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Personnel End Strength - end, FY2016-17

CivilianTOTAL ActiveGuardSelected
TOTAL 1,301,300 153,831 464,900 379,600 769,800 1,281,900 440,700 360,500 567,900 2,651,000
DOD ----- ----- ----- 195,400 195,400 ----- ----- ----- 193,800 193,800
Army 475,000 342,000 198,000 201,700 1,216,700 460,000 335,000 195,000 196,500 1,186,500
Navy 327,300 ----- 57,400 181,500 565,900 322,900 ----- 58,000 183,300 564,200
Marines 182,000 ----- 38,900 20,100 241,000 182,000 ----- 38,500 20,000 245,000
Air Force 317,000 105,500 69,200 171,000 662,700 317,000 105,700 69,000 170,800 662,500

Personnel End Strength - July 2010

TOTAL 1,421,414 77,861 464,900 379,600 752,000 3,017,414
DOD ----- ----- ----- ----- 126,000 126,000
Army 562,400 48,331 358,200 205,000 250,000 1,375,600
Navy 324,239 10,818 ----- 65,500 199,000 588,239
Marines 203,075 2,261 ----- 39,600 ----- 242,675
Air Force 331,700 16,451 106,700 69,500 177,000 684,900
* non-add
** Does not include non-drilling Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)
  • Marine Reserve Force Strength Facts
  • Law authorizes the number of military members in every Service and component - this number is known as End Strength. Recruiting involves attracting and accessing both prior Service members and those who are new to the military, referred to as non-prior service. In 2010 the Army and Marine Corps successfully achieved their "grow the force" active military goals of 547,400 and 202,100 enlisted, respectively, more than two years ahead of schedule.

    US Army End Strength

    In the 1990s the Army dropped from 780,000 to 480,000 active duty end strength. Many in Congress wanted to increase the Army's end strength by as much as 40,000 troops in order to ease the strain of deployments. But the Army's top general, Peter Schoomaker, adamantly opposed adding end strength. Army planners believe the service can gain 10,000 spaces from military to civilian conversions. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has authorized the Army to temporarily exceed end strength limits by 30,000. The Military Officers Association of America questioned the numbers, stating that the Army already is some 17,000 over end strength, which would bring the actual increase to 13,000.

    The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the fiscal year 2005 Defense Appropriations bill on June 22, 2004 which provided $605 million to support an Army end strength increase of 20,000 soldiers, leaving the overall Department of Defense end strength of 2,263,900. The provision, passed as an amendment to the fiscal 2005 defense authorization bill, would increase the Army's strength to 502,400. Voting against it were Republicans Gordon Smith of Oregon, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Larry Craig of Idaho and Craig Thomas of Wyoming. Not voting were Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Robert Bennett, R-Utah and James Inhofe, R-Okla. The House version of the bill, approved in May 2004, would have added 30,000 Soldiers and 9,000 Marines over three years. Under the the fiscal 2005 Defense Appropriations Act which President Bush signed into law 05 August 2004, Air Force Reserve Command's end-strength ceiling was raised to 76,100 reservists in the Selected Reserve in 2005.

    The Army's Average Strength during FY2004 was 210,252 higher than authorized end strength, reflecting Guard and Reserve mobilizations authorized in the supplemental. [ Operation and Maintenance Overview, page 178]

    In October 2004 the FY2005 Defense Authorization Act increased Army end strength by 20,000 and Marine Corps end strength by 3,000 for FY2005, with additional increases authorized in future years. The Army recognizes the challenges the continuing deployments have created. It is one of the driving forces behind the Army growing by close to 30,000 Soldiers over two years.

    The authorization that the Army has to raise the end strength to 512,400 through fiscal 2009 would allow the service to continue its transformation plan. That plan is to build to 43 active brigade combat teams and 44 reserve component brigade combat teams- 34 National Guard, 10 Army Reserve - and the support units needed to maintain them. The requirement is to be able to deploy and sustain 20 brigade combat teams. To do that on a sustainable model, the Army believes that it must be able to go to one deployment in a three-year term for active forces and a deployment in a five- or six-year term for your reserve forces.

    The 512,400 active duty figure was based on continued access to National Guard and Army Reserve troops. Key to that is having units trained sufficiently prior to deployment. If that's not true and the National Guard and reserves are not available under those assumptions, then the Army will have to grow the active force further.

    The increase in early 2005 in maximum recruiting age from 35 to 39 applied only to National Guard and Reserve recruits, not to active duty troops.

    The Army's recruiting goal that began in October 2004 was 80,000 by 2005 with the hopes of recruiting at least 8,000 prior-service troops. The new Defense Department program intended to rebalance the size of the military is called "Operation Blue to Green." Under this plan, the Army will reach out to Sailors and Airmen who are leaving under the force shaping initiative but who still want to serve their country.

    The "third wave" is a plan by the Department of the Army to outsource 214,000 civilian and military jobs to the private sector. For the first time, almost all non-combat positions are included in the outsourcing plans. The genesis of the third wave was a 4 Oct 2002 memo from Secretary White to the Non-Core Competencies Working Group (NCCWP).

    The Secretary of Defense proposed to increase the authorized end strength of the active duty Army to 569,400 in the fiscal year 2011 budget request.

    During the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Army had about 570,000 troops and has since dropped to about 510,000. Cuts in 2014 were aimed at producing an end strength of 490,000 troops the Armys previous target. The most recent defense budget proposal from the Pentagon, now working its way through Congress, called for an Army of some 450,000 soldiers. Should sequestration return in 2016, after two years on hold because of a bipartisan budget deal, 420,000 troops would be the target end strength.

    In 2011, the Secretary of Defense announced a series of initiatives intended to reduce costs across the Department of Defense (DOD) and the military services, including cuts of $29.5 billion from planned Army spending from fiscal year 2012 through fiscal year 2016. Additionally, in 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which, among other things, set limits for national defense spending through fiscal year 2021. In response to these spending limits the Army announced it would reduce its planned end strength from a high of about 1.11 million soldiers in fiscal year 2011 to 1.045 million soldiers by fiscal year 2016. In June 2014, DOD stated that the Army would further reduce its end strength to 980,000 soldiers by fiscal year 2018, a level at which the Army stated that it could execute the National Defense Strategy, but at significant risk.3 The Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff reiterated this point in March 2015 in congressional testimony, and stated that further reductions would make that strategy unexecutable.

    Congress established the National Commission on the Future of the Army in the Carl Levin and Howard P. Buck McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. The commission was directed to evaluate the size and force mix of the Regular Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve and make recommendations where appropriate. The Commissions final report, published in January 2016, determined that an Army with 980,000 soldiers (450,000 in the active component, 335,000 in the Army National Guard, and 195,000 in the Army Reserve), is the minimum sufficient force needed to meet the U.S.s national security objectives and the challenges of the future strategic environment.

    The United States Army has reached its lowest active-duty roster in 75 years, following the discharge of 2,600 soldiers in March 2016. The latest reports show that, as of March, there were 479,172 active-duty soldiers, 154 fewer than the post-Cold War drawdown in 1999. This means the US had the smallest force since 1940, when the number of soldiers on active duty stood at 269,023.

    US Air Force End Strength

    The Air Force exceeded the mandated active duty end strength of 359,000 during 2002 and 2003 due to the Global War on Terrorism. The Air Force planned to reduce the size of the active forces by more than 20,000 people by the end of fiscal year 2005. The Navy planned a force reduction of almost 8,000 through 2006.

    As of 2003 Air Force manning numbers were beyond the authorized end-strength of 359,300 airmen on active duty. The Force Shaping Program has scheduled active-duty numbers to drop by 3,900 officers and 12,700 enlisted airmen by 15 September 2004. Palace Chase is a program for airmen to transition off of active duty by trading their active-duty service commitments for Air Force Reserve service commitments. The Department of Defense is turning back the clock, raising Air Force Reserve Command's end-strength ceiling to the fiscal year 1996 level. The change is the result of the FY 2005 Defense Appropriations Act. President Bush signed the bill into law 05 August 2004. Under the defense bill, AFRC may have up to 76,100 reservists in the Selected Reserve in FY 2005.

    US Navy End Strength

    After years of downsizing, by March 2009 the U.S. Navy had nearly achieved its end-strength goal of 329,000 Sailors. "For the Navy, force stabilization marks a transitional period, where we are now finished downsizing," Rear Adm. Daniel P. Holloway, director of the Navy's military personnel, plans and policy division, told Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters. The Navy had been reducing its ranks by 8,000 to 10,000 servicemembers a year for the past six to seven years, Holloway said, noting his service now is close to reaching its designed end-strength goal of about 329,000 sailors.

    US Marine Corps End Strength

    In early 2007 the president approved the request for the Marine Corps to grow from its then-current end strength of 175,000 marines to 202,000. The Marine Corps announced it would "Grow the Force" to the end strength of 202,000 by 2011. Initial planning for Grow the Force began in December 2006. The Marine Corps' active duty end strength was more than 200,700 in December 2009, at which time it was expected to reach the 202K goal by October 2010. The operational tempo of the Long War had resulted in strain on Marines and on the Corps as an institution. The first task was be to build three new infantry battalions and the required supporting structure - approximately 4,000 Marines. Afterwards, the marines would then grow by approximately 5,000 marines per year. The goal was to achieve a 1:5 deployment-to-dwell ratio for reserve units, and 1:2 deployment-to-dwell ratio for active component units This would ensure that for every seven months a Marine is deployed, he or she would be home for at least 14 months. The Marine Corps grew by over 12,000 Marines in fiscal year 2008. In fiscal year 2008, the Marine Corps reenlisted 16,696 Marines including 8,423 first term Marines.

    Personnel End Strength - August 2005

    FY2005ActiveMobilized *GuardSelected
    TOTAL 1,415,600 210,252 456,800 404,100 680,466 2,923,966
    DOD ----- ----- ----- ----- 106,000 106,000
    Army 512,400 148,442 350,000 205,000 218,000 1,285,400
    Navy 365,900 6,508 ----- 83,400 193,466 642,766
    Marines 178,000 9,717 ----- 39,600 ----- 217,600
    Air Force 359,300 45,585 106,800 76,100 163,000 705,200
    * FY2004 Supplemental for Guard & Reserve called to active duty, Non-Add
    ** Does not include non-drilling Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)

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