List of countries by number of military and paramilitary personnel

Countries by number of active soldiers (2009)

This is a list of countries by number of military and paramilitary personnel. It includes any government-sponsored soldiers used to further the domestic and foreign policies of their respective government. The term "country" is used in its most common use, in the sense of state which exercises sovereignty or has limited recognition.

Guide to the list

The list consists of columns that can be sorted by clicking on the appropriate title:

  • The names of the states, accompanied by their respective national flags.
  • The number of military personnel on active duty that are currently serving full-time in their military capacity.
  • The number of military personnel in the reserve forces that are not normally kept under arms, whose role is to be available to mobilize when necessary.
  • The number of personnel in paramilitary forces: armed units that are not considered part of a nation's formal military forces.
  • The total number of active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel.
  • The ratio per thousand inhabitants of total military (active, reserve, and paramilitary).
  • The ratio per thousand inhabitants of active military only.

As military forces around the world are constantly changing in size, no definitive list can ever be compiled.

Many of the 171 countries listed here, especially those with the highest number of total soldiers such as the two Koreas and Vietnam, include a large number of paramilitaries, civilians and policemen in their reserve personnel. Some countries, such as Italy and Japan, have only volunteers in their armed forces. Other countries, such as Mauritius and Panama, have no national armies, but only a paramilitary force.

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