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. All together, there are 255 soldiers serving in Monaco's military (excluding civilian employees, who total 35), making its military the third-smallest in the world (after Antigua and Barbuda and Iceland).
The armed forces of Monaco, known collectively as La Force Publique, are under the joint command of a chief commander (Le Commandant Supérieur de la Force Publique), who holds the rank of Colonel. The current holder of the post is Colonel Tony Varo.
Under the chief commander, each of the two principal military corps is headed by a Chef de Corps, who holds the rank of Commandant (Major) or Lieutenant Colonel, according to personal seniority. The military band is commanded by a Chef de l'Orchestre, with the rank of Commandant (Major).
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. 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).
Two full-time militarised armed corps exist under the operational direction of the chief commander, and the political 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 part of both military and civil defence plans, and are key to the "ORMOS Red Plan" which makes provision for the evacuation of Monaco in case of natural disaster, or civil emergency.
Describing itself as a military force, the Corps consists of 10 officers, 26 non-commissioned officers and 99 other ranks (with 25 civilian employees), providing fire, hazardous materials, rescue, and emergency medical services. 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 trained to handle chemical incidents, and have specialist chemical incident vehicles and equipment. They are also equipped with ambulances and personnel have paramedic training.
Literally translated "Company of Carabiniers of the Prince", the English-language version of the official Government website translates the name as "The Palace Guards". The force was established in 1817 by Prince Honoré, administrator on behalf of his father, Prince Honoré IV. Originally an infantry unit, in 1904 they replaced the previous (now disbanded) "Guard Company" as the official Palace Guard of the royal family.
The Company is of a similar size to the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers. At the summer of 2020 the Government reported the total strength of the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince as 124, consisting of 3 officers, 24 non-commissioned officers, and 97 enlisted men (with another 14 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; and a military first-aid unit that provides first aid and ambulance cover at public and sporting events.
The ceremonial "changing of the guard" at 11:55 am each day attracts large numbers of tourists. The ceremony is more than just a tourist spectacle, as this small military force is the front line of defence of the Monegasque princely family.
Despite its title of "military orchestra", this section, which is attached to the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince, provides a full range of military music, including an orchestra, a ceremonial marching band, and state trumpeters, under the command of a Chef de l'Orchestre, with the rank of Commandant (Major). The band was established in 1978 and consists of 24 soldiers.
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:
| Army of Monaco
|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.
|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|
| Army of Monaco
|Colonel||Lieutenant Colonel||Commandant||Capitaine||Lieutenant||Sous Lieutenant||Assistant|
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.
Ministers of the Department of the Interior (conseiller de gouvernement pour l’Intérieur):
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