Bangladesh’s armed forces at a glance

Bangladesh’s armed forces at a glance

The Bangladesh Armed Forces comprises of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Air Force and Bangladesh Navy. The tri-services are led by the Commander-in-Chief, President of Bangladesh.

The Prime Minister of the nation however holds the post of Defence Minister. Each service is led by its own respective 4-star equivalent generals including General (Army), Admiral (Navy) and Air Chief Marshal (Air Force). The Prime Minister/Defence Minister exercises command and control over the military through the Armed Forces Division headed by a Lieutenant General with post of Principal Staff Officer (PSO).

Unlike many other countries around the world Bangladesh’s border guards and police forces are administered by the Ministry of Home Affairs with its own budget and establishment.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Bangladesh Coast Guard, Bangladesh Police and Ansar-Village Defence Party auxiliary forces. Each force is commanded by a Director General (or Inspector General in case of Police). Director General’s are equivalent to Major General or 2 Star generals.

Available manpower 70 million  
Fit for military service 40 million  
Reaching military age annually 4 million  
Defence expenditures $3.8 billion 6.1% of national budget
Paramilitary expenditures $3.3 billion 5.1% of national budget
Total expenditure $7.1 billion 11.2% of national budget

Active manpower strength

Bangladesh Army 208,000
Bangladesh Navy 24,081
Bangladesh Air Force 19,000
Subtotal – Military 251,081
Border Guard Bangladesh 72,000
Bangladesh Coast Guard 4,700
Bangladesh Police 206,000
Bangladesh Ansar-VDP 6,250,000
Bangladesh National Cadet Corps 8,250
Subtotal – Paramilitary 6,540,950
Total combined strength 6,792,031

There are no reserve forces, nor any conscription however a reserve force and national service system are both mulled to support the Armed Forces at war.

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The paramilitary forces such as the Border Guard Bangladesh and Bangladesh Coast Guard auxiliary support forces for Army and Navy at times of war. BGB, Police and Ansar have all supported the regular forces in past wars and military operations since 1971.


The Bangladesh Defence Analyst - © 2024