FAT lost its status as the legal state army when Malloum's civil and military administration disintegrated in 1979.
Although it remained a distinct military body for several years, FAT was eventually reduced to the status of a regional army representing the south. After Habré consolidated his authority and assumed the presidency in 1982, his victorious army, the Armed Forces of the North (Forces Armées du Nord—FAN), became the nucleus of a new national army.
The force was officially constituted in January 1983, when the various pro-Habré contingents were merged and renamed the Chadian National Armed Forces (Forces Armées Nationales Tchadiennes—FANT). The Military of Chad was dominated by members of Toubou, Zaghawa, Kanembou, Hadjerai, and Massa ethnic groups during the presidency of Hissène Habré.
Later Chadian president Idriss Déby revolted and fled to the Sudan, taking with him many Zaghawa and Hadjerai soldiers in 1989. Chad's armed forces numbered about 36,000 at the end of the Habré regime, but swelled to an estimated 50,000 in the early days of Déby's rule.
With French support, a reorganization of the armed forces was initiated early in 1991 with the goal of reducing its numbers and making its ethnic composition reflective of the country as a whole.
Neither of these goals was achieved, and the military is still dominated by the Zaghawa. In 2004, the government discovered that many of the soldiers it was paying did not exist and that there were only about 19,000 soldiers in the army, as opposed to the 24,000 that had been previously believed.
Government crackdowns against the practice are thought to have been a factor in a failed military mutiny in May 2004. The current conflict, in which the Chadian military is involved, is the civil war against Sudanese-backed rebels.
In November 2006 Libya supplied Chad with four Aermacchi SF.260W light attack planes.
The Chad National Army (الجيش الوطني التشادي Al-Jaish al-Watani at-Tshadi, Armée nationale tchadienne) consists of the five Defence and Security Forces listed in Article 185 of the Chadian Constitution that came into effect on 4 May 2018.
The battle impacted the highest levels of the army leadership, as Daoud Soumain, its Chief of Staff, was killed. On March 23, 2020 a Chadian army base was ambushed by fighters of the jihadist insurgent group Boko Haram.
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