After independence, a new army was formed by integration of the former Rhodesian Security Force and the two guerrilla armies, ZANLA (the military wing of ZANU) and ZIPRA (the military wing of ZAPU). Many former ZIPRA members, however, began deserting to the insurgents' ranks in 1982 to protest government treatment of their former leader, Joshua Nkomo.
Regular armed forces numbered around 36,000 in 2002. The army had 32,000 troops including a Presidential Guard. Armaments included 40 main battle tanks. The air force had 4,000 personnel with 54 combat aircraft and 32 armed helicopters. Paramilitary forces included the Zimbabwe Republic Police Force, with 19,500 members, and the Police Support Unit with 2,300 members. Defense expenditures for 2001 were $350.6 million or 3.8% of GDP. Zimbabwe provided as many as 8,500 soldiers for the defense of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.