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Cambodia Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF): Royal Cambodian Army, Royal Khmer Navy, Royal Cambodian Air Force, Royal Gendarmerie; the National Committee for Maritime Security (2023)

note 1: the National Committe for Maritime Security performs coast guard functions and has representation from military and civilian agencies

note 2: the Cambodian National Police are under the Ministry of Interior

Military expenditures

2.1% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.3% of GDP (2021 est.)
2.3% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2019 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 100,000 total active troops including less than 5,000 Navy and Air Force personnel; approximately 10,000 Gendarmerie (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the RCAF is armed largely with older Chinese and Russian-origin equipment; in recent years it has received limited amounts of more modern equipment from a variety of suppliers, particularly China (2023)

note: in December 2021, the US Government halted arms-related trade with Cambodia, citing deepening Chinese military influence, corruption, and human rights abuses by the government and armed forces; the policy of denial applied to licenses or other approvals for exports and imports of defense articles and defense services destined for or originating in Cambodia, with exceptions (on a case-by-case basis) related to conventional weapons destruction and humanitarian demining activities

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (conscription only selectively enforced since 1993; service is for 18 months); women may volunteer (2024)

note: as of 2018, women made up an estimated 6% of the active-duty military

Military deployments

225 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 180 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (2023)

Military - note

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)

NOTE: The information regarding Cambodia 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 Cambodia 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cambodia 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.