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Bolivia Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Bolivian Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas de Bolivia or FAB): Bolivian Army (Ejercito de Boliviano, EB), Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana, FNB), Bolivian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana, FAB)

Ministry of Government: National Police (Policía Nacional de Bolivia, PNB) (2024)

note: the PNB includes two paramilitary forces, the Anti-Narcotics Special Forces (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico, FELCN) and the Anti-Terrorist Group (GAT); the PNB is part of the reserves for the Armed Forces; the police and military share responsibility for border enforcement

Military expenditures

1.04% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2019 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 40,000 active-duty military personnel; approximately 40,000 National Police (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military is equipped with a mix of mostly older Brazilian, Chinese, European, and US equipment; in recent years, France has been the leading supplier (2023)

Military service age and obligation

compulsory for all men between the ages of 18 and 22; men can volunteer from the age of 16, women from 18; service is for 12 months; Search and Rescue service can be substituted for citizens who have reached the age of compulsory military service; duration of this service is 24 months (2024)

note 1: foreign nationals 18-22 residing in Bolivia may join the armed forces; joining speeds the process of acquiring Bolivian citizenship by naturalization

note 2: as of 2022, women comprised about 8% of the Bolivian military's personnel

Military - note

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)

NOTE: The information regarding Bolivia on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Bolivia 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Bolivia 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.