Ecuador - Country Commercial Guide
Defense & Security
Last published date:


The defense and security sectors in Ecuador offer opportunities for U.S. companies in both public and private procurement, though the Ecuadorian government’s fiscal challenges limit opportunities for official procurements.  Transnational criminal organizations, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and extorsion contributed to 2023 being the most violent year in Ecuador’s history.  Criminal organizations frequently threatened and attacked government officials, police officers, journalists, and others over the past year.  Homicide rates have doubled since 2021 and more than quadrupled since 2015.  While the Ecuadorian government prioritizes fighting drug trafficking and bolstering citizen security, public resources are limited, and authorities struggle to find money to procure vital security resources. 

The security and defense purchases for the Ecuadorian Armed Forces are made through tenders distributed to the companies registered on the database of the Ministry of Defense.  In 2023, Ecuador’s defense and security budget was $3.6 billion and included the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Armed Forces, and National Police.  However, most of this budget was reserved for paying salaries, pensions, and other fixed costs, with a much smaller amount available for investing in new equipment.  Other entities in this sector include the national prison system (SNAI), local municipalities, provincial security institutions like the Corporation for Citizen Security of Guayaquil (CSCG), and private security companies.

While the government procured some security-related items in 2023, far greater investments are needed to adequately address Ecuador’s security crisis, including through the purchase of weapons, ammunition, vehicles, information technology, and communications equipment.  Government efforts are further constrained by the bureaucratic limitations and processes of the National Public Procurement Service (SERCOP).  Ecuador has only one domestic state-owned industry that produces small arms and ammunition.

The U.S. government provides a limited amount of support to Ecuador’s security forces to counter drug trafficking and other transnational crimes with equipment donations and training including from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). 

Sub-Sectors and Opportunities

Police, military, and security-related companies want to upgrade their equipment to protect against and fight organized crime, but government funding will likely continue to be limited in 2024.  Ecuador’s security needs include:

  • Border patrol surveillance
  • Handguns, rifles, snipers, and ammunition
  • Armored vehicles
  • Bailey bridges
  • Mobile command centers
  • Riverine and maritime watercrafts
  • Tactical and survival equipment and vehicles to better control national territory and sensitive border areas
  • Communication systems
  • Combat material and equipment for special forces, anti-explosive groups, and information and communication technologies to integrate intelligence information systems
  • Maintenance of naval assets, navigation systems, field equipment, amphibious vehicles, and maintenance of docks and facilities.
  • Technological services, integrated communications, cyber defense capabilities, cybersecurity material, and data centers
  • High tech medical equipment and devices