For quite a long time, the United Nations general assembly under the international law had put the minimum age of recruitment to the military and participation in hostilities such as war to be fifteen years old of age. This age seemed to be very vulnerable to the bending of children rights due to the continued involvement of children in armed conflict, sale of children, children pornography and children prostitution.
This made the agency to raise the minimum age for compulsory recruitment and voluntary recruitment in the military as well as participation in hostilities such as war to be raised to eighteen years (Hall 789; Beth 1). This was an international law which also prohibited the already in service but below the age of eighteen from participating in hostilities (Human rights watch 1).
The above international declaration by the United Nation General Assembly was a clear indication that individuals from the age of eighteen and above were psychologically mature to participate in military operations as well as hostilities such as war.
Furthermore, this age favored individual participation in these operations since most of these guys were not very committed to life issues such as family issues thus it would be easy for them to work anywhere they were posted. This is because military operations and participation in hostilities involves moving from one place to another thus young people are better fit since they are not very committed to their life time issues.
At this tender age, it is also possible to train the youngsters to what is required of war and military because they are not equipped with reasons and dangers of fighting a war (Anon 1). It is postulated that taking older men to war would mean a lot of soldiers killing each other in the battle field.
These older men are also very conversant with the operation within the government and in many case, they are heard saying “let the politicians and the generals go and fight the wars they have started” (Anon 1). Older men in many cases like staying closer to their families thus may not be very productive in cases of wars and military which requires them to stay away from their families while defending their nation.
Minimum Age for Military Work
In many cases, we find the minimum age of recruitment in to armed forces being between 18 and 21 years. The people who carry out these duties have undergone through training in various aspects of this field , thus when they set the minimum age to be 18 years, it means that they are well aware that such individuals are psychologically fit. For instance, after the World War 1, recruitment to the armed forces and civilian labor were far better organized.
The minimum age during the World War 1 was 21 years which was lowered to 18 years (Perkin 411). This was done to improve the overall welfare of the service and the inclusion of the eighteen years old meant that they were psychologically fit to offer service in the military and war.
Considering the selection of militia men that takes place in the United States, defense and protection is mainly serviced by an all volunteer military. However, in a case of an outbreak of a major war or an overwhelming defense, the volunteer military may not be in a position to meet such a large threat. In such cases, there military draft that calls for conscription of individuals involuntarily to provide the necessary backup (Moore 1).
This conscription considers all men registered with the military whereby the lottery starts by selecting individuals from twenty years of age to twenty five after which the eighteen and nineteen years old are considered (Moore 3). This is a clear indication that though the individuals in the 18-21 age bracket are psychologically fit for war and military services, they are still at a tender age that should only be considered in cases of emergency.
Training for war and Military
There are various kinds of trainings in the military that necessities the correct age and body type. The military men are the same people who participate in wars thus the requirements are mostly common.
Soldiers as well as those proceeding from officer ranks must undergo basic training which is meant to recondition soldiers from their civilian starting point and to ensure that they graduate in compliance with the army physical fitness program. The basic age for male and female participation in this training is between 17 and 21 years ho must be physically fit such that they have an average body type with the right weight compliance.
The basic expectations are “completion of 42 correct pushups in two minutes, 53 correct sit ups in three minutes and two miles in at least 15:54 timing” (Anon 1). Females are also required to complete the same level of sit ups, 19 pushups within the same timing and the same length of miles within 18:54 timing (Anon, 2008). Psychological fitness is therefore achieved mainly through the kind of training the recruits go through before they graduate with the compliance with the Army physical fitness program.
In the United States of America, many young men and women have been stepping out and willing to defend their nation for future generations. This is because the nation I currently I a regime of war with many enemies and terrorists targeting the nation. The patriotic nationals have therefore carried the burden of ensuring that they defend the future of their nation.
The question of the minimum age that is psychologically fate to join the military has always been wanting as well as the parties responsible for deciding this ultimate challenge. According to the United States Code, Title 10 section 505, the minimum age that should be considered for offering service in the ‘regular army, regular navy, regular air force, regular marine corps and regular coast guards ’should be at least seventeen years.
It is also stipulated that individuals below eighteen years of age can only be considered in the military when I possession of a written consent from the parent or a guardian. This may be a clear indication that only individuals with at least eighteen years of age are psychologically mature for war and the military (Littell&Littell1).
In many cases, individual differ when it the age of maturity for making decisions without the consent of the parent. Parents take time to accept that their children have attained an age of maturity and thus will always feel that their sons and daughters are not psychologically fit for some demanding tasks like the military or participation in hostilities like war.
However, the nation in many cases considers the age of eighteen as a psychologically mature age for an individual to be able to make personal decision thus this reflects to maturity to enter in to the service of the nation in military and war.
The desire of every parent is to have his child successfully prosper in life but when it comes to issues related to the military and hostilities, the topic drastically changes. Most parents consider military, war and death as in the same category and thus would not wish to lose the kids at such a tender age. Though they may support them morally when in the military service but may not be comfortable signing consent for their children before the age of eighteen.
Other factors determining Psychological Maturity
Psychological maturity for war and military service may at times depend on the nature of the individual but not generally due to age. Littell, in his book the Living age gives a very ancient example that triggers our thinking in terms of age.
He talks of the Philistine champion Goliath who had posed a real challenge to the Israelites until a teenage boy David came for their rescue (Littell&Littell62). For a long time before the day David came down and literally killed Goliath, these were the common utterances of the war champion Goliath to the Israelite army:
Choose you a man for you and let him come down to me: If he be able to fight with me and kill me, then, we will be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then ye be our servants and serve us. (Samuel 17:28)
There were many psychologically mature men who were even of greater age than David but none of them ever dared to meet Goliath until the day David went to the battle field to check his brothers and took up the challenge. At some point before David conquered Goliath, David eldest brother Eliab is heard despising David because of his age and curses the young boy for showing interest in fighting the Philistine champion (Samuel 17:28).
However, Dad did not bow to the criticism because regardless of his age, he was psychologically mature to participate in the war. It is therefore important to note that psychological maturity at times depends with an individual since we may in find in some cases military men who have many years but their conduct does no portray their psychological maturity.
Considering another account given concerning David by a different author, there are many features that determine whether an individual is mature enough to be fit for military and war.
During David’s service at the time f the reign of KingSaul, the king is found torecognize some of the features that David possessed that made hima great man of war such thathe couldserve very efficiently in the armies of the king at that time which could be seen as the present day military services. It is quoted that David was a man who was ‘of mature age, a man of war and clever in speech’.
King Saul appointed him as armor-bearer due to his skill with the harp which he utilized at the time of his mental distress (Driver 179). On another account, regardless of David’s tender age and his inexperienced warfare, he captures the king’s attention by his act of heroism whereby he bravely volunteers to face the philistines. He tells the king of his experiences in the wilderness whereby he had killed lions and bears which tried to seize his father’s sheep thus portraying a lot of ability in warfare.
The importance of finding out the minimum and the psychologically fit age for involvement in war and military services has been brought about by the increasing and overwhelming utilization of ignorant children in such scenarios. Various surveys undertaken concerning the field of armed conflict have shown that children are invisible and in most cases regarded as “passive, incidental victims or inconsequential actors” (Wessels 1).
It has been found that in the current intrastate and ethno political conflicts, children have been increasingly playing a major role a soldiers and as victims of war at community level. This has been exploitation of children vulnerability especially in terms of illiteracy, little job training and since they may have very few options left for meeting their basic necessities (Wessels1).
To save children from such kinds of vulnerability, the United Nations is putting efforts to settle down on the psychologically mature minimum age for involvement in such issues as war and military (Beth 1).
After considering various states minimum age for war and military services, we can conclude that individuals between the ages of 18-21 are psychologically mature for military and war. This is because the highest percentage of nations considers them as mature adults who are capable of making decisions on their behalf apart from a few exceptions.
Individuals at this age graduate as very equipped individual especially after undergoing training in compliance with the army physical fitness program. However, individual may attain psychological maturity either before or after this age bracket depending on the nature of an individual as we have seen with an ancient example of David.
Anon.Are Army Personnel and Service Members Super-Fit? Factoidz, 2008.Web. 14 March, 2011.
Beth, Amy. “Child Soldiers: The Use of Children as Instrument of War. 23 Suffolk Transnat’l L. Rev. 499, 2000.Web. 14 March, 2011.
Driver, Sur.An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament. New York, NY: Kessinger Publishing, 2005. Print.
Hall, Keith. Newly adopted protocols to the convention on the rights of the Child. The American Journal of International law, 2000.Web. 14 march, 2011.
Human rights watch. Human rights watch world report 1997: events of 1996. New York, NY: Human Right Watch, 1996. Print.
Littell, Eliakim & Littell, Robert. The Living Age: Volume 51. New York, NY: Littell, Son & Co. Print.
Moore, Marshall. What Happens in a Military Draft? Military, 2010.Web. 14 March, 2011.
Samuel. Holy Bible; New International Version. New York, NY: World Bible Society, 2010. Print.
Wessels, Michael. Children, Armed Conflict and Peace. SAGE Journal Online, 2011.