Army personnel typically refers to the individuals enlisted in the army of a country. What exactly constitutes army personnel differs from country to country. Nevertheless, the term normally implies active duty soldiers and reserve soldiers of all different ranks. The notion of army personnel usually does not designate other branches of military service, such as the navy or air force, although this definition also varies according to country.
The word army originates from the Latin word armata, which means something that is armed. Army is traditionally used to denote the group of individuals involved in carrying out land-based operations. Land-based operations signify movements and duties with a distinct military objective performed almost entirely on the ground. According to the unique demands of the theatre of operations, armies usually require their own specific personnel to realize their objectives. Training in the various aspects of land-based operations usually is necessary for all successful army personnel.
Professional armies usually consist of soldiers whose full-time job is to be a soldier; this is also known as having a standing army. Army reserves usually are only called into active duty in a time of war or of natural catastrophes. Professional armies are an ancient concept, found for example in Ancient Sparta, which had their own standing army as early as the sixth century B.C. On the contrary, non-professional armies, while also having professional full-time army personnel, rely on the conscription of civilian soldiers, who serve mandatory time in the regular army. Non-professional armies may also consist of entirely civilians who are only called to duty in the situation of an emergency.
Since professional armies act essentially as a source of employment, it is very important for them to consider personnel management, as any other business would. Personnel agencies such as Masterson Personnel and Page Personnel in the United States work with the U.S. Army to find potential army personnel. Because of the heterogeneous nature of modern military conflict, there are many possibilities for employment in the army. While the backbone of any army remains its soldiers, army personnel may also include doctors, psychologists, and lawyers.
As of 2009, the largest army in the world belongs to the People's Republic of China. It is estimated that China has 2.5 million soldiers in its standing army. When considering reserve soldiers, China's army is estimated to be 7 million soldiers.