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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment offered by my colleague from Georgia (Mr. Broun).

I understand his belief that anyone who qualifies, regardless of age, should be able to serve. However, serving in the United States military is a difficult and challenging profession, especially as one gets older in years. The Department of Defense does not support this amendment. Current law allows enlistments up to age 42; however, all of the services' current policies have restricted enlistment to a lesser age, with the Army at the maximum age of 35.

Mr. Chairman, we are currently drawing down the force and recruiting conditions do not require this proposal. Even during the most difficult recruiting environment at the peak of national emergency, only the Army exercised the authority and raised its age limit to 42. This policy was only in place for a few years, and the Army has since reinstated its old policy of a maximum of 35 years of age because the risks and the challenges of training older recruits outweigh the minimum gain.

What the Army found was that older-level recruits tend to have greater health and physical illness, especially when deployed. And once injured, these individuals face a longer period of recuperation.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment is not needed and counterproductive to recruiting young men and women in the Armed Forces. I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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