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Chapter 4:


The commissioned officer corps (with civilian oversight) is the senior leadership and management of the Armed Forces. This chapter presents a view of the demographic and social characteristics of both Active Component officer accessions and the commissioned officer corps in FY 2000.[footnote 1] Also highlighted are longitudinal changes among officers. Figure 4.1 illustrates the trend in Active Component officer strength by Service since 1973. Supporting data are provided in Appendix Table D-25.

Appendix Table D-25 (Officer Strength by Fiscal Year)
Figure 4.1.
Active Component officer end-strength, by Service, FYs 1973–2000.

These data depict two drawdowns and one buildup in the Active Component officer corps. These changes in military strength can be attributed, at least partially, to changes in the world situation. The first decline, during the 1973 to 1979 period, occurred during the demobilization following the end of the Vietnam Conflict; the defense buildup of the 1980s was generated by the escalation of the Cold War; and the current drawdown is the result of the fall of communism and the end of the Cold War. At somewhat less than 202,000, the FY 2000 Active Component officer end-strength is a little over 1 percent smaller than in FY 1999 and less than 70 percent the size of the FY 1986 officers corps, which was the peak of the buildup. The FY 2000 officer end-strength represents the smallest officer corps since the advent of the All Volunteer Force 28 years ago.

The overall number of individuals commissioned by the Services increased approximately 7 percent in FY 2000 to more than 17,500 (Figure 4.2). FY 2000 is the second consecutive year the officer accessions have increased, and represents the highest level of accessions since FY 1990. Officer accessions increased for all Services, with the highest increase for the Army, at nearly 10 percent. The Navy and Air Force also had moderate increases of 6 and 7 percent, respectively. The Marine Corps officer accession cohort grew modestly, and was less than 2 percent greater than it was in FY 1999.

Appendix Table D-21 (Officer Accessions by Fiscal Year)
Figure 4.2.
Active Component officer accessions, by Service, FYs 1973–2000.


[footnote 1] Data are for commissioned officers; warrant officers are excluded. A brief sketch of warrant officers is presented at the end of this chapter.[back to paragraph]

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