Military of Monaco

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A member of the armed forces of Monaco on guard duty at the Prince's Palace.

The Principality of Monaco, the world's second-smallest sovereign state, after the Vatican City State, has a very limited military capability, and depends almost entirely upon its larger neighbour, France, for defence.[1][2] Altogether, there are two hundred and fifty-five soldiers serving in Monaco's military (excluding civilian employees, who total thirty-five), making its military the third-smallest in the world (after Antigua and Barbuda and Iceland).[3][4]

Department of the Interior[edit]

The Minister of the Department of the Interior is appointed by the Prince of Monaco for one five-year term, and is mainly responsible for both policing and military activity within Monaco.[5]

Ministers of the Department of the Interior (conseiller de gouvernement pour l’Intérieur):

Border patrol and patrol boats[edit]

Some military roles are assigned to the civil police, such as border patrol and border defence, which are the responsibility of a special police unit officially named the "Maritime and Heliport Police Division," and which operates on land and sea using patrol boats and high-speed surveillance boats.[6] Patrol boats, which currently[when?] number four (see below), are also operated by both the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers (fire-fighters) and the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (Prince’s bodyguards).

Military and civil defence[edit]

Two full-time militarised armed forces exist under the control of the Department of the Interior. One is the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Monaco, and the other is the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince. Both units are key to the "ORMOS Red Plan" which makes provision for the evacuation of Monaco in case of natural disaster, or civil emergency.

Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers[edit]

Fire appliance of the Monégasque firefighters

Describing itself as a military force,[7] the Corps consists of ten officers, twenty-six non-commissioned officers and ninety-nine other ranks, for a total force of three hundred and five military personnel (with another twenty-five civilian employees) providing fire, hazardous materials, rescue, and emergency medical services.[8] The officers' ranks (in descending order of seniority) are: Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commandant, Captain, Lieutenant, and Sub-Lieutenant. There are a further nine ranks of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel. Officers generally have served in the French military's fire service. Based at two barracks (one in La Condamine and one in Fontvieille), the Corps is equipped with fire engines, rescue vehicles and a range of specialist vehicles, including a fire boat and sealed tracked vehicles for entering Monaco's railway tunnels during an emergency.

Beyond fire-fighting duties, the Corps has an extensive civil defence brief. Its personnel are trained in the use of firearms, and the Corps has a central armoury; personnel are also trained to handle chemical incidents, and have specialist chemical incident vehicles and equipment. They are also equipped with ambulances and personnel have paramedic training.

An enlisted soldier (left) and a commissioned officer (right) of the Prince's Carabiniers.

Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince[edit]

Of a similar size to the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers, the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince has a total force of one hundred and sixteen, consisting of three officers, fifteen non-commissioned officers and nineteen enlisted men (with another fourteen civilian employees). Each officer has trained and served with the French military. Its primary duty is the defence of the Prince and the Prince's Palace in the Monaco-Ville (old town) quartier of Monaco. By extension, it also has a role in guarding members of the judiciary, who administer justice in the name of the Prince.

There are a number of specialist units within the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince, which include a motorcycle section (for rapid-response and motorcycle outriding); a bodyguard and protection unit; a diving unit with military, rescue and scientific capabilities; a military first-aid unit that provides first aid and ambulance cover at public and sporting events; and a military band, which includes state trumpeters, a brass ensemble and a small orchestra, as well as serving as a marching band for ceremonial purposes.[9]

The ceremonial "changing of the guard" at 11:55 a.m. each day attracts large numbers of tourists. The ceremony is more than just tourist spectacle, as this small military force is the front line of defence of the Monegasque princely family.

Rank and insignia[edit]

A Monegasque soldier posing with two Dutch Olympic swimmers (Nel van Vliet and Hannie Termeulen) at the 1947 European Aquatics Championships

The rank structure of the armed forces of Monaco is based largely upon the rank structure of the French army.

Enlisted soldiers and non-commissioned officers rise through a series of eight ranks:

NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Monaco Monaco
Monaco-army-OR-9.svg Monaco-army-OR-8.svg Monaco-army-OR-7.svg Monaco-army-OR-6.svg Monaco-army-OR-5.svg No equivalent Monaco-army-OR-4.svg None.svg Monaco-army-OR-1.svg
Adjudant-Chef Adjudant Maréchal des Logis Major Maréchal des Logis Chef Maréchal des Logis Brigadier Carabinier de Première Classe Carabinier de Deuxième Classe

Commissioned officers rise through a series of six ranks (in English translation): Sub-Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Captain, Commandant, Lieutenant-Colonel, Colonel. As can be seen, in the French/Monegasque system the title 'Commandant' replaces the title 'Major' as used in the British/Commonwealth/American system.

NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
Monaco Monaco
No equivalent
Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Sub-Lieutenant Monaco-army-OF-(D).svg
Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Capitaine Lieutenant Sous Lieutenant Assistant


  1. ^ Matt Rosenberg. "17 Small Countries of Less Than 200 Square Miles". About. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Military in Monaco, Monaco Defense – Allo' Expat Monaco". Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ Les moyens.
  4. ^ Carabiniers du Prince (Compagnie des).
  5. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  6. ^ See Public Safety Pages Archived 14 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine of the Monaco Government's official website.
  7. ^ See the official website of the Corps des Sapeaurs-Pompiers Archived 6 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine title pages.
  8. ^ See these pages Archived 25 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine for personnel strength and rank structure.
  9. ^ A list of specialist units may be found on the official website of the Government Archived 24 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine in the Dept of the Interior section.

External links[edit]