Today's Military:


As the oldest branch of the U.S. Military, founded in 1775, the Army is one of the most powerful fighting forces on Earth. Approximately 557,780 full-time Soldiers in today’s Army defend and serve our nation by land, sea and air. Elite groups within the Army, such as the Army Rangers and Special Forces, receive specialized training for advanced combat situations.

In addition to domestic bases, the Army has permanent stations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, as well as troops on the ground wherever there is a conflict. Length of individual service commitment varies, and in some cases may be as little as two years.

Before Serving in the Army

To enlist in the U.S. Army, you must be between 18 and 41 years old (17 with parental consent). You cannot be older than 42 years. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien. A high school diploma is preferred, but a high school equivalent such as the GED may be accepted. You must also pass the ASVAB test and a physical fitness exam. Some jobs may have additional requirements.

To serve in the Army, recruits must complete 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, commonly known as boot camp. Eligible college students can participate in their school’s ROTC program or attend a military academy to enter the Army as officers after graduation.

See more entrance requirements

Army Benefits

A competitive salary is just one of the benefits of Army service. All Soldiers receive health care, housing and food allowances, as well as educational opportunities. After 20 years of service, retirement pay is guaranteed as well. On top of that, there are special pays for deployment, medical training and flight status, along with diving and sea pay, depending on your job and location.

Army bases around the world
Compensation info

Army Careers

The Army offers over 150 career opportunities across various disciplines, including aviation, information technology, health care, aircraft maintenance and Special Forces. No matter what your specialty is, you’ll receive top-notch training and the experience to handle whatever comes your way.

Explore career profiles
Post-military careers

  • It's nearly impossible for ordinary people to complete Basic Training.
  • About 90 percent of recruits successfully complete Basic Training.
See other Myths vs. Realities

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