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Morocco Military - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Royal Armed Forces (FAR): Royal Moroccan Army (includes the Moroccan Royal Guard), Royal Moroccan Navy (includes Coast Guard, marines), Royal Moroccan Air Force; Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie (2023)

note 1: the Moroccan Royal Guard is officially part of the Royal Moroccan Army, but is under the direct operational control of the Royal Military Household of His Majesty the King; it provides for the security and safety of the King and royal family; it was established in the 11th century and is considered one of the world's oldest active units still in military service

note 2: Morocco's security apparatus includes several police and paramilitary organizations with overlapping authority; the National Police (DGSN; Ministry of Interior) manages internal law enforcement in cities; the Royal Gendarmerie (Administration of National Defense) is responsible for law enforcement in rural regions and on national highways; the Gendarmerie operates mobile and fixed checkpoints along the roads in border areas and at the entrances to major municipalities; it also has a counterterrorism role; the Auxiliary Forces (Ministry of Interior) provide support to the Gendarmerie and National Police; it includes a Mobile Intervention Corps, a motorized paramilitary security force that supplements the military and the police as needed

Military expenditures

4.5% of GDP (2022 est.)
4.5% of GDP (2021 est.)
4.5% of GDP (2020 est.)
3.4% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 200,000 active personnel (175,000 Army; 10,000 Navy; 15,000 Air Force); estimated 20,000 Gendarmerie; estimated 5,000 Mobile Intervention Corps; estimated 25-30,000 Auxiliary Forces (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Moroccan military's inventory is comprised of mostly older French and US equipment, although in recent years, it has received quantities of more modern equipment from a variety of countries with France and the US continuing to be the leading suppliers (2023)

Military service age and obligation

19-25 years of age for 12-month compulsory and voluntary military service for men and women (conscription abolished 2006 and reintroduced in 2019) (2023)

Military deployments

775 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 925 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (2023)

Military - note

the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) are responsible for defending Morocco’s territorial integrity; key areas of concern for the FAR include regional challenges such as the Polisario Front in Western Sahara and Algeria; Morocco claims the territory of Western Sahara and administers the territory that it controls; the Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), an organization that seeks the territory’s independence, disputes Morocco’s claim of sovereignty over the territory; Moroccan and Polisario forces fought intermittently from 1975, when Spain relinquished colonial authority over the territory, until a 1991 cease-fire and the establishment of a UN peacekeeping mission; the Polisario withdrew from the cease-fire in November 2020, and since then there have been reports of intermittent indirect fire between the FAR and Polisario fighters across the 2,500-kilometer-long berm built in 1987 that separates the two sides; Algeria is considered a regional rival and has openly backed the Polisario Front

the FAR has experience in counterinsurgency, desert warfare, and international peacekeeping and security operations; it participates in both bilateral and multinational exercises and has relations with a variety of partners including the militaries of France, Spain, and the US, as well as NATO, the Arab League, and the African Union; the FAR provided fighter aircraft to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen from 2015-2019; Morocco has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

the Royal Army has considerable artillery, armored, mechanized infantry, and motorized infantry forces formed as brigades, regiments, and independent battalions that are mostly deployed in two geographic commands focused on Western Sahara in the south and Algeria in the east and north; its armored forces include some 400 modern US-made tanks purchased since 2012; the Army also has brigades of airborne and security troops; the Navy's warships include about six frigates and more than 20 offshore patrol craft of varying size and capabilities; it also has a small force of naval infantry; the Air Force has approximately 100 French- and US-made combat aircraft
the FAR was created in May 1956; large numbers of Moroccans were recruited for service in the Spahi and Tirailleur regiments of the French Army of Africa during the period of the French protectorate (1912-1956); many Moroccans fought under the French Army during both World Wars; after World War II, Moroccans formed part of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps during the First Indochina War (1946-1954); the Spanish Army recruited Moroccans from the Spanish Protectorate during both the Rif War (1921-26) and the Spanish Civil War (1936-39)

the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established by Security Council resolution 690 in April 1991 in accordance with settlement proposals accepted in August 1988 by Morocco and the Polisario Front; MINURSO was unable to carry out all the original settlement proposals, but continues to monitor the cease-fire and reduce the threat of mines and unexploded ordnance, and has provided logistic support to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with personnel and air and ground assets (2023)

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