Defense Department Seeks to Raise Enlistment Age to 42
The Defense Department has asked Congress to raise the maximum age for first-time enlistes to 42 from the current 35. In reality, none of the active components will take anyone over 34 now.
The Defense Department quietly asked Congress on Monday to raise the maximum age for military recruits to 42 for all branches of the service.
Under current law, the maximum age to enlist in the active components is 35, while people up to age 39 may enlist in the reserves. By practice, the accepted age for recruits is 27 for the Air Force, 28 for the Marine Corps and 34 for the Navy and Army, although the Army Reserve and Navy Reserve sometimes take people up to age 39 in some specialties.
The PentagonÃ¢€™s request to raise the maximum recruit age to 42 is part of what defense officials are calling a package of Ã¢€œurgent wartime support initiativesÃ¢€ sent to Congress Monday night prior to a Tuesday hearing of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee.
I can’t imagine that there is a large pool of people aged 35-42 who would be joining the Army and Marine Corps–the only services having any trouble recruiting–were they legally able.
Aside from that, this is hardly a sign of imminent collapse of the military, Democratic Underground and DailyKos notwithstanding. We’ve never had a sustained war during the All-Volunteer Force era (1973-present). It turns out recruiting is more difficult when the likelihood of getting shot is greater than theoretical. Surprise, surprise. Still, the force in Iraq is being drawn down already and all indications are to a much greater withdrawal once the elections are held at year’s end.