Armed Forces of Liberia

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Republic of Liberia
Image:Coat of arms of Liberia.png

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The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is the military of Liberia. It includes the Liberian Army, Liberian Air Force, and Liberian Navy.

[edit] History

The military began as the Liberian Frontier Force (LFF), which was formed in 1908. It became known as the Armed Forces of Liberia and in 1984 included the Liberian National Guard Brigade and related units (6300 men), and the Liberian National Coast Guard (about 450 men). The important LNG Brigade was based at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in Monrovia, and was composed of six infantry battalions, a military engineer battalion, a field artillery battalion, and a support battalion. The AFL was essentially the personal army of President Samuel Doe, who ruled as an autocrat during his term.

Immediately before the Liberian Civil War (1989-2003), the AFL consisted of about 6000 soldiers. After the war, United Nations peacekeepers in Liberia disarmed and demobilized 103,000 people who claimed to have fought for former president Charles Taylor or the two rebel groups, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) or the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL).

In 2005, the United States provided funding for DynCorp International, a private military contractor, to train a new 4000-man Liberian Army. The new Liberian police force is due to reach its full strength of 3500 officers in 2006. Once the Liberian Army is operational, UNMIL will start winding down the strength of its 15,000 strong peacekeeping force.

The CIA World Factbook reported that Liberia had made military expenditures of $67.4 million, 7.5 percent of the GDP. The 2005 estimate for manpower available for military service (males age 18-49) was 575,384, while the estimated manpower fit for military service was 267,430.

[edit] Note on Ranks

General of the Army is the highest rank possible in the Army of Liberia and exists only on paper. In Liberia's existence, the rank has never been held by an actual person.

Due to the small size of Liberia, the rank of General of the Army would most likely only be bestowed if the country became engaged in a major war involving a massive callup and expansion of the Army. It is also possible that the rank could be taken in the event of a coup, where a future dictator could appoint themselves General of the Army.

The insignia for a Liberian General of the Army is five silver stars won in a straight row on the uniform collar. This is in contrast to other countries which use stars to denote General of the Army; for in such cases the stars are normally arranged in a pentagon formation.

[edit] References

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