The total number of military personnel is almost 3.5 million strong, including DoD Active Duty military personnel (1,304,418); DHS’s Active Duty Coast Guard members (41,132); DoD Ready Reserve and DHS Coast Guard Reserve members (1,039,398); members of the Retired Reserve (208,032) and Standby Reserve (11,391); and DoD Appropriated and Non-Appropriated Funds civilian personnel (883,398). DoD’s Active Duty and DHS’s Coast Guard Active Duty members comprise the largest portion of the military force (38.6%), followed by Ready Reserve members (29.8%) and DoD civilian personnel (25.3%).
Active Duty Member Highlights
- Service Branches. The Army has the largest number of Active Duty members (471,990) followed by the Navy (325,395), the Air Force (321,618), and the Marine Corps (185,415). At a total of 1,304,418 DoD Active Duty members, the military force of 2018 is 4.8 percent smaller than it was in 2000, when there were 1,370,678 Active Duty members. From 2000 to 2018, the Army (-1.5%), Air Force (-8.5%), and Navy (-11.4%) all experienced a decrease in the number of members while the Marine Corps experienced an increase (+7.2%).
- Ratio of Ranks. The DoD Active Duty force is composed of 82.3 percent enlisted personnel (1,073,394) and 17.7 percent officers (231,024). Overall, the Active Duty force has 4.6 enlisted personnel for every one officer. In comparison, the Army and the Air Force have one officer for every 4.1 enlisted personnel, the Navy has one officer for every 4.9 enlisted personnel, and the Marine Corps has one officer for every 7.7 enlisted personnel.
- Gender. Women, who number 215,834, comprise 16.5 percent of the DoD Active Duty force, while 1,088,584 men comprise 83.5 percent of the DoD Active Duty force. Compared to 2000, the percentage of both Active Duty enlisted members and officers who are women has increased (from 14.7% and 14.4%, respectively, in 2000 to 16.2% and 18.0%, respectively, in 2018). Overall, the number and ratio of female enlisted members (174,331) to female officers (41,503) is 4.2 female enlisted members for every one female officer, while the number and ratio of male enlisted members (899,063) to male officers (189,521) is 4.7 male enlisted members for every one male officer.
- Race/Ethnicity. Nearly one-third (31.0%) or 404,851 of Active Duty members identify themselves as a racial minority (i.e., Black or African American, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Multi-racial, or Other/Unknown). As compared to 2010, the percentage of Active Duty members who identify themselves as a racial minority is higher in 2018 (31.4% of enlisted members and 22.7% of officers in 2010, to 32.7% of enlisted members and 23.5% of officers in 2018). The overall ratio of racial minority enlisted personnel (350,495) to racial minority officers (54,356) is 6.4 racial minority enlisted personnel for every one racial minority officer. To conform to the latest Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directives, Hispanic is not considered a minority race designation and only Active Duty members’ race was used to determine racial minority status. Regarding ethnicity, 16.1 percent of Active Duty members identify themselves as being of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.
- Geographic Location. While the Active Duty population is located throughout the world, the three primary areas in which Active Duty members are assigned are the United States and its territories (87.3%), East Asia (6.4%), and Europe (5.0%). The ten states with the highest Active Duty military populations are California (153,505), Virginia (122,314), Texas (117,844), North Carolina (99,193), Georgia (65,371), Florida (60,251), Washington (58,115), Hawaii (41,803), South Carolina (39,237), and Colorado (35,012). Active Duty members in these ten states comprise 70.0 percent of the Active Duty personnel stationed in the United States.
- Age. Over half (52.3%) of Active Duty enlisted personnel are 25 years of age or younger, with the next largest age group being 26 to 30 years (20.7%), followed by 31 to 35 years (13.5%), 36 to 40 years (8.9%), and those 41 years or older (4.6%). Almost one-quarter (23.7%) of Active Duty officers are 41 years of age or older, with the next largest age group being 26 to 30 years (22.9%), followed by 31 to 35 years (21.1%), 36 to 40 years (17.7%), and those 25 years or younger (14.5%). Overall, the average age of the Active Duty force is 28.2 years. The average age for Active Duty enlisted personnel is 26.9 years, and the average age for Active Duty officers is 34.4 years.
- Education Level. Most enlisted members (80.5%) have a high school diploma and/or some college experience, while fewer have an Associate’s degree (10.5%) or a Bachelor’s degree or higher (8.4%). Most officers have a Bachelor’s degree or higher (84.8%). Compared to 2010, the percentage of total Active Duty members who have a Bachelor’s and/or an advanced degree increased for enlisted personnel (from 4.8% in 2010 to 8.4% in 2018) and officers (from 82.7% in 2010, to 84.8% in 2018).
- Marital Status. Just over half (51.5%) of Active Duty military members are married, which is lower than the percentage that were married in 2000 (53.1%). In 2018, almost half (48.0%) of enlisted members and a majority (67.5%) of officers report themselves as married. Over half (52.8%) of Active Duty males and nearly half (44.8%) of Active Duty females are married. In addition, 6.7 percent of DoD’s Active Duty members are in dual-military marriages.2 In 2018, 3.4 percent of enlisted personnel and 1.5 percent of officers are estimated to have divorced.