The size of Britain's armed forces has fallen for the ninth consecutive year, new Ministry of Defence figures show.
The Army, the RAF and the Royal Navy have all seen a decline in the number of fully-trained personnel - with the Army experiencing the biggest fall.
Labour said the government was "running down" the UK military - calling it a "crisis" in recruitment and retention.
The Ministry of Defence said the armed forces continued to meet all their operational requirements.
The latest figures showed the Army was more than 7,000 troops short of the government's target of 82,000.
In July there were 74,440 full-time and fully-trained troops, down from 76,880 last year.
There were smaller declines for the RAF and navy but they also failed to meet their target strength.
The RAF total stood at 29,930 of the required 31,840, while the Royal Navy and Royal Marines dropped to 29,090 of the required 30,600.
The MoD said it has been working hard to improve recruitment, adding that applications to join the Army were at a five-year high. (end of excerpt)
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