the Argentine military is a well-organized force constrained by the country's prolonged economic hardship; the country has recently experienced a strong recovery, and the military is now implementing "Plan 2000," aimed at making the ground forces lighter and more responsive
the Royal Barbados Defense Force includes a land-based Troop Command and a small Coast Guard; the primary role of the land element is to defend the island against external aggression; the Command consists of a single, part-time battalion with a small regular cadre that is deployed throughout the island; it increasingly supports the police in patrolling the coastline to prevent smuggling and other illicit activities
In November 2004, the EU heads of government signed a "Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe" that offers possibilities for increased defense and security cooperation. If ratified, this treaty will give operational effect to the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), approved in the 2000 Nice Treaty. Despite limits of cooperation for some EU members, development of a EU military planning unit is likely to continue. The planning unit will support the EU Rapid Reaction Force, which EU ministers have said will deploy 2 "battle groups" in January 2007. France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Italy continue to press for wider coordination. The 5-nation Eurocorps - created in 1992 by France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Luxembourg - has already deployed troops and police on peacekeeping missions to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and assumed command of the ISAF in Afghanistan in August 2004. Eurocorps directly commands the 5,000-man Franco-German Brigade, the Multinational Command Support Brigade, and EUFOR, which took over from SFOR in Bosnia in December 2004. Individual EU nations made commitments to provide 67,100 troops following the December 1999 EU summit in Helsinki. Some 56,000 troops from EU member states were actually deployed on various international operations in 2003. In August 2004, the new European Defense Agency, tasked with promoting cooperative European defense capabilities, began operations. In November 2004, the EU Council of Ministers formally committed to creating 13 1,500-man battle groups by the end of 2007, to respond to international crises on a rotating basis. Twenty-two of the EU's 25 nations have agreed to supply troops. France, Italy, and the UK formed the first of 3 battle groups in 2005. In May 2005, Norway, Sweden and Finland agreed to establish one of the battle groups, possibly to include Estonia forces. The remaining 9 groups are to be formed in 2007. A rapid-reaction naval EU Maritime Task Group was stood up in March 2007.
Laos is one of the world's least developed countries; the Lao People's Armed Forces are small, poorly funded, and ineffectively resourced; there is little political will to allocate sparse funding to the military, and the armed forces' gradual degradation is likely to continue; the massive drug production and trafficking industry centered in the Golden Triangle makes Laos an important narcotics transit country, and armed Wa and Chinese smugglers are active on the Lao-Burma border
defense is the responsibility of the US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military is granted access to the islands for 50 years, but no military forces are stationed there
Sao Tome and Principe's army is a tiny force with almost no resources at its disposal and would be wholly ineffective operating unilaterally; infantry equipment is considered simple to operate and maintain but may require refurbishment or replacement after 25 years in tropical climates; poor pay, working conditions, and alleged nepotism in the promotion of officers have been problems in the past, as reflected in the 1995 and 2003 coups; these issues are being addressed with foreign assistance aimed at improving the army and its focus on realistic security concerns; command is exercised from the president, through the Minister of Defense, to the Chief of the Armed Forces staff
in the early 1990s, the Turkish Land Force was a large but badly equipped infantry force; there were 14 infantry divisions, but only one was mechanized, and out of 16 infantry brigades, only six were mechanized; a subsequent overhaul has produced highly mobile forces with greatly enhanced firepower in accordance with NATO's new strategic concept
DEFINITION: This entry includes miscellaneous military information of significance not included elsewhere.