Cameroon Armed Forces (Forces Armees Camerounaises, FAC): Army (L'Armee de Terre), Navy (Marine Nationale Republique, MNR, includes naval infantry or fusiliers marin), Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC), Rapid Intervention Battalion (Bataillons d’Intervention Rapide or BIR), National Gendarmerie, Presidential Guard (2023)
note 1: the National Police and the National Gendarmerie are responsible for internal security; the Police report to the General Delegation of National Security, while the Gendarmerie reports to the Secretariat of State for Defense in charge of the Gendarmerie
note 2: the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) maintains its own command and control structure and reports directly to the president; the BIR is structured as a large brigade with up to 9 battalions, detachments, or groups consisting of infantry, airborne/airmobile, amphibious, armored reconnaissance, counterterrorism, and support elements, such as artillery and intelligence; the BIR receives better training, equipment, and pay than regular Army units
1% of GDP (2022 est.)
1% of GDP (2021 est.)
1% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2018 est.)
information varies; approximately 35-40,000 active-duty troops; (20-25,000 ground forces, including the Rapid Intervention Battalion/BIR and Presidential Guard; 2,000 Navy; 1,000 Air Force; 12,000 Gendarmerie) (2022)
note: the BIR has approximately 5,000 personnel
the FAC inventory includes a wide mix of mostly older or second-hand Chinese, Russian, and Western equipment, with a limited quantity of more modern weapons received in recent years from such countries as China, France, and Russia (2022)
18-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years (2023)
750 (plus about 350 police) Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (May 2022)
note: Cameroon has committed approximately 2,000-2,500 troops to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram and other terrorist groups operating in the general area of the Lake Chad Basin and along Nigeria's northeast border; national MNJTF troop contingents are deployed within their own country territories, although cross‐border operations occur occasionally
the FAC is a professional and politically independent military; the Army and the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) are organized and equipped for mobile operations; the Army has 4 motorized infantry brigades spread amongst 5 military regions; the US-trained, 5,000-man BIR has up to 9 battalions, detachments, or groups consisting of airborne, air mobile, amphibious, light, and motorized infantry, armored reconnaissance, counterterrorism, and support units, such as artillery and intelligence; the BIR reportedly receives better training, equipment, and pay than regular Army units
the ground forces are largely focused on internal security, particularly the threat from the terrorist groups Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa along its frontiers with Nigeria and Chad (Far North region) and an insurgency from armed Anglophone separatist groups in the North-West and South-West regions (as of 2023, this conflict had left more than 3,500 civilians dead and over 500,000 people displaced since fighting started in 2016); in addition, the FAC often deploys ground units to the border region with the Central African Republic to counter intrusions from armed militias and bandits; the Navy’s missions include protecting Cameroon’s oil installations, combatting crime and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and patrolling the country’s lakes and rivers; the Air Force supports both the ground and naval forces and has small numbers of light ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft, as well as attack, multipurpose, and transport helicopters (2023)
the International Maritime Bureau reports incidents appear to have stopped in the territorial and offshore waters of Cameroon; the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea remain a very high risk for piracy and armed robbery of ships; past incidents have been reported where vessels were attacked and crews kidnapped; these incidents showed that the pirates / robbers in the area are well armed and violent; pirates have robbed vessels and kidnapped crews for ransom; in the past, product tankers were hijacked and cargo stolen; the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued a Maritime Advisory (2023-001 - Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom) effective 3 January 2023, which states in part, "Piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping for ransom continue to serve as significant threats to US-flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea"
NOTE: The information regarding Cameroon 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 Cameroon 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cameroon 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.