Korea South Military - 2021


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Military and security forces

Armed Forces of the Republic of Korea: Republic of Korea Army (ROKA), Navy (ROKN, includes Marine Corps, ROKMC), Air Force (ROKAF); Military reserves include Mobilization Reserve Forces (First Combat Forces) and Homeland Defense Forces (Regional Combat Forces); Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries: Korea Coast Guard (2021)

Military expenditures

2.7% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.7% of GDP (2019)

2.6% of GDP (2018)

2.6% of GDP (2017)

2.6% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 34

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Republic of Korea Armed Forces have approximately 555,000 active duty personnel (420,000 Army; 70,000 Navy/Marines; 65,000 Air Force) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Republic of Korea Armed Forces are equipped with a mix of domestically-produced and imported weapons systems; domestic production includes armored fighting vehicles, artillery, aircraft, and naval ships; the top foreign weapons supplier is the US and some domestically-produced systems are built under US license; Germany is the second largest supplier of armaments since 2010 (2020)

Military deployments

250 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 250 South Sudan (UNMISS); 170 United Arab Emirates; note - since 2009, the ROK has kept a naval flotilla with approximately 300 personnel in the waters off of the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (Jan 2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-28 years of age for compulsory military service; minimum conscript service obligation varies by service- 21 months (Army, Marines), 23 months (Navy), 24 months (Air Force); 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; women, in service since 1950, are able to serve in all branches, including as officers (2020)

note:  South Korea intends to reduce the length of military service to 18 – 22 months by 2022

NOTE: The information regarding Korea South on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea South 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea South 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.