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Mali Army / Forces Armes Maliennes

The history of the Army is closely linked to that of the Malian Armed Forces, which in turn is linked to that of the Federation of Mali (Union Senegal - French Sudan) born on January 20, 1960. In order to fully exercise its sovereignty, the Federation had to create its own army, so the nationals serving in the French Army and Gendarmerie are put at the disposal of the Federation to create the new Army.

The declaration of independence on September 22, 1960 follows the break-up of the federation. Mali had to create its own Army and the decision was made on October 1, 1960. On January 20, 1961, the President of the Republic of Mali Solemnly solicited the departure of the French troops from the National Territory and this date marks the departure of the last French soldier. This departure actually took place on September 05, 1961. The Malian Armed Forces (FAM) was created by the transfer of Sudanese military personnel reinforced by volunteers who had been retired.

Mali's armed forces numbered some 7,000 as of 2004 and were under the control of the Minister of Defense and Veterans, as is the National Guard. The Gendarmerie and local police forces were under the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection. The police and gendarmes share responsibility for internal security; the police are in charge of urban areas only. In the 1960s and 1970s, Mali's Army and Air Force relied primarily on the Soviet Union for materiel and training. A few Malians receive military training in the United States, France, and Germany. Under the Pan Sahel Initiative, more troops would get training and equipment in 2003-04. Military expenditures totalled about 13% of the national budget.

Early in January 2012, a rebellion started under the label of MNLA, National Movement of Azawad Liberation. It took 3 months for the army to be defeated and sent back to the capital, Bamako. The national army was at the threshold of its capacity to sustain security and national integrity. Therefore, the morale of the troops was seriously undermined, and the military was horrified by exactions of the insurgents mainly in Aguelhoc and Tessalit. Accordingly, the army claimed munitions and guns to be more equipped to face the insurgents. This demand was followed by demonstrations and riots from the army which led to the coup in March 2012.

However, the northern part of the country was really occupied by all kinds of networks--drug trafficking, arms smuggling, hijacking, tribal conflicts, and so on. The National Security Forces had never controlled the area for the last 20 years.

The Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Program (TSCTP) failed to make a capable fighting force of Malis army. Mali's Army had been trained in the Trans-Sahara counterterrorism program, and yet they collapsed very quickly. The Operation Flintlock, which used Mali as the base to train soldiers, again raised the question why did the Malian Army collapse so quickly.

The March 2012 coup, of course, led to a striking deterioration in discipline and command and control within the army. For example, very worryingly, in the days after the attempted countercoup on 30 April 2012, security forces directly under the command of Captain Sanogo disappeared at least 21 soldiers allegedly implicated in it.

Outside of Bamako, soldiers detained and executed numerous men accused of collaborating with the groups in the north. Most of these victims were Tuareg and Arab. In September, 16 Islamic preachers were executed within a military camp in Giabali, and in October eight Tuareg herders were executed by soldiers also in Giabali.

Mali's recent crisis was rooted in years of deterioration in the institutions -- the police, the army, the judiciary, the Parliament--that should have protected and represented them adequately. Mali's partners turned a blind eye to corruption scandals, criminality creeping into state institutions, some predatory behavior by the security forces, and lagging development indicators countrywide, but especially in the north.

In January 2013, France sent 4,000 troops to Mali after the Islamist fighters, who nine months before had taken over the vast northern desert region, began to take over central towns - threatening the capital, Bamako, in the south. Their advance was helped by the fact that members of the divided and demoralised Malian army took off their uniforms and fled their positions.

2 x armored battalions
4 x infantry battalions
1 x paratroop/SOF battalion
2 x artillery battalions
1 x engineer battalion
2 x commando companies
2 x AAA companies
1 x SAM battery
In January 2016, the President of the Commission and Head of Defense Ibrahim Bo Keita announced the implementation of measures for a military investment plan of CFAF 1,230 billion. This plan was part of the "Military Orientation and Programming Law (LOPM - Loi l'orientation et de la programmation militaire)", which was approved in February 2015. The law provides for a modernization of the Malian armed forces (FAMa) and the commitment of 10,000 volunteers. This decision should increase the number of FAMa to 20,000 by 2019.

In order to continue providing military training and advice to the Malian Armed Forces the Council of the European Union decided on 23 March 2016, EUTM Mali`s third Mandate, which will last until 18 May 2018. EUTM Mali will train, advice and educate the MaAF under the control of legitimate civilian authorities, in order to contribute to the restauration of their military capacity with a view to enabling them to conduct military operations aiming at restoring Malian territorial integrity, protecting the population and reducing the threat posed by terrorist groups.

Mali's army remains overstaffed, though no-one knows by how much due to years of phantom payrolls.

The army is ill-equipped. Over the years, Mali has been given or sold cut-price or obsolete military equipment from different countries. One example is communications equipment from France, Russia and China, all of it set to different frequencies.

On 1 November 2017, France equipped the Malian armed forces (FAMa) with military equipment. This delivery is part of France's action to strengthen the capacity of its partners in the Sahelo-Saharan region to fight against the terrorist threat. In total, the entire G5 Sahel joint force will receive 8 million euros worth of equipment. Teh equipment included 13 pick-up trucks, 2 six-wheel drive trucks, two 3.5-ton transport trucks, one tow truck, 13 12.7 mm machine guns, 14 transmission stations, elements of country life (tents, beds , solar showers, power packs) and emergency medical support equipment were delivered to the military garrison of the 3rd Kati military region to meet the needs of the FAMa. This set of equipment equips the equivalent volume of an infantry company, which can thus deploy autonomously in the spindles provided for Malian units of the Joint Force G5 Sahel.

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Page last modified: 20-11-2017 19:52:28 ZULU