UK Armed Forces - Monthly Personnel Report
Edition - 1 January 2013
Released on - 14 Feb 2013

Key Points

  • The full time trained strength of the UK Armed Forces was 162,250 at 1 January 2013. This was a 2.2% deficit against the requirement of 165,920.
  • Intake into the UK Regular Forces was 14,470 in the 12 months to 31 December 2012; a decrease of 2.2% compared with the 12 months to 31 March 2012.
  • Outflow from the UK Regular Forces was 25,140 in the 12 months to 31 December 2012; an increase of 17.6% compared with the 12 months to 31 March 2012.
  • In the 12 months to 31 December 2012; 5,020 personnel had left the UK Regular Armed Forces under the Armed Forces Redundancy Programme.

The numbers of recruits vis-ã-vis leavers is quite dramatic, further compounded by those leaving under the Redundancy Programme.

One of the most noticeable drops in numbers [that's recruits and those staying in the service for a career] is in the female branch. According to RN statistics, there are 3,150 women serving in the Navy out of a total 31,810 personnel. They make up approximately nine per cent of the organisation. However, fewer women are joining and those that do stay in Service, stay for a shorter period than do men. As a marker, the RN go on to say that in 1987 [before the WRNS was integrated], 21 per cent of the total number of people joining up to the Navy were female. Now, the inflow of women into the organisation is not even at 10 per cent.  The marker is that women clearly are not as keen to go to sea today as they were in 1990 and life is much more difficult in a sea-going navy that sitting around in cosy comfortable shore stations.  That, as the navy reduces in size with its commitments [joint or RN] on the increase, will make matters worse for manning levels. Moving on and using that 'marker'.  It is well known that the manning of our submarines is a difficult act to manage. Even with quite sizeable financial incentives, it is difficult to keep trained personnel in the Service, and whether the MOD[N] deny it or not, female sailors in boats are there simply to fill the shortfall and keep the boats at sea whether they be 'bombers' SSBN's' or hunter-killers 'SSN's'.  The females earmarked to help crew our modern submarines will soon become as disillusioned as their male counterparts are already, and they too in turn will want out.  The life at sea in a submarine is not gender related, but human related and what the men will no longer tolerate [the adverse restrictions to their private lives made the more difficult to bear by family pressure] women also will not tolerate despite the romantic idea of being a submariner! Currently, I know of several instances [historic and current] when because of crew shortfalls, a man coming in off a patrol can so easily be detailed to join another boat starting a patrol.  Family wise, although "a bastard" and not easy to cope with, doing this to men is part acceptable because the family is usually led by the long suffering wife anyway,  and children just end up missing daddy. I am sure that all my readers are aware of the "Nannie" service provided by MOD[N] ? If a female sailor with children is drafted to sea and there is no one available to look after the children, civilian nannies [carers] are appointed full time to take over from the sea-going mum. I have to assume that this service will NOT be available to female submariners whether drafted to sea in her roster turn, or pier-head jumped to another boat because of crew shortages! This will be a testing time for all female sailors{let alone for the MOD[N]}, officers not excused. Another interesting statistic issued by the RN is that currently [January 2013] there are 890 commanders in the navy, out of which and despite it now being over 20 years since women were integrated into the RN, there are only 45 women holding that rank#. It goes without saying that in a reducing navy requiring fewer personnel*, the vast majority of whom [men] will dedicate themselves to full naval careers and fight their corner tooth-and-nail to sustain it, some women, who might hold their own with some men but rarely surpass them, will have to work so much harder just to keep abreast, and even at the end of the day, can their commitment to Service life be relied upon, which statistically must be doubted ? 

# Statistically, if women make up 9% of the RN, then 9% of 890 commanders is 88 and they have virtually half of what they might expect.

* Fewer personnel - of interest, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is three time larger that say HMS Illustrious, will have the same sized crew as the Illustrious !

Marriage in the Navy ties in well with some of my script above. These are the statistic issued by the MOD to the National Stats Office for 2006/07, the last time they were issued. They are also used by the NAO - National Audit Office. For the elderly amongst you, remember that before 1990, if a servicewomen became pregnant, she had to leave the Service [the WRNS]. After that, namely post amalgamation, they didn't [whether married or not]. Whilst many women left the Service to marry, many got married and stayed in the Service.

As at 1 October 2006:

 64.8% of Male Naval Service Officers were married compared with 35.0% of Female Officers.

39.7% of Male Naval Service Other Ranks were married compared with 19.8% of Female Other Ranks.

The percentage of personnel who are married increases as rank increases within both Officers and Other Ranks.

At all Officer ranks above Lieutenant, over 80% of Male personnel are married. For all Other Ranks above Leading Hand over 60% of Male personnel are married.

Male Officers aged 45 and over had the highest married rate of 89.8%, whilst Male Officers aged 24 and under had the lowest married rate of 1.7%.

The percentage of personnel who are married increases with age for Male Officers and Other Ranks, but for Females percentage married falls for those aged 45 and over.