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A paramilitary organization is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
, but is not part of a country's
armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...
. Paramilitary units carry out duties that a country's military or police forces are unable, or sometimes unwilling, to handle. Although similar, a quasi-military organisation has more near-identical to military aspects (''i.e.'', militia, private army, ''etc.'') whereas a paramilitary is its own (''i.e.,'' internal security, SWAT, ''etc.'').


Legality

Under the
law of war The law of war is the component of international law that regulates the conditions for initiating war (''jus ad bellum'') and the conduct of warring parties (''jus in bello''). Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territor ...
, a state may incorporate a paramilitary organization or armed agency (such as a national police or a private volunteer
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
) into its
combatant Combatant is the legal status of an individual who has the right to engage in hostilities during an armed conflict. The legal definition of "combatant" is found at article 43(2) of Protocol I, Additional Protocol I (AP1) to the Geneva Conventions ...
armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...
. The other parties to a conflict have to be notified thereof.


Military compared to paramilitary

Though a paramilitary is not a military force, it is usually equivalent to a military's
light infantry Light infantry is a designation applied to certain types of foot soldiers () throughout history, typically having lighter equipment or or a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such as or . Historically, light infantry ...
force in terms of intensity, firepower, and organizational structure. A paramilitary may also commonly fall under the command of a military, even despite not being part of the military or play an assisting role for the military in times of war. Paramilitary forces can also include
private military company A private military company (PMC) is a private company providing armed combat or security services for financial gain. PMCs refer to their operationally deployed personnel as "security contractors" or "private military contractors". The services ...
missions.


Types

Depending on the definition adopted, "paramilitaries" may include:


Irregular military

*
Irregular military Irregular military is any non-standard military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polit ...
forces:
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
s,
resistance fighter A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to withstand the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objectives t ...
s, guerrillas,
insurgent An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. A rebellion originates from a sentiment ...
s,
terrorist Terrorism, in its broadest sense, is the use of intentional violence to achieve political aims. The term is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the ...

terrorist
s, etc.


Auxiliary forces

* The
auxiliary forces The Moroccan Auxiliary Forces ( ar, القوات المساعدة ''al-quwwāt al-musāʿida'', zgh, ⵉⴷⵡⴰⵙⴻⵏ ⵉⵎⴰⵡⵡⴰⵙⴻⵏ ''idwasen imawwasen'') is a paramilitary force following the command of the Ministry of the Int ...
of a state's military:
national guard National Guard is the name used by a wide variety of current and historical uniformed organizations in different countries. The original National Guard National Guard is the name used by a wide variety of current and historical uniformed organizati ...
, presidential guard,
republican guard A republican guard, sometimes called a national guard, is a state organization of a country (often a republic A republic ( la, res publica, links=yes, meaning "public affair") is a List of forms of government, form of government in which "po ...
,
state defense force In the United States, state defense forces are military units that operate under the sole authority of a State governments of the United States, state government. State defense forces are authorized by state and federal law and are under the c ...
,
civil air patrol Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a Congressional charter, congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official Auxiliaries, civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a volunteer organi ...
,
home guard Home guard is a title given to various military organizations at various times, with the implication of an emergency or reserve force A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizen-soldiers of a country who combine a m ...
,
royal guard #REDIRECT Royal guard#REDIRECT Royal guard A royal guard is a group of military bodyguards, soldiers or armed retainers responsible for the protection of a royal person, such as the emperor or empress, king or queen, or prince A prince is a ...
, and
imperial guard An imperial guard or palace guard is a special group of troops (or a member thereof) of an empire, typically closely associated directly with the Emperor or Empress regnant, Empress. Usually these troops embody a more elite status than other impe ...
. * Some
police forces The police are a constituted body of persons A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic ...
or
auxiliary police auxiliary police officer stands guard beside an Armored car (valuables), armoured truck while his colleagues deliver high-valued goods to and from commercial clients at Change Alley (Singapore), Change Alley, Singapore. Auxiliary police, also ca ...
:
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
's
Mobile Brigade Corps (Brimob) The Mobile Brigade Corps ( Indonesian: ''Korps Brigade Mobil'') abbreviated Brimob is the special operations, paramilitary Paramilitary forces usually tend to wear similar but different uniforms to the military, for instance gray "urban ca ...
,
Detachment 88 Counterterrorism Special Detachment 88 ( id, Detasemen Khusus 88 Antiteror), or Densus 88, is an Indonesian National Police '' , mottotranslated = (Serving the Nation) , formed = , preceding1 = , dissolved = , s ...
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
's
Assam Rifles The Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force of India, dating back to 1835 under the British Raj, raised under the name ''Cachar Levy''. The present name of "Assam Rifles" has been used since 1917. Over the course of its history, the Assam ...
,
Central Reserve Police Force The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is India's largest Central Armed Police Force . It functions under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India. The CRPF's primary role lies in assisting the State/Unio ...
,
Border Security Force The Border Security Force (BSF) is India's Primary Border control#Border security, border guarding organisation on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India, and was raised in the wake o ...
,
Hong Kong Police Force The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) is the primary law enforcement File:CBP female officers going aboard a ship.jpg, upU.S. Customs and Border Protection officers boarding a ship 'Law enforcement'' is the activity of some members of governmen ...
,
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, বাংলাদেশ, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-c ...

Bangladesh
's
Border Guards Bangladesh The Border Guards Bangladesh ( Bengali transliteration: বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশ; translated from English: বাংলাদেশ সীমান্ত রক্ষক; ''BGB''), formerly known as the Banglad ...

Border Guards Bangladesh
etc.


Political

* Armed, semi-militarized wings of existing
political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
: ** those of the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
; which was very common during this period, when every political party in strife-torn
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
had their own; examples include: *** the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
's ''
Sturmabteilung The (; SA; literally "Storm Detachment Detachment or detached may refer to: * Single-family detached home A stand-alone house (also called a single-detached dwelling, detached residence or detached house) is a free-standing residential bu ...
'' and ''
Schutzstaffel The ''Schutzstaffel'' (SS; also stylized as ''ᛋᛋ'' with Armanen runes The Armanen runes (or ''Armanen Futharkh'') are a series of 18 runes, closely based on the historical Younger Futhark, introduced by Austrian mysticist and Germ ...
''. *** the
Monarchist Monarchism is the advocacy of the system of monarchy or monarchical rule. A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government independent of any specific monarch, whereas one who supports a particular monarch is a royalist. One ...
German National People's Party The German National People's Party (german: Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP) was a national-conservative National conservatism is a variant of conservatism Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional socia ...
's '' Der Stahlhelm''. *** the
Communist Party of Germany The Communist Party of Germany (german: Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, ; german: KPD, ) was a major political party in the Weimar Republic between 1918 and 1933, an underground resistance movement A resistance movement is an organized eff ...

Communist Party of Germany
's ''Parteiselbstschutz''. **
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, "eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout Ireland; both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The History of Sinn Féin, original Sinn Féin organisation wa ...

Sinn Féin
's
Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary organisations in Ireland throughout the 20th and the 21st centuries. Organisations going by this name have been dedicated to irredentism through Irish republicanism, the be ...
. **
Hamas Hamas (, ; , ; an acronym of , "Islamic Resistance Movement") is a Palestinian territories, Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalist, militant, and Religious nationalism, nationalist organization. It has a social serv ...

Hamas
's
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades ( ar, كتائب الشهيد عز الدين القسام, , Battalions of martyr Izz ad-Din al-Qassam; also spelt Izzedine or Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades; often shortened to Al-Qassam Brigades, IQB
. ** the
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is a social-democratic political party in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of ...
's
Umkhonto we Sizwe uMkhonto we Sizwe (, meaning "Spear of the Nation"; abbreviated MK) was the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), co-founded by Nelson Mandela in the wake of the Sharpeville massacre. Its mission was to fight against the Governm ...
. ** the
Bharatiya Janata Party The Bharatiya Janata Party (; ; BJP) is one of two major List of political parties in India, political parties in India, along with the Indian National Congress. It is the current List of ruling political parties by country, ruling politic ...
has been associated with
Hindu nationalist Hindu nationalism has been collectively referred to as the expression of social and political thought, based on the native spiritual and cultural traditions of the Indian subcontinent. Defenders of Hindu nationalism have tried to avoid the lab ...
group
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, (; Hindi language, Hindi: राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ, , , ), is an Indian Right-wing politics, right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organisation. The RSS i ...
which are both part of
Sangh Parivar The Sangh Parivar (translation Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. The English language draws a terminological distinction (which does not ex ...
, and having notable members of both organizations such as
Narendra Modi Narendra Damodardas Modi (; born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician serving as the List of Prime Ministers of India, 14th and current prime minister of India since 2014. Modi was the List of chief ministers of Gujarat, chief minist ...

Narendra Modi


Law enforcement

* Police departments of many countries are organized in a manner similar to military forces. * Semi-militarized law enforcement personnel within normal police forces, such as
SWAT teams
SWAT teams
in the United States and various
police tactical unit A police tactical unit (PTU) is a specialized police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, t ...
s in other countries. *
Gendarmerie Wrong info! --> A vedette of the French ''Gendarmerie Maritime'' in La Rochelle harbour A gendarmerie () is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily ...

Gendarmerie
s, such as Egyptian
Central Security Forces The General Security and Central Security Forces ( ar, قوات الأمن العام و الأمن المركزي ''Quwwāt al-Amn al- Amm wa Quwwāt al-Amn al-Markazī'', often shortened to ''Al-Amn al-Markazī'') is an Egyptian paramilitary fo ...
and
Russia's National Guard
Russia's National Guard
. *
Border guard A border guard of a country is a national security National_Security_Council_staff_on_the_1986_United_States_bombing_of_Libya.html" ;"title="Ronald Reagan">President of the United States National_Security_Council_staff_on_the_1986_United_S ...
s, such as Russia's Border Guard Service,
Australian Border Force The Australian Border Force (ABF) is a law enforcement agency, part of the Department of Home Affairs, responsible for offshore and onshore border control Border control is the measures taken by a state or a bloc of states to monitor its b ...
, India's
Border Security Force The Border Security Force (BSF) is India's Primary Border control#Border security, border guarding organisation on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India, and was raised in the wake o ...
, Bangladesh's
Border Guards Bangladesh The Border Guards Bangladesh ( Bengali transliteration: বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশ; translated from English: বাংলাদেশ সীমান্ত রক্ষক; ''BGB''), formerly known as the Banglad ...

Border Guards Bangladesh
and Turkey's
Village guards Village guards ( tr, Korucular), officially known as ''Türkiye Güvenlik Köy Korucuları'' ("Security Village Guards of Turkey"), are Gendarmerie General Command The Gendarmerie General Command ( tr, Jandarma Genel Komutanlığı) is the nationa ...
. * The United States' Federal Protective Forces and NASA's Emergency Response Teams. * Security forces of ambiguous military status: internal troops, railroad guards, or
railway troopsRailway troops are soldiers who are also railway engineer Railway engineering is a multi-faceted engineering discipline dealing with the design, construction and operation of all types of rail transport systems. It encompasses a wide range of engi ...
.


Government agencies

*
CIA The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as "The Agency" and "The Company", is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. ...

CIA
-
Special Activities Center The Special Activities Center (SAC) is a division of the Central Intelligence Agency The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as "The Agency" and "The Company", is a civilian intelligence agency, foreign intelligence servi ...
(SAC) (specifically the Special Operations Group (SOG), staffed by Paramilitary Operations Officers) *
CIA The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as "The Agency" and "The Company", is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. ...

CIA
- Global Response Staff


Home guards

* Volunteer Defence Corps, such as Volunteer Defence Corps in
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
, Volunteer Defence Corps in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, Shanghai Volunteer Corps, and Royal Hong Kong Regiment.


Civil defense

* The
fire departments A fire department (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American E ...
of many countries are often organized in a manner similar to military or police forces despite being unarmed. * The Belgian Civiele Bescherming and
Singapore Civil Defence Force The Singapore Civil Defence Force (abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version o ...
. * The Australian
State Emergency Service The State Emergency Service (SES) is the name used by a number of organisations in Australia that provide assistance during and after major incidents. Specifically, the service deals with floods, storms and tsunamis, but can also assist in othe ...
.


Examples of paramilitary units

* List of paramilitary organizations * List of defunct paramilitary organizations


See also

* :Rebel militia groups *
Internal Troops The Internal Troops, full name Internal Troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs (MVD) (russian: Внутренние войска Министерства внутренних дел, Vnutrenniye Voiska Ministerstva Vnutrennikh Del; abbreviate ...
*
Security forcesSecurity Forces are statutory organisations with internal security mandates. In the legal context of several nations, the term has variously denoted police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement offi ...
*
Weimar paramilitary groups Paramilitary groups were formed throughout the Weimar Republic in the wake of Germany's defeat in World War I and the ensuing German Revolution. Some were created by political parties to help in recruiting, discipline and in preparation for seizin ...
*
List of Serbian paramilitary formationsThis is a list of Serbian paramilitary units and formations throughout history. It includes Serbian volunteer militias loyal to the Habsburg Monarchy prior to Serbian independence, and organizations loyal to Serbia since. Note that many of the organi ...
* Paramilitarization *
Militarization of police The militarization of police is the use of military equipment and Military tactics, tactics by law enforcement officers. This includes the use of armored personnel carriers (APCs), assault rifles, submachine guns, flashbang grenades, grenade laun ...
*
Gendarmerie Wrong info! --> A vedette of the French ''Gendarmerie Maritime'' in La Rochelle harbour A gendarmerie () is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily ...

Gendarmerie
*
Panamanian Public Forces The Panamanian Public Forces ( es, Fuerza Pública de la República de Panamá) are the national security forces of Panama. Panama is the second country in Latin America (the other being Costa Rica) to permanently abolish standing armies, with Pan ...
* Fourth-generation warfare *
Private army A private army (or private military) is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a so ...
*
Private Military Companies A private military company (PMC) is a private company A privately held company, private company, or close corporation is a corporation not owned by the government, non-governmental organizations and by a relatively small number of shareholders ...
*
Death squad A death squad is an armed group whose primary activity is carrying out extrajudicial killings or forced disappearances as part of political repression, genocide Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as ...
*
Violent non-state actor In international relations, violent non-state actors (VNSA), also known as non-state armed actors or non-state armed groups (NSAGs), are individuals and groups that are wholly or partly independent of state government, governments and which threa ...
*
List of countries by number of military and paramilitary personnel This is a list of countries by number of military and paramilitary personnel. It includes any government-sponsored soldiers used to further the domestic and foreign policies of their respective government. The term "country" is used in its most c ...


References


Further reading

* Golkar, Saeid. (2012
Paramilitarization of the Economy: the Case of Iran's Basij Militia
Armed Forces & Society ''Armed Forces & Society'' is an international, interdisciplinary, quarterly peer review, peer-reviewed academic publication that publishes scholarly articles and book reviews on a wide variety of topics including civil–military relations, milita ...
, Vol. 38, No. 4 * Golkar, Saeid. (2012). Organization of the Oppressed or Organization for Oppressing: Analysing the Role of the Basij Militia of Iran. Politics, Religion & Ideology, Dec., 37–41. doi:10.1080/21567689.2012.725661 *


External links


Global Security
{{Authority control Civil–military relations Paramilitary Military terminology Private security industry