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Armed Forces: Officers

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officers at each rank at or above the rank of colonel there were in the British Army, including the Territorial Army and Reserve, in (a) 1990, (b) 1997, (c) 2005 and (d) the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (323708)

[holding answer 23 March 2010]: The information requested is provided in the following table:

As at April each year

General

Lieutenant General

Major General

Brigadier

Colonel

Total

Regular officers

1990

10

9

65

236

657

977

1997

16

10

43

172

478

709

2005

7

11

46

179

584

827

2009

5

17

43

190

597

852

Territorial Army (TA) officers

1997

2

70

72

2005

4

87

91

1 Includes one Field Marshal

Notes:

1. “—” denotes zero.

2. April 2009 figures for Regular Officers are provisional because of Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system data validation issues.

In addition, in April 2005 there were three full-time Reserve service colonels, and in April 2009 there were four full-time Reserve service colonels and one brigadier. The 2009 figure is also provisional.

Data on the Territorial Army are not held before January 1993. After April 2007 Territorial Army officer and soldier breakdowns are not included due to JPA data validation issues.

The changes of Army officers numbers is in line with the Army's operational commitments over this period, therefore since 1997 there has been a significant increase in the number of senior officers being deployed on operations. Modern conflict has seen UK Armed Forces deploying an increased number of senior officers in support of NATO and other coalitions far more than in the recent past; moreover, there has also been the requirement for senior officer support for host nations in a variety of advisory roles. Appropriate military representation is required at many levels to command operations, provide staff support in coalition headquarters, and effect coordination. Our operational commitments have demanded increased number of officers at the rank of colonel and above to deploy, and hence numbers have increased in these higher ranks.