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Mexico Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

the Mexican Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas de México) are divided between the Secretariat of National Defense and the Secretariat of the Navy:

Secretariat of National Defense (Secretaria de Defensa Nacional, SEDENA): Army (Ejercito), Mexican Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Mexicana, FAM), National Guard; Secretariat of the Navy (Secretaria de Marina, SEMAR): Mexican Navy (Armada de Mexico (ARM), includes Naval Air Force (FAN), Mexican Naval Infantry Corps (Cuerpo de Infanteria de Marina, Mexmar or CIM)) (2024)

note: the National Guard was formed in 2019 of personnel from the former Federal Police (disbanded in December 2019) and military police units of the Army and Navy; up until September 2022, the Guard was under the civilian-led Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection, while the SEDENA had day-to-day operational control and provided the commanders and the training; in September 2022, complete control of the Guard was handed over to the SEDENA/Mexican Army; the Guard, along with state and municipal police, is responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining order; the regular military also actively supports police operations

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2021)
0.6% of GDP (2020)
0.5% of GDP (2019)
0.5% of GDP (2018)

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 225,000 armed forces personnel (165,000 Army; 10,000 Air Force; 50,000 Navy, including about 20,000 marines); approximately 110,000 National Guard personnel (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Mexican military inventory includes a mix of domestically produced and imported equipment from a variety of mostly Western suppliers; the US has been the leading supplier of military hardware to Mexico in recent years; Mexico's defense industry produces naval vessels and light armored vehicles, as well as small arms and other miscellaneous equipment (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age (16 with parental consent) for voluntary enlistment for men and women; 18 years of age for compulsory military service for men (selection for service determined by lottery); conscript service obligation is 12 months; those selected serve on Saturdays in a Batallón del Servicio Militar Nacional (National Military Service Battalion) composed entirely of 12-month Servicio Militar Nacional (SMN) conscripts; conscripts remain in reserve status until the age of 40; cadets enrolled in military schools from the age of 15 are considered members of the armed forces; National Guard: single men and women 18-30 years of age may volunteer (2023)

note: as of 2022, women comprised about 15% of the active duty military

Military - note

the Mexican military is responsible for defending the independence, integrity, and sovereignty of Mexico, as well as providing for internal security, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, and socio-economic development; in recent years, internal security duties have been a key focus, particularly in countering narcotics trafficking and organized crime groups, as well as border control and immigration enforcement; the constitution was amended in 2019 to grant the president the authority to use the armed forces to protect internal and national security, and courts have upheld the legality of the armed forces’ role in law enforcement activities in support of civilian authorities through 2028; the military also provides security for strategic facilities, such as oil production infrastructure, and administers most of the country's land and sea ports and customs services, plus the approximately 2,700 branches of a state-owned development bank; in addition, President LOPEZ OBRADOR has placed the military in charge of a growing number of infrastructure projects, such as building and operating a new airport for Mexico City and sections of a train line in the country’s southeast

the Mexican Army is a lightly armed force comprised largely of infantry supplemented by mechanized or motorized forces; it is primarily focused on internal security operations vice conventional warfare, and its posture and composition reflects an internal focus over external threats; much of the force is deployed throughout the country in 12 military regional commands and 48 subordinate military zones, giving the Army a country-wide presence and the ability to respond quickly to a crisis; force strengths in each zone vary according to the security situation, from a single infantry battalion to over 10 infantry battalions and small motorized cavalry regiments, plus other units on rotation; the Army’s principal mobile combat forces are approximately 10 light or mechanized/motorized infantry brigades, three special forces brigades, and a paratrooper brigade, which are separate from the units under the military zones; the National Guard has up to 12 military police brigades

the Air Force’s inventory reflects its chief roles of supporting the Army, conducting counter-narcotics operations, and providing assistance during natural disasters; its fixed-wing combat aircraft include a handful of US-made fighters acquired in the 1980s and about 30 light attack planes; the Air Force also has more than 30 transport aircraft, as well as about 100 multipurpose helicopters

the Mexican Navy is largely a coastal patrol force but has a growing blue water capability; it has a range of missions including maritime law enforcement, security of maritime facilities, resources, and the environment, humanitarian assistance, and search and rescue; it has fleet commands for both the Pacific and Caribbean Sea/Gulf of Mexico, plus naval aviation, and naval infantry forces; the Navy’s warships include five frigates and more than 100 patrol vessels of varying sizes and capabilities; the Naval Infantry Corps (Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina) has both external and internal security responsibilities, including providing port security, protecting the coastal fringe, and patrolling major waterways; it also has had a significant role in combating narcotics trafficking and organized crime; the Corps has more than 30 combat battalions, which include amphibious, commando, infantry, paratrooper, security, and special operations forces (2023)

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