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File:Cadet army academy guatemala.JPG

An officer cadet from Guatemala's military academy, Escuela Politécnica. In the rear, a platoon of military police (policía militar ambulante) from the Guardia de Honor garrison.

The Military of Guatemala consists of National Army of Guatemala (Ejercito Nacional de Guatemala, ENG), the Guatemalan Navy (Marina de la Defensa Nacional, includes Marines) and the Guatemalan Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca, FAG).



Kaibil unit patrolling in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Guatemala is a signatory to the Rio Pact and was a member of the Central American Defense Council (CONDECA). The President of the Republic is commander-in-chief. The Minister of Defense is responsible for policy. Day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the military chief of staff and the national defense staff.

An agreement signed in September 1996, which is one of the substantive peace accords, mandated that the mission of the armed forces change to focus exclusively on external threats.[1] However, Presidents Álvaro Arzú and his successors Alfonso Portillo, Óscar Berger and Álvaro Colom, have used a constitutional clause to order the army on a temporary basis to support the police in response to a nationwide wave of violent crime product of the Mexican criminal organizations going across the north-west region.

The peace accords call for a one-third reduction in the army's authorized strength and budget — achieved in 2004 — and for a constitutional amendment to permit the appointment of a civilian minister of defense. A constitutional amendment to this end was defeated as part of a May 1999 plebiscite, but discussions between the executive and legislative branches continue on how to achieve this objective.

In 2004 the army has gone beyond its accord-mandated target, and has implemented troop reductions from an estimated 28,000 to 15,500 troops,[2] including subordinate air force (1,000) and navy (1,000) elements. It is equipped with armaments and material from the United States, Israel, Taiwan, Argentina, Spain, and France. As part of the army downsizing, the operational structure of 19 military zones and three strategic brigades are being recast as several military zones are eliminated and their area of operations absorbed by others. The air force operates three air bases; the navy has two port bases.[3]


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Members of the Parachute Brigade of the Guatemalan army in Puerto San José.

Individual equipment

Armored vehicles

Armadillo APC


  • Ford M-151A-1 MUTT (United States)
  • M-37 (United States)
  • M-35A-1 trucks (United States)
  • Jeep CJ-7 4x4 (United States)


Towed artillery

  • 12 M-101 105mm (United States)
  • 8 M-102 105mm (United States)
  • 56 M-56 105mm (Yugoslavia)
  • 12 M-116 75mm (United States)


  • 55 M-1 81mm (United States)
  • 12 M30 107mm (United States)
  • 18 ECIA 120mm (Spain)

Recoilless rifles

  • 64 M67 90mm recoilless rifles (United States)
  • 64 M-1974 FMK-1 105mm recoilless rifles (Argentina)
  • 56 M40A1 106mm recoilless rifles (United States)

Air defence guns

  • 16 M-55 3x20mm (Yugoslavia)
  • 16 GAI-DO1 20mm Oerlikon (Switzerland)
  • TCM 20 2x20mm (some reported) (Israel/Switzerland)
  • 5 M42 Duster 2x40mm SP-AAG (United States/Sweden)

Special forces

The Guatemalan army has a special forces unit (specializing in anti-insurgent jungle warfare) known as the Kaibiles.


1 110 ft Broad class patrol boat: GC-1051 1 40 ft Dauntless class patrol boat: Iximche 2 85 Sewart Secraft patrol boats: GC-851 Utatlan, GC-852 Subteniente Osoho Saravia 6 Cutlass 65 ft(Halter Marine) class patrol boats: GC 651-656 11 small patrol launches 1 ferry 2 sail traing boats 2 Machete class personnel landing craft (Halter Marine

Military manpower

Military age: 18 years of age

Males aged 15 to 49: 3,186,894 (2002 est.)

Males fit for military service aged 15 to 49: 2,080,504 (2002 est.)

Males reaching military age annually: 140,358 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures

Total: USD $120 million (FY99)

As a percent of GDP: 0.6% (FY99)


  • Raul Sohr. ‘’Centroamérica en guerra.’’ Alianza Editorial. México. 1988.
  • Christopher F. Foss. ‘’Jane's tank and combat vehicles recognition guide. ‘’Harper Collins Publishers. UK. 2000.

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