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Laos Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF): Lao People's Army (LPA, includes Riverine Force), Lao People's Air Force (LPAF), Self-Defense Militia Forces (2024)

note: the Ministry of Public Security maintains internal security and is responsible for law enforcement; it oversees local, traffic, immigration, and security police, village police auxiliaries, and other armed police units

Military expenditures

0.2% of GDP (2019 est.)
0.2% of GDP (2018 est.)
0.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
0.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
0.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

limited and varied information; estimated 30,000 active-duty troops (26,000 Army; 4,000 Air Force) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the LPAF is armed largely with Soviet-era weapons; in recent years, China and Russia have been the leading suppliers of military equipment to Laos (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; minimum 18-month service obligation (2023)

Military - note

the LPAF’s primary missions are border and internal security, including counterinsurgency and counterterrorism; the Army is organized into a few small divisions and independent regiments deployed around the country in four military regions; the Army is supported by a self-defense militia, which is estimated to be 100,000 strong; the small Air Force does not have any combat aircraft

Vietnam is the military's primary security partner, although in recent years, Laos has expanded defense ties with China and Russia (2023)

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