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Congo Democratic Republic of The Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Forces d'Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo, FARDC): Land Forces, National Navy (La Marine Nationale), Congolese Air Force (Force Aerienne Congolaise, FAC); Republican Guard (2024)

note 1: the Congolese National Police are under the Ministry of Interior

note 2: the Republican Guard is a division-size element consisting of approximately 5 regiments; it is regarded as the country’s best equipped and trained military unit and is under the direct control of the president

Military expenditures

0.6% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.9% of GDP (2019 est.)
0.8% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimates vary; up to 140,000 active troops, including approximately 10,000 Republican Guard (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FARDC is equipped mostly with Soviet-era weapons systems and equipment (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-45 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; 18-45 years of age for compulsory military service for men; it is unclear how much conscription is used (2023)

note: in eastern Congo, fighters from armed groups, including some associated with government security forces, have been accused of forced recruitment of child soldiers

Military - note

the FARDC’s primary focus is internal security; while the FARDC is large on paper, with an estimated 18 operational infantry brigades, it has struggled to provide security in large portions of the country; the FARDC is widely assessed to suffer from insufficient training, low equipment readiness, poor morale and leadership, ill-discipline, and widespread corruption; it was created out of the armed factions of the Congo wars that ended in 2003, incorporating various militia, paramilitary, and rebel formations; the DRC’s most effective military force, the Republican Guard, is overseen by the office of the presidency rather than the FARDC and focuses largely on protecting the president and government institutions and enforcing internal security

the FARDC is actively conducting operations against a variety of illegal armed groups (IOGs) operating in the DRC, particularly in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu, where more than 15 significant and cohesive IOGs operate; there is also IOG-related violence in Maniema, Kasai, Kasai Central, and Tanganyika provinces; some estimates place over 100 IOGs operating in the country, including organized militias, such as the Nduma Defense of Congo-Renewal (NDC-R), which controls a large portion of North Kivu; Mai Mai groups (local militias that operate variously as self-defense networks and criminal rackets); and foreign-origin groups seeking safe haven and resources, such as the Ugandan-origin Allied Democratic Forces (ADF; aka Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in the DRC), the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), multiple groups originating from Burundi, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), and the March 23 Movement (aka M23 or Congolese Revolutionary Army), which the DRC has accused Rwanda of backing; the FARDC has been accused of collaborating with some IOGs, such as the NDC-R; in 2023, the East Africa Community deployed a regional force to oversee the withdrawal of the M23 rebel group from the country

the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has operated in the central and eastern parts of the country since 1999; as of 2023, MONUSCO had around 14,000 personnel assigned, but it was drawing down its forces towards a complete withdrawal at the request of the DRC Government; MONUSCO includes a Force Intervention Brigade (FIB; three infantry battalions, plus artillery and special forces), the first ever UN peacekeeping force specifically tasked to carry out targeted offensive operations to neutralize and disarm groups considered a threat to state authority and civilian security (2023)

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