Central African Republic Military - 2023


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Military and security forces

Central African Armed Forces (Forces Armees Centrafricaines, FACA): Army (includes an air squadron, Escadrille Centrafricaine); Ministry of Interior: National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale), National Police (2023)

note 1: the Special Republican Protection Group (Groupement Spécial Chargé de la Protection Républicaine or GSPR) is part of the Army per a March 2022 decree, but reports to the president; the GSPR provides protection to the head of state

note 2:
in 2019-2021, the CAR created three Mixed Special Security units (Unités Spéciales Mixtes de Sécurité or USMS), regionally based battalion-sized units comprised of about 40% government and 60% rebel soldiers created to provide security along transportation corridors and at mining sites; the units are intended to be transitional in nature with a scheduled deployment time of two years; in addition, since mid-2021 the FACA have frequently recruited local militias, mostly former anti-balaka fighters, whom they pay to help track and attack rebels hiding in the bush

Military expenditures

1.7% of GDP (2022 est.)

1.8% of GDP (2021 est.)

1.8% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.7% of GDP (2019 est.)

1.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; up to 15,000 FACA troops (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FACA is lightly armed; most of the military's heavy weapons and equipment were destroyed or captured during the 2012–2014 civil war; prior to the war, most of its equipment was of French, Russian, or Soviet origin; in recent years, it has received small amounts of secondhand equipment from China and Russia (2023)

note: since 2013, CAR has been under a UNSC arms embargo; the embargo bans all supplies of arms and related materiel to the country except to the CAR security forces if approved in advance by the relevant UN Sanctions Committee

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for military service; no conscription (2022)

Military - note

the 2013 coup resulted in the institutional collapse of the Central African Armed Forces (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; significant 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 but have not been able to stabilize the country; the CPC has retreated to its rear bases and into neighboring countries and continued conducting attacks; other armed groups are also active; 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; as of early 2023, MINUSCA had almost 17,000 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; since 2016, the EU mission has trained 5 territorial infantry battalions and 1 amphibious infantry battalion; the mission suspended operational training in 2021; France also provided assistance to the FACA before suspending its support, also in 2021 (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Central African Republic on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Central African Republic 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Central African Republic 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.