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Forças Armadas Cabo Verdeanas [FACV]
Cape Verde's Armed Forces

Since Cape Verde achieved independence in 1975, there has been an unbroken tradition of military respect for civilian rule and subordination of military authorities to the civilian government. Armed Forces include the National Guard ( (Guarda Nacional- GN) and Cabo Verde Coast Guard (Guardia Costeira de Cabo Verde, GCCV; which includes naval infantry - Fuzileiros Navais). The total force strength of the National Guard is 1200. Cape Verde is in the process of reducing its armed forces to 1000 troops, with 800 for the National Guard. The Air Force has 100 personnel, and the Coast Guard 200, for a total: of 1500.

Law 89 / VI / 2006 of 9 January establishes the General Regime of the Armed Forces. It is based on compulsory military service and is composed of approximately one thousand and five hundred soldiers. The organization of the Cape Verdean Armed Forces (FACV) is defined in Decree-Law no. 30/2007 of August 20 and comprises the military command organs, the National Guard (NG) and the Coast Guard (CG). The military command organs support the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, which has the rank of colonel, are made up of the General Staff, the Staff Command and the Logistics Command.

Foreign policy continues to be one of Cape Verde's most important means of security and defense, based increasingly on respect for international law and defense of the system of international relations, cooperation between peoples and on the prevention of conflicts . To this end, Cape Verde is part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the United Nations (UN). Cape Verde is an active partner in the military component of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, while maintaining military ties with other countries outside of the Portuguese-speaking context.

The National Police, under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, is responsible for law enforcement. The Judiciary Police, under the Ministry of Justice, is responsible for major investigations. The armed forces, under the Ministry of Defense, are responsible for protecting the national territory (maritime and terrestrial) and sovereignty of the country. Logistical constraints, including a shortage of vehicles and communications equipment, and poor forensic capacity continued to limit police effectiveness.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the armed forces and police (including the Coast Guard, National Guard, National Police, and Judiciary Police), and the government had somewhat effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption.

A term of the Normal Effective Service (SEN) is fourteen months of military service since its presentation in the ranks until the date of the estate. The military formation is made through two annual incorporations with about four hundred military each. These soldiers are trained in the Military Instruction Center of Morro Branco, on the Island of São Vicente, with the Basic Military Instruction that lasts for five weeks. After completing this stage, the training begins in different specialties for six weeks, namely Military Police, Infantry, Artillery, and Transmissions. The specialty of Fusiliers for having more specific components lasts for ten weeks. For the fit military, there is also the Cable Training Course. It lasts for three weeks. After finishing his training, the military man will fulfill another year in the ranks integrated in an operational unit.

The Armed Forces of Cape Verde, recently underwent a realignment and adjustment of assigned missions. The primary mission of the Coast Guard includes the defense of its borders, coastal patrol, civil assistance, search and rescue operations, fisheries protection and the preservation of the marine environment. One new role of the Armed Forces is the deterrence and fight against terrorism both domesic and internationally. They have also approved a plan to develop a professional Military Police Unit. The mission of this unit is strictly enforcement of military security and enforcement of military law and discipline on military property.

Cabo Verde continues to be a gateway for drug cartels to pass illegal drugs from South and Central America to Africa and Europe. Narco-violence is growing in the islands, resulting in the murder of the mother of a federal officer and the attempted murder of the son of the family of a high government official.

The United States and Cape Verde maintain active military contacts and cooperation in addition to humanitarian assistance. This program is active in the following areas:

  1. Assisting in the enhancement of its professional officer and Non-Commissioned Officer Corps, particularly at the middle management level
  2. Promoting greater capabilities in ares of joint interest, including counter-terrorism, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, disaster preparedness, and the interdiction of narcotics which are shipped through Cape Verdean waters.
  3. Helping to influence an increase in the inter-operability and engagement between U.S. and Cape Verde armed forces in the ares of training and disaster preparedness.
  4. Assisting in developing a search and rescue training team capability within the Cape Verdean Coast Guard to facilitate the ability of their personnel to provide training at the Armed Forces Training Center. This facility could provide in-country training to broaden the knowledge of Search and Rescue techniques using U.S. Coast Guard standards.

There is some question regarding the government’s ability to react to large-scale natural disaster. Both air and sea transportation of civil relief workers and the evacuation of residents proved challenging for the November 2014 volcano eruption due to limited resources. Request for assistance was made to foreign countries for aid and support, including air/sea support as provided by the Portuguese during the November 2014 volcano eruption. Similar concerns were raised during Hurricane Fred, which hit Cabo Verde in August 2015 and whose after-effects proved to be difficult for the government to respond to in the northern islands. As a result, managing or responding to disasters are inadequate. Additionally, while there is a coast guard, its resources are limited, and rescue or assistance of vessels or aircraft at sea would be challenging.

The ability of the government to respond to a major industrial or transportation accident is jeopardized because there are limited resources for managing or containing such an event. While emergency services do exist, a large-scale accident would require international coordination, depending on event’s nature/severity. Resources on the main island and around Praia are limited, and there are even fewer services available on other islands.

Cape Verde served as the proving grounds for the latest testing of the emerging NATO Response Force, NRF. With over 7,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen, Exercise Steadfast Jaguar 2006 is a major test of the NRF's ability to operate quickly, strategically, and at distance. Facing a variety of environmental conditions, the NRF is able to execute its largest military maneuvers since its creation exercising a wide array of missions. The archipelago's terrain provide challenging beaches for amphibious assault, arid flatlands for ground warfare, and a mountainous volcano for humanitarian relief after a fictitious eruption.

The new Africom-funded Counter-Narcotics and Maritime Security Operations Center in Cape Verde, built with about $1.5 million from Africom and formally presented to the Cape Verdean government in May 2010, enabled the country’s police, coast guard and military to collaborate more closely to crack down on illicit trafficking, piracy and other transnational threats.

Cape Verde’s Coast Guard receives assistance from Brazil, Portugal and the United States in both materiel and training. The Coast Guard’s new flagship offshore patrol vessel, the 51 metre Damen Guardiao, was commissioned in January 2012. Cape Verde sold its Embraer Bandeirante to South Africa in 2008 but in 2012 Brazil announced that it would donate Bandeirante aircraft to the archipelago.

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Page last modified: 04-05-2017 19:26:28 ZULU