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Guatemala Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Army of Guatemala (Ejercito de Guatemala; aka Armed Forces of Guatemala or Fuerzas Armadas de Guatemala): Land Forces (Fuerzas de Tierra), Naval Forces (Fuerzas de Mar), and Air Force (Fuerza de Aire) (2024)

note: the National Civil Police (Policia Nacional Civil or PNC) are under the Ministry of Government (Interior)

Military expenditures

0.5% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2019 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 20,000 active military personnel (18,000 Land Forces; 1,000 Naval Forces; 1,000 Air Forces); approximately 30,000 National Civil Police (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory is limited and mostly comprised of older US equipment; in recent years, Guatemala has received small amounts of equipment from several countries, including Colombia, Spain, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are eligible for military service; most of the force is volunteer; a selective draft system is employed, resulting in a small portion of 17-21 year-olds being conscripted; conscript service obligation varies from 12-24 months; women may volunteer (2023)

note: as of 2017, women comprised up to 10% of the active military

Military deployments

150 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (2023)

Military - note

the military is responsible for maintaining sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the honor of Guatemala, but has long focused on internal security; since the 2000s, the Guatemalan Government has used the military extensively to support the National Civil Police in internal security operations (as permitted by the constitution) to combat organized crime, gang violence, and narco-trafficking; in recent years, however, the military has moved to refocus on border security and preparing for conventional operations; it participates in UN missions on a small scale and has a peacekeeping operations training command that offers training to regional countries; the military has security ties with regional partners such as Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras; cooperation with El Salvador and Honduras has included a combined police-military anti-gang task force to patrol border areas; it also has ties with the US, including joint training exercises and material assistance

the Land Forces are organized into small combat brigades of infantry, marines, military police, paratroopers, presidential guards, and special forces, including some specialized for jungle and mountain operations that were created to assist in combating crime; the Naval Force has commands for both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, operates a small flotilla of patrol boats, and has a special forces element; the Air Force has a few light fixed-wing ground attack aircraft and multipurpose helicopters; for its internal security missions and supporting the police, the military has typically organized into task forces

the military held power during most of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war (1960-1996) and conducted a campaign of widespread violence and repression, particularly against the country’s majority indigenous population; more than 200,000 people were estimated to have been killed or disappeared during the conflict (2023)

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