All branches of the UK Armed Forces are on average 6% below the target strength set out in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
A House of Commons library research briefing published today, titled ‘UK Defence Personnel Statistics‘, provides details on how UK military service personnel statistics are measured and discusses current and historic strength levels.
“As at 1 January 2021 all branches of the UK Armed Forces were below the 2015 SDSR target for 2020. The full-time trained strength of the UK Armed Forces was 135,444 which is a shortfall of 8,756 (6%). The Army had the largest proportional shortfall (7%) and the Royal Navy/Royal Marines the smallest (4%).
On the 1 January 2021 the required size of trained UK armed forces personnel (those who have completed both phase 1 and 2 of training) was 144,676. The actual size however, as noted above, was 135,444 – a shortfall of 6.4%.”
The House of Commons briefing paper also, interestingly, states:
“Based on media reports, it is expected that the MoD’s Integrated Review (to be published on 16 March) will suggest a reduction of 12,500 personnel from the Army to size of around 70,000. There is speculation that instead of a redundancy programme (as in the early 2010s), there will be fewer people recruited to replace natural wastage of those leaving the Army each year.”
Phase 1 and 2 of training?
The document explains that ‘trained strength’ comprises military personnel who have completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 training:
- Phase 1 includes all new entry training to provide basic military skills.
- Phase 2 includes initial individual specialisation, sub-specialisation and technical training following Phase 1 prior to joining the (trade) trained strength.