The latest annual Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS) suggests there's been a significant fall in morale across the services.
The slide, shown in figures released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), is particularly acute in the Royal Marines, with figures dropping year on year.
Satisfaction with basic pay, recruitment and retention pay are all at lowest recorded levels.
The Key Points
- Two years ago, 62% of Royal Marines officers rated morale in the service as high. Now, it's just 23%.
- Amongst other Royal Marine ranks, service morale has decreased by 20% since 2016 to 9% this year.
- Across the forces, just two in five personnel are satisfied with service life in general.
- Satisfaction with pay has been decreasing since 2010, when 52% said they were happy. Now, it's just 31%.
- 51% are satisfied with service accommodation, a 5% increase on 2017 but still down from the figure five years ago.
Earlier this year a Commons Defence Committee report warned that cutting the number of Marines and reducing the size of the amphibious fleet would be an "irreparable act of folly".
There have been leaked reports that up to 2,000 Marines out of a total force of 6,600 may be axed and the Royal Navy's two amphibious assault ships, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, could be put out of service in a cost-based restructuring process.
The MoD has insisted it has no plan to shorten the life of either of the amphibious assault ships.
The survey was distributed to a sample of 27,333 trained regular personnel between September 2017 and February 2018 using both online and paper questionnaires.
Overall, 11,069 responses were received, representing a response rate of 40%.
An MOD spokesperson said:
“Our Armed Forces do a challenging job and that’s why it’s important we hear their views on service life.
We have enshrined the Armed Forces Covenant in law, are modernising our accommodation and have introduced greater flexible working opportunities for the military.
"We will now work with the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force to address the findings of this year’s survey.”
You can read the full report here.