The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

The enlistment age for the military should be raised

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/20/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 951 times Debate No: 100072
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




I will argue that in the United States, the age for enlistment in the military should be raised. It is currently 18 under most circumstances with the possibility of 17 in some circumstances. I will argue that the age should be raised to at least 21. The first round is for acceptance only. New arguments cannot be introduced in the final round.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


It is often said “why is it someone is old enough to die for their country, but not old enough to drink alcohol”? This is often used as an argument to support lowering the drinking age. I agree with the original premise of the statement but to the exact opposite conclusion. Rather than lowering the drinking age we should raise the voting age. As a matter of fact, dying for your country is a significantly larger responsibility than drinking alcohol.

First of all, a lot of people sign up right out of high school. That doesn’t give them enough time to experience adult civilian life. SO when they do get out they have trouble adjusting as they have never experienced it before. [1] While much of that is due to PTSD, it is exacerbated by a lack of real world experience they can fall back on as many are unable to find jobs. Raising the enlistment age would allow them to gain valuable life experience to make them better informed about the world, which is an important thing to have before joining the military. It would also allow them to gained experience for jobs in the civilian world before they enlist, that way they would have an easier time finding a job when they get out.
One other aspect of my argument is that the brain does not finish developing until the mid-20s. [2] Waiting until later when they are mentally more mature would allow them to make more informed decisions and not sign up compulsively (which is what recruiters often count on). They may sign up on the promise of cheaper college tuition rather than truly believing in the cause as well as manipulating them in other ways, such as claiming it will make it easier for them to find a job when they get out which as mentioned above, is simply not true. [3] Would you prefer someone who is impulsive or someone who is able to make well informed decision in the military?

I thank my opponent for accepting and look forward to their arguments.




I thank BennyW for this interesting debate. I want to enlist myself, but lets get to my arguments.

I know I don't really need to make arguments because Benny is arguing against the status quo, but it might clear up what I am arguing.


Joining the military is truly something people want to do.

When Benny says we should raise the enlistment age to 21, he ignores that maybe that those who enlist right after High School graduation have been thinking about this for years. Benny says the military is dangerous, but about 80% of all jobs in the military are non-combat[3]

Now lets get to Benny's case.

Benny correctly states that the military is a big deal and joining is not a decision to take lightly. Because teenagers are not the most rational bunch, we should raise the enlistment age to 21, like we do in for drinking alcohol.

I disagree that teenagers are too irrational. Teenagers have about 5 years worth of actual life experience, and I don't quite understand why Benny is saying the military can't give teenagers the skills they need, as everyone should gain those skills by simply growing up, although readjusting is a problem for most vets, its not *quite* as bad in our day and age. Many join 'real' groups of communities/clubs/what-have-you. You could join Law Enforcement.

Would it be rational and beneficial to teens if we delay admission to college until their 21? The average student debt is about $30,000[1]. I would say it is not our place to delay anyone from any decisions. If Benny wants to delay enlistment, then I can see him wanting to delay college admission. After all, for 4(ish) years they get about $30,000 dollars in debt, and even then they truly might not know what they want to do. [2] is a webpage about myths about majors and all that fun stuff. Basically at least half of all students are undecided when entering college. Would it be wise to say our college students are impulsive? Of course not. While the military might not the best course of action for some, it truly is the best medicine for others, like someone who lacks a purpose, or wants to be a LEO.

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for the response. They use college as a comparison to joining the military.

“Teenagers have about 5 years’ worth of actual life experience”. Not practical adult life experience, which is what counts.
“Would it be wise to say our college students are impulsive?”
Absolutely it would.
If you sign up for college without a plan or even a major in mind (as your source has indicated), you really should sit out until you can figure it out.
A major difference however is that you can leave college whenever you want (although if you are far along it is not advisable). Not so with the military, you are locked into a contract (5 or 6 years are common) and can’t get out except in very special circumstances. In college you get the major you sign up for, in the Military you MO can change without your choice.
Part of the problem is everyone thinks they have to go to college.
“Would it be rational and beneficial to teens if we delay admission to college until their 21?” In many cases it would, particularly if you haven’t decided on a major.

My opponent mentions not all jobs in the military are dangerous, that is true but it is far more dangerous than college.

Yes it is true the military does pay for college and that is why many join for that reason rather than they fully believe in the cause or they are thinking more about the money than the risks involved. [1]
I think for college something you learn in high school should be to have a plan, other countries deal with this easier by having a track system. This could lead to a whole new argument in itself, but it can actually be an effective means of dealing with these problems. The biggest downside being the lack of choice later on. [2]
I wish I had made another round but I didn’t so that does it for my argument.
I feel I have demonstrated my case. So vote for me if you are convinced. Thank you.



I thank Benny for hosting this debate.

Benny opens up by saying Teens don't have practical life exprience, but doesn't expand much further. Teens probably will pick up on the concept of paying bills, taxes and the such through simply living life, in the military or not.

A major difference however is that you can leave college whenever you want (although if you are far along it is not advisable). Not so with the military, you are locked into a contract (5 or 6 years are common) and can’t get out except in very special circumstances. In college you get the major you sign up for, in the Military you MO can change without your choice.

I'm not sure where you got the idea someone could 'leave' college. You would still be in debt. Nonetheless, your points don't seem to be specific to the ages of 18-21. Why 21? Why not 25? Also, is there a clear avantage to delay 18 year olds admission n the military? There really isn't. Benny brings up that the Army pays for college. Hypotheically, one could join the army at 18, leave at ~22 and have college paid for. This is not uncommon.

It is irrelevant that college is less dangerous then the military, as someone will willing take that risk.

To recap;

Joining the military gives people an edge in Law Enforcment
It also helps pay for college
It simply might be something someone wants to do.

Benny fails to fufill his BoP because I have shown that there is logical reasoning why a 18-yo should be allowed to enlist, while Benny fails to explain why the status quo should change.

With that, Vote Geo.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 2 years ago
On point 3 pro argues that the brain doesn't fully develop until the mid twenties and therefore 18 year olds shouldn't be allowed to sign up for the military. This argument isn't sufficient to show that an 18 year old brain isn't developed enough to rationally make the informed choice to join the military. I don't see a strong enough reason why an 18 year old shouldn't be allowed to sign up for the military, and therefore I'm granting arguments to Con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments revolve around 3 points. 1. Being in the military is dangerous, 2. People should get life experience before joining the military, 3. the brain of an 18 year old isn't developed enough to rationally make the choice to join the military. This debate gets bogged down with comparisons to college that don't really go anywhere, but apropos to the above 3 points, con rightly points out that 80% of military jobs are non-combat, so you don't have to pick a dangerous job in the military, but even for that 20% of jobs which do involve combat, I don't see how being 21 instead of 18 mitigates this issue, so I fail to see how it supports pro's argument. As for life experience, I'm again at a loss for why this supports pro. You can gain life experience in the military, and as con argues, many people use the military's offer of free college to pay for their education, so for many the military is actually a shortcut to real world experience. -continued in comments-