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Q38.

Is the number of civilian and military personnel accurately known and publicly available?

38a. Accuracy

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38b. Transparency

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38c. Ghost soldiers

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The Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoF) publishes the total number of Ministry of Defence (MoD) and armed forces personnel when the annual budget is approved [1]. The aggregated total number is updated every year by the MoF when the annual budget is adopted [2].
The number of MoD personnel in 2015 – 9,001 employees, in 2016 – 8,854 employees, in 2017 – 8,860 employees, in 2018 – 8,973 employees. The increase in 2018 stems from the Directorate of Civil Emergencies, formerly in the Ministry of Interior, it was added to the MoD [3]. The overall number of MoD personnel is updated every year and is accurate.

Other than the figures provided by the MoF, the disaggregated number of civilian and military personnel are not made public by the MoD [1]. Although the data is published by the MoF, the MoD itself shows a low level of transparency regarding personnel data.

The number of armed forces personnel has been reduced from about 31,000 in the mid-2000s to less than 9,000 current personnel members [1], the reduction has made it impossible to keep redundant people on the military payroll [2], although discrepancies often appear between people on the payroll and active-duty members [3].

No information on the number of civilian or military personnel could be found on the website of the Ministry of Defence (1). Within the framework of the national service, the government undertakes a census. National service is compulsory for all Algerian citizens over the age of 19 in the defence of the sovereignty and integrity of the national territory. The census takes place from January to September every year. It is made publicly known to citizens through the press and posters in public buildings, such as municipalities, and post offices. Citizens have to provide their national identity card and birth certificate for the census (2). Since it is a very formalized process, it seems plausible that the number of civilian and military personnel is accurately collected by the PNA. However, it is not done so officially and is not published.
The Ministry of Defence also has created a website for military recruitment and drafting, but it does not provide information regarding the number of civilian and military personnel (5). The National Statistical Office published a figure of the persons working in the local authorities and public administrations. Its last report, which covered the period from 2014 until 2016, did not provide any information on civilian or military personnel working in the armed forces (3). The only number that was found with regards to civilians working for the military refers to the employees of military factories which amounted to nearly 30,000 civil workers (4).

No information on the number of civilian and military personnel could be found on the Ministry of Defence website (1).

The only figures that could be found are from international sources. According to Military Balance of 2018, the PNA has 130,000 active soldiers (Army 110,000, Navy 6,000, Airforce 14,000). The numbers include conscripts who serve 18 months in the army (6 months of basic training, 12 months with regular army often involving civil projects). There is also a military reserve of 150,000 to age 50. Paramilitary troops amount to 187,200 (2). According to Global Fire Power, Algerian military personnel amounts to 792,350 of which 520,000 are active and 272,350 are reservists (3). According to a paper published by NATO, the number of Algerian active soldiers is 512,000, while the number of reservists is 400,000 (4).

No evidence was found that ghost soldiers have been a problem within the Algerian armed forces. No report could be found in the media concerning this issue, also see the last country assessment.

The last country assessment mentioned the Groupe de légitime defence (GLD), which had fought in the civil war in the 1990s and received money without being under the control of the military. According to a report in 2014, they benefited from an exceptional retirement (1). In the summer of 2018, there was another report saying that a group of the GLD in Bouria urged the authorities again to respond positively to the demands of the GLD, which includes exceptional proportion retirement pensions and social security contributions for their commitment alongside the security services during the civil war (2). No other relevant information could be found.

The database of civilian and military personnel is currently being evaluated and updated. No detailed numbers have been officially published about the personnel of the Angolan Armed Forces, the intelligence services, the President’s Security Bureau and paramilitary forces. In 2018, a global figure of 100,000 was given for the FAA during the parliamentary state budget discussions. The Minister of Defence stated that over 94% of the approved budget was for expenses with personnel. The head of the president’s Security Bureau indicated that 81% of its budget was for personnel expenses. However, no evidence was provided to back up their claims (1), (2), (3). One major point of criticism from the opposition party UNITA has been the lack of transparency over the number of domestic intelligence or paramilitary agents whose main task is to spy on ruling party critics within state institutions, and the weight of those salaries in the defence budget (2).

There is no official information made public by the Ministry of Defense.

Ghost veterans appear to be a major problem. The most recent push to eliminate ghost veterans entitled to pension payments (an estimated 49,000) was initiated in late 2016 under then-defence minister João Lourenço and is still ongoing (1).

There is no evidence through statistical mechanisms from official sources that cover all hiring and that is regularly updated on the number of civil and military personnel. The data is known through Administrative Decision No. 338/18, where a detail has been published with the amounts of personnel hired in all the National State units, which includes the defence jurisdiction (civil and military personnel). There are advances in this regard, such as the Integrated Public Employment and Wage Information Base in the National Public Sector (BIEP) of the Ministry of Modernisation, [1] as a single official source that contains human capital information that composes and lends services in the Entities and Jurisdictions included in the field of Financial Administration and Control Systems of the National Public Sector. It offers statistical reports and a people search system, but no access to payroll information. [2] [3] Likewise, a report by CIPPEC highlights that in recent years the number of workers in the national administration has declined, and that change has been greater in the areas of security and defence. [4]

From the law of access to public information, the jurisdictions of the national administration are urged that, within the “active transparency” information that they must provide on their websites, they must also include the payroll of authorities and personnel of the permanent and transitory staff or other contracting modality, including consultants, interns, and personnel hired in the framework of projects financed by multilateral organisations, detailing their respective functions and positions in the ranking. In the case of the Ministry of Defence, information about its authorities (decrees and administrative designations) and the payroll of the staff appears on its website, dated April 2018. [1] [2] [3] With regard to military personnel, although it is possible to know the numbers by the annex of the administrative decision described above, the armed forces publish official information on their sites. Data on the number of personnel of the Armed Forces (active military) of Argentina can be accessed through the World Bank database, which reports that in 2017 there were a total of 105,000. [4] [5] RESDAL, in the Comparative Atlas of 2016, indicates a total of 79,845 personnel. From the information in the administrative decision of 2018, the number of Armed Forces (EMCO, Army, Navy, and Air Force) was 102,572. [6]

There is no evidence of the existence of military personnel such as “ghost soldiers,” that is, of people who did not exist or who were no longer part of the Armed Forces. Although there are complaints regarding pensions to former Malvinas combatants, [1] this cannot be constituted as the existence of phantom soldiers.

The number of civilian personnel is updated at least once a year by the Civil Service Council. The number is accurate; there is no evidence from alternative sources that the figures provided by the council are debatable. A 2017 report states that the number of civil personnel at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is 398 compared to the 400 and 412 for 2016 and 2015 respectively [1]. As for military personnel, the accurate number is considered and there no source with an exact number of the military personnel. Global Firepower suggests that active military personnel numbers 44,800 for 2018 [2].

The number of civilian and military personnel is not made publicly available by the MoD, but the figures of civilian personnel are on the website of the Civil Service Council. Military personnel figures may be acquired through the Global Firepower website [1].

Some experts believe “ghost soldiers” existed, but no evidence was found in either the media or through relevant research [1, 2].
MoD claims, that “ghost soldiers” do not exist in the armed forces and have not existed in the last 5 years [3].

The Department of Defence publishes detailed information annually on the number of civilian and military personnel in its Annual Report [1]. This information is disaggregated several ways, including by the new service categories introduced by the Total Workforce Model [2]. The projected number of Department of Defence military and civilian personnel is updated in the mid-year Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, but this is an estimate of end-of-year personnel numbers and does not reflect the actual number of personnel at the time of publication [3].

The Annual Report contains information on military personnel in each branch of service split by officer or non-officer [1] and by different star ranked officers [1]. Additionally, the Annual Report contains detail information on civilian Defence employees by Level, which is the hierarchy system within the Australian Public Service [1, p95].

There are no contemporary claims that the Australian Defence Force has ever engaged in the practice of off-the-books ghost soldiers [1].

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) does not provide totals of civilian nor military personnel. There are other sources; however, Military Balance publication, CIA Factbook and others provide estimates, though of course, this is not official data. The latter publications only give numbers of military personnel, not civilians. In 2013, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the MoD, the ministry’s structure, the total number of servicemen and civil servants, and the list of senior military posts in the ministry (1). Information and figures in this direction are not publicly available. In 2013 the minister of defence gave a different number of personnel in the army (2).

According to the Law on State Secret (1) the organizational structure of the troops, the number of personnel is considered as a state secret (Article 5.1.5). The minister of defence sometimes talks about some figures. During last press conference (June 20, 2018), he said that the army uses 500 tonnes of meat per month and that 15 per cent of those serving in the army are conscript soldiers, and the remaining 80 per cent – officers, and contractors (2). Zakir Hasanov, also said that 60 per cent of the military personnel, or more than 50,000 servicemen, are serving in the front line. Up to 21,000 civilians have been recruited to the army (3). This was the first statistic in recent years, which have led to public discussions over the media.

In the last five years, there was not any serious problem with ghost soldiers in the armed forces. Earlier, in the period of Safar Abiyev’s ministry (1995-2013), the media published information on similar cases. There were different reports that the sons of ministers did not serve in the army. Or their names were in military units, and they were not in service.
But it does not mean that the problem of ghost soldiers was solved. There is also no reliable source to confirm this fact. Lieutenant General Yashar Aydemirov, said that after Zakir Hasanov became minister, the sons of the ministers were called to serve in the army (1), but there is no evidence that these minister’s sons were called to the army. On the contrary, some minister’s sons who did not serve in the army before Zakir Hasanov were not called to military service after he came into power, despite still being eligible for the military service. The situation indeed became better after the previous minister left but the problem was not resolved, in particular, sons’ of those who are in the higher positions still enjoy their privilege (2).

There are no accurate official numbers of military personnel [1, 2, 3]. There are some external news reports about the numbers of the personnel, but these are not official [4].

There are no official statements or details on the number of military personnel. This is considered confidential information, and not to be shared, given the fact that hundreds of thousands of these forces are not Bahraini, but come from different countries [1, 2].

There have not been any problems reported concerning ghost soldiers [1, 2]. It has never been an issue given the small size of the army [3].

The number of civilian and military personnel is not officially released. During question and answer sessions held in Parliament, the total number of armed forces personnel may be provided, including both military and civil personnel of three services: the Army, Navy and Air Force. However, the exact number is not publicly available. But in a 2020 report by the Defence Finance Department [1], it was found that the total number of commissioned officers in the armed forces was 11,289, the total number of
JCO/OR (Junior Commissioned Officers/Operation Research) personnel in the armed forces was 183,348, the total number of civil officers in the armed and interforces was 1,036 and the total number of civilian employees in the armed and interforces was 24,839. These numbers were shown against salary disbursement for active duty personnel.

The Ministry of Defence does not disclose any information on the number of civilian and military personnel on its website [1].

There is not enough information to score this indicator. There are no reports of the existence of ghost soldiers in Bangladesh. However, the evidence available does not enable a complete assessment of the issue, not least due to the fact that the number of military and civilian personnel is not officially published.

The number of total military personnel is available online on the website of the Ministry of Defence and currently stands at 26.179, although calculations may vary slightly dependig on whether civilians and reserve personnel is counted as well [1]. A similar number resurfaces in other sources, such as media articles [2, 3]. Personnel numbers are constantly updated by the Directorate-General of Human Resources. These statistics can be used by MPs for parliamentary questions and are referred to in the media [3].

Personnel numbers are constantly updated by the Directorate-General Human Resources. They can be found on the website of the Ministry of Defence in an aggregated format [1]. Disaggregated statistics can be used by MPs for parliamentary questions and are referred to in the media [2]. Online data is aggregated but civilians can request insight into the disaggregated statistics through the Law of Freedom of Information (‘Openbaarheid van Bestuur’) [3].

An online search of media outlets for mentions of any ghost soldier issue in Belgium found no indication that the Belgian Defence has had problems with ghost soldiers [1]. This was confirmed during interviews [2].

The total number of military and civilian personnel within the defence system is determined by a Decision of the BiH Presidency on the Size, Structure and Locations of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina [1]. When speaking of a records system, Chapter IX of the Law on Service in AFBiH defines the personnel records management system in BiH MoD and AFBiH [2]. and it gave rise to the Rulebook on Personnel Records Management in the MoD and AFBiH, which defines in more detail all issues of records management, general personnel records, military records on-duty service, records of employees and personal files, records on military personnel not in service anymore, electronic database and maintenance, use and keeping of records of military personnel and civilians employed by BiH Ministry of Defence and BiH Armed Forces [1]. Data on the number and all other data necessary for human resources management are being updated daily, and there is an efficient system of personnel records management established to ensure full operability in the execution of given missions and tasks by commands and units of BiH AF. Public availability of personal data within the defence system is regulated by the provisions of the Law on Personal Data Protection and Plan of Personal Data Protection within the MoD and the AFBiH. Sector for personnel management in the MoD performs an annual analysis of personnel that contains all statistical personal data on the status and movement of military and civilian personnel during the year, and this analysis is available to certain bodies of legislative and executive government at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina [1]. When speaking of public availability of personal data, in a statistical sense they are publically available in the system of defence. For instance, in Chapter 8 of the Report on the Work of the BiH Ministry of Defence, there is information on personnel status stated. On the other hand, in publications of the MoD, there is information on certain data on personnel status, e.g. annual personnel analyses or in the last issue of bulletin titled Naša vojska [1]. Unfortunately, these statistics and their verification are completely entrusted to the above-explained procedures.
As the budget includes a table on the number of employees per institution, it is possible to know the total number of employees within the MoD and the AFBiH (for 2017 it was 10,011). However, it is not possible to know the exact number of civilian and military personnel [3].

Information on the total number of military and civilian personnel are given in the Decision of the BiH Presidency, it is publically available, while all other personal data are divided into certain categories carry a certain level of classification following the provisions of the Law on Personal Data Protection. The aforementioned decision defines the number of 10,000 military personnel, 1,000 of civilian personnel and 5,000 reserve personnel [1, 2, 3].

The MoD and the AFBiH have established clear procedures of recording employees on a daily bases, both in the system of human resources management and in the system of calculating of salaries and paid leave benefits, but also in the system of command and control, so in that context, there is no possibility of “non-existent soldiers and civilians” appearing in the defence system, i.e. it is not possible to have employees on the MoD payroll who are not really coming to work [1]. According to the Report on Budget Execution for 2018, there were 902 civilians and 8822 military personnel, with the planned number of personnel by the end of the year of 918 civilians and 9093 military (10011). The budget spent on salaries is 188’581’510 BAM [1]. There were no registered discrepancies in between the number of employees and the amount of the prescribed salaries [2, 3].

The number of civilian and military personnel is closely guarded and is not publicly available. The stastitics that are available are etimates based on different sources [1,2].

As explained in 38A above, the information is not available to the public [1,2].

The issue of ghost soldiers was problematic around 2014 but has been resolved [1]. No such issues have been raised in the last five years [2]. It was reported previously (2014) that, despite strong denials from Botswana Defence Force (BDF) management, some ex-soldiers claim that they continue to be paid by the army long after they have resigned. The ex-soldiers were shocked to realise that although they have resigned or retired, they were still on the BDF payroll system [2]. One of the soldiers, who retired in March this year, said BDF is still crediting him with his salary while he has resigned. There are no reports as to whether these allegations were investigated [2].

There are no changes between the 2015 and the 2020 GDI assessment. The number of civilian and military personnel is updated monthly by the Federal Civil Servant Statistical Bulletin (Boletim Estatístico de Pessoal), which is within the Ministry of Planning [1]. In the Transparency Portal citizens can easily find a detailed list with all employees linked to any public institution, including the Ministry of Defence and single forces [2].

The Transparency Portal shows the ranks of civilian and military personnel, their salary, and previous links to the federal government [1].

The assessor could not find cases of ghost soldiers in the media [1]. According to a military official, it would be really difficult to sustain such a practice, since in many instances the absence of a soldier would be noted. First, desertion is a crime, and it is characterized by more than seven days of absence without proper justification. In addition to that, payments are checked every month in relation to each military official or soldier position and function; and barracks have many compulsory activities, all of them registered and turned into personnel evaluations [2].

Index Mundi estimated the armed forces have 11,450 members in 2015 (1). According to the World Bank, Armed Force Personnel, the total for Burkina Faso is 11,000 in 2017 (2). There is no solid evidence that these numbers are accurate (3). According to the Burkina Faso Government/ Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2015, the Burkina Faso Army is made up of up to 5800-6000 people, plus 45,000 men and women registered for conscription (4).

The army of Burkina Faso is organized in military and gendarmerie regions and comprises of a regular army, the air force and the gendarmerie (1). As part of its policy, the government, in general, does not provide the public with access to its information (2). According to the Business Anti-Corruption Portal, and U.S. Department of State, the law does not provide for public access to government information (3), (4). Thus, the number of civilian and military personnel is not made available for public access by the Ministry of Defence.

There are a serious issue with ghost soldiers within the rank and file of the Burkina Faso military partly as a result of the crises in September 2017 (1), (2), (3), (4).

The official website of the Military of Defence does not carry details of the number of personnel. However, some other sources provide information on the number of civilian and military personnel that military and security institutions have [2], although it is not certain that these sources are accurate.

In fact, the number of civilian and military personnel is not accurately known or officially collected. Independent assessments vary considerably in their estimates of the number of armed forces personnel. For example, the World Bank estimates that, as of 2016, there were 23,400 armed forces personnel in Cameroon, while a November 2016 report by the International Crisis Group noted that “Cameroon now has around 8,500 troops in the Far North region – a seventh of its defence forces’ manpower” [4], which would put the estimated number of military personnel at around 60,000. Meanwhile, Global Fire Power (GFP) posits the number of Cameroon active available personnel to be 14,500, not including civilians [1]. No other recent independent estimates of the number of civilian defence personnel could be found.

Globalsecurity.org states that “As of 2000 the Cameroonian armed forces were reported to have a total of about 28,000 men including 14,000 for the Army, 1,500 for the Air Force, 1600 for the navy and gendarmerie 1100. By 2016, IISS was reporting a total of about 23,200 men including 12,500 for the Army, 400 for the Air Force, 1,300 for the navy and gendarmerie 9,000. By some estimates, Cameroon’s’ military numbered as many as 60,000 troops by 2015” [1].

The World Bank states that by 2015, the Cameroonian military had 23,400 personnel [2]. No details have been provided from 2016-2018 and the website of the Presidency that carries information on military issues does not present this information. These figures are subject to change as the government recruits almost on a yearly basis. With the advent of Boko Haram and the Anglophone crisis, there has been intake into the military to address these.

In 2013, the Ministry of Finance removed 12 members of the Ministry of Defence, ghost workers who were on the pay role of this ministry [1].

According to the Cameroon Post (July 2017 and April 2018), other examples of ghost workers were of major concern to the Cameroon government and there were discussions over recent campaigns to rid the civil service of ghost workers, though defence establishments were not specifically mentioned [2] [3].

Numbers are updated annually in the Department of National Defence’s Departmental Results Report [1] and provide a clear breakdown of both Military and Civilian staff. In 2018-2019 there were 91,970 Full-Time Equivalent Staff in total (both civilian and military). The regular force of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has a parlimentary authorised strength of 68,000; in 2018-2019 there were 66,692 members of the regular force, with plans to meet full capacity by the end of 2020. [2] [3]

Aside from some difficulty in searching the Government of Canada’s “GC Info Base” to find the disaggregated numbers for civilian vs. military staff, this information is readily available and accessible to the public. [1] Each institution is required to report this type of information to the Canadian Parliament on a cyclical basis to maintain civilian oversight and scrutiny. [2]

No evidence was found of ghost soldiers in the Canadian Forces. This was confirmed through correspondence with Colonel-Maître Michel Drapeau, who noted “that in Canada we know the number of civilian and military personnel accurately and that such information is also available via public documents and through the Freedom of Information procedure. As far as I know, ghost soldiers have never been present and do not appear on the public payroll in Canada.” [1]

Every year the Ministry of National Defence (MDN), through the Budget Department of the Ministry of Finance (DIPRES), publishes the number of civilian personnel in the annual budget from the Law of Budget of the Public Sector [1], disaggregated by the institution and by level and legal status. According to the Code of Military Justice [2], information about military personnel in the armed and police forces is considered secret; in the sense that it is considered to be directly related to national security, and therefore is not publicly available. Nonetheless, the RESDAL’S Comparative Atlas has presented figures of the military personnel in the armed forces provided by the MDN, broken down by the different branches of the military, the type of personnel, and gender, it was updated until 2016 [3].

Information on the number of civilian personnel incorporated in the Law of Budget in the Public Sectors is published yearly by the DIPRES. Information of military personnel is considered secret, and therefore cannot be requested; the MDN provides aggregate figures that are published in the RESDAL’S Comparative Atlas, approximately every two years [1].

There has been no press or institutional report or official investigation related to the issue of ghost soldiers during the period under study.

Although information on the number of civilian and military personnel exists, is is scant and irregularly provided through different official publications and state media. According to the latest figures, China has 2 million soldiers (士兵). [1] This number corresponds to the IISS Military Balance estimate The number of civilian personnel (解放军文职人员) is more than 200,000. [3] The same number was reported in 2013. [2] There are 510,000 reservists (预备役部队). [4] The number is updated approximately every year.

The aforementioned numbers are made publicly available through the MoD website and state media outlets such as Xinhua, Sina and CCTV. [1,2,3] The information is summarised (soldiers, civilian personnel, reservists), without reference to rank.

There have not been any reports regarding ghost soldiers in the last 5 years. In accordance to the PRC Resident Identity Card Law (中华人民共和国居民身份证法) and the regulations on Applying for Identity Cards for Active Army and People’s Armed Police Servicemen (现役军人和人民武装警察居民身份证申领发放办法), all PLA personnel (military and civilian) is registered with a unique ID number. [1]

There are different reports of varying accurracy accounting for the number of military and civilian personnel belonging to the public force. The Ministry of Defence has a Vice-Ministry for Strategy and Planning, which is responsible for the development of human capital. In a statistical report published by this unit, the total number of troops in Colombia for the year 2018 includes 437,379 personnel of Public Force (including civilians and military personnel), of which 217,459 are in the Army; 31,090 are in the National Navy; 13,522 are in the Air Force; and 174,968 are in the National Police. [1] In 2018, the Comptroller General of the Nation counted 237,876 active, uniformed members of the Armed Forces. [2] The World Bank in 2018 found that Colombia had 481,000 active military members. [3] “The Military Balance 2019” reported that Colombia had the second largest number of troops in the region, with about 293,000 active military personnel, due to internal security priorities, in addition to counterinsurgency and drug trafficking operations. Of the 293,000 military members, 223,150 are in the Army, while the Navy and Air Force have 56,400 and 13,650 units respectively. [4] The National Police has 172,059 non-uniformed staff members, of whom 153,674 are men and 18,385 are women. This information is updated quarterly. [5] Only 10% of the Military Forces and the Police are female. According to Interviewee 3, [6] there are approximately 25,000 civilians employed in the defence sector. Lastly, the Public Employment Management and Information System (SIGEP), which is meant to register the official staff in the entities and contractors of the State, does not work properly, so it is not possible to find the exact figures. There is no evidence that this data is updated at least every three or six months, and the reporting data is only updated annually and contains large variations.

There are several reports containing publicly available information on the number of military members and civilians working in the Military Forces. [1, 2, 3] The data is not completely accurate and reflects disparity in numbers, however it does provide an approximation of active personnel. Additionally, the Prospective Monitoring Center for the Direction of Human Talent of the National Police reports on uniformed and non-uniformed personnel on a quarterly basis, [4] and the Directorate of Strategic Studies of the Ministry of Defence reports personnel data annually, although it does not distinguish between uniformed and non-uniformed persons. [5]

There is no evidence of ghost soldiers inside the military forces generating small sums or diversions of the payroll. Regarding low levels of extortion, money diversion, and abuse of power related to military exit payments during the period 2014-2018, complaints about the non-payment were addressed relating to a sum of $8,300 pesos.[1] In this case, it was determined that there was a cartel that did not hand over this money or extorted it from the military in exchange for permits, so the Ministry made a determination to not hand over cash. The traceability of payments is made through an internal payment system of the Ministry of Defence. [1]

The total number of military and civilian personnel is not updated each year, and the statistics are somewhat unreliable. Though there is no established procedure for disclosing or verifying statistics on the number of personnel, the 2016-2020 Military Programming Act (LPM) and the 2016-2020 Internal Security Programming Act (LPSI) made public the number of civilian and military personnel in the Armed Forces and police in 2016. The LPM 2016-2020, though reported widely by the Ivorian media, is not available on the MoD website, as demonstrated by a search in its publications and documentation tabs (1).

As per Law No. 2016-09 (Loi 2016-09 Portant Programmation des Forces de Sécurité Intérieure pour les Années, LPSI 2016-2020), published in the Official Journal on March 17, 2016, the number of national security personnel in 2016 amounted to:
– Police Nationale (16,953).
– Eaux et Forêts (3,055).
– Direction Générale des Affaires Maritimes et Portuaires (DGAMP) (739).
– Direction Générale des Douanes (4,375) (2).

Domestic and international media, in turn, have been updating the statistics for personnel as the number evolves according to LPM and LPSI requirements. According to the website of Connection Ivoirienne (April 22, 2016), the total number of military personnel in 2016 amounted to 41,515 (3). An update on the LPM 2016-2020 published by Jeune Afrique (February 23, 2018), put the total number of personnel in the Armed Forces as of 2018 at 41,620 (4). “The Military Planning Act provides for a reduction to 40,000 men from 41,620 which consists of 22,920 military and 18,700 gendarmes” (4). In a previous article from December 17, 2017, Jeune Afrique had provided the same number for the total number of military and police personnel: 41,620 (5). The article states, “an important military programming law for the years 2016 to 2020 has been adopted by the Ivorian government. The numbers of the armed forces (La Grande Muette) should be reduced to 40,000 men against 41,620 currently, consisting of 22,920 military and of 18,700 gendarmes” (5). As of November 2, 2018, in an interview with Minister of Defence Hamed Bakayoko published on the government website, a total of 3,157 soldiers had agreed to early retirement (991 in 2017 and 2,166 in 2018) (6):

“The mid-term review is positive in many ways. First, because this Act [LPM] has created a new and unique chain of command. In addition, an order for the enforcement of disciplinary sanctions, such as write-offs, has been signed and executed. Then, two voluntary departure operations resulted in the withdrawal of 3,157 soldiers (991 in 2017 and 2,166 in 2018). A Military Support and Retraining Office has been set up to help starters better integrate into their new professional and social life…” (6)

It is difficult to find a government source who has an accurate number of personnel employed by the MoD.

The MoD does not regularly publish or update the statistics of its military and civilian personnel, as shown in 38A. The absence of such information in open sources points to a low level of transparency.
Ivorian and international media have widely reported about the Military Planning Act (LPM 2016-2020) and referred to the aggregate number of soldiers in the armed forces. But the LPM itself, though adopted and approved in 2016, is not available on the MoD website (1). The full version of the LPM appears not to have been uploaded by the Official Journal.

Still, the personnel statistics for the police forces was disclosed by Law No. 2016-09 (Loi 2016-09 Portant Programmation des Forces de Sécurité Intérieure pour les Années, LPSI 2016-2020) on March 17, 2016, as broken down below:
– Police Nationale (16,953),
– Eaux et Forêts (3,055),
– Direction Générale des Affaires Maritimes et Portuaires (DGAMP) (739),
– Direction Générale des Douanes (4,375) (2).

It is difficult to get comprehensive and updated statistics on MoD personnel.

The confusion over the exact number of soldiers in the armed forces after the post-election crisis of 2010-2011, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration schemes (DDR) and the soldier mutinies in Bouaké and other towns of January and May 2017. As a result, soldiers that are unaccounted for or do not fit government criteria remain an ambiguous issue.

In October 2015, Human Rights Watch (HRW) cited UN reports on the disarmament of 21,000 former combatants. It added that a total of 30,000 soldiers had benefited from reintegration schemes. However, HRW warned that the government disarmament and demobilization schemes until then had mostly benefitted the Forces Nouvelles (FN) loyal to President Ouattara and that only 13% of those disarmed were in fact combatants affiliated with Laurent Gbabgo (1).

According to Aline Leboeuf, a researcher at the Paris-based French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), the true dimension of the Ivorian Army, including former combatants from all sides, could number up to 50,000 if one included the thousands of so-called “associates” gravitating around military units (2). Leboeuf wrote:

“For a French adviser, the Ivorian army is largely a “social peace army”. It was composed of 23,000 registered men in 2014, to whom the government paid a salary so that they do not end up at roadblocks. Another adviser explained to me that the budget of the Ivorian army planned to feed a total of 25,000 men but that in fact, it fed 50,000 because about 30,000 associates gravitated around mixed units…” (2).

AFP reported on May 22, 2017, that former rebel soldiers who had been demobilized in the former rebel stronghold town of Bouaké were demanding the same early retirement benefits (EUR 18,000) offered by the government to the soldiers who had staged mutinies at their barracks in January 2017. The movement of these non-recognized demobilized soldiers was estimated at around 6,000 (3). Given the fact that the DDR schemes may not have captured all the former combatants in its statistics, it is likely that Côte d’Ivoire has military personnel that is unaccounted for.

Research indicates that the number of civilian and military personnel is updated at least annually. This is evident from the public reports as assessed in Q38B [1, 2]. Note that all numbers are reported as so-called “man-years” or “full-time equivalent” (“årsværk”). The number is (publicly) updated every year, and there is no uncertainty surrounding the numbers.

The number of civilian and military personel is available to the public in two sources. The Ministry of Defence Personnel Agency maintains a website where the annual number of personnel is published [1]. The annual reports of the authorities within the ministerial area of the Ministry of Defence also display these numbers [2]. These numbers always exclude the Danish Defence Intelligence Service. The numbers of the Ministry of Defence Personnel Agency are disaggregated acoording to level of function (civilians, outside the military rank file, M1xx-M4xx). The numbers in the annual report are disaggregated into the categories of officers, regulars (“stampersonel”), conscripts, civilians and contract employees.

Ghost soliders has not been an issue for Danish Defence. This was confirmed by a senior officer [1]. The issue is de facto prevented by the administrative functioning of the salary system [1, 2]. Each payment is connected to a personal employee number which is in turn tied to the person’s social security number. This effectively means that it is impossible to pay out salary to people who do not exist.

Many sources (mostly non-Egyptian) such as Global Firepower and Global Security have estimated the number of military personnel (1), (2), there is no official and accessible data that includes such information. According to interviews, there are no official numbers of the numbers of military and civil personnel. the number is vague and only estimations (3), (4), (5).

All the estimates of the numbers of military personnel come from unofficial sources as demonstrated in 38A. After researching all official defence and statistics portals, it does not seem to be officially published, to the best of my knowledge there is no obligation in the law to publish these data (1), (2).

According to our sources, there are some cases of corruption where employees within the military are ghost soldiers (1), (2), (3). Another source confirms the existence of ghost soldiers at a very senior level in limited numbers (1). For example, a senior officer registers a few names as soldiers under his authority while they are not currently working.

The number of military personnel is made public by the Defence Forces, and updated on an irregular basis. For example, the data could be mentioned in a strategy and the press release that is published along with it, in a report about conscription, or in a report about Estonia’s defence capabilities, [1] for example, in the report on conscripts (“Kaitseväekohustuse täitmisest”, available only in Estonian; indicator “Tegevväelased”). [2] The number of the staff at the Ministry of Defence and other ministry-related institutions is also irregularly published: for example, in “Kaitseministeeriumi valitsemisala konsolideeritud majandusaasta aruanne” (“The consolidated financial report of the institutions under the Ministry of Defence”). [4] There is no policy on when and where it must be published or updated. Even when it is published, the data about the military and civilian personnel is not complete, but often only includes a figure that the Defence Forces would like to achieve. [3]

The number of civilian and military personnel is not disaggregated by rank bracket, but rather presented in an aggregate form. [1] Even then, often not all the personnel is included. Sometimes only the number of conscripts, [5] sometimes a number of personnel in one unit is published. The publishing of the numbers is not systematic nor is it clear when and how the data is published. [3]
Moreover, the aggregated number of military personnel in the Defence Forces is publicly available in some reports (e.g. “Kaitseväekohustuse täitmisest”). [2] The number of staff in the Ministry of Defence and other ministry-related institutions is more or less regularly available in “Avaliku teenistuse aastaraamat” (“The Annual Book of the Public Sector”) [4] and irregularly in some volumes of “Kaitseministeeriumi valitsemisala konsolideeritud majandusaasta aruanne” (“The consolidated financial report of the institutions under the Ministry of Defence”). [6]

As explained by a former flag officer, in Estonia, the problem is the opposite. [1] There are more servicemen in the reserve than in the official structures. Around 6,000 servicemen with conscripts serve in the peacetime structure. In wartime, this number could go up to 40,000, because of the people in the reserves. The Defence League consists of volunteers all over Estonia. [2]

The Defence Forces publishes the Final Personnel Accounts as a separate annual publication. In the publication, the amount of total personnel is provided and bracketed down to officers, special officers, warrant officers, junior officers, civilians, contracted soldiers, staff employed through employment funds, and others. Development of the figures over time is also explained. In addition, the personnel is bracketed down in terms of gender and age groups and the number of soldiers in international military crisis management missions is mentioned. [1]

For the final states accounts, the Defence Forces also forwards the number of personnel work-years to the Ministry of Defence, which puts it forward for the compilation of the final state accounts. There are established processes for publishing and verifying statistics on the composition of the armed forces (this information can also be requested throughout the year) with possible occasional inaccuracies, but no systemic failures.

The Defence Forces publishes the Final Personnel Accounts as a separate annual publication. In the publication, the amount of total personnel is provided and bracketed down to officers, special officers, warrant officers, junior officers, civilians, contracted soldiers, staff employed through employment funds and others. [1]

In addition, the total number of personnel on the Ministry of Defence’s branch of administration can be checked on a monthly basis from the service tutkihallintoa.fi (examine the administration), which provides information about the state administration. The website provides only the aggregated numbers for the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Forces, and the Defence Estates Finland. [2]

Research has revelaed no reports, indications, or accusations of ghost soldiers being an issue during the period 2016-2020.

The Ministry of the Armed Forces (MOAF) publishes every year its “social report” (“bilan social”). [1] Because of its annual publication, some figures can be out of date upon consultation of the report by the public/CSOs/media. But the numbers are permanently known by the hierarchy and by the armed forces commissioner service responsible for the pay, because there exist roll call or registration systems in each military unit or establishment. The result is that the specialists are able to count per capita or per full time equivalent.

In 2017, there were 266,792 staff, among which 206,409 were military personnel and 60,383 were civilian personnel. [2]

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel is made available publicly by the Ministry of Defence on its website [1] in the yearly Social Report, disaggregated by rank bracket, [2] status, category, etc.
In 2017, it had 266,792 staff, including 206,409 military personnel and 60,383 civilian personnel.

To the knowledge of several experts on defence issues, [1] [2] the military has not been faced with the problem of ghost soldiers in the last five years.

The number of civilian and military personnel is provided on the Ministry’s website and updated regularly (a new website was launched recently; at the start of this assessment, the update took place on a monthly basis). The website provides a fairly detailed breakdown of staff, e.g. by gender, type of contractual relation, job function, etc. [1].

According to the Ministry, the personnel census includes all staff actively working at the Ministry of Defence or the Armed Forces, including soldiers and civilian staff, whether they are public officials or contract staff. Staff currently on leave (e.g. parental leave) are also included in the statistics. Non-active staff (e.g. reservists not currently on duty) are not included [2,3]. The source of the personnel statistics is Unit P I 1 of the Ministry of Defence.

The number of civilian and military staff is provided on the Ministry’s website, including a breakdown into various rank brackets. There is further breakdown by gender. This information can be easily located on the Armed Forces website [1].

A general search was conducted of publications in major German media outlets over the past five years (FAZ, Spiegel, Sueddeutsche Zeitung). No indication was found that ghost soldiers are an issue in the German defence sector.

The MOD does not provide an official number of military personnel employed. Despite providing some information about the activities of the Ghanaian military personnel, (i.e. the number of personnel trained, the percentage of personnel deployed in peacekeeping operations, etc.) the number is not stated in the MOD’s budget.

According to the latest Global Firepower Report, Ghana has 13,500 military personnel (1), the slightly outdated data of the International Institute for Strategic Studies shows Ghana having 15,500 military personnel (2).

However, the number of civilians employed by the MOD is provided in the Annual Performance Report, published by the Ghana Civil Service. According to the last report available (2017), there are 69 civil servants currently working for the MOD (3). The report provides information on the sex and age distribution of the employees, as well as the sex distribution of promotions and postings.

Information on the number of military personnel is not made publicly available. Information on the number of civilian personnel is published on the Ghana Civil Service Annual Performance Report (1).

Although the procedure for paying salaries is laid out and headcounts are routinely done; in the past year amongst the military (1), there have been cases where salaries, or pension payments of deceased personnel, were (and possibly still are) being paid and siphoned into private pockets rather than the deceased’s family (1), (2).

Although the MOD and Armed Forces have not been mentioned in the reports denouncing unearned salaries, these are common in Ghana’s public institutions; episodes of unearned salaries for GhC505 million across different MDAs were denounced by the Parliamentary Public Account Committee in November 2017 (3); also, in April 2017 the Finance Ministry declared the removal of 27,000 ghost names from the national payroll system. The issue had also been tackled by the previous Mahama administration by introducing a new e-payment system (4) while the current administration is considering the option of outsourcing the national payroll system (5).

The disaggregated number of civilian and military personnel is not publicly known but it is officially collected [1, 2]. This is perceived as a matter of national security given tensions with neighbouring countries. Moreover, the number depends on a few factors, such as the availability of conscripts and recruitment of professionals, and is updated annually [3].

The aggregated number of personnel of Ministry of Defence (including armed forces and other subordinated entities) is publicly available through an application to the Human Resources Register of the Greek State.
It is updated on monthly basis with a with about two-month delay. The register contains numbers on permanent (85,423 as of May 2021) and non-permanent staff, as well as on staff of subordinated entities. Data is not disaggregated on civilian and military personnel nor on ministry office, armed forces and other personnel. [4]

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel is updated on monthly basis with about two-month delay. The register contains numbers on permanent (85,423 in May 2021) and non-prenament staff, as well as on staff of subordinated entities. Data is not disagregated on civilian and military personnel nor on ministry office, armed forces and other personnel. [1]

The military has not been presented with the problem of ghost soldiers in the last five years [1, 2].

There is no publicly available information [1, 2]. Beyond the legal restrictions linked to the 2011 modification of the CXIII Law on National Defence and the Hungarian Army there further transparency problems with the publicly (not) available numbers [1, 2, 3].

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) publishes aggregate numbers linked to the description of the state budget or information provided to NATO and other international organisations [1]. Previously detailed information is not available, due to legal restrictions [2]. However, this data cannot be verified, and several experts have questioned its accuracy [3]. The MoD is unable to deal with these disputes. According to source 7, he saw the retrospective modification of data the year following when it was submitted to NATO [4] which lead to questions about the publicly available information.

There is not enough information to score this indicator. The existence or absence of ghost soldiers could not be confirmed or excluded [1].

There is a plethora of information on organisation, structure and command available across the Indian government’s defence websites but Force strengths are not easily found [1][2]. Annual reports from the Armed Forces include annual National Cadet Corps (NCC) enrolment numbers, intake of candidates for pre-commission training as officers across training institutes but no clear breakdown of the three Armed Forces [3]. More information on civilian personnel is available from the government’s websites. Military personnel numbers information can be found via the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau but only after sifting through a number of press releases [4]. Third parties such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies do state clear personnel numbers [5].

The above suggests that numbers are officially collected on at least an annual basis. Accuracy of data publicly cannot be determined but given the IISS’ global reputation, one can conclude that their data is the most current and accurate.

As stated above, data directly from government sources is not easily attainable [1]. The Open Government Data Platform can yield some results but requires usage type, purpose and name and one’s name and email address to be submitted [2]. A recent government Press release stated some strength numbers but admitted that “Information cannot be divulged in the interest of the National Security” [3]. The MoD does not directly release all manpower data. The Parliamentary Committees provide some information on uniformed personnel. The aggregated civilian number is published by the Ministry of Finance [4].

In the previous Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2015: India report, a case of ghost soldiers was documented. Since then, there has been no information publicly available on the matter [1]. The source cited had stated that, “the defence ministry’s Controller General Defence Accounts has questioned the army for procuring ration for 14 lakh personnel during 2010-11 while its actual strength is only about 11.5 lakh” [2]. Currently no reports from this department are publicly available on their website. Which leads one to look at CAG’s website for any insight.

As alluded to in Q.32, according to a recent Times of India article, CAG has stopped putting defence reports publically online [3]. CAG reports must be submitted to Parliament so are therefore public documents but according to the article, none of the seven defence reports from CAG in 2018 are available online. This is verifiable on the CAG website where no 2018 reports from the Defence and National Security sector are available [4][5]. An expert stated that there are enough checks and balances to prevent misappropriation of funds in the name of ghost soldiers. The CAG also examines the recruitment and officers and other personnel of the Armed Forces [6].

Given the above, sufficient information is not publicly available to deduce if there have been documented cases of ghost soldiers or undocumented instances through scrutiny of accurate force numbers and allocations in recent years.

The management of personnel data is part of the government mandate for bureacratic reform, launched throughout the 2015-2016 period. Even though the supporting regulations already exist, their implementation has run into problems caused by institutional relations between the Ministry of Defence and the TNI, which is not yet subordinate to the Ministry of Defence. In the Ministry of Defence, personnel data is managed in accordance with Regulation No. 43/2013 [1]. This regulation stipulates two organisers and seven activities of data management. It covers the borrowing and transfer of data, authentic data or documents and financing. No article was found that regulates how often data must be updated. In terms of implementation, the Ministry of Defence carries out an established process for the internal publication and verification of personnel data using the Sistem Informasi Kepegawaian (SIMPEG) application, which has been widely used across the government ministries and bodies. This is detailed in Article 5 of Minister of Defence Regulation No. 43/2013 [1]. Personnel records, called ‘dosir’, are defined as any official document that is issued to personnel as evidence of an administrative act and that reflects their career path from recruitment to retirement. There are two units in charge of recording the number of civilian personnel in the Ministry of Defence: the Bureau of Personnel (Ro Peg) under the Secretariat General (Setjen) and the work unit (Satker). Ro Peg is tasked with preparing the plan for the needs and recruitment of civil servants in the Ministry of Defence and TNI, arranging positions, ranks and transfers, planning education, analysing training requirements and implementing data management. The Satker is tasked with updating the record as and when changes takes place. According to one interviewee, the number of civilian and military personnel is updated on a quarterly basis [2]. Each employee has access to SIMPEG to update their own data, with a subdivision of administration functioning to supervise and monitor data at the level of the Satker. Evidence to support the alteration must be uploaded directly into the application and the hard copy is sent to Ro Peg. The subdivision for data and information processing (Lahdafor) is responsible for managing the overall data of Ministry of Defence employees who are registered in the application and for making report on a quarterly, semesterly and annual basis in accordance with Minister of Finance Regulation 15/2012 on Strength Reports [3]. The most recent open information on SIMPEG data reconciliation in the Ministry of Defence was published in 2010 [4]. The Ministry has not issued any further information since then, except in September 2017, when there was a reconciliation of personnel records as part of a national programme to support the automatic promotion and retirement process for civil servants [5]. Despite the progress made, another interviewee mentioned that, until 2018, personnel data at the Ministry of Defence and the TNI Headquarters was not fully synchronised [6].

According to one interviewee [1], the information on the number of civilian and military personnel in the MoD and TNI Headquarters cannot be disclosed to the public in accordance with Minister of Defence Regulation No. 38/2011 concerning Information System Policies [2]. A quick check of this document did not find any article that clearly stipulates such a ban. It only categorises the number of civilian and military personnel in the MoD and TNI Headquarters under ‘main components of defence information’, along with weapon systems and their supporting facilities, as well as TNI bases and facilities. There is a clause stating that ‘applications and data that relate specifically to the Ministry of Defence and the TNI are confidential and closed to the public’ with no further reference to its definition. It is therefore assumed that this clause applies to information on the number of personnel. Even the aggregate number of civilian and military personnel cannot be found anywhere on the websites of MoD or TNI Headquarters. This is a setback because the previous government (2009-2014) had begun publishing the Government Agency Performance Accountability Report (Lakip), which aims to promote government transparency to the public [3]. One of the report’s performance achievements states the number of civil and military personnel in aggregate form and by Echelon level (I to IV) and functional position (specific and general). While this form of accountability has continued into the current cabinet, the Ministry of Defence has stopped publishing the report.

The military has not been presented with the problem of ghost soldiers in the last five years.

The number of civilian personnel is not accurately known. There are estimates with wide variations from think tanks and experts [1]. It does not seem that numbers are officially collected [2] given that figures are not published through the statistical centre.

No sources were found to indicate that information on the number of civilian and military personnel is made publicly available. According to an interviewee, Iran does not make accurate accounts of its armed forces available to the public. Iranian leaders and military commanders also regularly exaggerate the non-official numbers they do mention from time to time. The interviewee said Iran probably keeps an accurate tally of its armed forces, and that those figures probably exist in official, non-public materials [1].

No reports were found to indicate that the military was presented with the problem of ghost soldiers in the last five years. Interviewee 3 said they had never heard the term “ghost soldiers” in reference to Iran or its armed forces [1]. However, given that the number of soldiers does not appear to be officially collected, this phenomenon could potentially exist.

The total number of civilian and army personnel is not readily available, owing to the absence of official records. Iraq post-2003 has not shown adeptness in the realm of data collecting which similarly applies to the digitization of facts/info, which means that not a single figure is relied upon by all state ministries. Public access is another area of concern connected to the low-quality data collation efforts and databases that the public can access.

The local paper (1) placed the number of civilian personnel a little above 2 million at “2, 905, 226”, adding that by 2018, 13, 470 employees will be retired and salaries will also be reduced, according to IMF imposed conditions. A slightly older source (2) quoting the official Ministry of Planning Statistics Bureau (the ministry responsible for keeping official employment tallies), places the figure of civilian staff at 6 million, all of whom are said to be registered under the state social welfare system.

As for military personnel, relevant statistics are equally difficult to come by. The total number of PMF Hashd recruits are the most widely discussed in the local and international press. Published figures, while are not officially recorded, range between 100, 000 to 140, 000 fighters (3) [260] who, another analyst told Transparency (4) “will vary in their relationship with various political actors, Iran and with each other”. Some of these brigades are also known to have recruited children into their field of operations (5) The total figure of PMF child recruits is not officially documented. One source places the total number of active military personnel at 168 000 and reserve personnel at 150 000 (6).

There are no official statistics that give the true figures of he MoD personnel.

While Abadi intensified Security Sector Reforms in response to the ‘ghost soldier’ scandal in which 50 thousand named MoD employees were found not to exist, his campaign has yielded few visible results, despite having labelled 2016, “the year of eliminating corruption” (1). Local news commentary is replete with coverage in which anonymous sources discuss the potential presence of ‘ghost soldiers’ in the Popular Mobilization Units institution. COI head, Hassan al Yasiri, told Reuters (2) corruption “had been reduced by closer scrutiny of the defence ministry”, but admitted that more work is needed. While there have been increased talks of biometric registration systems being implemented, there is no evidence to suggest this has happened (3). Another military source (4) verified that no e-registration system had either been purchased or installed. The multiplication of armed forces beneath the PMF umbrella and choice of cash payments threatens to fuel the existence of ghost soldiers (5).

The number of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers seems to be updated, but it is definitely not always made public by the army itself. It is a common perception in Israel that the exact number of soldiers is not known. There are only a few public sources. Sometimes, the various committees publish different segments of IDF personnel, such as the Locker Committee on IDF career officers, the report specified 40,000 in 2015 carrer officers and NGOs (1). According to World Bank data, in 2018, the size of the Israeli Armed Forces stood at 177,500 personnel (2).

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel are not made publicly available due to security reasons.

The military has not been presented with the problem of ghost soldiers (or false numbers of soldiers) in the last five years. But there is some evidence that the army counted more Haredi (Orthodox) soldiers than what it recruited in order to reach the goal that the government set (1) (2) (3) (4).

The maximum number of civilian and military personnel of the Ministry of Defence is specified in the Code of the Military System, as modified by Legislative Decree 28 January 2014, n. 8 which also defines timelines in order to complete the reform of the personnel of the Ministry of Defence [1]. In order to timely reach this number, maximum dotation of personnel is indicated in the annual budget law [2].

The actual number of the personnel is published every year. On the website of the Ministry of Defence, it is possible, as of September 2020, to access statistics on 2018 [3]. Number of personnel is also updated in the Multiannual Programmatic Document [4].The most recent available statistics are from 2018. In that year a total of 28.124 civil servants were employed in the Ministry [5] along with a total of 164.751 military personnel (Army, Navy, Air Force and military chaplain) [6] and 109.282 Carabinieri [7].

The number of personnel published on the website of the Ministry of Defence is disaggregated by rank. This kind of information is available for both civilian [1] and military personnel [2].

There is no evidence, on public media (journal articles and media reports), of the existence of “ghost soldiers” in Italy.

The number of civilian and military personnel can be found in the annual Defence White Book “Defence of Japan” [1] and on the website of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). [2] According to “Defence of Japan 2020,” the Ministry of Defence had budget appropriations and a legal mandate to employ a total of 268,054 regular employees (20,900 civilian employees in the Ministry and 247,154 SDF officials). [1] Regarding the latter, the actual number of employed Self-Defence Force (SDF) officials was 227,442. [3] These figures are as of March 31, 2020. A Ministry of Defence official stated that this number is updated once a year. [4] The official also said that this figure is subject to several levels of checks, and its accuracy is therefore guaranteed, [4] so, while it is updated less frequently than every six months, there are procedures in place to ensure accuracy.

The number of civilian and military personnel can be found on the website of the Ministry of Defence and in the Defence White Paper “Defence of Japan.” Statistics on the website show the number of personnel in each of the categories “clerks” and “officials” (among civilian personnel) and the number of personnel in each of the categories “higher officers”, “warrant officers”, “sergeants / petty officers” and “privates / seamen / airmen” (among SDF officials). [1] No further disaggregation by rank bracket is provided. On the other hand, data on military reserves are provided.

No reference to “ghost soldiers,” meaning people whose names appear on military rolls, but are not in military service, in Japan were identified.

The number of civilian and military personnel is updated annually [1]. There are established processes for publishing and verifying statistics on the composition of the armed forces. These statistics can be gleaned from the finance department of the army, where there are records of the monthly payments of personnel, or from media outlets through interviews of senior officials, but there is no transparency declaring numbers to the public [2].

The number of armed forces is not made public by the MoD, rather through media outlets that interview senior officials or commanders [1]. They usually publish it on the anniversary of the Arab Jordanian Hashimite Army.

There is no evidence that there are ghost soldiers in Jordan [1,23].

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel is not publicly available from the Ministry of Defence website or any other govenment platform or publication. Although the ministry does not consistently provide official numbers, there are numbers available from the annual Global Firepower ranking of military strength. The Kenya military features in this ranking, every year. However, the ranking does not include the number of civilian personnel in the Kenya Defence Forces. [1]

The goverment through the Inter-Governmental Steering Committee for the Capacity Assessment and Rationalization of the Public Service has in the past launched Biometric registration for the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) or popularly known as Huduma Namba for both civilian and non-civilian staff. [2] Although this process began in September 1, 2014 and was expected to end two months later on by October 31, 2014, still not all goverment officers had registered, prompting the governent to continuously issue calls for them to register.

Nevertheless, the Kenya Defence Forces alongside other security organs such as the National Police Service did launch the biometric registration process in April 16, 2019. [3] A statement released by the president on March 19, 2019 had indicated a successful completion of the process among police officers giving the total number of police personnel. [4]

However, the number of military personnel has never been made public. The lack of transparency recently manifested itself when media reports quoted an audit by PwC Associates LtD (Mauritius) that appeared to show payments of soldiers who had already left the mission. This resulted to a loss of million of dollars between 2016 and 2018. [5]

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not make publicly available the number of civilian and military personnel. The numbers currently openly available are from external sources such as International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). IISS provides through its annual publication, The Military Balance, the overall number of military personnel in a country, firepower, equipment and arms infrastructure and capabilities. Currently, IISS estimtes Kenya has an active force of 24,100, whereby the the Army has 20,000, while the Navy has 1,600, the Airforce has 2,500 and the Paramilitary has a force of 5,000. [1]

The number of reservists in the force is unknown. [2] For civilian personnel in MOD, data published by the Public Service Commission from an evaluation process conducted for the year 2018/2019 indicated that there were 2,737 staff currently ‘In-Post’ compared to an authorised capacity of 5,681 resulting to a negative variance of 2944 or negative or 51.8 per cent. [3]

There is not enough information to score this indicator. There is no known information about ghost soldiers in the Kenya Defence Forces. Neither does it publish officially a verifiable number of total personnel in its force. Nevertheless, according to Global Firepower, Kenya’s military is the strongest in East Africa and has a rating of PwrIndx* 1.5287 with a 0.0000 score considered as perfect. [1] The KDF’s good performance may explain the absence of ghost soldiers, which can be attributed to good leadership. However, considering the number of military personel has never been made public it is not possible to determine whether or not there are ghost soldiers.

Based on the Kosovo Government’s Regulation No. 07/2019 on Internal Organisation and Settlement of Job Positions in the Ministry of Development, the Sector for Salaries Compensations and Personnel Requests that operates within the Department on Personnel Policies and Recruitment is responsible for drafting annual plans regarding personnel numbers and salary costs [1]. The number of personnel is therefore updated on annual basis in the Ministry of Defence annual report [2], which is published by the Ministry of Defence on its website [3].

The Ministry of Defence publishes an Annual Report to make available the number of civilian and military personnel within the Ministry of Defence and the Kosovo Security Forces [1]. However, this data are not detailed or divided into brackets. Only gender representation is outlined [1].
This organisational structure of the Ministry of Defence is available on the websites of the Ministry of Defence [2] and the Government [3]. It contains a summarised table with superficial information on the civilian and military personnel under the management of the Minister and General Secretary of Defence, and the Commander of the Security Forces [2, 3].

Ghost soldiers have not been an issue for the Ministry of Defence or the Kosovo Security Forces [1]. According to a senior representative of the Kosovo Government, the Security Forces have not been faced with this issue of ghost soldiers in the last five years [1].

The number of military and civilian employees is not updated every year and it is not presented in a straightforward manner. The Government release a statistical, which used to come out once a year but has not come out since 2015, which includes the total number of all Government employees (1). The Finance Ministry, on the other hand, states the number of jobs in each ministry, but it does not say whether or not these jobs are full-time posts. That said, using these two figures, observers can produce a reliable estimate for the number of military and civilian personnel (2).

These numbers are generally accurate and considered to be reflective of reality as the Government has no real reason to lie here, activists say (1, 2 and 3).

The Defence Ministry and the bodies that monitor its work do not provide a number for the civilian and military personnel to the public. They provide a total figure to the Finance Ministry and other agencies that publish it, without distinction between military and civilian employees. This also applies to the police and the KNG (1-5).

The Kuwaiti military is small and almost all Kuwaiti officials openly acknowledge this, and it has always been inactive, even during the country’s invasion by Iraq in the 1990s, so ghost soldiers have never been an issue, officials and analysts say (1, 2, 3 and 4).

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel is transparent and constantly updated. The State Defence Concept (2016) outlines the approximate number of soldiers – 6,500 professional soldiers, 8,000 National guardsmen and 3,000 rerserve soldiers. [1] While the National Armed forces publishes the number of hired and retired militaries yearly online, [2] there is no concrete number (with precision down to one person) of active soldiers available online; this, however, does not give ground to question that the respective institutions have the information. [3]
The Ministry of Defence publishes concrete numbers of its employees online, and the contact information of the persons sitting in senior positions. [4]

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel is transparent and constantly updated. The State Defence Concept (2016) outlines the approximate number of soldiers – 6,500 professional soldiers, 8,000 National guardsmen and 3,000 rerserve soldiers. [1] While the National Armed forces publishes the number of hired and retired militaries yearly online, [2] there is no concrete number (with precision down to one person) of active soldiers available online; this, however, does not give ground to question that the respective institutions have the information. [3]
The Ministry of Defence publishes concrete numbers of its employees online, and the contact information of the persons sitting in senior positions. [4]

There have been no public reports on ghost soldiers in the last five years (except the frequency of show-up and the level of training of members of National Guard [1]) and the State Audit Office completely outrules the existence of such soldiers (it has constant live access to the accounting system of the Ministry of Defence). [2]

Numbers of civilian and military personnel at the Ministry of Defence and in the LAF are not accurate as they vary in different sources. The figures on the website are an estimation of the approximate number of active military personnel. The Ministry of Defence does not offer figures for the total number of active military personnel (1). Global Firepower has an estimate of 75,000 (2) while IISS reported 60,000 in 2017 (3). During a panel discussion at Carnegie Middle East Center’s second annual conference in December 2017, the PM stated that the LAF has 82,000 military personnel (4).

The LAF does not publish official figures on the number of civilian and military personnel (1).

There is no evidence of ghost soldiers being a problem within the LAF. A source denied knowledge of any previous incidents with ghost soldiers (1). The metrics of manpower in Lebanon are a recurring topic of discussion within the LAF Command. According to senior LAF officers – both active and retired – this has not been a challenge the LAF and Lebanon have had to deal with (2).

The Ministry of Defence publishes the number of civilian and military personnel on a yearly rather than quarterly basis since 2005 [1]. However, the last time this list was updated was April 2018. In addition, the structure of armed forces and a total threshold limit of troops can be found on the military’s website. The information provided dates back to 2015 [2]. According to the government reviewer, every year the threshold of civilian and military personnel is determined by law and is reviewed twice a year.

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel is publicly available on the website of the Ministry of Defence [1]. It is broken down by rank as well [2].

Based on media coverage, desk research and confidential interviews, the military does not seem to have ghost soldiers [1,2,3,4,5].

The number of civilian personnel is reported (in pages 89 and 139) in the annual Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) report, but the number of military personnel is omitted. [1] A senior MINDEF official disclosed that the general figure that MINDEF uses in estimates is 80,000 in the military, 15,000 each in the navy and airforce, and 13,000 civilian personnel. [2]

The number of civilian personnel is reported in the annual Ministry of Defence report, but the number of military personnel is omitted. These numbers are also not disclosed on the armed forces websites. Although there are many public websites that provide numbers for Malaysian military personnel, [1] [2] these numbers are only estimates and cannot be verified as they have not been confirmed by the Ministry of Defence. A senior MINDEF official disclosed that the general figure that MINDEF uses in estimates would be 80,000 in the military, 15,000 each in the navy and airforce, and 13,000 civilian personnel. [3] It is not a secret and the individual interviewed is unaware why the numbers have been omitted from official reports.

There is no eivdence of the military facing the problem of ghost soldiers in the last five years. [1]

The lack of transparency and the disorder within the security forces mean that the Malian authorities are not even sure of the exact number of security personnel employed by the state. In 2016, Albrecht Conze, head of the EUCAP Sahel/Mali mission, told Malian journalists that no Malian officials had been able to provide him or his organisation with reliable data relating to how many people are employed in the police, the gendarmerie or the national guard.² The precise number of people employed in the security forces is still unknown as of June 2018.⁸ In 2017, a RAND report commented that “personnel services, such as human resources and financial management, are also areas of particular difficulty for the FAMa: There is no accurate total of the number of service members in the FAMa, creating a serious problem of “ghost soldiers”, or soldiers who are on the personnel rolls but are not showing up for duty”.⁷
According to estimates from a 2013 report by the French Senate, the Malian army is composed of fewer than 7,000 men. 90% of those soldiers are from the southern part of the country, limiting its ability to fight in the north. The Air Force has 1,000 soldiers as well as 4 helicopters (MI24), 3 MIG21s (essentially useless) and 15 other planes (troop transport aircraft, reconnaissance plane).³ The National Guard consists of 3,500 troops; among them, 2,000 are from the southern part of the country.³ Troops established in the north are mainly northerners (Tuareg and Arab populations).³ Another estimate of the size of the armed forces pre-crisis puts the number of security personnel, including government-supporting paramilitaries, at above 20,000.⁶ For context, the 2006 SIPRI study provides the following estimates: “The total size of the armed forces is about 7,350, including 400 personnel in the air force and 50 navy personnel. The security forces total 4,800, including 1,800 gendarmes and 2,000 republican guards”.⁴ The army announced in May 2017 that it would recruit an additional 5,000 personnel during the course of 2017, as part of the wider military reform (LOPM).⁵
By contrast, the number of civilian personnel working for the Malian state is officially known and appears to be updated every year. For instance, in September 2017, the government declared that there were 41,911 active civil servants, of which 14,758 were female.¹ The government provided a further breakdown of the figure, showing that there were:
– 15,707 Category A employees, 48% of the total
– 13,102 Category B2 employees, 26% of the total
– 6,348 Category B1 employees, 15% of the total
– 6,754 Category C employees, 11% of the total¹
However, it is not clear whether these numbers include civilian personnel working within the Ministry of Defence or other security-focused organisations.

The Ministry of Defence and the Malian armed forces are not in a position to release credible data on the number of personnel in their ranks because they themselves do not have it (see 38A). The only publicly available data are estimates from third-party organisations such as the French Senate. In 2017, a RAND report commented that “personnel services, such as human resources and financial management, are also areas of particular difficulty for the FAMa: There is no accurate total of the number of service members in the FAMa, creating a serious problem of “ghost soldiers”, or soldiers who are on the personnel rolls but are not showing up for duty”.3 A defence attaché at a foreign embassy in Bamako said that the introduction of an electronic payments system would reveal how many soldiers each commander has under their authority.⁹ This would curb the opportunities for commanders to pocket the salaries of non-existent, deceased or retired soldiers and thus explains why many leaders within the armed forces do not embrace the idea of an electronic system.4
The army announced in May 2017 that it would recruit an additional 5,000 personnel during the course of 2017. This is part of the wider military reform (LOPM), which intends to recruit 10,000 personnel between 2015 and 2019.2 That same month, the army’s director of public relations made an announcement that indicates a nascent and promising move towards transparency in the defence sector. He revealed that the armed forces had received 60,136 applications to serve in the military and provided a regional breakdown: Gao: 2,018; Koulikoro: 10,685; Mopti: 2,860; Ségou: 4,807; Sikasso: 7,656; Kayes: 2,617; Bamako: 3,706 and Tombouctou: 131.1

The assessor found strong evidence that ghost soldiers have been a problem for the armed forces during the past five years. Given that there is no accurate record of the number of people in the armed forces, it is unclear how the authorities are able to ascertain the extent of the problem. 1
In 2017, the government called for judicial investigations after an internal review found that there were about 13,000 fictional employees on the state’s payroll.3 The minister of justice requested that the public prosecutor launch an inquiry into the diversion of bonuses and salary payments of dead soldiers.3 The embezzlement of public funds was estimated to have cost the state 30 billion CFA per year.3
A defence attaché at a foreign embassy in Bamako said that the introduction of an electronic payments system would reveal how many soldiers each commander has under their authority.4 This would curb the opportunities for commanders to pocket the salaries of non-existent, deceased or retired soldiers and thus explains why many leaders within the armed forces do not embrace the idea of an electronic system.4
In 2017, a RAND report commented that “personnel services, such as human resources and financial management, are also areas of particular difficulty for the FAMa: There is no accurate total of the number of service members in the FAMa, creating a serious problem of “ghost soldiers”, or soldiers who are on the personnel rolls but are not showing up for duty”.2

There is considerable uncertainty about the accuracy of the figures on the number of members of civilian and military personnel in Mexico.

Although SEDENA does not publish official figures, it is possible to deduce the approximate number of civil and military members. For example, the 2019 SHCP Federation Expenditure Budget indicates that the armed forces comprise 279,010 assets (215,243 from SEDENA: 183,562 Army; 30,595 Air Force; 135 civilians; 951 Institute of Social Security for the Mexican Armed Forces; 66,505 from SEMAR: 64,853 military personnel; 1,652 civilians). [1] Global FirePower list indicates that the total number of military personnel is 358,500. [2] The World Bank, for its part, indicates that the total personnel of the armed forces in Mexico is 336,050. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

SEDENA does not make the number of civilian and military personnel available to the public. Although the transparency regulations state that the agencies must publish the directory of all Public Servants, [1] when reviewing the National Transparency Platform, there is insufficient information on the number of civilian and military personnel. [2]

Desk research of media outlets and academic publications did not reveal any relevant information on Ghost Soldiers.

The number of civilian and military personnel is published in the annual reports of the Ministry of Defence. [1] However, statistical information about number of employees provided by the Ministry is not accurate, because it does not include some civilian personnel employed through short-term contracts. [2]

According to the MoD reviewer, the number of civilian and military personnel is updated on a monthly basis. There are electronic databases established separately for the employees of the Ministry of Defence and military personnel in MNE Armed Forces. Instructions for data entry, control and processing in the Central Personnel Registry (Att.nr 22) which regulates the procedure and actions in the process of data entry, control and corrections, in the  Article 16 – Data update and deadlines prescribes: “The legal administrator, independently or in cooperation with the control administrator, is obliged to collect data for the new employee and, within 8 days from the day of taking office or employment, process the data in database. Legal administrator, independently or in in cooperation with the control administrator, is obliged to enter any change in the personnel file, personnel service or personnel department and update the data in the database within 8 days.”
Central Personnel Registry of MoD Montenegro and Central Personnel Registry of Armed Forces of Montenegro are updated as follows:
–      On a daily basis: every change in relation to the previous day (change of personal data) as well as changes related to decisions on appointment, decisions on incomes, decisions on promotion, decisions on termination of service, decisions on dismissal, decisions on changing the category of persons etc.
–      On a daily basis: data from the database in order to issue certificates of employment and length of service
–      On a monthly basis: data from the database to create monthly reports
–      At the annual level: data from the database to create an annual report.
This information could not be verified.

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel in defence is publicly available in the annual reports of the Ministry of Defence. [1] Information is somewhat aggregated: at the and of 2018, the total number of employees was 1771, including 237 officers, 719 non-commissioned officers, 552 solders and 263 civilians. [1]

According to the MoD reviewer, these data are also published in the Strategic Defence Review of Montenegro which is a publicly available document.

Some sources believe that ghost solders used to be an issue in the past, but now it is rather the case with civilian personnel, who are employed on the basis of temporary contracts. [1] However, main media outlets reported no such practices in last 5 years. [2][3][4][5][6]

Due to the absence of a Ministry of Defence in its own right and to the secrecy surrounding the Moroccan armed forces, figures are not made directly available to the public by Moroccan authorities (1).

However, they are available indirectly through publications such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) Military Balance. These figures are updated once a year (2).

The score selected is due to the frequency of the update, and the absence of sources other than the Military Balance.

Due to the absence of a Ministry of Defence in its own right and to the secrecy surrounding the Moroccan armed forces, figures are not made directly available to the public by Moroccan authorities (1).

However, they are available indirectly through publications such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)’s Military Balance. These figures are disaggregated by role bracket (2).

Due to the level of disaggregation, the fact that the Ministry of Defence does not make these figures directly available and the absence of sources other than the Military Balance, the selected score applies.

No evidence of ghost soldiers over the past 5 years was found in the foreign or the local press(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9).
No evidence of ghost soldiers over the past 5 years was found in NGO reports (10)(11)(12).
Interviewees argued that the lack of overview of military personnel figures represents a risk of ghost soldiers, although they did not provide proof of actual ghost soldiers (13)(14).

The official number of military personnel is not posted on either the Ministry of Defence website or the website of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing [1,2]. According to an interview with a retired senior official, there is a rule under which the number of civil personnel (low-level staff in the Audit Department and the Department of Procurement) and military personnel must be collected as a daily roll call. There is no guarantee that every department follows this rule strictly. So there is uncertainty regarding accuracy [3].

Official information about the number of military personnel in the army is not publicly available. The Ministry of Defence does not publicly provide any information about the official number of personnel; questions have been raised regarding the number of personnel [1].

The assessor was not able to access any verified information about ghost soldiers in Myanmar’s army; however, questions have been raised regarding the number of personnel [1].

The number of civilian and military personnel is published in personnel reports that are delivered to Parliament and uploaded online every six months (an annual report and a mid-year report) [1,2]. The methodology used to quantify defence personnel in the report is in accordance with the standard of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) [1]. The score reflects the frequency of the personnel updates.

Personnel reports are published online by the Ministry of Defence [1,2]. Personnel numbers are disaggregated on multiple levels, including by gender, service type (military, civil or reserve) and rank bracket [1].

There is no indication or reports of ghost soldiers in the past 5 years. The last found record of ghost soldiers was in 2009, when there were less soldiers in an anti-explosives unit than there had been said to be on paper [1]. It is unclear whether this problem still exists. Usually rather than enlisting non-existent soldiers in order to make it appear as if the military is operation-ready, it is currently practice to e.g. combine two units with, say, 40% vacancies, so that together they form one complete unit on paper.[2]

Personnel numbers are published within every Annual Report, and may be broken down into civilians, service regulars, and reserves [1]. Numbers are also published online though their frequency is unverified [2]. Numbers of civilian and military personnel are available via the payroll data. In response to questions by the FADTC, the Defence Force stressed that continual monitoring of personnel numbers is maintained and actively managed due to the attrition rate [3]. For accounting purposes, numbers must be updated every pay-cycle (as is standard practice). Pay cycles in New Zealand are usually paid on a regular day each week, fortnight or month. [4]

The number of civilian and military personnel employed by the NZDF and the Ministry of Defence are published annually in their respective Annual Reports [1, 2]. Disaggregation by rank brackets is not shown. However, other data such gender, ethnicity, age, time in service etc. are published by The Public Service Commission.[3].

Over the course of the assessor’s work, research, and through the sources, examined, interviewed, and consulted for this assessment, no examples of ghost soldiers could be found, nor any indication that this practice may exist.

Currently, the armed forces comprises of approximately 20,000 personnel and 7,000 Gendarmerie Nationale. However, an exact number is not publicly available. The number of civilian and military personnel is regularly updated, at least once a year, to establish recruitment provisions for the coming year (1). However, for 2018, the Assessor could not find exact numbers for FAN, Gendarmerie Nationale or Garde Nationale on official websites. In 2011, for comparison, the FAN comprised of approximately 12,000 personnel, the Gendarmerie Nationale included around 5,400 personnel, and the Garde Nationale was estimated to have 8,500 personnel (2). This type of information is often available through third parties such as DCAF, ICG or Global Firepower reports. However, there are no regularly updated figures available from official sources, such as the Ministry of Defence. This may be due to government capacity constraints, rather than national security concerns.

Limited information on the number of civilian and military personnel is made publicly available by the Ministry of Defence. However, the figures detailed here were obtained during official interviews (1). The Assessor did not manage to find other recent information regarding the number of military and civil personnel. For 2018, for instance, the Assessor could not find figures for FAN, Gendarmerie Nationale, or Garde Nationale on official websites. 

Over the last three years, military and local media investigations have revealed no issues connected to ghost soldiers (1). Given the relatively small size of the army, a large-scale problem of this nature does not seem likely. However, there is a possibility that ghost soldiers could exist as a result of administrative constraints rather than corruption within the FAN. If this is the case, their numbers are likely to be very small.

The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is an Information Communications Technology (ICT) project initiated by the Nigerian government to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of payroll administration for its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) (1). This has been an attempt to get all MDAs into a computerized payroll system. The government intends to bring the payroll of the military within the IPPIS. September 2017 was the deadline to fully bring the payroll of the military into the IPPIS (2). This drive by the government suggests that there are around 200,000 military personnel in the armed forces. This process will involve a verification process which should weed out ghost soldiers and establish a more accurate figure for serving personnel, but the problem of ghost workers is still an issue. Many MDAs have been integrated into the payroll system, including the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the immigration, prison and the military (2). However, not all MDAs are part of the system. A lack of infrastructure and inaccurate information being supplied by civil servants are a part of the challenges facing the policy.

The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is currently ongoing. The payroll system has identified several ghost soldiers. There are figures for the total number of armed forces personnel at 200,000 (1). However, this figure is likely to be revised following the verification process before the transfer to the integrated payroll system (2). Again, not all MDAs are part of the system. A lack of infrastructure and inaccurate information being supplied by civil servants are part of the challenges facing the policy (3).

There have been credible reports over the last five years of a large number of ghost soldiers (1), (2). The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is currently computerizing the payroll system, which has identified several ghost soldiers. This will involve a verification process which should eliminate ghost soldiers, and establish a more accurate figure for serving personnel. But the problem of ghost workers is still an issue, and not all MDAs are part of the system. A lack of infrastructure and inaccurate information being supplied by civil servants are parts of the challenges facing the policy (3), (4).

The number of civilian and military personnel is stated in the White Paper on Defence [1]. The figures highlight the number, rank, gender and ethnicity of staff over the period 2006-2012. In the 2016 Annual Report of Employees in the Public Sector, the number of personnel in the Ministry of Defence (including the Army of the North Macedonia), was divided up between Ministry of Defence staff, civil servants and army staff [2]. The June 2018 Strategic Defence Review states that the current staffing of the Army (with 6811 employees) will remain around 6,800 active personnel until 2028. The Review also notes that number of Ministry of Defence personnel will be reduced from around 1,000 to between 650-700 by 2028, and this number will include a mixture of civilian and military employees [3].

The White Book of Defence [1] is available on the official web page of the MoD. The Annual Report on the Registry of Employees in the Public Sector [2] is posted on the official web page of the Ministry of Information, Society & Administration, and is updated annually, according to the Law on Employees in the Public Sector. Information on the number of civilian and military personnel, therefore, is made available publicly and is disaggregated by rank bracket.
Also the SDR provides the current and the projected manning of the ARM and the administrative servants.

There are no media or other reports (including official audits) which note the issue of ghost soldiers in the Army.

The number of civilian and military personnel is updated annually on the Armed Forces website [1]. More detailed information is published in an annual report, with the latest report covering 2019 [2]. These figures are considered to be accurately verified by the Armed Forces. [3]

The publicly available information on the number of civilian and military personnel is disaggregated by gender and age. It also includes separate numbers of military and civilian personnel for all the military branches and agencies (with the exception of the Norwegian Intelligence Service). This information is not disaggregated by rank [1, 2].

An online search of media outlets for mentions of any ghost soldier issue in Norway found no indication that the Norwegian Armed Forces have had problems with ghost soldiers. Neither does the latest report on the defence sector of the Office of the Auditor General of Norway mention any such problems [1].

The number of civilian and military personnel is not known and is not officially collected. Military personnel is estimated at 61,800, with 57,300 active and 4,500 on reserve (1). No statistics were found indicating the distribution of civilian and military personnel on government or international websites regarding Oman (2), (3), (4). Neither was statistical information regarding the distribution of military and civilian defence personnel found on international websites containing information about Oman such as the CIA or Stockholm International Peace Research Institute websites (5), (6). According to a senior Omani army officer, the number of personnel usually varies from year to year and therefore is inaccurate (7), (8).

According to a senior military officer within the Omani army, the number of personnel is published in the military magazine, Jound, which is publicly available (1). However, this source argues that these numbers are not certain as they usually vary from one year to another, and therefore we can not give an accurate number (2), (3).

There has not been any case of ghost soldiers in the last ten years in the sultan’s Omani army (1), (2).

The number of civilian and military personnel is updated every few years, and therefore, the numbers are not accurate. However, the number could be vague and does not reflect reality (1), (2).

Aggregated or summarised information on the number of civilian and military personnel is made available publicly by the MoF, and the prime minister’s office (1). These numbers are part of the annual budget, which is usually available. According to Alaa Altartir, reports that provide information about the personnel and their numbers and categories are not available (2).

Following the 2005 institutionalization of bank-accounts for every soldier and employee within the PA, issues with ghost soldiers have disappeared (1), (2), (3).

The summary of the number of civilian and military personnel is updated annually on the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) website [1]. The numbers are believed to be accurate as they are monitored closely by the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, which feeds the information to the Defence Secretary [2].

Summarised information on the number of civilian and military personnel is available publicly on the DBM website [1]. This information is not availabe on the Defence Department website.

In its 2015 Audit Report, the COA reported that the Philipppine Army paid the salaries and wages of 297 personnel who were not included in the masterlist maintained by the Plans and Research Branch’s Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel. Of the 297, at least 37 were confirmed to be retired, deceased or discharged from the service yet continued to be paid their salaries. [1,2]

Data on the actual number of soldiers are transferred quarterly to the central open data repository dane.gov.pl. They include number of proffesional soldiers, soldiers of territorial defence, men and women etc. [1].

No data on civilian personnel are transferred to the open data system. They are published in annual editions of Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland. [2]

Information on the size of the army is available both on the website of the Ministry of National Defence and in the media [1, 2]. However, it is not possible to find information disaggregated by rank.

The military has not a problem with ghost soldiers in the last five years. Personnel salaries and allowances are established, published and managed by the MoND’s Department for Human Resources, which is separate from the chain of command [1, 2].

The number of military personnel is published annually by the Minister of Defence [1] based on the Organic Law on National Defence [2] and the Armed Forces’ Military Personnel Statute [3]. There is widespread agreement on the accuracy of published numbers [4]. The Ministry of Defence does not disclose fully updated civilian personnel lists on its website. Quarterly statistical information is published by the Directorate-General of Public Administration and Employment [5], and semester updates include more detailed information [6].

Annual disclosures of military personnel are disaggregated by ranks [1]. Sub-units of the Ministry of Defence (DGDR, DGDP, IGND, MJP, NDI, SGMoD) do not publish updated civilian personnel statistics.

The armed forces are required to report human resources to the Directorate-General of Public Employment [1], and the reliability of such statistics has never been questioned.

Information available about the numbers of civilian and military personnel within the defence sector is not consistent. The Government does not make this information publicly available, and most of the numbers available in both Arabic and English are based on speculation rather than on reliable information. [1] For example, IISS states that there are 11,800 personnel within the armed forces; 8,500 in the army, 1,500 in the Air Force, and 1,800 in the navy. [2] There are, however, grave discrepancies between numbers, and inaccuracy in reporting due to the lack of official data. The number of civilian and military personnel is not accurately known or officially collected. The number is not accurate as there is nationalization and recruitment of foreigners (Yemeni) to serve in the armed forces, but they are not counted. [3,4]

There is no transparency relating to the number of civilians and military personnel. There are no official numbers available through the Government, and all matters concerning the defence sector are treated as confidential state secrets. [1] As previously explained, information about numbers is very inconsistent, and none of it has been obtained through official means. [2,3]

There have not been any ghost soldiers for the last 10 years at least [1,2].

According to Presidential Decree No. 1082 ‘On matters of the MoD’, the number of civilian and military personnel is proposed by the Minister of Defence and approved by the president [1]. Usually, the president approves the number in the annual decree [2], but the most recent one available is from November 2017, i.e. there was no such decree in 2018. The personnel inventory department of the MoD Main Personnel Directorate does not provide any updated statistics on its webpage [3].

However, according to military analysts, even these numbers defined by the president do not reflect the total number of staff [4].

Summarised information regarding the number of civilian and military personnel is publicly available in the presidential decrees. The most recent decree available, dated November 2017, mentions the following numbers: ‘1,902,758 people, including 1,013,628 military personnel’ [1]. That means the number of civillian personnel amounts to 889,130 people. No rank details are provided.

On the one hand, the Russian military has not been presented with the problem of ghost soldiers in the last five years – all soldiers are officially registered on paper/payroll [1].

On the other hand, there have been two cases of obscure recruitment of soldiers. In 2018, three ‘ghost’ civilians were seconded from a military academy to a private company [2]. A general was accused of taking their salaries [2]. In 2015, new recruits were pressed to sign incorrect service contracts and blank forms on contract termination [3]. However, it is not clear whether the goal was to falsify and increase statistics on the required number of service contracts or to steal the soldiers’ pay [3].

According to our sources, the strength of the Saudi army is unknown, even to soldiers and many senior officers. There is no public data available. However, senior sources suggest that the number is more than 220 thousand employees (1), (2).

According to our sources, there are no clear and accurate numbers of soldiers. Although one of the sources has access to the numbers of soldiers, they argue that there are other agencies that they do not have access to there numbers, such as the royal guards (1), (2). There have been many estimations regarding the number of military and civilian personnel in Saudi Arabia; however, these are not recent. For example, GlobalSecurity.org estimated that in 2015, Saudi Arabia had 227,000 active-duty personnel, including 75,000 in the army; 20,000 in the air force; 16,000 for air defence; and 15,500 in the navy. It also estimated 100,000 personnel in the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) (3). As mentioned above, these numbers are neither official nor recent. The website of Saudi Arabian Military Industries, a military industry company formed in May 2017, states that the organization aims to create 40,000 direct jobs in the industry by 2030, though no further details are mentioned about the nature of these positions (4).

According to our sources, ghost soldiers are not a serious issue within the MoD in general, but they have been in the past (before 2010). With the current financial and payroll system, the ghost soldiers issue has ended. However, there is still no information about other agencies under the direct supervision of the royal palace and internal security (1), (2). Several allegations surrounding the use of ghost soldiers in the military have been reported on in the media and by government sources recently. Notably, in November 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrested the commander of the SANG, Miteb bin Abdullah, in a wide-ranging anti-corruption purge. Charges against Miteb included awarding fake defence contracts to his firms, and hiring ghost employees. Miteb later paid a USD 1 billion settlement relating to these charges (3). Ghost employees are known to be an issue in Saudi ministries and government departments (4). Mohammed bin Salman has identified tackling corruption and rooting out inefficiencies in government and bureaucracy as one of the main cornerstones of his Vision 2030 reform program (5), (6).

Since the number of civilian and military personnel is confidential in Serbia, the score on accuracy and frequency of updating this information cannot be given.

A bylaw which regulates the number of MoD and SAF members is confidential [1]. The media occasionally publish estimations; estimates range from 28,000 to 40,000 military personnel [2, 3].

There is no evidence or reports in the media on the existence of ghost soldiers in the preceding period. No cases, were found on the official webpage of the Military Security Agency either [1].

The number of permanent civilian and military personnel is not public although some insights can be gained from parliamentary debates [1] and large-scale activities that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) regularly conducts [2]. However, one can assume that personnel numbers are regularly updated internally, given the sophistication of the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and SAF operations, training, and human resource processes [3]. There is a high degree of certainty that staffing is regularly tracked, although this information has never been disclosed due to operational security concerns.

Information on the number of civilian and military personnel is not released to the public by the MINDEF, although the annual government budget published by the Ministry of Finance provides aggregated figures for civilian personnel. However, military personnel strength remains classified [1].

There is no evidence of concern about ghost soldiers within the past five years. Regular and extensive audits of military units suggest that personnel numbers are scutinised to ensure that there are no irregularities [1].

The full force number, including civilians, is made available annually via the Department of Defence’s (DoD) Annual Report. This number is accurate and updated [1].

This information is made available by both the DoD in its Annual Report and in the Defence Force Service Commission (DFSC) Ranks and Salaries scale, which is available on request and open to publishing to the public. This is disaggregated by rank [1].

There is no evidence in the past five years of ghost soldiers existing within the South African National Defence Force [1].

The Ministry of National Defence (MND) publishes the total number of troops, disaggregated by Army, Navy and Air Force through the Defence White Paper, which is a biennial report. [1] [2] The Defence Statistic Annual Report discloses the number of personnel working at the MND. [3] However, the accurate number of civilian and military personnel is not fully disclosed, and it is not available online to the general public for security reasons. A congressional aide at the National Assembly who requested the information on the number of civilian and military personnel from the MND said that “the MND can release the data when there is a request from the National Assembly”. [4] The Act on Establishment of Infrastructure for Informatisation of National Defence and Management of International Resources for National Defence allows the discretion of the defence institutions in deciding whether to disclose information relating to defence issues, including the number of civilian and military personnel. [5]

The information regarding the number of troops is publicly available on the Ministry of National Defence’s website. [1] [2] As mentioned above, the exact number of civilian and military personnel is not available publicly. [3]

There is no evidence of ghost soldiers in the South Korean military system. As South Korean military personnel is managed by the Military personnel Management Act, which includes strict eligibility and criteria for military personnel, the risk of ghost soldiers is very low. [1] In addition, the Directive on Establishment and Operation of Information System for Defence Personnel states that information regarding military personnel should be recorded electronically, which makes their occurrence unlikely. [2]

In general, the exact size of the government workforce, including in the military, is unknown due to the proliferation of “ghost workers” on the payroll. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Defence estimates that there are 185,000 troops in the army. [1] The IMF, in its Chapter IV consultation with the government in 2019, advised that “the authorities are encouraged to implement previous “low-hanging fruit” actions, recommended by IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, that would provide immediate impact. These include, (i) removing ghost workers from the payroll.” [2] This indicates that the problem has been persistant for years.

The problem is more acute in the military where thousands of ghost workers dominate the payroll, an issue newly appointed Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. JJ Okot, acknowledged in his first ever media interview on May 18, 2020, when he said the following: “Let us be reformed, let us transform this army. When there’s issue to do with accountability, the food that goes to the army will go to the army, the salaries that come to the army will go to the army. The issue of ghost name will go” (sic). [3]

The Ministry of Defence says that there are 185,000 troops in the army as of 2018. [1] There has been no word on the number of civilian employees of the Ministry though.

The presence of ghost soldiers on the payroll has been a persistent issue in the last five years, with top-level officials acknowledging its existence. Daniel Awet Akot, a presidential adviser on military affairs, noted in May 2016 that the problem persisted because of lack of proper registration of soldiers. He added that “Ghost names are more than the army itself.” [1] Newly appointed Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. J.J. Okot, acknowledged in his first ever media interview on May 18, 2020, that the problem has persisted for a while now. [2] The IMF last year also advised South Sudan to deal with the problem, noting that it was a “low-hanging fruit” that was previously the subject of discussion between the Fund and South Sudan. [3]

According to the Ministry of Defence, the source of reference for the number of civilian and military personnel are the official yearbooks published by the Ministry of Defence on their website. They include career military personnel [1], complement military personnel and reservists [2], civilian public workers at the service of the military administration [3], and other civilian workers at the service of the military administration [4], among others. The Ministry of Defence stated in March 2021 that “these statistics are published annually, in accordance with the Defence Statistical Plan, approved by Ministerial Order 65/2016 of November 29. The annual nature of these statistics is determined by the 2017-2020 National Statistical Plan, approved by Royal Decree 410/2016, of October 31” [5]. It is unknown whether there are more frequent update mechanisms that are not public. There probably are not [6]. The annual report is published with a certain delay (figures for 2019 were published in September 2020). Figures published appear not to be independently verified [6], but there is no reason to question the numbers, they are correct. The report refers to formal military personnel, which are public workers and figures are expected to be correct.

Statistics are made public in a disaggregated manner, identifying sector (armed forces, air forces, navy, common personnel, and guardia civil), detailing civil personnel and the labour situation (active, reserve, special services, leave, penalised), as well as aggregated data by sex, age, and rank. A yearbook including all statistics is published every year [1]. The last yearbook available at the time of research (2018, with data up to 31 December 2018, published on 27 May 2019) is 300 pages long, published by the general technical secretary of the Ministry of Defence. Apart from the mentioned yearbook, there are a significant number of defence-related publications which may offer complementary data [2].

“Ghost soldiers,” or non-existent soldiers on the payroll, is very unlikely in the Spanish military. Payment rates and allowances are generally published on different sites, and statistics are clear and disaggregated. No evidence was found on ghost soldiers in Spain. This phenomenon could have happened somehow many years ago when conscription in Spain was mandatory, and it was used to get additional income in the form of maintenance costs or food allowance (not in salaries) [1]. But this is very unlikely today, with no mandatory conscription and with higher levels of administrative control.

A 2020 report published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies notes that both Sudan’s current Constitution and the Juba Peace Agreement ‘narrowly define security to include only those in uniform’ [1]. Because tens of thousands of soldiers are on the private payrolls of the RSF and other smaller elements, even the government of Sudan – including the Ministry of Defence – almost certainly does not know the true number of military personnel in Sudan’s security forces. The Africa Center report estimates that 277,000 uniformed personnel are employed by Sudan’s military forces, not including ‘various affiliated armed groups’, an as yet undetermined number of which must be integrated into the security sector; the report reads: ‘Absent from this process is an overarching vision or strategic guidance on the size, structure, capabilities and objectives of this new security sector’ [1]. Meanwhile, an expert on Sudan’s defence sector said during an interview that it is ‘well known’ that the army has inflated the number of soldiers on its payroll by more than 200% [2]. He said that the Ministry of Finance has been trying to find ways to track actual costs and needs, including the introduction of a unique electronic receipt attached to each unique individual, but the Ministry of Interior (MOI) protested – which implies that increasing transparency is perceived as a threat to hidden schemes that benefit MOI leadership.

One factor that significantly complicates the tabulation of military personnel is that many of these forces have been fighting on behalf of the UAE and/or Saudi Arabia in Yemen and Libya and on behalf of other parties in the Central African Republic and Chad. For example, in July 2019, the BBC reported that ‘with 70,000 men and more than 10,000 armed pick-up trucks, the RSF became Sudan’s de facto infantry, the one force capable of controlling the streets of the capital, Khartoum and other cities’ [3]. Meanwhile, in 2017, when the RSF was formally announced to be ‘integrated’ into Sudan’s military, an Enough Project report by Suliman Baldo stated that the RSF claimed that it only had 30,000 fighters, a number that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said could not be verified [4]. Roughly 15,000 RSF soldiers had been deployed in Yemen until Sudan’s Prime Minister announced a draw-down to 5,000 in December 2019 [5], and it is not clear whether these 15,000 are included in the RSF’s 2017 headcount of 30,000.

No officially reported cumulative number of civilian and military personnel could be found via an internet search, which included a review of the Ministry of Defence website [1] as well as other internet sources that might reasonably be expected to publish references to any government releases or speeches on the topic (e.g. remarks made by defence officials). An expert on Sudan’s defence sector said during an interview that it is ‘well known’ that the army has inflated the number of soldiers on its payroll by more than 200% [2].

There is Not Enough Information to score this indicator. Since there is no reliable information about the number of soldiers in Sudan’s militarised forces, it is impossible to determine the extent to which ghost soldiers exist and are an issue for Sudan’s military and the many affiliated militarised groups. An internet search of ‘ghost soldiers’ and ‘Sudan’ and ‘South Sudan’ yielded no articles or research papers that offered relevant information. The lack of transparency and high rate of corruption in Sudan, including and especially in its defence and security sectors, likely leaves the door open for ghost soldiers to easily appear in payrolls for non-entitled persons to benefit. An expert on Sudan’s defence sector said during an interview that it is ‘well known’ that the army has inflated the number of soldiers on its payroll by more than 200% [1]. The extent to which these are dead soldiers who remain on payroll or simply fabricated personas – or some other machination – is unknown.

The number of civilian and military personnel is published annually in the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) annual reports, in Annex 1 covering personnel statistics [1] [2] [3] [4]. The number that is published is detailed, and includes information on demographics such as gender, age, and number of professional and reserve officers, new recruits, and civil servants. The National Audit Office reviews all annual reports to verify personnel statistics (see Q1C).

The numbers on civilian and military personnel that are made available in the SAF annual reports [1] [2] [3] [4] are disaggregated by rank bracket.

No evidence can be found that the SAF has been presented with the problem of ghost soldiers in the last five years. However, the Swedish National Audit Office (NAO) has regularly pointed out weaknesses in the payment system which suggests that the phenomenon could possibly emerge in the future [1] (see also Q40).

The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) publishes a yearly average of personnel on their website. However, they do not distinguish between military and civilian employees. They do offer breakdown though: General Secretariat, Intelligence Service, the Swiss Armed Forces, Armament and less for this index less relevant departments like sport or topography [1]. More precise numbers might be collected and available on request. It is possible to make cross estimates as the Federal Finance Administration publishes Switzerland’s financial statements with more detailed numbers on personnel cost [2].

Switzerland has a conscription army. The number of professional military soldiers are relatively small. No precise up-to-date numbers for professional troops are easily available. The only disaggregated number available is in the answer to an interpellation in the Swiss Federal Assembly in 2009 and was given at 2946 [1] (for comparison: At the time the total number of troops for the Swiss Army was set at 220000 [2]). The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) publishes, on its website, yearly numbers for the last years for full-time positions in the army, but it is not clear how many of those are civilian (2016: 9,386; 2017: 9,163; 2018: 8,828; 2019: 9,120) as well as the totals for the DDPS. As this includes sports and surveyors it is not clear how much of the numbers are the military [3]. Disaggregated numbers for the total employees, target numbers and development are made available in regular reports (2015, 2016, 2019) [4]. There is also an annual report (“Armeeauszählung” [“Mliitary Census”]) on the military members of which a summary is publicly available [5].

There are no reports in the media or otherwise of ghost soliders. This is unlikely to be a relevant phenomenon in Switzerland [1].

The Ministry of National Defence indirectly discloses the number of personnel; within the section on the personnel maintaining budget in the annual defence budget book [1, 2, 3,]. These figures are acquired on the basis of annual estimates [1].

These indirect figures in summarised information are made public for further analysis and assessment by the Ministry of National Defence [1]. Summarised information with partially disaggregated numbers of civilian and military personnel by rank is made available publicly by the MND.

Taiwan’s armed forces has not been presented with the problem of ghost soldiers in the last five years according the annual budgets released by the MND [1, 2]. No media coverage or report has been identified for ghost solders in Taiwan’s armed forces.

The number of civilians in the Ministry of defense is well known as it is usually available under the Human Resource Section in the Ministry responsible for Defence. [1] However, the specific number of military personnel is not officially known, perhaps for security reasons. It was also not possible to verify the officer’s claim that this number was indeed known internally and it is not clear from public information how frequently this data is updated.

The number of millitary personnel is kept confidential for security purposes. [1] Transparent data on the number of civilians in the defence sector is not released.

The issue of ghost personnel has been found in different institutions after an operation led by the government. [1] However, there is no evidence to show that the problem is systematic in the defence sector, though on August 7, 2016, the Millitary burser Frank Charles Msaki was suspended from work by the Ministry of home affairs for having paid ghost millitary officers food allowance and taking the money himself instead. [2] [3]

In 1991, by the cabinet’s resolution, the Ministry of Finance, introduced the central provident fund system, which led to the establishment of the Government Pension Fund under the Government Pension Fund Act B.E. 2539 (1996). Membership was voluntary for officials who entered the government service before the the act came into effect in 1997 however, for those who joined the official service afterwards, membership of the fund is mandatory [2]. This is, therefore, an informal mechanism for recording government employees. Any conclusion drawn from the provident fund appears questionable. The Central Provident Fund website provides information about its members, including the number of members. In May 2020, there were 182,630 military personnel out of 1,108,475 governmental personnel in total. This information is updated monthly [1]. Beyond the Central Provident Fund, it must be noted that there is no accurate information on the number of civilian and military personnel made publicly available by the Ministry of Defence. According to Surachart Bamroongsuk, a Thai military expert, the Thai Army consisted of 360,850 officers in 2017, including 245,000 soldiers, 69,850 navy officers, and 46,000 air force officers [2]. The Military Balance 2020, International Institute for Strategic Studies, also provides the figure of 360,850 [3]. These figures are similar to the statistics provided by Paul Chamber, another expert in the field of Thai military in 2015, during which year Thailand had 306,000 in-service military officers and 245,000 reservists [4].

No accurate information on the number of civilian and military personnel is actually made publicly available by the Ministry of Defence. Nonetheless, there is book entitled ‘Public Workforce in the Civilian Sector 2017’, which covers the statistics of the workforce in each ministry except the MoD [1]. The only official source available to check the estimated number of civilian and military personnel is the Central Provident Fund website, but the website does not claim that it collects the statistics of civilian and military personnel, but rather those of its members [2]. However, no accurate information on the number of civilian and military personnel is available since there is conflicting information provided by the Central Provident Fund and military experts such as Surachart Bamroongsuk and Paul Chamber [3,4].

In Thailand, ghost soldiers are mainly evident in two scenarios. First, some soldiers decide to pay or give their salaries to their commanders in order to go home during the service period. According to Isranews Agency, some soldiers may ‘buy escapes’ during their service period, in which case their names are blacklisted and their salaries are not be allocated to their bank accounts but to their commanders’ [1]. Second, some may work as house servants at high-ranking officers’ homes instead of receiving training [2]. These events are believed to be caused by the conditions faced by recruits and in-service military officers, which include high exposure to physical assault, sexual abuse and verbal humiliation [3]. Interestingly, another problem that is parallel to ghost soldier issues in Thailand is the number of retired generals still living in army-owned residences that are taxpayer-funded. While low-ranking soldiers try to avoid staying in the camp, retired generals continue to live in public-funded housing and enjoy their luxurious lives there [4].

According to our sources, there is not an accurate figure on the number of the civilian and military employees. Sometimes unofficial reports (from the Governmnet) mention these figures, but they are merely speculations without credible sources. (1,2,3). The website of the Ministry of Defence does not mention the number of civilian and military personnel (4). However, the 2018 Budget of the Ministry of Defence provides information regarding the number of civilian personnel, the number of personnel who received a promotion, and the number of new hires (5). Reports also provide information about the number of military personnel (6).

According to our sources, there is a formal announcement of abstract figures on the number of specific items such as new recruits and promotions, but the full number of personnel is not detailed (2,3) The 2018 Budget of the Ministry of Defence provides information regarding the number of civilian personnel, the number of personnel who received a promotion, and the number of new hires (1). The Ministry of Defence declares annually the number of recruits and the number of conscripts .

According to our sources, there are no ghost soldiers in the Tunisian army and there have not been any investigations or rumours surrounding this issue in the past ten years (1,2). There is no evidence of the existence of ghost employees in the Ministry of Defence. No cases regarding ghost soldiers have been reported in the media, and the interviewee confirmed that he has no knowledge of the existence of ghost employees in the Ministry of Defence. (3) Furthermore, the payment system is centralised and computerised which significantly reduces the risk of the existence of such ghost soldiers. The salary and wages payment system is very strict and it is subject to severe controls from the Ministry of Finance and the National Center of Information technologies (CNI). (4)

During the 2016-2018 period, the Turkish General Staff shared the aggregated numbers of military personnel in all service commands on an annual basis, but in 2019, this sharing of information stopped. Now, the only way the public can learn about the exact numbers of military personnel is through the Ministry of Defence’s delivery of information to parliament in the event of a written inquiry, or when the Minister of Defence comes to parliament for a hearing about the defence budget in November when the parliamentary process on the budget starts [1].

The numbers of military personnel, published in terms of their rank and service distribution, are generally considered to reflect reality.

The numbers of civilian and military personnel in the military were most recently published on the official webpage of the Turkish General Staff in late 2018 and the content was removed after a week. No such information has been published since then [2].

Aggregated or summarised information on the numbers of civilian and military personnel is made publicly available through the CoA’s annual reports [1]. As of October 5, 2020, there has been no update on the CoA report delivering the numbers of military personnel. A statement was given by Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar in February 2019. Minister Akar, in response to the parliamentary question asked by CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu, stated that a total of 476,836 people were working in the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ministry of National Defence as of November 2018. Minister Akar also answered questions on the number of non-commissioned officers and specialist warrant officers. According to his answers, as of February 2019, the number of specialist sergeants in the Armed Forces is 72,355 and the number of non-commissioned officers is 19,887. Akar stated that there is a 30% vacancy rate among expert officers and contracted enlisted staff, while the staff deficit is at 35% [2].

According to the SASAD 2019 performance report, there are around 77,000 civilian personnel working in the defence industry, aviation and airliner sectors [3].

The personnel management system within the Turkish military is well established and IT based. Interviewees 3, 5 and 6 unanimously suggested that, since the early 1990s, when the personal management system was digitalised, the Turkish military has not used ghost soldiers [1,2,3]. Interviewee 6 suggested that almost 60% of the total defence budget is personnel salaries [3]. A SIPRI report confims this suggestion [4]. Interviewee 6 further asserted that it is not currently possible to use ghost soldiers within the system because personnel salaries are very well monitored/scrutinised by the CoA [3].

According to Lieutenant Colonel Deo Akiiki [1], all the salaries of the employees of the MoDVA are paid by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. According to another MP [2], knowing the actual number of civilian and military personnel is difficult because of the secrecy surrounding it. This information about the actual number of defence employees is not public, it is only known by the MoDVA and probably its sister institutions. Another MP [3] noted that the MoDVA is prone to “ghosts” and so few people trust their figures if any. They also observed that it is “full of multiple” organisations.

While one can easily have access to the total number of employees in many government ministries, it is not usually the case with that of the ministry of defence. The actual number of employees in the ministry of defence is not readily available to the public. This information is not public. Some MPs noted that the MoDVA is prone to “ghosts,” and so few people trust their figures if any [1, 2]. They also observed that it is “full of multiple” organisations.

The military was presented with a case of a ghost soldier in the last five years. In March 2017, there was a case against officials of the UPDF over a “ghost” Russian pilot Valerie Ketrisk, on the payroll of the Uganda People’s Defence AirForce (UPDAF). “The accused; Caroline Kyakabale, the former human resource manager in charge of civilians in UPDAF, Major Lubega Kapalaga, formerly attached to the UPDAF under the Directorate of Medical Services and his wife, Evas Lubega Twinomujuni, faced trial in the General Court Martial” [1]. They were accused of causing the government a financial loss of Shs 2.7 billion after receiving money meant to be for the said pilot.

There is a law which sets the maximum number of personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine [1] and also the MoD White book which provides the general number of civilian and military personnel (in thousands) [2]. The precise number can be found in the MoD Budget request [3]. For instance, there were 167,550 non-conscript AFU servicemen, 20,709 conscripts and 35,917 public officers in 2017 [3]. These numbers are updated annually, and the MoD regularly publishes updates on its HR policy [4, 5].

The MoD budget request provides the general numbers of AFU servicemen and MoD officers. It is broken down into four categories: non-conscript AFU servicemen, conscripts, public servants on servicemen positions and public servants [1]. The White Book also provides the number of AFU contract officers [2]. This means the information is not disaggregated by rank. Moreover, the number of civilian and military personnel can be obtained through citizen requests to the MoD, according to the open public access to information law

There is not enough evidence to score this indicator. A source working on ATO topics stated that “ghost soldiers” were an issue for the AFU in the form of some tactical level positions being filled in by people not conducting the corresponding activities, while the salary was withdrawn monthly and channelled to the black cash of the unit [1]. However, another interviewee could not mention any cases in recent years [2]. At the same time, there is a lack of evidence in the press as well as in official statements.

According to the annual IISS Military Balance, the number of soldiers employed is 63,000 (44,000 Army, 2,500 Navy, and 4,500 Presidential Guards) (1). However, research revealed that information available about the number of civilian and military personnel within the defence sector is inconsistent. The official website of the UAE government does not make this information publicly available (2).

There is no transparency at all about the number of civilian and military personnel that are employed. There are no official numbers available through the government, and most matters related to the defence sector are treated as confidential. As previously explained, information about numbers is available via non-official means, such as IISS Military Balance, about the number of civilian and military personnel within the defence sector (1), (2), (3).

There are no ghost soldiers in the UAE armed forces. There is no evidence of ghost soldier; the institutional mechanism of financial auditing is strict and does not allow for this to happen (1), (2).

The number of civilian and military personnel is updated on a quarterly basis. The UK Armed Forces Quarterly Service Personnel Statistics publication provides information on the number of Military Personnel in (defined as the strength), joining (intake) and leaving (outflow) the UK Armed Forces [1]. Detail is provided for both the full-time Armed Forces and Reserves.

The UK Armed Forces Quarterly Service Personnel Statistics publication contains information on the number of civilian and military personnel, disaggregated by rank bracket [1].

A review of media sources, Hansard, as well as an interview, indicate that there is no evidence to suggest that the UK military has been presented with the problem of ghost soldiers in the last 5 years [1, 2].

The number of military and civilian personnel permanently assigned to the DoD is updated on a quarterly basis and can be found on the Defense Manpower Data Centre (DMDC) website [1], which is publicly available and easily searchable. The number of active duty military personnel is updated monthly. As of March 2021, there were 2,944,078 military and DoD civilian personnel, and 1,349,826 active duty personnel.There is not an obvious established process for verifying these numbers.

The Department of Defense releases monthly data on active-duty personnel by rank/grade. This data is broken down by service and rank, including cadets. It is made publicly available via the DMDC website [1]. It should be noted however, that in recent US military operations, contractors have frequently averaged 50% of greater of the total DoD presence in country. Contractor data is produced by US CENTCOM however, it has been criticised for its accuracy [2,3].

There have been no recorded instances of ghost soldiers in the US military in the past five years, according to a media search.

Official information available on the number of armed forces personnel and civil workers in the defence sector is vague and ambiguous.

According to the Ministry of the People’s Power for Defence (MPPD), the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) “are composed of about 95,000 to 150,000 active combatants […] however, this number of active troops is close to 235,000 frontline men and women” [1]. In addition to clear imprecision in the presentation of these figures, it is not specified when the total number of staff was last updated. Against this figure, international and civil society organisations have produced alternative estimates taking into account military spending in Venezuela and other variables. However, these unofficial data sources also present imprecision as they significantly differ from each other. On the one hand, some sources indicate that the Venezuelan military could be composed of 123,000 members, of whom 115,000 are in active service and 8,000 are part of the reserve [2]. Conversely, other organisations estimate that the total number of FANB personnel comprised 486,497 officers by 2017 [3].

There have been significant changes in the structure of the FANB over the past several years, such as the strengthening of the Bolivarian militia, the increased presence of Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) units, and the creation of new units in the army and the Presidential Guard [4,7]. However, it is impossible to determine exactly whether these changes have meant an increase in military personnel. It is apparant that military personnel have taken control of civilian state institutions, as well as creating public military companies that engage in tasks that are not related to the defence of the nation. As a result, only 13% (an estimated11,587 out of 489,497) of administrative officers in the service of military power have defence responsibilities [5]. These calculations reflect only the lower estimate of staff assigned to defence work, since personnel totals used for the calculation have not been officially confirmed and present variations compared to other unofficial figures.

Added to the vagueness and lack of official information, laws governing the operation of the armed forces [6] do not establish protocols with procedures for the calculation and publication of data on MPPD personnel.

Figures on the total number of officers who make up the FANB are published in an aggregated and imprecise manner by the MPPD [1]. While the aggregate number is disclosed by the ministry, critics highlight the lack of access to detailed data on MPPD personnel, which makes it impossible to verify whether this figure is close to reality [2, 3]. This is particularly unhelpful given that recent years have seen modifications in the structure of the FANB and notices of the enrollment of new militia [4] – without any updates in MPPD-published figures or explanations detailing whether the militia are included in the total count.

In addition to the ambiguity and imprecision in the FANB personnel numbers provided by the MPPD, no official documents have been made available that break down the number of military and civilian personnel making up different FANB units and other units affiliated with the MPPD.

Across the different reports and documents consulted, no evidence was found of the existence of ghost soldiers in recent years, nor have organisations and experts who monitor management of the MPPD identified this as a problem affecting the defence sector [1, 2, 3]. Other irregularities concerning personnel affiliated with the FANB can be identified within the information gathered, such as MPPD payrolls comprising illegal armed groups, known as collectives, and the granting of uniforms and work assignments by the security forces to these groups [4, 5]. However, these reports made no mention of problems related to the existence of personnel off the books or the payment of salaries to non-existent personnel.

There is no known formal publication of updated figures of military and civilian personnel in the defence sector. However, the Public Service Commission has a Uniformed Forces Service Agency which keeps statistics on the number of defence personnel receiving government salaries. Unfortunately, sources could not provide statistics for personal security reasons and the sensitivity of this information [1]. Nonetheless, there are other sources of the figures, but they are based on estimates which mostly focus on armed services personnel [2].

There is no official publication of the figures. However, the Public Service Commission commits to providing this information to “stakeholders,” but the commitment is not to provide information to the public [1, 2].

There are no widespread reports of “ghost” soldiers in Zimbabwe, though such allegations are sometimes made by opposition groups [1]. The law gives the military command to establish a reserve army whose responsibility is clearly at the discretion and determination of the command in consultation with the minister of defence [2]. This in itself creates room for ghost soldiers who are not publicly accounted for [2]. However, the government of Zimbabwe has always reported that there is a third force in the country which is armed and dangerous. The government attributes several human rights violations, by individuals in army uniforms and armed with the AK47s, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ standard rifle, to this [3].

Country Sort by Country 38a. Accuracy Sort By Subindicator 38b. Transparency Sort By Subindicator 38c. Ghost soldiers Sort By Subindicator
Albania 50 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
Algeria 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Angola 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Argentina 25 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Armenia 25 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
Australia 50 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Azerbaijan 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Bahrain 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Bangladesh 0 / 100 0 / 100 NEI
Belgium 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Bosnia and Herzegovina 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Botswana 25 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Brazil 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Burkina Faso 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Canada 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Chile 25 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
China 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Colombia 25 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Denmark 50 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Estonia 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Finland 50 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
France 50 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Germany 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Ghana 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Greece 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Hungary 0 / 100 50 / 100 NEI
India 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Indonesia 100 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Iran 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Iraq 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Israel 25 / 100 0 / 100 75 / 100
Italy 50 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Japan 75 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Jordan 50 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Kenya 0 / 100 0 / 100 NEI
Kosovo 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Kuwait 25 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
Latvia 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Lebanon 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Lithuania 50 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Malaysia 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Mali 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Mexico 25 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Montenegro 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Myanmar 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Netherlands 75 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
New Zealand 100 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Niger 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Nigeria 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
North Macedonia 25 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Norway 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
Palestine 25 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Philippines 75 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Poland 25 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Portugal 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Russia 25 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Serbia 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Singapore 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
South Africa 50 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
South Korea 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
South Sudan 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Spain 50 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Sudan 0 / 100 0 / 100 NEI
Sweden 50 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Switzerland 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Taiwan 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Tanzania 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Thailand 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 0 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
Turkey 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Uganda 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Ukraine 50 / 100 50 / 100 NEI
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
United Kingdom 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
United States 75 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Venezuela 25 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Zimbabwe 25 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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