Cuba Military - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, FAR): Revolutionary Army (Ejercito Revolucionario, ER), Revolutionary Navy (Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria, MGR, includes Marine Corps), Revolutionary Air and Air Defense Forces (Defensas Anti-Aereas y Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria, DAAFAR); Paramilitary forces: Youth Labor Army (Ejercito Juvenil del Trabajo, EJT), Territorial Militia Troops (Milicia de Tropas de Territoriales, MTT), Civil Defense Force

Ministry of Interior: Border Guards, State Security, National Revolutionary Police (2023)

Military expenditures

4.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

3.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

2.9% of GDP (2018 est.)

2.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

3.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

limited available information; estimated 50,000 active personnel (approximately 40,000 Army; 3,000 Navy; 8,000 Air Force) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory is comprised of aging Russian and Soviet-era equipment (2023)

Military service age and obligation

17-28 years of age for compulsory (men) and voluntary (men and women) military service; conscripts serve for 24 months (2023)

Military - note

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 3 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 a special forces brigade, an airborne brigade, and 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)

NOTE: The information regarding Cuba 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 Cuba 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cuba 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.