Lebanon Military - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army Command (includes Presidential Guard Brigade, Land Border Regiments), Naval Forces, Air Forces

Ministry of Interior: Internal Security Forces Directorate (law enforcement; includes Mobile Gendarmerie), Directorate for General Security (DGS; border control, some domestic security duties); Parliamentary Police Force (2023)

note 1: the commander of the LAF is also the commander of the Army; the LAF patrols external borders, while official border checkpoints are under the authority of Directorate for General Security

note 2: the Parliamentary Police Force reports to the speaker of parliament and has responsibility for protecting parliament premises and the speaker’s residence; both the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces provide units to the Parliamentary Police Force

Military expenditures

3.2% of GDP (2021 est.)

3% of GDP (2020 est.)

4.7% of GDP (2019 est.)

5.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

4.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 80,000 active troops (77,000 Army; 1,500 Navy; 1,500 Air Force) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the LAF inventory includes a wide mix of mostly older equipment from a diverse array of countries; in recent years, the US has been the leading supplier of armaments (mostly second-hand) to Lebanon (2023)

Military service age and obligation

17-25 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

note: women were allowed to volunteer for military service in the 1980s; as of 2020, they comprised about 5% of the active duty military

Military - note

the LAF’s primary responsibilities are defense against external attack, border security, protecting the country’s territorial waters, and assisting with internal security and development projects; on Lebanon’s eastern and northern borders with Syria, the LAF has conducted operations to prevent or eliminate infiltrations of militants linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and al-Qa’ida terrorist groups since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011; in the south, its focus is on maintaining stability along its volatile border with Israel where the LAF and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are separated by the Blue Line, a demarcation line established by the UN in 2000 following the withdrawal of the IDF, which had occupied southern Lebanon since invading in 1982; since the line’s establishment, the LAF and IDF have had periodic clashes, and IDF aircraft have routinely entered Lebanese air space; the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hizballah is based in south Lebanon and acts as a militia alongside the LAF; it has launched periodic cross-border attacks on Israel and threatened additional attacks, while the IDF has conducted air strikes on Hizballah positions and in 2006 launched a ground invasion into southern Lebanon to suppress the group; in 2022, Israeli and Lebanese officials agreed on a common demarcation of their maritime border after US mediation

the LAF’s domestic security responsibilities include countering narcotics trafficking and smuggling, managing protests, conducting search and rescue, and intervening to prevent violence between rival political factions; in recent years, the military has faced a financial crisis as government debt and national economic difficulties have undercut its ability to train and fully pay and supply personnel, which has sparked domestic and international fears that the armed forces may disintegrate; the UN, as well as countries such as France and the US have provided financial assistance 

the Army has about 12 infantry brigades (including a presidential guard brigade) that are supplemented by independent armored, artillery, border security, and “intervention” infantry regiments, as well as a special operations force comprised of airborne, marine commando, and ranger regiments that are regarded as the LAF’s elite units; the Air Force has a small inventory of aging combat aircraft and helicopters, while the Navy operates a mix of patrol craft and patrol boats

the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) has operated in the country since 1978, originally under UNSCRs 425 and 426 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area; following the July-August 2006 war, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1701 enhancing UNIFIL and deciding that in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities, support the Lebanese Armed Forces as they deployed throughout the south of Lebanon, and provide assistance for humanitarian access for civilians and the return of displaced persons; UNIFIL had approximately 9,500 military personnel deployed in the country as of early 2023; UNIFIL includes a maritime task force (2023)

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