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Nicaragua Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Nicaragua (formal name is Army of Nicaragua or Ejercito de Nicaragua, EN): Land Forces (Fuerza Terrestre); Naval Forces (Fuerza Naval); Air Forces (Fuerza Aérea) (2024)

note: both the military and the Nicaraguan National Police (Policía Nacional de Nicaragua or PNN) report directly to the president; Parapolice, which are non-uniformed, armed, and masked units with marginal tactical training and loose hierarchical organization, act in coordination with government security forces and report directly to the National Police; they have been used to suppress anti-government protesters

Military expenditures

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

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 12,000 active personnel (10,000 Army; 800 Navy; 1,200 Air Force) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory includes mostly secondhand Russian/Soviet-era equipment; in recent years, Russia has been the leading arms supplier to Nicaragua (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; tour of duty 18-36 months (2024)

Military - note

the military is responsible for defending Nicaragua’s independence, sovereignty, and territory, but also has some domestic security responsibilities; key tasks include border security, assisting the police, protecting natural resources, and providing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance; it has ties with the militaries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia; Russia has provided training support and equipment 

the military’s Land Forces have a mechanized brigade and approximately eight regional commands or detachments, each with one or more light infantry battalions; there is also a small special operations command; the Naval Forces operate patrol boats and have a naval infantry battalion; the Air Forces do not possess any combat aircraft 

the modern Army of Nicaragua was created in 1979 as the Sandinista Popular Army (1979-1984); prior to 1979, the military was known as the National Guard, which was organized and trained by the US in the 1920s and 1930s; the first commander of the National Guard, Anastasio SOMOZA GARCIA, seized power in 1937 and ran the country as a military dictator until his assassination in 1956; his sons ran the country either directly or through figureheads until the Sandinistas came to power in 1979; the defeated National Guard was disbanded by the Sandinistas (2024)

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