What is military personnel?

Military personnel is defined as the total of all active and inactive members of the armed forces and paramilitary units of a state. The regular armed forces generally consist of three branches: the army, the air force and the navy. Paramilitary units are those that are not formally considered part of the armed forces, but whose equipment/weapons and /or tasks are of a military character (e.g. the Gendarmerie in France that is equipped with military weapons or the German Bundespolizei — Federal Police—that protects Germany’s borders). They often have their own goals and work relatively autonomously when implementing them. Here, only those paramilitary units are taken into account that are directly subordinate to the state or that belong to the state.

All military professionals or those that have volunteered for a minimum service, conscripts and reservists that have been drafted for a longer period of time serving in regular or paramilitary units are defined as active military personnel. On average, in 2008 the ratio between civilians and soldiers was 247 civilians to one ‘active’ soldier; this ratio may vary considerably from region to region.

Inactive military personnel are reservists who go about their civilian jobs, but who can be activated when needed and integrated in the armed forces or paramilitary units.

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