Military


Republic of Cyprus - National Guard Organization

In 2010, the National Guard was organized into an army headquarters, two divisional headquarters and four brigade headquarters that would be filled out with combat units upon mobilization, as well as seperate commands for artillery and aviation, and the "Navy".

In 1989, the National Guard was organized into an army headquarters, two divisional headquarters, and two brigade headquarters that would be filled out with combat units upon mobilization. At that time its largest active units consisted of two mechanized battalions, one armored battalion, an artillery battalion, and a commando battalion. Reserves were organized into six infantry brigades, each with three infantry battalions, one light artillery battalion, and one armored reconnaissance squadron. These units were maintained only at cadre strength. Greek Army forces were organized into one infantry battalion, one commando battalion, and a support element.

As of 2010 the National Guard had about 10,000 troops on active duty, of which about 1,000 were regulars and 9,000 were conscripts serving for 24 months, along with a reserve of another 50,000 troops. The National Guard had a complement of some 13,000 men on active duty in 1989. Scaled back from a peak of 35,000 in 1967, its size had remained fairly constant since the Turkish invasion in 1974. At that time the bulk of its personnel were Greek Cypriot conscripts fulfilling twenty-six months of mandatory service.

The National Guard's officer corps had always consisted mainly of officers detailed to it from the Greek Army. In early 1990, an estimated 1,800 officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) from the Greek Army were serving in the National Guard, compared with approximately 800 Greek Cypriot officers and NCOs. Greek officers dominated in senior positions; as of 1990, the National Guard's commander, deputy commander, and chief of staff were all Greek nationals. The senior Greek Cypriot officer was a divisional commander with the rank of brigadier general. Efforts were under way to increase the number of Greek Cypriots in the force. In early 1990, parliament approved the appointment of Greek Cypriots to an additional sixty-five officer and fifty NCO positions.

Young Cypriots wishing to make a career of military service attended the Greek military academy. National Guard officers also obtained their advanced training at Greek military institutions, where a designated number of places were set aside for them. In addition, training was provided in France in the use of the new French equipment being introduced into the National Guard. Some conscripts could become reserve officers after successfully completing a six-month course, then serving as second lieutenants for ten months of active duty. Greek officers assumed the primary responsibility for National Guard training at all levels.

Soldiers completing their active duty continued to serve in the reserves until age fifty, and officers until age sixty-five. As of 1990, it was estimated that the National Guard could call upon 66,000 first-line reserves and more than 30,000 older second-line reserves. Selected reserve units were called up periodically without advance notice to test the mobilization system. A certain percentage of the reserves were mobilized annually to participate in a week of National Guard field exercises.

Uniforms, symbols of rank, and insignia of the National Guard were similar to those of the Greek Army. The color and cut of the uniforms was the same, although the design of the buttons, the device on caps, and the shield on epaulets incorporated an olive branch device corresponding to that found on the Cypriot flag and coat of arms. Fatigue uniforms were of camouflage cloth.

Few exemptions were granted from compulsory service. The issuance of exit permits from the island and the opportunity for higher education were not available until the service obligation was fulfilled. The annual call-up was in June, and discharges were granted in August to conform to the academic year. In spite of incentives, it had proven difficult to induce qualified individuals to remain in military service, especially at the NCO level. Young men with skilled or semiskilled occupations could easily obtain well-paying jobs on the thriving civilian economy.

Under the influence of an energetic commanding officer, the training regime was intensified in the late 1980s. The morale of the National Guard was considered high, as a result of the more rigorous training program and the introduction of modern weapons systems. Draftee wages were low--about US$15 a month in the late 1980s--and were generally supplemented by help from families to meet personal expenses. Conscripts were often able to arrange postings near their homes. Career personnel were paid on a higher scale of remuneration that appeared adequate, especially at the officer level.

As of 1990, the first women had been recruited as volunteers into the National Guard, following a decision to accept female applicants for noncombatant positions.



First (I) Infantry Division



Second (II) Infantry Division



Fourth (IV) Infantry Brigade



Twenty (XX) Armoured Brigade



Eighth (VIII) Infantry Brigade



Third (III) Brigade support



Artillery Command



Military Police



Navy Command



Aviation Administration




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