Paramilitary

An Oregon Sheriff's Department SWAT team in full tactical gear.

A paramilitary is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not included as part of a state's formal armed forces.[1]

Legality

Under the law of war, a state may incorporate a paramilitary organization or armed agency (such as a national police, a private volunteer militia) into its combatant armed forces. The other parties to a conflict have to be notified thereof.[2]

Though a paramilitary is not a military force, it is usually equivalent to a military's light infantry force in terms of intensity, firepower, and organizational structure. A paramilitary may also commonly fall under the command of a military, even despite not being part of the military or play an assisting role for the military in times of war.