The British armed forces now have a retention crisis rather than a recruitment crisis, new figures suggest, as modern soldiers are no longer willing to move around the world.

Government data released on Thursday revealed that the strength of the British military fell for the ninth year in a row. The figures also showed that recruitment is increasing but the Army, with 74,400 regular fully-trained troops, is over 7,000 short of the target figure of 82,000, a deficit of over nine per cent.

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines with 29,090 “full-time trained strength” are under the requirement of 30,600, and the RAF, with 29,930 personnel, is six per cent under the MoD’s target of 31,840.

A survey of those leaving the armed forces reveals that the recruitment crisis is largely down to personnel being unwilling to uproot their families to move posting. Most service leavers – 61 per cent – went for voluntary reasons, with just over a quarter reaching the end of their engagements and around 14 per cent leaving for medical or compassionate reasons, being discharged for poor conduct or dying whilst in service.

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(The Telegraph, August 2019)