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Army Enlistment: From 17 to 21 Essay

The age required to enlist in the military should be raised to 21 for several reasons. For the most part, matters involving national security are serious businesses that should be carefully and critically addressed. Enlisting civilians into the military who lack the experience or, at least, the mature mind and body could lead to a serious drawback for the army. According to the federal law, specifically 10 U. S. C. , 505, the minimum age requirement for enlisting in the US Military is 17 with the consent of the parents. At the age of 17, an average American student is still attending high school education or is in senior high school.

With that in mind, it is possible that any of these minor citizens of the nation still lack certain technical skills and other military-related capabilities needed to serve the military to one’s fullest potentials. Assuming that the age of 17 is still not enough for a civilian to enlist in the military, why should 21 be chosen as the minimum age requirement and not, say, 20 or 22? Apparently, a 21-year-old average individual in America is well on the way of graduating in college or has already completed his college degree.

There is a great deal of a difference between students in high school and in college; this essential contrast between the two groups should stand as the primary reason why the minimum age requirement for enlisting in the military should be raised to 21 years. While in high school, students are still in the process of learning general knowledge offered by learning institutions. Thus, high school students are still familiarizing themselves with the various fields of knowledge, from earth science to history, or from algebra to human anatomy to name a few.

As a result, the minds of these students are preoccupied with that wide expanse of formal subjects. On the other hand, college students are learning specific knowledge, more specifically the information that is directly and highly related to their chosen college degrees. Hence, they are more focused in terms of knowing what they want to specifically learn in the hopes of landing a job that is suitable to their educational background. Moreover, college students and college graduates are considered to be more mature not only in the physical aspect but also in the mental aspect.

By requiring enlisting individuals in the military to be 21 years of age, it is more likely than not that the bulk of the army will be composed of physically as well as mentally mature individuals. The sheer psychological and physical pressures in the military brought about by the weight of the tasks involved—which involves the prospect of death, among others—should only demand for soldiers who are fit for the job. The “fit” in the phrase implies the physical and mental well-being of the enlisting individual.

Apparently, it is to the best advantage of the military and of the nation to enlist individuals who are mentally and physically capable of fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of soldiers, whether in the battlefield or in the military offices. To say that the minimum age requirement should be raised to 21 is to say that those who are 22 years of age up to the maximum age limit of 35 can still qualify since 21 years of age is only the minimum. An individual with the age of 21 is ripe for the picking, so to speak, while those above the minimum age requirement are still within the basket of options.

Can we also consider the age of 19 or 20 instead of 21 as the minimum? The answer is no precisely because individuals with the age of 19 or 20 are most likely fresh high school graduates or college freshmen. Those who have just graduated from high school at the age of 19 or 20 still lack the lessons, both formal and informal, taught in college whereas those who are in their college freshman years at the age of either 19 or 20 are yet on the verge of exploring a wider range of possibilities and of knowledge for themselves.

Instead of accepting these individuals in the military service, it would be a lot better for them to continue pursuing their studies first so that they will mature further, both intellectually and physically. Moreover, it would also be advantageous for the military to resist accepting individuals below 21 years of age; it removes the possibility of enlisting individuals whose plans in life are outside of the military service, which brings us to the next important point. It is more likely than not that people who are 21 years of age have already made-up their mind on what to do with their life, such as choosing their profession.

The reason behind this is that they are either college graduates or are close to finishing their college degrees. In effect, these people may already have fixated their eyes on their job prospect as opposed to college freshmen or high school graduates who are still trying to make-up their mind as to what they want to be after graduating. Thus, people 21 years of age and over who seek to enlist in the military are most likely certain of the path they want to take, which is to become a part of the national army. On the other hand, people below 21 years of age who seek to enlist in the military may not necessarily desire to become soldiers.

A nation with a strong and fit army can protect itself better in the face of threats and other forms of danger, thereby securing of the country and its population of citizens (Klyza, 2002). America is just one of the many countries in the world which needs to protect itself from possible enemies from within and without. To create an army of strong and fit soldiers is to increase the chances of the nation protecting and securing itself. Raising the minimum age requirement to 21 years is one of the ways to reach that goal.


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