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Cameroon Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

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 (2024)

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), while part of the Ministry of Defense, maintains its own command and control structure and reports directly to the Presidency; 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

Military expenditures

1% of GDP (2023 est.)
1% of GDP (2022 est.)
1% of GDP (2021 est.)
1% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2019 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 45-50,000 active-duty troops (30-35,000 ground forces, including the Rapid Intervention Battalion/BIR and Presidential Guard; 2,000 Navy; 1,000 Air Force; 10,000 Gendarmerie) (2023)

note: the BIR has approximately 10,000 personnel

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

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 (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-23 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years (2023)

Military deployments

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

Military - note

the FAC is considered a 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 BIR has up to nine 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)

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