The Armed Forces Lose NCOs Whilst Officers and Troops Increase

The Armed Forces have fewer and fewer NCOs. The total number of members of that scale, between the jobs of sergeant and non-commissioned officer, is decreasing with each passing year, in a trend that has been maintained for some time.

Every year in January the Ministry of Defence approves a resolution detailing the number of troops in the Armed Forces at that time. The numbers in this resolution include both active and reserve personnel.

At the end of 2021, the total number of members of the Armed Forces amounted to 131,762 military personnel (active and in reserve), of which there were 26,804 officers, 26,721 non-commissioned officers and 78,237 troops and sailors.

With respect to the previous year, the total number of troops in the Armed Forces is practically the same: 131,762 in the resolution of January 2022 (corresponding to the end of 2021), compared to 131,458 in the resolution that was published in January 2021 (for therefore, balance of the end of the year of 2020).

It is striking that in two scales the numbers have increased, while in one they have decreased.

There are a few more officers, 26,804 up from 26,733 a year ago, and more soldiers, 77,546 at the end of 2020 and early 2021, up to 78,237 in the passage from 2021 to 2022.

However, the Armed Forces begin 2022 with fewer NCOs: it has 26,721, compared to 27,179 a year earlier.

The increase in members of the Officers Scale and the Troop and Sailor Scale, and the decrease in non-commissioned officers, is not an isolated data when comparing the figures from the beginning of 2022 with those from the beginning of 2021, but rather it is a consolidated trend.

Taking 2012 as a further reference, for example, since then the number of officers of the Armed Forces has been growing, little by little, but almost every year: from 25,814 it was increasing, with falls in some years, but the balance current is 26,804.

In Troops and Marines, since 2012 (81,487) a negative trend began to reach 74,444 soldiers at the beginning of 2019. Since then it has been climbing year by year: 75,109 in 2020, 77,546 in 2021, and 78,237 this month of January 2022.

On the NCO Scale, the figures ranged from year to year above or below 29,000 military personnel. The maximum peak in recent years was reached in January 2016, with 29,251.

Since then, each year this scale loses numbers by hundreds: 28,737 (2017), 28,684 (2018), 28,319 (2019), 27,725 (2020), 27,179 (2021), up to the current 26,721.

They are 2,530 less than six years ago, at the beginning of 2016, or 2,016 less than in 2017, when the total number of military personnel of all scales was practically the same as now.