Military Service for 18-Year-Olds

An examination of the arguments for and against the raising of the Army conscription age from 18 to 21.

This paper argues that military registration needs to be a choice open to all young men, starting at age 18. It discusses the attitudes prevalent in American society today, which call for the raising of the age to 21. The paper argues, however, that if, at 18, they are legally recognized as adults, then they should be allowed to make the decision regarding conscription themselves.
“The system of Selective Service strives to balance the country’s need for an active pool of reserves and the rights of individual citizens who oppose military conscription. An 18-year old is legally recognized as an adult who could make decisions regarding his vote, career decisions, his ability to consent to marriage and sexual activity and his culpability in the commission of crime. It therefore stands to reason that an 18-year old could make an informed decision regarding serving the country in the military as well.”