Five or fewer Black Caribbean, Asian officers ranked colonel or above

Information released by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) shows the sparse representation of BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) personnel in the senior ranks of the military.

Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the department revealed there were five or fewer Asian or Afro Caribbean personnel across all three services holding the rank of colonel or above.

Those representing these ethnicities were all found in the Army, with nobody holding equivalent ranks in the Royal Navy or RAF, as of 1 July 2021.

The data was based on the UK Regular forces and excluded several categories, such as Locally Engaged Personnel and Gurkhas.

Included were personnel with Chinese, Asian Bangladeshi, Asian Indian, Asian Pakistani, Black Caribbean and 'Other Asian' self-selected backgrounds holding the rank of colonel through to general.

A second FOI request revealed more diversity at the lower rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army, as of 1 April 2021.

There were 60 people from Black, Asian or other ethnic minorities holding this rank or above – a figure overshadowed by the 2,411 white personnel in this category.  

The MOD spokesperson said: "The Armed Forces continues to work hard to broaden the diversity of our workforce and since 2016 the percentage of BAME personnel has increased by 2%. 

"It can take a number of years for recruits to reach senior leadership positions, which is why we are working hard to increase the number of people from under-represented groups."

Join Our Newsletter


Hydra: The next-gen drone armed with laser-guided Brimstone missiles

Ukrainian troops impress British Army instructors during leadership course

M1A1 Abrams: All you need to know about Ukraine's latest Western tank