volunteers, a unit established in 1913 which took part in the 1916 Easter Rising and the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921); today, the IDF is comprised of an Army, an Air Corps, a Naval Service, and the Reserve Defense Forces (RDF); the Army has two combined arms combat brigades, one responsible for military operations in the south of the country, the other in the north; the Army’s primary mission is national defense, but elements have deployed on overseas humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, and at times have assisted civil authorities and the national police by providing security at airports, foreign embassies, government facilities, and ports; the Air Corps operates a range of non-combat fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters for a variety of missions, including air ambulance, civil assistance, maritime patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance, search and rescue, support to the Army, and transport; the Naval Service’s warships are six large or offshore patrol vessels, and its roles include defending territorial seas, deterrence, maritime surveillance, protecting marine assets, and supporting Army operations; the RDF was established in 2005 and has both an Army and a Naval Service Reserve; the RDF takes its lineage from the Volunteer Reserve Force, which was established in 1929 (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; the Ground Force has a relatively small active combat force of approximately 10 armored, mechanized infantry, paratrooper, and commandos/special forces brigades, plus an artillery corps, that is backed up by a large force of trained reserves—approximately 300-400,000 personnel—that can be mobilized rapidly into dozens of combat brigades; the Ground Force also controls Israel’s ballistic missile force; the Air Force has approximately 250 modern US-made combat aircraft, as well as one of the world’s most advanced theater missile defense systems; the Navy is largely a coastal defense force with a small but growing and largely modern inventory; its primary surface warships are seven German- and US-built corvettes, supplemented by a small flotilla of missile attack vessels and six German-made attack submarines

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

the Italian Army has participated in many colonial engagements, conflicts, major wars, and peacekeeping missions since its establishment in the 1850s and 1860s during Italian unification, from African colonization in the late 1800s to both World Wars and more recently, Afghanistan and Iraq; the current Italian Army is equipped largely with domestically manufactured weapons systems and organized into functional areas (operational, logistic, infrastructural, training, and territorial); the combat forces are under the operational commands, which include the Alpine Command (one divisional headquarters and two alpine/mountain brigades), the Southern Operational Forces Command (five mechanized brigades), the Northern Operational Forces Command (armored, cavalry, and airborne brigades), the Operational Land Forces Support Command (commands for artillery, air defense, engineers, etc), and the Operational Land Forces Command and Army Operational Command (two divisional headquarters, an aviation command with an air mobile brigade, and a special forces command)

the Navy was officially established in 1860; as a country with seas on three sides, naval power has long been a key component of Italy’s national security; today, it maintains one of the largest navies in NATO with several functional and regionally based commands and operates globally; in addition to maritime defense, the Navy’s missions include countering illegal trafficking, protecting the marine environment, and assisting with humanitarian and disaster assistance, as well as contributing to civil projects, such as scientific research; its principal warships include two aircraft carriers, four destroyers, 13 frigates, and eight attack submarines, as well as several large amphibious assault ships and a large inventory of patrol vessels; it also has a marine amphibious force, a special operations force, and operates a diverse array of naval fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and unmanned aircraft, including naval fighters and anti-submarine warfare helicopters; the Air Force was established in 1923, but the first air unit was established in 1884; today, it has nearly 500 total aircraft, including around 200 fighters and multirole fighter aircraft; to coordinate the different services, the military has several joint commands, including for operations, space, and special operations (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; troops for the WIR were recruited from freed slaves from North America, slaves purchased in the West Indies, and slaves from Africa bought off slave ships (2023)

Jan Mayen

defense is the responsibility of Norway

Japan

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 Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) was founded in 1954

JSDF's primary concerns are 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; the ground forces are organized into 10 divisions and a number of independent brigades, which include airborne, air assault, and amphibious rapid reaction forces; the maritime force is one of the largest and most modern navies in the world; its principal warships include four helicopter carriers (two are undergoing conversion to light aircraft carriers), more than 40 destroyers and frigates, three landing platform/dock (LPD) amphibious assault ships, and more than 20 attack-type submarines; it also has a large force of maritime aircraft, including over 150 for anti-submarine warfare; the Air Self Defense Force has over 300 modern combat aircraft, as well as more than 200 other aircraft for surveillance, early warning, electronic warfare, search and rescue, transportation, and logistics

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

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 documents that provided a blueprint that could fundamentally reshape Japan’s approach to its security; the documents 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’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; meanwhile, individuals and groups sympathetic to Palestine have planned and conducted terrorist attacks in Jordan

the JAF participates in both bilateral and multinational exercises and has taken part in regional military operations alongside allied forces in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen; in recent years, it has contributed to regional military operations alongside allied forces in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen; it also participates in UN peacekeeping missions; the Army is organized and equipped for a mobile territorial defense against conventional threats and rapid responses to unconventional threats such as terrorism; border security forces are backed up by approximately 10 mechanized or armored brigades, plus a rapid reaction/high readiness airborne/ranger brigade; the Army also has a well-regarded special operations/counterterrorism group, and Jordan hosts an international special operations training center; the Air Force maintains about 50 US-made multirole fighter aircraft and dozens of attack helicopters; the Navy is a coastal defense force with some fast, gun- or missile-armed patrol craft for monitoring Jordan’s coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba

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

the Land Forces are organized into combat brigades of air assault and mechanized infantry, tank, artillery, and surface-to-surface missile forces; the Naval Forces include a naval infantry brigade and patrol craft for operating on the Caspian Sea; the Air Defense Forces have over 100 combat aircraft, largely of Soviet-origin; the National Guard is organized into regions and deployed throughout the country

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 

the Army has five combat brigades comprised of infantry, armored, and artillery forces, as well as special operations regiment with airborne, special forces, and ranger battalions; it also has a helicopter-equipped air cavalry battalion; the Navy has several offshore patrol vessels, large coastal patrol boats, and missile-armed craft; the Air Force has a small inventory of older US-origin fighter aircraft, as well as some transport aircraft and combat helicopters

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

defense assistance is provided by Australia and NZ

Kiribati 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 Kiribati'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)

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

the KPA Ground Force is the core of North Korea’s military power and as of 2021 was assessed to be comprised of 10 regular infantry corps, two mechanized corps, one armored division, four mechanized divisions, and one artillery division plus numerous combat, combat support, and combat service support brigades and regiments; it was also estimated to have over 15,000 artillery systems and over 4,000 tanks 

the Air and Air Defense Forces control over 900 combat aircraft and 300 helicopters, nearly all of which are older Soviet-era models, as well as hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery guns

the Navy is primarily a coastal force, and its surface fleet is comprised of patrol craft; however, it maintains one of the world’s largest submarine forces, which includes about 70 diesel-electric attack, coastal, and midget class submarines 

the North's Special Operations Forces is assessed to have more than 100,000 personnel, making it the largest such force in the world; it includes ground, airborne, seaborne, reconnaissance, and infiltration units typically organized into brigades or regiments

North Korea’s Strategic Force operates the regime’s ballistic missiles, which include a growing inventory of close- (CRBM), short- (SRBM), medium- (MRBM), intermediate- (IRBM), and intercontinental- (ICBM) range ballistic missiles and its mission is to conduct both conventional and nuclear strikes; in 2021, it was assessed to have approximately 200 mobile ballistic missile launchers
(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 South Korea’s security; the Treaty committed the US to provide assistance in the event of an attack, particularly from North Korea; 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

the South Korean Army is organized into commands for aviation, ballistic and cruise missile operations, capital defense, ground operations, air and missile defense, and rear area defense operations; the Ground Operations Command has six corps and most of the Army’s ground combat power, which includes 21 combined arms infantry divisions, several of which are mechanized, and about 20 independent armored, artillery, air assault, aviation, and special operations brigades; the active ground forces are backed up by a large reserve force made up of former active duty soldiers

the Navy is a modern force that conducts both coastal and blue water operations; it has three numbered fleets, each assigned to the seas east, west, and south of the country; it also has a submarine command, surface flotillas for specialized missions such as mine warfare and amphibious operations, an aviation wing, a special warfare force, and South Korea’s Marine Corps, which is one of the largest in the World and functions as a rapid reaction, strategic reserve, and island defense force; the Navy’s principal warships include more than 25 destroyers and frigates, two landing platform helicopter (LPH) amphibious assault ships, and about 20 attack-type submarines, complemented by a large force of corvettes and coastal patrol vessels

the South Korean Air Force has a largely modern inventory of more than 800 fixed and rotary wing aircraft, including over 500 fighter and multirole fighter aircraft; it is organized into commands for air combat and air mobility/reconnaissance with subordinate wings and squadrons; the Air Force also has commands for ground based air defense (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; it numbers about 3,700 troops from 27 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 (2023)

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; 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; the Land Forces have approximately six small armored or mechanized brigades, plus the separate Emiri Guard and Commando brigades; the National Guard, which would support the Land Forces in a conflict, is comprised of a mix of security, light armored, and special forces battalions; the Air Force has less than 50 combat aircraft, while the Navy and Coast Guard operate a small force of missile-armed patrol craft and patrol boats
 
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; the current organization continues to be based on those former Soviet formations; the Army’s principal combat units are reportedly a few small Soviet-style “motor rifle” (mechanized) infantry brigades, plus brigades of mountain infantry, special forces, and artillery; the National Guard has some rapid reaction and special forces units; the Air Defense Forces reportedly have only a few operational combat helicopters (2023)

Laos

the LPAF’s primary missions are border and internal security, including counterinsurgency and counterterrorism; the Army is organized into a few small divisions and independent regiments deployed around the country in four military regions; the Army is supported by a self-defense militia, which is estimated to be 100,000 strong; the small Air Force does not have any combat aircraft

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, which has only increased since the Russian seizure of Crimea in 2014 and full-scale attack on Ukraine in 2022; in 2004, Latvia joined NATO and the EU, which it depends on to play a decisive role in Latvia’s security policy; Latvia is actively engaged in both NATO and the EU, as well as bilaterally with its allies in order to bolster its own security and that of the surrounding region; 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 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

the Land Forces have a single mechanized brigade; since 2017, Latvia 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 Land Forces are supplemented by the National Guard, which has four regionally based infantry brigades that are manned by part-time personnel supplemented by some full-time professional soldiers; in peacetime, the brigades participate in emergency, fire and rescue operations, and in the “elimination of consequences caused by emergency situations”

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; the Naval Forces feature a few patrol vessels and minesweepers; the military also has logistics, military police, special operations forces, and training commands (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 Army has about 12 infantry brigades (including a presidential guard brigade) that are supplemented by independent armored, artillery, border security, and “intervention” infantry regiments, as well as a special operations force comprised of airborne, marine commando, and ranger regiments that are regarded as the LAF’s elite units; the Air Force has a small inventory of aging combat aircraft and helicopters, while the Navy operates a mix of patrol craft and patrol boats

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 (2023)

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

the Land Forces form the backbone of the country’s defense force; the active Land Forces comprise a mechanized infantry brigade and a motorized infantry brigade; they are supplemented by the part-time National Defense Volunteer Forces, which are organized into six district-based territorial units; since 2017, Lithuania has hosted a German-led multinational NATO ground force battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative

Lithuania has no combat aircraft but has a ground air defense unit, and NATO has 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; Lithuania’s Naval Forces have small patrol vessel and mine warfare squadrons; the Special Operations Forces have air, ground, and naval units for missions such as counterterrorism, direct action, hostage rescue, military assistance, and reconnaissance (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

the combat forces of the Luxembourg Army are two companies of infantry and reconnaissance troops; the Army has no combat aircraft; 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 Army is the dominant service and has three infantry brigades while its subordinate maritime force has a few patrol boats for monitoring Lake Malawi

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

the Army’s force structure reflects its traditional focus on counterinsurgency operations and terrorist threats; its four divisional commands are comprised largely of infantry brigades; it also has separate brigades of airborne, security, and special operations forces; Malaysia does not have a marine corps, but places considerable emphasis on amphibious capabilities for some of its Army ground units; the Air Force has a mix of about 50 combat aircraft and helicopters 

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; two attempts failed (1976 and 1978), while three succeeded in overturning civilian rule (1968, 1991, and 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 are increasing 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; EUTM suspended its training program in 2022, citing issues with the ruling military government, including human rights abuses and the presence of Russian private military contractors; over the same period, the French military provided considerable assistance to the Malian security forces and conducted counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in Mali; the French suspended operations in 2021 and in August 2022 withdrew the last of its forces while also citing issues with the military government; the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has operated in the country since 2013 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; however, in June 2023, the UN Security Council voted to end the MINUSMA mission after the ruling junta demanded the withdrawal of foreign forces and aligned itself closer to Russia; the MINUSMA mission officially ended on 11 December 2023, although a “liquidation phase” involving activities such as handing over remaining equipment to local authorities will stretch into 2024
 
in addition to the EU-trained GTIAs, the Army has commandos and special forces, as well as recently created motorcycle-mounted reconnaissance units; the Air Force has small numbers of combat aircraft and helicopters, as well as a few armed UAVs; the Gendarmerie and National Guard field company-sized paramilitary units, including camel-mounted forces in the National Guard; they also have special anti-terrorism and intervention 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 for local armed forces and security to senior Malian officials; the contractors have also participated in security operations and been accused of war crimes; as of 2023, there were an estimated 1,000 Russian military contractors in Mali (2023)

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; the AFM has a joint force headquarters with five subordinate units—three land regiments, an air wing, and a maritime squadron; the air wing does not have any fighter aircraft but has both fixed and rotary wing aircraft for such tasks as maritime law enforcement and surveillance, reconnaissance, search and rescue, and transport; the maritime squadron is outfitted with both offshore patrol vessels and inshore patrol boats, and includes a small marine force element for maritime law enforcement and boarding operations, as well as a small land component tasked with defending the territorial integrity of the island of Gozo and providing military assistance to the Malta Police Force and other government departments

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; the islands of Kwajalein and Roi-Namur are home to more than 1,000 US military service members, Department of Defense civilians and contractors

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

the Army has sought to create lighter, more nimble units capable of operating in the harsh environment of the Sahel; since 2009, for example, it has enhanced existing camel-mounted nomad patrol units and created up to eight Special Intervention Groups (GSI), 200-man French-trained Army commando/counterterrorism units that are mounted on light vehicles, carry their own supplies, and operate in remote desert border areas for extended periods of time; in addition to the GSI and camel-mounted forces, the Army has multiple motorized infantry battalions, plus individual battalions of tanks, light armored reconnaissance, presidential guards, and airborne/commando forces to supplement garrison units stationed throughout the country in six military regions; the Gendarmerie has territorial-based, mobile, and specialized units such rapid reaction forces (Rapid Action Group – Surveillance and Intervention Group or GAR-SI) that conduct counterterrorism missions and work with the regular military services; the Air Force has acquired a few light attack combat aircraft in recent years, but remains small with a total inventory of about 20 patrol, transport, and trainer airplanes and helicopters; in addition to two offshore patrol vessels acquired from China in 2016, the Navy has a small force of coastal and inshore patrol craft and boats to monitor the country’s 750km-long coastline and Economic Exclusion Zone, plus a unit of marines (Fusiliers Marins); it has conducted joint patrols with the Senegalese Navy along their shared maritime border (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

the Mexican Army is a lightly armed force comprised largely of infantry supplemented by mechanized or motorized forces; it is primarily focused on internal security operations vice conventional warfare, and its posture and composition reflects an internal focus over external threats; much of the force is deployed throughout the country in 12 military regional commands and 48 subordinate military zones, giving the Army a country-wide presence and the ability to respond quickly to a crisis; force strengths in each zone vary according to the security situation, from a single infantry battalion to over 10 infantry battalions and small motorized cavalry regiments, plus other units on rotation; the Army’s principal mobile combat forces are approximately 10 light or mechanized/motorized infantry brigades, three special forces brigades, and a paratrooper brigade, which are separate from the units under the military zones; the National Guard has up to 12 military police brigades

the Air Force’s inventory reflects its chief roles of supporting the Army, conducting counter-narcotics operations, and providing assistance during natural disasters; its fixed-wing combat aircraft include a handful of US-made fighters acquired in the 1980s and about 30 light attack planes; the Air Force also has more than 30 transport aircraft, as well as about 100 multipurpose helicopters

the Mexican Navy is largely a coastal patrol force but has a growing blue water capability; it has a range of missions including maritime law enforcement, security of maritime facilities, resources, and the environment, humanitarian assistance, and search and rescue; it has fleet commands for both the Pacific and Caribbean Sea/Gulf of Mexico, plus naval aviation, and naval infantry forces; the Navy’s warships include five frigates and more than 100 patrol vessels of varying sizes and capabilities; the Naval Infantry Corps (Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina) has both external and internal security responsibilities, including providing port security, protecting the coastal fringe, and patrolling major waterways; it also has had a significant role in combating narcotics trafficking and organized crime; the Corps has more than 30 combat battalions, which include amphibious, commando, infantry, paratrooper, security, and special operations forces (2023)

Micronesia, Federated States of

defense is the responsibility of the US

Micronesia 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 Micronesia'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

the National Army is equipped almost entirely with outdated Soviet-era material; following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Moldova announced that the National Army would undergo a process to modernize and professionalize while declaring that it had been largely neglected since its formation in the early 1990s; some Western countries have provided gear and equipment; the National Army is comprised of a Land Force Command and an Air Force Command with a General Staff exercising operational leadership of the force; the Land Force’s combat units include three small motorized infantry brigades and a designated peacekeeping battalion, plus artillery and special forces;  the Air Force does not have any combat aircraft; the Carabinieri Troops under the Ministry of Internal Affairs are organized into three regions with five subordinate military units

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 does not face a significant external military threat and focuses instead on counterterrorism, disaster response, and international peacekeeping; the Ground Force is the military’s primary service and is centered on a motorized infantry brigade equipped largely with Soviet-era equipment; 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 

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

the combat units of the Ground Forces include an infantry battalion, plus artillery and special forces; there are two additional infantry battalions in reserve; the Air Force has ground air defense units but no combat aircraft; the Navy is a coastal defense force with a small inventory of coastal patrol craft and patrol boats, plus a marine/special forces detachment (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 Royal Army has considerable artillery, armored, mechanized infantry, and motorized infantry forces formed as brigades, regiments, and independent battalions that are mostly deployed in two geographic commands focused on Western Sahara in the south and Algeria in the east and north; its armored forces include some 400 modern US-made tanks purchased since 2012; the Army also has brigades of airborne and security troops; the Navy's warships include about six frigates and more than 20 offshore patrol craft of varying size and capabilities; it also has a small force of naval infantry; the Air Force has approximately 100 French- and US-made combat aircraft
 
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 over 4,000 estimated dead and nearly 1 million displaced;  several countries from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the EU, as well as Rwanda and the US are providing various forms of military assistance to the FADM; the SADC countries and Zambia have sent more than 3,000 military and security personnel, while some EU member states and the US have provided training assistance

the FADM’s Army is comprised largely of light infantry supplemented by several battalions of artillery and special forces; the Air Force has small numbers of Soviet-era combat aircraft and helicopters

in 2023, the Mozambique Government legalized local militias that have been assisting security forces operating in Cabo Delgado against Islamic militants since 2020; this Local Force is comprised of ex-combatants and other civilians and is to receive training, uniforms, weapons, and logistical support from the FADM (2023)

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 participates in multinational training exercises; the Army fields a largely mobile force centered on three small motorized infantry brigades and a reconnaissance regiment; the Navy has a Chinese-built multipurpose offshore patrol ship equipped with a helicopter landing platform and supported by several coastal patrol vessels, while the Air Force has a small inventory of aircraft, including a few Chinese-made fighters and Soviet-era attack helicopters 

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); 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; it has eight geographically-based divisions, each comprised of light infantry brigades and support units; the Army also has independent special forces and security force (palace guard) brigades; the Air Wing has a small number of multi-role and transport helicopters

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 to include combined military units

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

the Dutch military conforms to NATO standards; the Army is experienced, equipped with modern weapons, and exercises regularly, including with allied partners; it has three brigades of mechanized, light, and air mobile infantry, plus artillery, air defense, and commando/special forces units; the Army cooperates closely 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; the Navy’s principal warships are 10 frigates and ocean-going patrol ships and three attack submarines; the Marine Corps has two battalion-size combat groups and special operations forces; since 1973, it has worked closely with the British Royal Marines, including jointly in the UK-Netherlands amphibious landing force

the Air Force operates globally and is equipped with about 50 modern US-origin combat aircraft, including F-35 stealth multirole fighters; the Air Force has a helicopter command with attack and other combat-capable helicopters; Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg have an agreement to allow the Belgian and Dutch Air Forces to conduct air policing patrols over the three countries

the core missions of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee’s (military police) are border security, security and surveillance, and international and military police tasks; it has 21 brigades based in eight Dutch provinces, plus Curaçao in the Caribbean, a special missions security brigade, and separate security platoons to guard and protect domestic sites that are most likely to be the targets of attacks, such as government buildings; Marechaussee detachments have been included in international police units deployed by NATO

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; the Army’s primary combat units are an infantry brigade and a special forces regiment; the Navy has a small force of frigates and patrol vessels, while the Air Force has squadrons of maritime patrol, anti-submarine, and anti-surface warfare aircraft 

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 military’s Land Forces have a mechanized brigade and approximately eight regional commands or detachments, each with one or more light infantry battalions; there is also a small special operations command; the Naval Forces operate patrol boats and have a naval infantry battalion; the Air Forces do not possess any combat aircraft 

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, much of its focus is internal, particularly 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); up to 70% of the security forces are assigned to fighting militants and protecting borders

the FAN is a lightly armed, but experienced military; it has conducted training and combat operations with foreign partners, including the French and US; the EU has also provided security assistance, particularly to the GN, GNN, and the National Police; the FAN also conducts counterterrorism operations with the G5 Sahel Group and 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 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 a few 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 successful 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 Army is organized into eight divisions comprised of a diverse mix of more than 20 combat brigades, including airborne infantry, amphibious infantry, armor, artillery, light infantry, mechanized and motorized infantry, and special operations forces; there is also a presidential guard brigade; the Army typically organizes into battalion- and brigade-sized task forces for operations; the Air Force has a few squadrons of fighters, ground attack fighters, armed UAVs, and attack helicopter squadrons primarily for supporting the Army

the Army and Air Force are focused largely on internal security and face a number of challenges that have stretched their resources; 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, although the levels of violence there have decreased in recent years; 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)

meanwhile, the Navy is focused on 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; its principal surface ships currently include a frigate and a few corvettes or offshore patrol ships

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

the ARSM is a joint force led by a general staff with subordinate commands for operations, logistics, reserves, special operations, and training; the Operational Command includes the active air and ground combat forces, which include a mechanized infantry brigade, an air brigade with a small combat helicopter squadron, and a ground air defense unit; the Special Operations Command has battalions of rangers and special forces, while the Reserve Forces Command has an infantry brigade (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 focus 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 is a compact and mixed force of conscripts and professionals that trains regularly and is equipped with modern weapons systems; its origins go back to the leidangen, defense forces which were established along the coastline in the 10th century to protect the Norwegian coast; the Army was created in 1628; its principal combat forces are a mechanized infantry brigade, plus a special operations commando (group); the Finnmark Land Command safeguards Norway's northernmost land territories and the land border with Russia; the Army is supplemented by the Home Guard (Heimevernet or HV), a reserve mobilization and national emergency force consisting of some 40,000 part-time soldiers spread over 11 districts where they have territorial responsibility for protecting key civilian and military installations and may assist civil authorities during natural disasters and search and rescue operations; the HV includes several rapid-reaction intervention task forces

the Navy is comprised of the fleet, the Coast Guard, and several bases; the fleet has a small mix of frigates, corvettes, and attack submarines, as well as mine warfare vessels; it also has a special operations group and the Coastal Hunter Command (Kystjegerkommandoen), which monitors coastal seas and land; the Air Force has about 60 US-made combat aircraft and is slated to have a new fully operational fleet of US F-35 stealth multirole fighters by 2025 (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

the Omani Navy 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, 34-member nation 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; the Navy is a small but relatively modern force; its principal warships are five corvettes, which are supported by several offshore patrol ships, fast attack craft, and coastal patrol vessels

the Royal Army was formed as the Muscat Garrison in 1907; today, it has an armored brigade equipped with American and British tanks, 2 brigades of infantry, and a border guard brigade, as well as an airborne regiment; the Royal Guard is comprised of an infantry brigade and 2 special forces regiments; the Air Force has about three dozen modern European- and US-made multipurpose fighter aircraft (2023)

Pacific Ocean

according to the International Maritime Bureau, the risk for piracy and armed robbery in the territorial waters of littoral states and offshore waters in the South China Sea is high, particularly the Singapore Straits and the Celebes and Sulu Seas between the Philippines and Malaysia (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 from 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

the Army is the largest component; it has more than 20 combat divisions, plus about 20 independent combat brigades; the Army also has an inventory of over 5,000 artillery systems organized into divisions and brigades, plus several squadrons of attack helicopters; the Navy operates throughout the Indian Ocean and conducts a variety of missions, including countering piracy, narcotics, and smuggling, protecting Pakistan’s sea lines of communications, multinational security and humanitarian operations, and naval diplomacy; the Navy is in the midst of a large modernization effort; its principal combat ships are a mix of about 15 frigates and corvettes, plus a handful of attack submarines; there is also a small marine amphibious force; the Air Force’s combat missions include the air defense of Pakistan and support to the Army and Navy; it has over 400 Chinese-, French-, and US-made combat aircraft 

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; MNNA is 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 (COFA) between Palau and the US, the US is responsible for the defense of Palau and the US military is granted access to the islands, but it has not stationed any military forces there; 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 (2023)

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 (2023)

Papua New Guinea

the 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 Land Element includes two infantry battalions, plus small supporting engineer, communications, explosive ordnance disposal, and medical units; the Air Element is a small air wing operating a light transport aircraft and a few leased helicopters, while the Maritime Element consists of a few patrol boats and landing craft

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 gained its independence in 1975, when it became part of the PNGDF

Papua New Guinea's traditional security partners are Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the US; Australia and the US are assisting the country with expanding and improving the Defense Force naval base at Lombrum on Manus Island; the US first established a Lombrum base in 1944 during World War II; in recent years, Papua New Guinea has established security ties with France and the UK; the US and PNG signed a defense cooperation agreement in May 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 (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 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; formally established in 1811, the Army has nine divisions of infantry and cavalry, but each division is reportedly about the size of a US battalion or 500-1,000 troops; there is also a presidential guard regiment; the Navy is a riverine force that has some of the oldest operational warships in the World, as well as a small marine infantry force; the Air Force has a single combat squadron with a handful of light ground attack/trainer aircraft (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  

the Army was officially established in 1821 with the formation of the Peruvian Guard Legion; today, it has five regionally based divisions comprised of about 20 combat brigades, which include a mix of armored, artillery, jungle infantry, light infantry, mechanized cavalry, and special forces; the Army also has an aviation brigade and a multi-purpose support brigade designed in large part to provide assistance during natural disasters; the Navy, also established in 1821, includes the Coast Guard; it has undertaken efforts to modernize since the 2000s; the Navy’s principal warships include seven frigates and six attack submarines, which are supported by a force of corvettes and patrol ships; it also has a flotilla of river gunboats, plus naval aviation and a marine force comprised of amphibious infantry, light infantry, jungle infantry, and commandos; the Air Force, established in the 1920s, has several squadrons of French-, Russian-, and US-made fighters, multirole fighters, and fixed-wing ground attack aircraft, as well as attack helicopters (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 armed forces are deployed; additional combat operations are conducted against the Communist People’s Party/New People’s Army, which is active mostly on Luzon, 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 air and ground forces are experienced with and largely configured for counterinsurgency and counterterrorist operations; a majority of the Air Force’s combat aircraft are ground attack capable and organized in mixed fixed-wing and helicopter squadrons or combat groups formed for mobile operations against insurgents and terrorists; ten of the Army’s 11 divisions are light infantry, and the AFP has a joint-service special operations command comprised of rangers, scouts, special forces, counterterrorism, quick reaction, marine, naval, and air units

in addition to its typical roles of patrolling the country's territorial waters, the Navy conducts 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; the Navy has commands for offshore, littoral, and amphibious operations; most of its surface fleet consists of coastal patrol vessels and fast attack craft, although in response to maritime and territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea over the past decade the Navy has acquired some larger warships, including frigates, a corvette, offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), and landing platform dock (LPD) amphibious assault ships, and has plans to acquire additional corvettes and OPVs in the next few years; the Marine Corps consists of four infantry brigades and also conducts counterinsurgency operations 

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

the Polish military is organized into a General Staff, an Armed Forces General Command, an Armed Forces Operational Command, Territorial Defense Forces (established 2017), Military Police, and the Warsaw Garrison Command; the Army is comprised of several armored cavalry and mechanized infantry divisions, which are complemented by independent airborne, air mobile, and aviation brigades, as well as armored reconnaissance and artillery regiments ; the active forces are backed up by the Territorial Defense Forces, which have nearly 20 light infantry brigades manned by part-time reserve personnel; the Navy is a compact force for defending Poland's territorial waters, coastline, and its interests abroad, as well as providing support to NATO missions; its principal warships are two frigates, two corvettes, three attack submarines, and a few fast-attack craft; it also has a considerable force of mine warfare vessels, as well as a naval aviation brigade focused on anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrolling; the Air Force has a mix of about 80 Soviet-era and more modern US fighter aircraft; it has more advanced US (F-35s) and South Korean (FA-50s) on order to replace its Soviet-era inventory beginning in 2024; Poland also has a joint special forces command with air, ground, and maritime components (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; 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 

Portugal has had a standing army since the 1570s; the modern-day Army’s primary combat forces are a heavy mechanized brigade, a light mechanized “intervention” brigade, and a rapid reaction brigade comprised of commandos, paratroopers, and special forces; there are also garrison units in the Azores and Madeira 

Portugal’s Navy is one of the oldest in the world, having been permanently established in in the 1300s, and maritime security has long been a key component of the military’s portfolio; the current Navy has a wide variety of missions in addition to war fighting, such as combating piracy, evacuating national citizens from conflict zones, fishery inspections, maritime interdiction, search and rescue, providing support to other domestic security agencies, and assisting with scientific research; its principal warships are 11 frigates, corvettes, and offshore patrol ships, and two attack-type submarines; the Navy also has a small marine force, which constitutes the Navy’s commando and special operations component 

the Air Force was formed in 1952 although the first flying unit was created in 1911; the current Air Force has about 20 US-made fighter aircraft, as well as reconnaissance and surveillance, maritime patrol, transport, search and rescue, and firefighting fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft (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 and a few fighter trainers 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 brigade and separate mechanized and artillery battalions 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 four corvettes and four 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 its 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 participates in NATO- and EU-led multinational missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Poland

the military is an all-volunteer force equipped largely with Soviet-era or other aging weapons systems, although since joining NATO it has embarked on an effort to acquire more modern, NATO-compatible weapons systems, such as armored vehicles, combat aircraft, and naval vessels; the main combat formations of the Land Forces are two combined arms infantry divisions, each comprised of three or four mechanized and mountain infantry brigades, plus artillery, reconnaissance, and other combat support forces; the Army also has a tactical missile brigade; the military’s special operations forces were consolidated into a special operations command in 2018

the Romanian Navy operates on the Black Sea and the Danube River; the Black Sea fleet command has three frigates and seven corvettes organized into flotillas and divisions, as well as divisions of mine warfare vessels, naval missiles, and coastal defense; the Danube River flotilla operates gunboats and has a marine infantry regiment 

the Air Force had approximately 400 Soviet-made combat aircraft when Romania was a member of the Warsaw Pact, but by the 2020s the number was down to a few dozen that were being replaced by secondhand US-origin F-16 fighter aircraft acquired from NATO partners; in 2023, Romania retired the last of its Soviet-era fighters and signed a contract to acquire about 30 additional F-16s from Norway (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 Syria and Ukraine; in February 2022, Russia launched an unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the military, particularly the ground forces, 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; it seized the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008; separately, Russia has provided military personnel and private military contractors to conduct missions in Africa, including in the Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, and Sudan 

Russian forces are organized into five military districts and operational/joint strategic commands; the Ground Troops are configured into at least 11 combined arms armies, one tank army, and four army corps, each comprised of a mixture of tank or “motorized rifle” (mechanized or motorized infantry) division and brigade structures supplemented by artillery, tactical missile, and air defense forces; the most capable ground forces are the special forces (Spetsial’noye naznacheniye or Spetsnaz) brigades and Airborne and Air Assault Troops (VDV), which are considered strategic-level assets; as of 2023, the Spetsnaz forces had eight brigades, while the VDV had at least four airborne and air assault divisions, plus some independent air assault and Spetsnaz brigades

the Navy conducts operations globally and has four fleets (Baltic, Black Sea, Pacific, and Northern), as well as a flotilla in the Caspian Sea; the principal surface warships are an aircraft carrier (under repair until at least 2024), four battlecruisers or cruisers, and over 20 destroyers and frigates; the backbone of the Navy is its submarine force, which has approximately 50-60 nuclear ballistic missile, nuclear cruise missile, nuclear attack-type, and conventional attack submarines; the ballistic missile submarines are an essential arm of Russia’s nuclear triad; the Navy has an aviation force with fighters, multipurpose fighters, and surface attack aircraft, as well as anti-submarine warfare and attack helicopters; it also has coastal defense forces and a ground force of several naval infantry brigades, which have been used as ground troops in Ukraine

the Aerospace Forces include as sub-branches the Air Force, the Air and Missile Defense Forces, and Space Forces; the Air and Air/Missile Defense elements are typically organized into armies, commands, bases, brigades, and regiments; the Air Forces are some of the largest in the world, and prior to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine included nearly 1,500 fighters, multirole fighters, and bombers, as well as nearly 1,500 combat helicopters

the Strategic Rocket Forces have both road-mobile and silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and are organized into three armies with 12 subordinate divisions, each further broken down into regiments

the paramilitary Russian National Guard is organized into regions or districts with subordinate divisions and brigades, which include a mix of security, special purpose, protective, and motorized units, as well as some artillery and aviation forces (2023)

Rwanda

the RDF is widely regarded as one of East Africa’s best trained and most experienced militaries; the Army is relatively large with four divisions that are mostly comprised of light infantry brigades; it also has separate artillery, presidential guard, and special operations brigades; the Air Force has a small inventory of combat helicopters and a handful of transport aircraft

the RDF’s 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

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

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 (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 (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 Land Forces have approximately 15 combat brigades which include a mix of armored, aviation, light infantry, mechanized or motorized infantry, royal guards, and airborne/special forces, plus separate battalions of artillery; the Naval Forces are undergoing a major acquisitions and modernization program; its principal warships are approximately 16 frigates and corvettes, with an additional four frigates on order; the Air Force is the largest and one of the most modern in the region, with over 350 combat aircraft from Europe and the US with more on order; the Strategic Missile Force manages Saudi Arabia’s ballistic missile inventory, largely acquired from China

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

there are also large numbers of paramilitary forces under the Ministry of Interior, including Border Guards and the Facilities Security Force, as well as the Special Security Forces and Special Emergency Forces under the State Security Presidency

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 considerable assistance from the French military, which maintains a presence in Senegal, and the US, with smaller levels from Germany, Spain, and the UK; the FAS’s primary focuses are border, internal, and maritime security; it is closely 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; the FAS also works with the government in areas such as preventive healthcare, infrastructure development, environmental protection, and disaster response

the Army is spread amongst seven military zones and organized into a mix of light infantry battalions and light armored reconnaissance squadrons, as well as airborne, special operations, and artillery battalions; the Gendarmerie includes mobile units, as well as the Presidential Guard (aka “The Red Guard”); the Navy is a small force of coastal patrol craft; in recent years it has acquired some modern platforms from France and Israel, including two offshore patrol vessels, to improve the Navy’s ability to patrol Senegal’s coastline and economic exclusion zone, conduct fisheries inspections, counter drug trafficking, and combat piracy; the Air Force is configured for supporting the ground forces and has a small number of light attack aircraft and helicopter gunships, as well as transport and reconnaissance aircraft

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 aspires to join the EU and 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; the military’s combat forces are organized into Army and Air and Defense commands under a General Staff, as well as some independent forces; the Army’s combat forces include four combined arms brigades and an artillery brigade, plus several independent battalions and a river flotilla; there are also independent brigades of parachute infantry, special operations, and security/guard forces, which are directly under the General Staff; the Air and Air Defense force is organized into brigades and squadrons of aircraft, air defense missiles, and early warning and surveillance; its combat aircraft include approximately 25 Russian- and Yugoslavian-made multirole and attack aircraft, as well as a force of attack and multirole helicopters (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 Land Forces are by far the largest service with four small light infantry brigades and a separate battalion, each assigned to a separate region, including the capital; the Maritime Forces have a few small coastal and in-shore patrol craft, while the Air Wing has a handful of serviceable combat helicopters; the RSLAF operates under a Joint Forces Command

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 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; 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 is organized into three combined arms divisions and a “people’s defense force,” a divisional headquarters responsible for homeland security and counterterrorism; the Army is based largely on 2-year conscripts and reservists with a small cadre of professional soldiers, and Army units are comprised of a mix of active duty and cadre/reserve battalions that are filled out by reservists upon mobilization; the Air Force and Navy are primarily comprised of professionals; the Air Force has over 100 modern US-origin combat aircraft, plus squadrons for anti-submarine warfare, maritime patrol, early warning, surveillance, and logistical support, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles and attack helicopters; the Navy’s principal combat vessels are a mix of about 20 frigates, corvettes, and littoral combat ships (comparable to a corvette in capabilities), plus about a half dozen submarines; it has additional frigates on order

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 a small and professional force 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 military operates under a General Staff and a Joint Operations Command; the combat units of the subordinate Land Forces are two mechanized infantry brigades, plus separate battalions of artillery and reconnaissance forces; the separate Special Operations Forces include special forces and airborne units; the 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; as a landlocked country, Slovakia does not have a naval force (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

the SV is configured as a joint force with land, naval, air, and special forces components; the SV is led by a General Staff with a joint-service Forces Command controlling the operational elements; the principal land combat units are two infantry brigades, but they may be organized as battlegroups or other response forces based on their mission; the naval component has two patrol boats; the SV air component has no fighter aircraft, and 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 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 and a small Chinese police liaison team is embedded with the RSIPF (2024)

Somalia

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

of the SNA’s approximately 13 brigades, the most effective 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; the Somali Government has sent thousands of troops to Eritrea and Uganda for training and in 2023 announced plans to send additional personnel to Egypt and Ethiopia for training

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

the European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM-S) has operated in the country since 2010; the EUTM provides advice and training to the Somali military; the US, UK, and Turkey maintain separate military training missions in Somalia (the US has also supported the SNA with air strikes); the UAE maintains a military presence in Somaliland (2023)

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; it 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 approximately 1,500 troops to Mozambique as part of a multinational SADC force to help combat an insurgency, and South African forces are 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 to combat trafficking along the border

the Army in recent years has reorganized, and its combat forces are organized into four “modern” brigades, each designed for specific missions and responding to modern-day threats such as “asymmetric” warfare; the new brigades are separated into airborne, light infantry, mechanized, and motorized forces; the Navy operates a mixed force of warships, patrol craft, submarines, and support vessels; its principal combatants are four frigates and three attack submarines; the Navy also has a maritime rapid reaction squadron that includes naval infantry and combat divers; the Air Force has squadrons of multipurpose fighter, ground attack, and transport aircraft, as well as attack and transport helicopters

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 Ground Force has approximately eight light infantry divisions plus a mechanized presidential guard division (aka the Tiger Division); the Air Force has small numbers of transport aircraft and combat helicopters 

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 United Nations 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 2023

United Nations 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 2023, UNISFA had approximately 3,500 personnel assigned (2023)

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 also has a separate Emergency Response Unit, a permanent joint service force designed to respond to catastrophes and emergencies in both domestic and overseas environments; the Army is the largest service and has two divisional headquarters with several subordinate brigades of mechanized infantry and one of paratroopers; there are also separate commands for air defense, artillery, aviation, mountain troops, and special operations forces, as well as for the garrison units in the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Ceuta, and Melilla

the basic structure of the Navy’s operational units includes surface and action forces, aviation and submarine flotillas, and a marine corps; the Surface Combat Force includes amphibious, mine warfare, surface warship, and escort squadrons and groups, while the Maritime Action Force is generally made up of units and assets whose main task is to conduct maritime security and surveillance operations in geographically based areas such as the Balearic and Canary islands, Cadiz, and Cartagena; the Navy’s principal warships include 11 frigates, four attack submarines, and three large helicopter-capable amphibious assault ships; it also has squadrons of multirole fighters and anti-submarine warfare aircraft; the 5,500-strong Marine Corps (aka Marine Infantry or Infantería de Armada) has amphibious, garrison, and special operations forces

the Air Force is organized into an Air Combat Command, home to the air combat squadrons, a General Air Command, and a Canary Islands Air Command; it has approximately 400 aircraft, including about 170 modern European- and US-made fighters and multirole fighter aircraft; in addition to traditional military operations, the Air Force supports such missions as medical operations, delivering humanitarian aid, evacuations, search and rescue, firefighting, and surveillance

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

the Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs of which about 45 are claimed and 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 in the Spratlys, 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; Spratly Island includes an airstrip with aircraft hangers; 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 (2023)

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 

the Army did not downsize following the LTTE war and continues to have about 20 infantry divisions, plus several independent brigades and regiments; however, in 2023 the Sri Lankan Government announced that because of the country’s financial crisis, it would slash the size of the Army 40% by 2024 with deeper cuts planned by 2030; the Navy has a frigate transferred from China in 2019 and several offshore patrol ships acquired from India and the US to patrol its territorial waters; it also has a large force of small in-shore patrol and fast attack boats, largely acquired to combat the LTTE; the Air Force is small and much of its inventory is aging; it has a handful of operational fighter aircraft and a few dozen attack and multi-role helicopters

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 Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) is a large and relatively well-equipped military; its primary focuses are internal security, border issues, and potential external threats from its neighbors; the SAF is often 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 in some outlying areas, including the western region of Darfur; fighting continued into 2024

information on the organization of the SAF and the RSF varies; prior to the conflict with the RSF, the SAF Army was estimated to have more than 10 infantry divisions, as well as divisions of mechanized, armored, and airborne/special forces, and several independent infantry brigades; the SAF Air Force has several squadrons of Chinese- and Russian-origin combat aircraft, as well as multiple squadrons of combat helicopters, also largely of Russian origin; the Navy has a small force of coastal patrol boats; the RSF is a lightly-armed ground force and prior to the 2023 conflict was reportedly organized into brigades of varying size and makeup   

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 2023, UNISFA had approximately 3,500 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 (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; it 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 large 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; 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

the military is headed by the Supreme Commander, who leads and supervises the force through Armed Forces Headquarters, which is the highest level of command and control of the military; the Army’s principal active combat arms units are approximately 14 battalions of armor, artillery, reconnaissance, security, and infantry forces, which include airborne/rangers, light, mechanized, and motorized infantry; in a crisis, the battalions would be filled out by reservists and formed into battlegroups/task forces and brigades; they are backed up by 40 Home Guard battalions comprised of locally based rapid-response units with mostly part-time but experienced soldiers; the Navy is organized into flotillas and an amphibious/naval infantry battalion; its principal warships are seven corvettes and four attack submarines; other combat vessels include patrol boats, fast attack craft, and minesweepers; all of the Navy’s warships are produced by Sweden; the Swedish Air Force has about 70 Swedish-made multirole fighter aircraft organized into wings with an additional 60 on order; the military also has a joint service special operations group directly under the Supreme Commander (2023)

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 contributed to the NATO-led Kosovo force (KFOR) in 1999 and, as of 2024, continued doing so with up to 195 personnel

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; the primary combat forces of the Army/Land Forces are three mechanized brigades, plus additional reserve brigades of armor, infantry, and mountain infantry forces; the four territorial divisions link the Army with the cantons; the Air Force is responsible for airspace protection (air sovereignty and air defense, including ground-based air defense), air transport, and airborne intelligence; it has about 50 US-origin multirole fighter aircraft (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; 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 lanes of communication; its main focus is the challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China; the military trains regularly and conducts multiservice exercises; the Army’s primary combat forces include nine mechanized or motorized infantry brigades, four armored brigades, and three artillery brigades; it also has an aviation and special forces command that includes several squadrons of attack helicopters; the Air Force has nearly 300 fighter and multipurpose fighter aircraft organized into tactical wings and squadrons, plus squadrons for anti-submarine and electronic warfare, early warning, and surveillance, as well as an air defense command; the Navy’s warship inventory includes four destroyers, 22 frigates, more than 40 corvettes, patrol vessels, and missile-armed attack craft, and two combat-capable attack submarines; it also has three marine infantry brigades 

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 (2023)

Tajikistan

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

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; following the 2021 Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, Tajikistan deployed thousands of troops to the Afghan border and conducted exercises focused on border-related scenarios; since 2012, Tajikistan has had more than 100 border-related clashes with Kyrgyzstan, triggered mostly by disputes over water, roads, or land along a poorly-defined frontier; the most recent in September 2022 saw the use of armored vehicles and artillery and resulted in about 100 killed; the Tajik Land and Mobile Forces have together an estimated five combat brigades of mechanized infantry, light/mountain infantry, air assault and special forces, and artillery; the Air and Air Defense force has a small number attack and multipurpose helicopters

Russia is Tajikistan’s primary security partner; approximately 5-7,000 Russian soldiers 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 (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; the TPDF’s principal ground forces are five infantry brigades and an armored brigade; the Naval Forces operate patrol and fast attack boats, while the Air Force inventory includes small numbers of combat aircraft and helicopters (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 more than 20 coups since the fall of absolute monarchy in 1932, the most recent being in 2014; the Army, formed in 1874, is the dominant service and has 15 combat divisions spread across four military regions; ten of the divisions are infantry, while the others are armored/mechanized cavalry, special forces, and artillery; established in 1906, the Navy’s principal warships include a light aircraft/helicopter carrier, a landing platform dock (LPD) amphibious assault ship, and nearly 20 frigates, corvettes, and offshore patrol vessels; it also has a marine infantry division; the Air Force, established in 1913, is one of the oldest in Southeast Asia and has around 100 combat aircraft

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 7,300 lives (as of 2023); 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 (2023)

Timor-Leste

the small and lightly equipped F-FDTL has both external defense and internal security roles; it has two infantry battalions, a small air component, and a handful of naval patrol boats 

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 and the two countries maintain a joint Border Security Task Force to jointly monitor and patrol the border, particularly the Oecussi exclave area where smuggling and trafficking are prevalent (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

the Army has a mixed force of small, lightly-armed combined arms, infantry, and commando regiments, as well as a rapid reaction force; the Gendarmerie includes mobile, regionally-based, and maritime units; the Navy operates a few patrol boats while the Air Force has a small inventory of training, light attack-capable, and transport aircraft, as well as combat helicopters and a few armed UAVs acquired from Turkey in 2022 (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 a royal guard company, a marine battalion, 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 (2023)

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; since 2015, Tunisia has constructed a system of berms, trenches, and water-filled moats, complemented by electronic surveillance equipment such as motion detectors, ground surveillance radars, and infrared sensors along the 220-kilometer border with 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; the Army has five combat brigades, including three mechanized infantry, a desert patrol, and a special forces brigade, as well as an armored reconnaissance regiment; the Navy is a coastal defense force with a limited inventory of offshore patrol ships complemented by a mix of small, fast attack and patrol craft; the Air Force largely supports the Army’s operations; it has a handful of older US-made fighter aircraft and a few dozen combat helicopters, mostly of French and US origin 

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

the TAF is led by a General Staff headed by a Chief of the General Staff; the Land Forces are organized into four army- and eight corps-level commands; these include an army command for the Aegean and a corps command for northern Cyprus (“Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”); subordinate units include a few armored, mechanized infantry, or motorized infantry divisions, but most of the Land Force’s combat forces are formed into more than 30 armored, commando, light infantry, mechanized infantry, and motorized infantry brigades; the Land Forces also have an aviation command; the TAF has a Special Forces Command that is directly subordinate to the General Staff and independent of the other services

the Naval Forces’ role includes securing control of Turkey’s territorial waters and sea lines of communications; it is one of the largest maritime forces in the region and is seeking to develop greater blue water capabilities to protect Turkey’s broader regional interests with plans to acquire new frigates, submarines, and a light aircraft carrier in the next few years; the backbone of its warship inventory is a recently acquired large landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship, which is the fleet’s largest warship and serves as its flagship, and a sizeable force of frigates and attack-type submarines, which are supported by dozens of corvettes, fast-attack craft, and patrol vessels of varying sizes and capabilities

the Air Force is organized into commands for combat, training, and logistics, with the combat command further divided into two regional (east and west) tactical commands; it has about 200 US-made fighter and multirole fighter aircraft organized into squadrons; Air Force priorities include acquiring more advanced aircraft, boosting ground-based air defenses, and establishing a sustainable command and control system; it adopted an "Aerospace and Missile Defense Concept" in 2002 and is developing an integrated missile defense system; in a controversial move that complicated its relationship with NATO and the US, it purchased the Russian S-400 air defense system for an estimated $2.5 billion in 2019

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

information on the structure of the military is limited and varied; the primary Land Force combat units are reportedly up to 4 “motorized rifle” divisions (MRD) inherited from the former Soviet Army after the USSR’s collapse in 1991; MRDs are typically comprised of one or more mechanized infantry regiments, plus a tank and an artillery regiment; there are reportedly also some separate motorized rifle (mechanized infantry), artillery, and surface-to-surface missile brigades; 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; the Border Service also has a force of patrol boats; the Air Force has approximately 50 operational Soviet-era fighter and ground attack aircraft, as well as a few combat helicopters (2023)

Turks and Caicos Islands

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Tuvalu

Tuvalu has a security pact with Austalia; 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 (2023)

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 2020; it is also conducting operations along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) against a DRC-based (and formerly based in western Uganda) Ugandan rebel group, 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 Land Force has 5 light infantry divisions, including one trained for mountain warfare; it also has independent armored, artillery, and motorized infantry brigades, as well as a marine force for patrolling Uganda’s lakes and rivers; the special forces command has armor, artillery, commandos, motorized infantry, and presidential guard forces; the Air Force has small numbers of largely Russian-made combat aircraft and helicopters

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 2023, 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 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

the UAF Ground Forces have air defense, armored, artillery, aviation, infantry, mechanized, motorized, and rocket forces; the basic structure of the Ground Forces and the Territorial Defense Forces is the brigade; there are also regionally based (east, north, south, west) Operational Commands and a handful of corps-level commands; the combat brigades are assigned amongst the commands and corps based on operational requirements; the separate Air Assault Forces and Special Operations Forces are organized into brigades and regiments and considered the UAF’s elite units; prior to the 2022 Russian invasion, the UAF Air Force had over 100 combat aircraft, as well as ground-based air defenses, typically organized into brigades under regional commands; the Navy is a coastal defense force and includes naval infantry brigades that have been used as ground forces in the war with Russia (2023)

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 3 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 fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, particularly Saudi Arabia, and NATO

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; today, the UAE’s military is considered to be one of the best-trained and most capable forces in the Persian Gulf region; the Land Forces have approximately 5 brigades of armored, light infantry, and mechanized forces, plus supporting artillery units; the Presidential Guard, considered the elite of the Land Forces, has a mechanized brigade and a special operations command; the Air Forces and the Joint Aviation Command together have nearly 150 French- and US-made combat aircraft with more advanced US multipurpose fighters on order; the Navy’s principal warships include nearly 15 corvettes and offshore patrol vessels, also with more on order (2023)

United Kingdom

the British military is a highly regarded, experienced, and professional force with 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; it is also 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 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 Army is divided into a Field Army and a Home Command; the Field Army has three divisions, including one comprised of light forces and designed for expeditionary operations, a heavy division considered the heart of the British Army with armored and mechanized brigades, and a specialized division that brings together special operations, intelligence, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and information operations capabilities; the Army also has some independent brigades and aviation forces

the Royal Navy is a blue water capable force that conducts operations globally, with a sustained presence in the Baltic, Caribbean, and Mediterranean seas, the Middle East, and the South Atlantic Ocean, and increasingly in the Pacific Ocean; its missions include preventing conflict, providing security and protecting UK interests, particularly the UK’s reliance on maritime trade, building international partnerships and assisting with international relations, and providing humanitarian assistance; the Navy is organized into a surface fleet, a submarine service, a fleet air arm, marines, and a fleet auxiliary, which is a civilian support branch that provides logistical and operational support to military operations; the heart of the surface fleet are two aircraft carriers, the largest and most advanced warships ever built for the Royal Navy, which serve as the fleet’s flagships; the carriers are complemented by six destroyers and 14 frigates, as well as two large amphibious assault ships and  flotillas of patrol and mine warfare vessels; the Navy also has nine attack submarines and four ballistic missile submarines that form the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent force; the air arm has advanced US-made multirole fighter aircraft, as well as anti-submarine capable of helicopters; the Royal Marines have an amphibious infantry/commando brigade and special forces

the Royal Air Force also conducts operations globally and has a wide variety of aircraft types and capabilities, including fighter, surface attack, airborne early warning and control, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance, signals intelligence, maritime patrol, air-to-air refueling, and transport organized into groups, stations, and squadrons; it has a mix of more than 150 modern European- and US-made multirole fighter aircraft

in addition, the British military has a Space Command (established in 2021) staffed by Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel, as well as civilians and key members of the commercial sector to manage space operations, training, and capabilities; it established a joint service National Cyber Force in 2020; in 2019, the UK formed the joint service Strategic Command to develop and manage the British military's medical services, training and education, defense intelligence, and information systems, as well as joint overseas operations; national-level special forces (UK Special Forces, UKSF) also fall under the Strategic Command

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 (2023)

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 trains regularly, including in multinational exercises; it has traditionally held security ties with Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and the US

the Army has 4 regionally based divisions comprised of approximately 8 small brigades of infantry and mechanized cavalry; the Navy includes the Coast Guard, a naval aviation command, and a small naval infantry force; the Navy in recent years has undertaken a modest program to modernize its aging fleet, decommissioning several ships, including its only frigates, and acquiring secondhand patrol vessels from the US Coast Guard; it is also attempting to acquire larger and more modern offshore patrol vessels; the Air Force has a single squadron of light ground attack aircraft (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

the Army has up to 15 combat brigades, mostly motorized or mechanized infantry, as well as air assault, artillery, special forces, and tank brigades; the Air Force received a considerable number of aircraft inherited from the Soviet Union in the 1990s and continues to have an inventory estimated to be more than 100 combat aircraft and combat helicopters 

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 under Ni-Vanuatu officers as the New Hebrides Constabulary; the force retained 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 (2023)

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 order and law enforcement, contributing to national socio-economic development, and providing disaster/humanitarian assistance; the military conducts 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 of the country to combat organized crime gangs involved in narcotics trafficking and illegal mining

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 Army has six divisional headquarters and approximately 21 combat brigades spread amongst the seven geographical REDIs; the brigades are a mix of armored, artillery, infantry, military police, motorized cavalry, and special operations forces; some infantry brigades are mechanized or are specialized for airborne, jungle, mountain, or security operations; the Army also has an aviation brigade; the Navy is a coastal defense force and includes commands for operations, aviation, and the coast guard; the operational readiness of the Navy’s ship inventory has been affected by Venezuela’s economic problems; its principal operational warships include two frigates and approximately four ocean-going patrol ships; it also has two attack submarines although they are not assessed to be operational; the Navy has a marine infantry force that includes several amphibious or riverine brigades and a special operations brigade; the Air Force has less than 50 US- and Russian-made fighters and multirole fighter aircraft; the National Guard is organized into nine regional commands which control battalion and regimental size units; 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; 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 increased focus on protecting the country’s maritime economy and sovereignty; it also assists with natural disasters and is heavily involved in economic projects, including 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; the Ground Forces are spread throughout the country in approximately eight regional commands, four operational corps, and dozens of divisions and brigades, including some that are maintained at cadre strength and filled in wartime by an estimated five million reserves; the Navy in recent years has received increased government focus for procurement efforts because of the rise in territorial disputes in the South China Sea and has a growing combat force of about 20 frigates, corvettes, and fast-attack surface vessels, plus eight attack submarines; the Air Force has a mix of approximately 75 Soviet-era and Russian-made combat aircraft (2023)

Virgin Islands

defense is the responsibility of the US

Wake Island

defense is the responsibility of the US; the US Air Force is responsible for overall administration and operation of the island facilities; the launch support facility is administered by the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA)

Wallis and Futuna

defense is the responsibility of France

West Bank

the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are responsible for the West Bank, but PA security forces were granted security control of 17.5% (called Area A) under the 1993 Oslo accords; the PA has administrative control over Area B (about 22% of the West Bank), but security control is shared with Israeli authorities; Israel maintains all administrative and security control of Area C, which comprises about 61% of the West Bank (2023)

World

Atlantic Ocean: according to the International Maritime Bureau and the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation, the risk of piracy and armed robbery of ships in the territorial and offshore waters of the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea off the western coast of Africa is high; some criminals/pirates have operated as far as 200 nm offshore 

Indian Ocean: according to the International Maritime Bureau, areas of high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships in territorial waters of littoral states and offshore waters include the Gulf of Aden, along the east coast of Africa, the Bay of Bengal, and the Strait of Malacca; in addition, the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation advises that regional conflict, military activity, and political tensions pose threats to commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Bab al Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, and Somali Basin 

Pacific Ocean: according to the International Maritime Bureau, the risk for piracy and armed robbery in the territorial waters of littoral states and offshore waters in the South China Sea is high,particularly the Singapore Straits and the Celebes and Sulu Seas between the Philippines and Malaysia

Other: the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation also advises that regional conflict, military activity, and political tensions pose threats to commercial vessels in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and the Eastern Mediterranean (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 fighters, arms, and other material support for the Houthis and terrorist groups operating in Yemen, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in Yemen; they are 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, 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 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 Army’s principal combat forces are 3 light infantry brigades, supported by armored and artillery regiments; it also has a maritime patrol unit to provide security for the country’s lakes and rivers; the Air Force has small numbers of mostly Chinese-made combat aircraft and helicopters 

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

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 Army has approximately 5 light infantry brigades, plus brigades of mechanized infantry, presidential guards, special operations, and artillery; the Air Force has a few dozen operational Chinese- and Russian-made combat aircraft and helicopters 

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)