Andorra Army & Military

Does Andorra have a military? In terms of defense, Andorra has no army nor armed forces. Andorran military defense is based on signed treaties with Spain and France (such as the 1993 Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship, and Cooperation). There is only a small volunteer army, whose role is purely ceremonial.

However, the Andorran government does not have to worry about entering a war. More than half of Andorran citizens (57.5%) would be willing to fight in armed conflict for the country, according to the latest results of the National World Survey of Values in Andorra, carried out by the Center for Sociological Research (CRES) and the Julià Reig Foundation.

These percentages are higher in comparison with the last national survey of values, which was carried out in 2006: 40.9% of the total population responded affirmatively to fight in a hypothetical war, according to the comparison carried out by CRES.

Taking into account Andorra’s census, the percentage of citizens willing to fight in a war in this latest survey would total over 44,000 troops. This figure is close to a third of the number of troops of, for example, Spain, a country vastly superior to the Principality.


Military History of Andorra

In the past Andorra had a small army, which historically has been raised or reconstituted at various dates, but never in modern times. The basic principle of Andorran defense is that all able-bodied men are available to fight if called upon by “Sometent”. Being a landlocked country, Andorra has no navy.

Before World War I, Andorra maintained an armed force of about 600 part-time militiamen under the supervision of a Captain (Capità or Cap de Sometent) and a Lieutenant (Desener or Lloctinent del Capità). The militia was not responsible for service outside the principality and was commanded by two officials appointed by France and the Bishop of Urgell.

Despite not being involved in World War I, Andorra was technically the longest combatant, as the country was left out of the Versailles Peace Conference, technically remaining at war with Germany from the original declaration of war in 1914 until September 24, 1958, when Andorra officially declared peace with Germany.

In the modern era, the army of volunteers performs ceremonial duties. Uniforms and weapons were passed down from generation to generation within families and communities.

Andorran Police Corps

The role of the army in internal security was largely taken over by the formation of the Andorran Police Corps in 1931. The brief civil disorder associated with the 1933 elections led to the assistance of the French National Gendarmerie, with a detachment resident in Andorra for two months under the command of René-Jules Baulard. The Andorran police were reformed the following year, with eleven soldiers appointed to supervisory duties. The force consisted of six Corporals, one for each parish (although there are now seven parishes in Andorra, there were only six until 1978), plus four junior staff officers to coordinate action, and a commander with the rank of major. It was the responsibility of the six corporals, each in his own parish, to raise a fighting force from among the able-bodied men of the parish.

Today, a small ceremonial unit of twelve men remains the only permanent section of the Sometent, but all able-bodied men remain technically available for military service, with the requirement that each household has access to a firearm. One shotgun per household is allowed. Rifles and handguns require a license. The army has not fought for more than 700 years, and its primary responsibility is to present the flag of Andorra at official ceremonial functions. According to Marc Forné Molné, Andorra’s military budget comes strictly from voluntary donations and the availability of full-time volunteers.

Citizen security in Andorra

In terms of citizen security, Andorra is a country with a high level of security and a low crime rate. The paramilitary GIPA (Andorran Police Intervention Group, trained in counter-terrorism and hostage-taking) is part of the national police. Spain and France provide defense assistance under an informal agreement between the three countries.