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Burkina Faso Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Burkina Faso (FABF; aka National Armed Forces (FAN), aka Defense and Security Forces (Forces de Défense et de Sécurité or FDS)): Army of Burkina Faso (L’Armee de Terre, LAT), Air Force of Burkina Faso (Force Aerienne de Burkina Faso), National Gendarmerie, National Fire Brigade (Brigade Nationale de Sapeurs-Pompiers or BNSP); Homeland Defense Volunteers (Forcés de Volontaires de Défense pour la Patrie or VDP)

Ministry of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Security (Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale, de la Décentralisation et de la Sécurité): National Police (2023)

note 1: the National Gendarmerie officially reports to the Ministry of Defense, but usually operates in support of the Ministry of Territorial Administration, Decentralization, and Security; Gendarmerie troops are typically integrated with Army forces in anti-terrorism operations; specialized counterterrorism units include the Army's special forces, the Special Legion of the National Gendarmerie, and the Multipurpose Intervention Unit of National Police

note 2: the VDP is a lightly-armed civilian defense/militia force established in 2019 to act as auxiliaries to the Army in the fight against militants; the volunteers receive two weeks of training and typically assist with carrying out surveillance, information-gathering, and escort duties, as well as local defense, and were to be based in each of the country's more than 300 municipalities; in 2022, the military government created a "Patriotic Watch and Defense Brigade" (La Brigade de Veille et de Défense Patriotique or BVDP) under the FABF to coordinate the VDP recruits

Military expenditures

2.9% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
2.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 15,500 personnel (10,000 Army; 500 Air Force; 5,000 National Gendarmerie) (2023)

note: in 2022, government authorities announced a special recruitment for up to 6,000 additional soldiers and 1,500 gendarmes to assist with its fight against terrorist groups operating in the country; the government also put out a recruitment call for up to 100,000 VDF volunteers, and as of 2023 claimed about 50,000 had volunteered (the VDF's original recruited strength was 15,000)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FABF has a mix of older, secondhand, and some modern equipment from a variety of suppliers, including China, France, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-26 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (2023)

note: the military government implemented an emergency law in 2023 that allows the president extensive powers to combat terrorist groups operating in the country, including conscripting citizens into the security services

Military - note

the FABF has a history of interference in the country’s politics, having conducted eight coups since its formation in 1960-61, including the most recent in September of 2022; several combat units were disbanded in 2011 following mutinies; while the FABF is responsible for external defense, it has an internal security role and can be called out to assist internal security forces in restoring public order, combating crime, securing the border, and counterterrorism; indeed, for more than a decade, its focus has largely been counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and it is actively engaged in combat operations against terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qa'ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), particularly in the northern and eastern regions; the FABF is struggling to contain the groups, however, and a large portion of the country—40% by some estimates—is not under government control

in the north, Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), a coalition of al-Qa'ida linked militant groups that act as al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Islamic Magreb's (AQIM) arm in the Sahel, has exploited ethnic tensions and perceptions of state neglect, as well as grievances over corruption, patronage politics, social stratification, and land disputes; in 2023, JNIM was active in 11 of the country's 13 provinces; the ISIS-Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) terrorist group operates in the eastern part of the country

the Army’s combat forces include a mix of approximately eight small (battalion-sized) infantry and combined arms regiments and up to six rapid reaction battalions (bataillon de réaction rapide or BIR), plus battalions of artillery and special forces; the Gendarmerie's primary mission is counterterrorism; it is comprised of “legions” and mobile squadrons, plus a Special Legion that fights organized crime and provides security for high-level officials and government institutions; the Air Force’s primary mission is providing support to the Army; it has small numbers of combat aircraft, combat helicopters, and armed UAVs acquired from Turkey (2023)

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