|Armed Forces of Bolivia|
|Fuerzas Armadas de Bolivia|
|Founded||7 August 1826|
|Service branches|| Bolivian Army|
Bolivian Naval Force
Bolivian Air Force
|Captain General of the Armed Forces||Luis Arce (President of Bolivia)|
|Minister of Defense||Edmundo Novillo|
|Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces||César Moisés Vallejos Rocha|
|1,949,267, age 15-49 (2000 est.)|
|1,269,228, age 15-49 (2000 est.)|
|86,863 (2000 est.)|
|Active personnel||40.000 to 70.000 (est.)|
|Reserve personnel||40.000 (est.)|
|Budget||$659.2 million (2017)|
|Percent of GDP||1.76% (2017)|
|Foreign suppliers|| Argentina|
|History||History of Bolivia|
|Ranks||Military ranks of Bolivia|
The Armed Forces of Bolivia (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas de Bolivia) are official organizations responsible for the defence, both of external and internal, of Bolivia and they are constituted by Bolivian Army, the Bolivian Air Force and the Bolivian Navy. All these institutions depend on the Ministry of Defence of this country.
In addition to the three forces already mentioned, the Bolivian National Police, although dependent on the Ministry of Government in times of peace, is part of the reserves of the Armed Forces according to the Organic Law of the Armed Forces of this nation, together with other reserve bodies such as the SAR-FAB emergency and rescue units.
Figures on the size and composition of the armed forces of Bolivia vary considerably, with rare official data available. It is estimated, however, that the three main forces (army, navy and air force) add up to a total of between 40,000 to 70,000 troops, while the Bolivian police would be around 40,000 troops.
The roles and tenure of the High Command are described in the Organic Law of the Armed Forces (LOFA)  which states that the hierarchy is subordinate to and appointed by the President of Bolivia with the Minister of Defense acting as an intermediary between the President and the Armed Forces. Article 172 of the 2009 Constitution states that amongst the President's duties are "To designate and substitute the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the Commanders of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy."
The current positions, appointed by interim president Jeanine Áñez Chávez on 13 Nov 2019  are as follows:
Article 100 of the LOFA also states that these positions, and several others such as Chief of Police and Head of the Presidential, may be held "only once during the military career and for a time no greater than two years". This results in a fairly high turnover in the Bolivian High Command with continued service being prohibited by law. The last changes in High Command, under the previous President Evo Morales, occurred on 24 Dec 2018, 11 Dec 2017, 29 Dec 2016, 30 Dec 2015, 18 Dec 2014, 13 Dec 2013  and 3 Dec 2012.
Attempts to increase the maximum length of service for members of the High Command (and other positions) were made, unsuccessfully, under the Morales administration who wished to increase it to between 3 and 5 years.
The Bolivian Army (Ejército de Bolivia, EB) is the land branch of the armed forces of Bolivia. Together with the Bolivia army and air force Bolivia, is responsible for protecting Bolivia of internal, external threats and ensure the independence of this country. The Bolivian Army has around 55,500 men. There are six military regions (regiones militares--RMs) in the army. The Army is organized into ten divisions. The Army maintains a small fleet of utility aircraft, primarily to support headquarters.
The Special Forces command controls the following units:
Army aviation company 291 (La Paz), army aviation company 292 (Santa Cruz)
The Bolivian Army has six military regions (regiones militares--RMs) covering the various Departments of Bolivia:
The army is organized into ten territorial divisions plus a mechanized division, each of which, with the exception of Viacha, occupy a region generally corresponding to the administrative departments, with some overlapping. These and their respective divisional headquarters and constituent units are:
RI: infantry regiment RC: cavalry regiment RA: artillery regiment Bat.Ing.: battalion engineer
Army organized has ten divisions controlling the following units:
The Army maintains a small fleet of utility aircraft, primarily to support headquarters.
|Bolivian army equipment|
|Tanks||36 SK-105 Kürassiers|
|Reconnaissance vehicles||24 EE-9 Cascavel|
|Armoured Personnel Carriers||50 M113 armored personnel carriers with local upgrades, 24 EE-11 Urutu APC,24 M9 Half-track APC, 10 Cadillac Gage Commando V-150, 20 Mowag Roland local upgraded (Used by the military Police)|
|Artillery pieces and mortar||18 Type 54 122mm howitzers, 6 M101 105mm howitzers, 10 7.5 cm FK 18 howitzers, 6 Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 75mm howitzers. Mortars: M-120 120mm, M30 107mm mortars, 250 M29 81mm mortars,FM 81mm,W87 81mm, M-224 60mm mortars AA artillery: 16 2×37mm Type 65, 80 2×20mm Oerlikon 20 mm cannon K20, 50 MANPAD HN-5 AT weapons:rocket launchers RPG-7, 200 66mm M72A3 LAW, 90mm M20A1, 90mm M67 recoilless rifle, RCL 82mm Type 65/78, RCL 106mm M40A1,40 portable AT missile HJ-8AiB Red Arow|
|Transport||TRANSPORT:DongFeng EQ 2081/2100,FEW C A1122J,Stayer 1491,16 Ford F-750,Unimog 416Dodge M-37 21⁄2 ton trucks, Engesa EE-15 trucks, Engesa EE-25 trucks, FIAT IVECO 619 5 ton trucksTACTICAL TRANSPORT VEHICLES:30 M988 HMMWV,40 Koyak local productionUTILITY TRANSPORT VEHICLES:Ford M151 jeep,CJ-5,CJ-7,Chrysler jeep Wrangler,BJ 2020VJ, horses (still used by the Bolivian cavalry units)|
|Small Arms||HANDGUNS: FN-35,Glock 17, Beretta Model 92F, SM Model 10 (all 9mm)[Source?], M1911A1 11,43 SMG: FMK 3, UZI, MAT 49 (all 9mm)Rifle: Galil AR, M16A1, M4A1, Steyr AUG A1, SA 80, all (5.56 mm), FN-FAL, SIG-542, SIG-510-4, (all 7.62mm), Type 56-2(ak-47),SNIPER: Dragunov SVD, Mauser model 86SR, Steyr SSG-69P1AM Rifles:Steyr HS 50 12.7mmMG: M60, FN-MAG 60-20, SIG MG710-3 (all 7.62mm), Type 56 LMGGL:Type 87 35mm, MM-1, M79, M203 (all 40mm) Shotguns:Remington 870 and 11-87.|
|Robinson R44||United States||Trainer||R44||1|
|Beechcraft King Air||United States||Utility, VIP||C90||1|
|Fokker F27 Friendship||Netherlands||Transport||F27-MK200||1|
|Harbin Z-9||China||Utility helicopter||H425||6|
Army officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel generally wear gray or, for tropical areas, gray-green service uniforms. Army fatigue uniforms are olive green, and combat uniforms are of US woodland pattern camouflage. The standard headgear for enlisted personnel is the beret bearing the national colors of red, yellow and green. Paratroops (paracaidistas) were distinguished by black berets, and Special Forces by green berets.
The Bolivian air force (Fuerza Aérea Boliviana, FAB) is the air branch of the armed forces of Bolivia. The Bolivian Air Force has nine air bases, located at La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Puerto Suárez, Tarija, Villamontes, Cobija, Riberalta, and Roboré.
Major commands included the following:
The Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana in Spanish), formerly Bolivian Navy (Armada Boliviana) is a naval force about 5,000 strong in 2008. Although Bolivia has been landlocked since the War of the Pacific in 1879, Bolivia established a River and Lake Force (Fuerza Fluvial y Lacustre) in January 1963 under the Ministry of National Defense. It consisted of four boats supplied from the United States and 1,800 personnel recruited largely from the army. Bolivia's naval force was renamed the Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana) in January 1966, but it also has been called the Bolivian Navy (Armada Boliviana). It became a separate branch of the armed forces in 1963. Bolivia has large rivers that are tributaries to the Amazon which are patrolled to prevent smuggling and drug trafficking. There is also a Bolivian Naval presence on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, across which runs along the Peruvian frontier.
Landlocked Bolivia has not become reconciled with the loss of its coast to Chile, and the Navy exists to keep the hope of recovering its coast alive by cultivating a maritime consciousness. The Bolivian Navy takes part in many parades and government functions, but none more so than the Día Del Mar (Day of the Sea) in which Bolivia, every year, asks for the coast territories lost to Chile during the War of the Pacific (fought between Peru and Bolivia against Chile) from 1879 to 1884. This is still a sore point for Bolivia, influencing many modern-day political actions and trade decisions.
The Navy is organized into ten naval districts, with flotilla headquarters in Guaqui, Guayaramerín, Puerto Suárez, Riberalta, and San Pedro de Tiquina, and bases in Puerto Busch, Puerto Horquilla, Puerto Villarroel, Trinidad, and Rurrenabaque.
Naval vessels include several dozen boats, dozen or more of which are for riverine patrol, including the piranias, and riders, which are powerful river boats. In addition, Bolivia has several seagoing vessels, including the Santa Cruz de la Sierra (PR-51), and several flagged ships that sail with the permission of the "Capitanias Navales" Naval Registration Office. The Libertador Simón Bolívar, a ship acquired from Venezuela, use to navigate from its home port in Rosario, Argentina on the River Paraná. In 1993, the Navy was formally renamed the Naval Force (Fuerza Naval) and moved with the Bolivian Army under a single military authority.
Most of the officers are often educated in the Naval Academy where they graduate with a BS in Military and Naval Science, diploma accredited by the Military University and then they do other studies at the bachelor's degree and master's level. Argentina has their Naval Military Group in Bolivia advising at the highest level in naval strategy and tactics. Many Bolivian officers practice ocean sailing in Argentinean big naval ships. The Bolivian Navy has several Special Forces units to address both internal and external conflicts.
The Bolivian Naval Force covers the extensive river and lake Bolivian territory divided between the following functions Naval Districts, note that the names of these units are derived from the basin or region where they operate:
The Marine component of the FNB originated with the creation of the Marine Battalion Almirante Grau in the early 1980s. This unit of 600 men is based on Tiquina naval base on Lake Titicaca. Later changes name to Marine Battalion Independence, based in Chua (Not to be confused with the Independence RI17 EB).At present this battalion maintains a similar number of troops including premilitares. Staff of this unit is part of Task Force Blue Devils or are stationed in various naval bases. There are currently seven infantry battalions which are distributed as follows:
This specialty is essentially similar to its counterpart in the Army, carrying out operations such as Important Persons Protection (IPP) Physical Security (SEF) or Patrol Facility (PAT), with additions such as signals or naval protocol. There Naval detachments of PM in all district headquarters or FNB Naval Area. But only have the following units at the Battalion:
The Bolivian Navy has a total of 173 vessels, mostly stationed on Lake Titicaca:
Bolivia's navy operates one utility aircraft for the use of headquarters.
Since 1904 military service has been compulsory for all fit males between the ages of eighteen and forty-nine. In practice, however, budgetary limitations strictly limited the number of eligible men conscripted, and those traditionally tended to be mostly Indians. Beginning in 1967, conscripts were legally held on active duty for up to two years, but funds seldom permitted even a full year's service. Noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and warrant officers, all of whom were volunteers, generally were drawn from mixed-blood cholos (those of Spanish and Indian descent). In the late 1980s, the service obligation was one year, and conscripts had to be at least nineteen years of age. The FF.AA. commander reported in early 1989 that the largest percentage of conscripts came from the middle class. One explanation for this change could have been the flocking of youths to the lucrative coca paste-making business. Military authorities in the Cochabamba area in particular began to experience growing difficulty in enlisting volunteers in the mid-1980s. Consequently, the military reportedly was resorting to pressganging eighteen-year-olds off the city streets to fill their annual quotas.
Training installations include the Garras International Antinarcotics Training School (Escuela Garras del Valor) is a military training facility located in Bolivia, which trains military and law enforcement personnel from Bolivia and other Latin American countries in counternarcotics, intelligence, and counterinsurgency techniques.
This article was adapted from the CIA World Factbook 2000.