Euskadiko Indar Armatuak (EIA)
Armed Forces of Euskadi
EIA COA03.png
800px-Flag of Euskadi.png
Founded 1936
Current form 1998
Service branches Eusko Gudarostea (Army)
Eusko Itsas Gudarostea (Navy)
Eusko Aireko Indar (Air Force)
Armada Nazional (Home Guard)
Headquarters Butroko Gaztelua (Butron Castle)
Commander-in-Chief Lehendakari Arantxa Mendizabal Arrate
Defentsa-Sailburu Mikel Aguirrezabala Smith
Defetsaren Estatuburu Nagusi (Chief of Staff of the Defense) Admiral Ignacio Unanue Laburu
Military age 18-44(55) years of age for male compulsory military service (55 years of age if you are an officer); 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women
Conscription 22-month service with 12-month service obligation. Around 70% of conscripts are enrolled in the Armada Nazional, for a 22 month period (spread out over many years).
Available for
military service
3,178,181 males, age 16-55 (2010 est.),
2,996,550 females, age 16-55 (2010 est.)
Fit for
military service
1,788,219 males, age 16-55 (2010 est.),
1,563,255 females, age 16-55 (2010 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
97,980 males (2010 est.),
95,543 females (2010 est.)
Active personnel 196,000
Reserve personnel 500,000
Budget 42.940 billions
Percent of GDP 5.7 %
Related articles
History Spanish Civil WarWWII
Cold War
The Revolts of African Territories

The Euskadiko Indar Armatuak are subordinate to the Defentsa-Sailburua (Minister of Defence). The Commander-in-chief is the Lehendakari Arantxa Mendizabal Arrate.

Under the Euskadi Konstituzioa, the Defentsa-Sailburua is accountable to Eusko Legebiltzarra for all activities carried out by the agencies under his or her responsibility. This means that the Defentsa-Sailburua, as part of the executive branch of government, is responsible for supervising the activity of its subordinate agencies.

The Defentsa-Sailburua (D-S) has been since 1998 an integrated structure with civilian and military personnel. Subordinate to the D-S are the military organization as well as the three civilian agencies:


Euskadiko Indar Armatuak have four main tasks:

  1. To assert the territorial integrity of Euskadi.
  2. To defend the country if attacked by a foreign nation.
  3. To support the civil community in case of disasters (e.g. flooding).
  4. To deploy forces to international support operations.

Euskadi cooperates with a number of foreign countries in military matters as research, technology, weapons and joint exercices.

Recent political decisions have strongly emphasized the will to participate in international operations, to the point where this has become the main short-term goal of training and equipment acquisition.

Formation and structure

The EIA are a mixed group of professionals and conscripts. The chiefs and officers are generally professional while among the noncommissioned officers and men is where conscripts are of greatest percentages, especially in Armada Nazional. However, in recent years the government has made ​​great efforts toward professionalization of the armed forces and now, more than half men and women are professionals, in particular among the members of Eusko Itsas Gudarostea and Eusko Aireko Indar.

Nevertheless, the defense of the nation and independence is something deeply rooted among the Basques so serve in the armed forces or be in the reserve is usually a source of pride. Moreover, since immigration laws are now very restrictive, serve as a professional in the armed forces during a period of 6 years is merit to the automatic granting of Basque nationality. Currently, 20% of the professional troops are immigrants.

Professional soldiers are well paid, trained and enjoy social benefits at the time of return to civilian life once their commitment has finished. Promotions occur on a scale of merit including service time but not taking service time as the most important.



Officers are trained in the different Officer Academy and also at the Military University which has establishments at Bilbao and Pamplona. Soldiers are trained at the different units of the three branches.


For details regarding ranks: Military Ranks of Euskadiko Indar Armatuak.

EIA Military Organization

The Defentsaren Estatuburu Nagusi (DEN) is the professional head of the Armed Forces and is an appointment that can be held by an Admiral, Air Lieutenant General, or Army Lieutenant General. The DEN, is the principal military adviser to the Defentsa-Sailburua. The current DEN of Euskadiko Indar Armatuak is Admiral Ignacio Unanue Laburu.

Armed Forces Headquarters

The EIA HQ in Butroko Gaztelu, acts as the staff of the DEN. It is headed by a three star general (Lt. General) or admiral. EIA HQ assigns priorities, manages resources, provides force generation and support activities. .Overall, the EIA HQ have about 1500 employees, including civilian personnel. Each of the four branches of defence is headed by a three star general (Lt. General) or admiral who are subordinate to EIA HQ.

National Joint Headquarters

ANZ HQ in Deusto, close to Bilbao, has operational control of Euskadiko Indar Armatuak worldwide 24/7. It is headed by a three star general or admiral. It has 900 employees, including civilian personnel. ANZ HQ and the four Regional Headquarters are command and control centers for the four branches of the armed forces within their areas of influence.

Regional Headquarters

Subordinate to NJ HQ are:

  • Regional Headquarters Europe and Caribe (REC HQ)
  • Regional Headquarters Africa (RAF HQ)
  • Fast Reaction Force Headquarters (FR HQ)

Each Regional Headquarters consists of the Regional Headquarters of the four branches.

Special Weapons Headquarters

Euskadi Special Weapons Headquarters (EKSWHQ) is the Armed Forces headquarters in charge of the new non-human elements of the Armed Forces. Droids and Artificial Intelligence Devices.

Intendentziako Erakundea Indar Armatuak

Intendentziako Erakundea Indar Armatuak IEIA (Armed Forces Logistics Organizacion) is responsible for engineering, procurement, investment, supply, information and communications technology. It is also responsible for maintenance, repair and storage of material.

Indar Armatuak Inteligentzia Zerbitzua

The Indar Armatuak Inteligentzia Zerbitzua IAIZ (Armed Forces Intelligence Service) is an intelligence, joint security and counter-intelligence service within the Euskadiko Indar Armatuak. Its members are a mix of civilian employees and military personnel.

Military Branches

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