Jobs Outlook: Job Opportunities in the Armed Forces

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Opportunities should be good for qualified individuals in all branches of the Armed Forces through 2012. Many military personnel retire with a pension after 20 years of service, while they still are young enough to start a new career. More than 365,000 enlisted personnel and officers must be recruited each year to replace those who complete their commitment or retire. Since the end of the draft in 1973, the military has met its personnel requirements with volunteers. When the economy is good and civilian employment opportunities generally are more favorable, it is more difficult for all the services to meet their recruitment quotas. By contrast, it is much easier to do so during a recession.

Americaís strategic position is stronger than it has been in decades. Despite reductions in personnel due to the elimination of the threat from Eastern Europe and Russia, the number of active-duty personnel is expected to remain roughly constant through 2012. However, recent conflicts in other countries and the resulting strain on the Armed Forces may lead to an increasing number of active-duty personnel. The Armed Forcesí current goal is to maintain a sufficient force to fight and win two major regional conflicts at the same time. Political events, however, could cause these plans to change.

Educational requirements will continue to rise as military jobs become more technical and complex. High school graduates and applicants with a college background will be sought to fill the ranks of enlisted personnel, while virtually all officers will need at least a bachelorís degree and, in some cases, an advanced degree as well.

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