British military ranks decline for 9th straight year, stats show

The size of Britain’s armed forces declined in 2019, for the ninth year in a row, new government figures show.

The decline comes in a year the British military initiated a new promotional campaign to recruit service members.

The British defense ministry refers to the number of military personnel as “strength” in its quarterly personnel statistics, posted Thursday. Other influential factors include “intake,” or new military members, and “outflow” for those leaving.

The decline affects all three branches of the British military, including the Royal Navy, Marines and Air Force. The Army showed the greatest decline — more than 7,000 troops short of the government’s target goal of 82,000. The RAF was 2,000 short of the target and the Navy and Marines 1,500.

The report marks the ninth straight year of decline among Britain’s armed forces.

Growth of new members, however, showed a 13 percent increase over last year — and Army applicants have climbed to a five-year high.

To help achieve the 82,00-member goal, the British military launched a recruiting campaign this year that included new television and poster advertisements.

BySommer Brokaw