The White Paper on Defence of February 2000 provides for a total PDF strength of 10,500 personnel with an additional 250 recruits in training at any time. Under the terms of the Defence Forces review implementation plan of February 1996, a voluntary early retirement scheme operated in the years 1996-98. This scheme combined with natural wastage trends over the period in question has resulted in a net strength reduction of 1,084 personnel. The total strength on 30 September, 1997 was 11,547 (excluding cadets) and on 30 September, 2002 was 10,463 (excluding cadets).
The strength of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, as at 30 September, 2002, broken down by rank and gender, is as outlined in the following tables:
Strength of Females in the Defence Forces
30 September, 2002.