Botswana Military - 2023


Military and security forces

Botswana Defense Force (BDF): Ground Forces Command, Air Arm Command, Defense Logistics Command (2023)

note: both the BDF and the Botswana Police Service report to the Ministry of Defense and Security; the Botswana Police Service has primary responsibility for internal security; the BDF reports to the Office of the President through the minister of defense and security and has some domestic security responsibilities

Military expenditures

2.8% of GDP (2022 est.)

3% of GDP (2021 est.)

3% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.8% of GDP (2019 est.)

2.8% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 9,000 active BDF personnel (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the BDF has a mix of mostly older weapons and equipment, largely of Western/European-origin; in recent years, it has received limited amounts of material from several European countries and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2022)

Military deployments

approximately 300 Mozambique (Southern African Development Community force) (2023)

Military - note

Bechuanaland/Botswana did not have a permanent military during colonial times, with the British colonial administrators relying instead on small, lightly armed constabularies such as the Bechuanaland Mounted Police, the Bechuanaland Border Police, and by the early 1960s, the Police Mobile Unit (PMU); after independence in 1966, Botswana militarized the PMU and gave it responsibility for the country’s defense rather than create a conventional military force; however, turmoil in neighboring countries and numerous cross-border incursions by Rhodesian and South African security forces in the 1960s and 1970s demonstrated that the PMU was inadequate for defending the country and led to the establishment of the Botswana Defense Force (BDF) in 1977; today, the BDF’s primary missions include securing territorial integrity/border security and internal duties such as disaster relief and anti-poaching

Botswana participates in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Force, and beginning in 2021 contributed nearly 300 troops to the SADC’s effort to help the Mozambique Government suppress an insurgency (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Botswana 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 Botswana 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Botswana 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 10 Nov 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.