25 Jan 2009

Recession boosts Defence Force staff numbers

8:31 am on 25 January 2009

Tough economic conditions appear to be benefitting the armed forces, as more people sign up and those already in the services stay longer.

For some years the Defence Force has suffered critical problems in both recruitment and retention of personnel.

However in the last six months recruitment has risen, attrition is down and the numbers in the Defence Force have grown.

At the end of December, the Defence Force staff numbered 14,150, an increase of 4.5% on the same period the previous year.

Of the three Services, the Army has experienced the most growth with 250 more staff, a 3.6% increase. The Air Force has 129 more people, a 4.3% increase, and the number of Navy personnel increased by 48, or 1.8%.

Senior forces personnel officer Brigadier Mark Wheeler said tougher economic times are spurring people to sign up or to remain in the Defence Force.

He said better advertising via the internet and mobile phone technology, and changes to policies on retaining personnel are also helping.