Country Listing

Bolivia Table of Contents



Armed Forces: Includes army (20,200), navy (3,800), and air force (4,000), with total strength estimated at 28,000 in 1989. Program launched to expand troops to 35,000.

Military Units: Army organized into ten divisions (consisting of eight cavalry regiments, twenty-two infantry battalions, two mechanized regiments, one motorized infantry regiment with two battalions, three ranger battalions, three artillery "regiments" (battalions), five artillery batteries, one paratroop battalion, and six engineer battalions) and logistical and instructional support commands. Navy consisted of small motor launches operating on Lake Titicaca and northeastern rivers and organized into five naval districts, each with one flotilla, as well as one naval aviation counterinsurgency squadron. Air force organized into three air brigades with thirteen subordinate air groups.

Equipment: Ground forces armaments included mostly obsolete United States equipment but also Brazilian armored combat vehicles and personnel carriers. Naval fleet of several dozen patrol craft of various sizes. Air force inventory included modest number of poorly maintained light tactical aircraft, few transport aircraft and helicopters, and several dozen trainers.

Police: Subordinate to Ministry of Interior, Migration, and Justice. National Police Corps had estimated 15,000 personnel and consisted of General Administration section, 5,000-member paramilitary National Guard, Directorate of National Investigations, Customs Police, Traffic Police, and National Highway Service, as well as Fire Corps staffed by police personnel.

Antinarcotics Forces: Created in 1987, Ministry of Interior, Migration, and Justice's Special Antinarcotics Force (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico--FELCN) evolved in 1989 into viable joint-service institution. Air force's Task Force pilots supporting FELCN flew United States-loaned helicopters nearly 3,200 accident-free hours, and pilot proficiency continued to improve. Bolivian Navy Riverine Task Force remained FELCN's least effective element, owing to corruption and command and operational shortcomings. The 640-member Rural Area Police Patrol Unit (Unidad Móvil Policial para Áreas Rurales--Umopar), FELCN's principal interdiction component, continued to improve as an institution; its drug seizures increased. Umopar units, supported by FELCN helicopter and air force transport aircraft units, conducted several sophisticated air mobile assaults against trafficking targets in second half of 1989. Umopar's training facility in Chapare region continued to improve.

Data as of December 1989