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Somalia Military - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF; aka Somali National Defense Force): Land Forces (Somali National Army or SNA), Somali Navy, Somali Air Force

Ministry of Internal Security: Somali National Police (SNP, includes Coast Guard and a commando unit known as Harmacad or Cheetah) 

National Security and Intelligence Agency (includes a commando/counterterrorism unit) (2023)

note 1:  the Somali Navy and Air Force have only a few hundred personnel, little equipment, and are not operational; in early 2024, Somalia signed an agreement with Turkey to build, train and equip the Somali Navy

note 2: Somalia has numerous militia ("macawisley") and regional forces operating throughout the country; these forces include ones that are clan- and warlord-based, semi-official paramilitary and special police forces ("darwish"), and externally sponsored militias

note 3: Somaliland and Puntland have separate military and security forces

Military expenditures

6% of GDP (2021 est.)
6% of GDP (2020 est.)
5.6% of GDP (2019 est.)
6% of GDP (2018 est.)
5.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimates vary; approximately 20,000 regular military personnel (2023)

note 1: in January 2023, the Somali Government said the SNA would have 24,000 trained and equipped troops by 2024; it aims to also have about 40,000 police

note 2: as of 2022, there were estimates of up to 50,000 militia forces operating in the country

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the SNA is lightly armed with an inventory that includes a variety of older, secondhand equipment largely from Italy, Russia, South Africa, and the UK; in recent years, it has received small quantities of equipment as aid/donations from a variety of countries, including the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription of men aged 18-40 and women aged 18-30 is authorized, but not currently utilized (2023)

Military - note

the Somali National Army (SNA) and supporting security and militia forces are actively conducting operations against the al-Shabaab terrorist group (see Appendix T); al-Shabaab controls large parts of southern and central Somalia 

of the SNA’s approximately 13 brigades, the most effective are assessed to be the US-trained Danab ("Lightning") Advanced Infantry Brigade and those of the Turkish-trained Gorgor ("Eagle") Special Division; as of 2023, the Danab Brigade numbered about 2,000 troops with an eventual projected strength of 3,000, while the Gorgor Division was estimated to have up to 5,000 trained troops; the Somali Government has sent thousands of troops to Eritrea and Uganda for training and in 2023 announced plans to send additional personnel to Egypt and Ethiopia for training

the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operated in the country with the approval of the UN from 2007-2022; its peacekeeping mission included assisting Somali forces in providing security for a stable political process, enabling the gradual handing over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces, and reducing the threat posed by al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups; in April 2022, AMISOM was reconfigured and replaced with the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS); the ATMIS mission is to support the Somalia Federal Government (FGS) in implementing the security objectives of the FGS's security transition plan, a comprehensive strategy developed by the FGS and its international partners in 2018 and updated in 2021 to gradually transfer security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali security forces; originally about 20,000-strong (civilians, military, and police), ATMIS began reducing its staffing levels in mid-2023; its planned departure from Somalia is the end of 2024

UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM; established 2013) is mandated by the Security Council to work with the FGS to support national reconciliation, provide advice on peace-building and state-building, monitor the human rights situation, and help coordinate the efforts of the international community; the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS; established 2015) is responsible for providing logistical field support to ATMIS, UNSOM, and the Somali security forces on joint operations with ATMIS

the European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM-S) has operated in the country since 2010; the EUTM provides advice and training to the Somali military; the US, UK, and Turkey maintain separate military training missions in Somalia (the US has also supported the SNA with air strikes); the UAE maintains a military presence in Somaliland (2023)

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