Ministry of Defence figures reveal that there were more than 2,000 incidents of British soldiers going absent without leave (Awol) last year alone.
The number of cases since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 have hit 17,470.
Meanwhile, Joe Glenton, a soldier who has refused to fight in Afghanistan, is due to be sentenced by the British army on Friday 5 March.
The army was forced to drop the most serious charge of desertion against Joe after a campaign to defend him.
Joe has admitted to a charge of going Awol and could face up to two years in prison.
Protest to defend Joe Glenton, 9.30am, Friday 5 March, the Military Court Centre, Merville Barracks, off Butt Rd, Colchester CO2 7UT.