Military Wiki

Paramilitaries of Iran man a heavy machine gun during Iran-Iraq War

A paramilitary (sometimes listed as quasi-military) is a militarised force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces.[1] Under the Law of Armed Conflict, a state may incorporate a paramilitary organization or armed agency (charged with police functions) into its armed forces. The other parties to a conflict have to be notified thereof.[2]

The term paramilitary is subjective, depending on what is considered similar to a military force, and what status a force is considered to have. The nature of paramilitary forces therefore varies greatly according to the speaker and the context.


Depending on context, "paramilitaries" may include:

Irregular forces

Auxiliary forces

Law enforcement


Government agencies

  • CIA Special Activities Center.
  • DEA Special Response Team.

Home guards

  • Volunteer Defence Corps, such as Volunteer Defence Corps in Thailand, Volunteer Defence Corps in Australia, Shanghai Volunteer Corps, and Royal Hong Kong Regiment.
  • The Village Guards of Turkey

Civil Defence

  • The fire departments of many countries and locales, although unarmed, are often organized in a manner similar to military or police forces.
  • The Belgian Civiele Bescherming and Singapore Civil Defence Force.
  • The Australian State Emergency Service.

See also


  1. "paramilitary". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. June 2005; online version June 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-13. "Designating, of, or relating to a force or unit whose function and organization are analogous or ancillary to those of a professional military force, but which is not regarded as having professional or legitimate status." 
  2. "Customary IHL - Section B. Incorporation of paramilitary or armed law enforcement agencies into armed forces". Retrieved 2013-07-27. 

Further reading

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).