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Bloated Military? Officer-to-enlisted ratio is ‘out of wack’ Rep. Jordan says

A photo of military boots during the deployment ceremony for the Alabama Army National Guard 128th Military Police Company leaving for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Bob Gathany/HVT/TNS)
February 10, 2023

Some Republican leaders are looking for cuts to the nation’s military budget by addressing the “top heavy” shift that has led to a growing number of admirals and generals in comparison to enlisted personnel.

The percentage of top military leaders to active duty officers is near its highest level in modern military history, according to Congressional Research Service data.

“Frankly, maybe if we would focus our military spending on the soldiers and not having so many generals — the ratio of general officers to enlisted individuals now is so out of whack from where it used to be in our military,” Rep. Jim Jordan, (R-OH), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a recent interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Maybe if we focused on that — helping the troops who do so much of the work out there for our great country and maybe focus on getting rid of all the woke policies in our military — we’d have the money we need to make sure our troops get the pay raise they deserve, we have the weapons systems and the training that needs to be done, so we’re ready to deal with our adversaries around the planet,” he added. “That’s what we want to focus on.”

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In 1965, the military had 1,284 generals and flag officers in a total force of nearly 2.7 million, according to Congressional Research Service data cited by The Washington Times. Those generals and officers accounted for 0.048% of the total force, less than one-half of 1%.

In 2018, there were 921 generals and flag officers among the total military force of 1.3 million, or about 0.07%. While the number is still low, it represents nearly double the number of military leaders versus active duty personnel than over 50 years ago during the Vietnam War.

The most recently passed U.S. military budget approved in December included an 8 percent increase totaling $858 billion. The total included a 4.6% annual pay increase for troops and adjustments for growing inflation.

In addition to the nation’s massive budget for the U.S. military, billions of dollars in additional spending have been granted over the past year for Ukraine and Taiwan. Approximately $24.9 billion has been given to Ukraine alone since the start of Russia’s invasion a year ago.

Taiwan was granted $10 billion under the “Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act” included in the most recent defense spending bill for military assistance.