Ecuador Military - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Ecuadorian Armed Forces: the Ecuadorian Army (Ejército Ecuatoriano), Ecuadorian Navy (Armada del Ecuador, Fuerza Naval del Ecuador, FNE; includes naval infantry, naval aviation, coast guard), Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, FAE) (2023)

note: the National Police of Ecuador (Policía Nacional del Ecuador) is under the Ministry of Government/Interior

Military expenditures

2% of GDP (2022 est.)

2% of GDP (2021 est.)

2.3% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.2% of GDP (2019)

2.4% of GDP (2018)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 40,000 active military personnel (25,000 Army; 9,000 Navy; 6,000 Air Force) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory includes a wide mix of mostly older equipment derived from a variety of sources such as Brazil, China, Russia, and the US; in recent years, Ecuador has received limited amounts of more modern material from several countries, including Germany and Spain (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for selective conscript military service, although conscription was suspended in 2008; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; Ecuadorian birth requirement; 1-year service obligation; females have been allowed to serve in all branches since 2012 (2022)

note: in 2017, women made up an estimated 3% of the military

Military - note

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 trains regularly, participates in bilateral and multinational training exercises, and sends 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 5 joint service operational commands or task forces; it also has a cyber defense command; the Army is organized into 4 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 2 frigates, 6 corvettes, 3 missile attack boats, and 2 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)

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau reported no incidents in 2022; the territorial and offshore waters of Ecuador remain at risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen

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