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.
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.
The use of the term paramilitary can be debated, but the general consensus being of a combatant force or organization, more military-like than civilian. Organizations that have been described as paramilitary are as diverse as the Minutemen, Black Panthers, SS, youth groups (from scouting to the Pioneer movement), and even military-themed boarding schools.
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.
Depending on the standards used, "paramilitaries" may include: