Comoros Table of Contents
Prior to independence, the French conducted all military training. In 1966 the Malagasy government, with French assistance, established the Military Academy (Académie Militaire) at Antsirabe. This school trains officers for the armed forces, the National Gendarmerie, and the Civil Service. In 1967 the first students enrolled in a three-year program that included courses in military and civic affairs. Students specialize in letters or sciences. A few foreign officers, usually from francophone African countries, also study at the Military Academy.
The May 1972 student strikes affected the Military Academy, which temporarily suspended examinations after students complained about the curriculum. Over the next several weeks, academy officials agreed to appoint a committee to review the possibility of modernizing course material, examinations, entry requirements, and general educational policies.
In addition to training officers at the Military Academy, the Malagasy government annually selects a small number of officer candidates to attend the French Military Academy at St. Cyr. Also, until military relations were severed in the mid-1970s, Malagasy and French units participated in joint annual exercises.
During the Cold War, hundreds, if not thousands, of FAP personnel received military training from several East European countries, including the former Soviet Union, the former GDR, Cuba, and the Korean Democratic Republic (North Korea). Beginning in the mid-1980s, France resumed training limited numbers of Malagasy military personnel. Additionally, the United States started an International Military Education and Training (IMET) program that sought to enhance the FAP's professional skills and reduce dependency on East European countries. By the early 1990s, the United States had expanded the IMET program to include management and technical training with emphasis on construction engineering skills and medical courses.
Historically, morale in the armed forces has been generally good, if for no other reason than the military provides job security in a country plagued by high unemployment. However, many côtiers who have been conscripted to serve in the ranks resent the lack of opportunity and the Merina domination of the officer corps. Also, with the decline of foreign military assistance since the end of the Cold War, poor morale has become a problem in many FAP units.
Data as of August 1994