If you are thinking of enlisting into the armed forces, or someone you know is, look at the information below to help become fully informed.
If you only look at one thing, check out Before You Sign Up which is an independent website looking at the pros and cons of joining the army and answers a number of common questions.
A briefing (Child Soldiers International, 2019) making the case for setting 18 as the minimum age for recruitment.
Army adverts don't tell you what being a soldier is really like.
This briefing from Child Soldiers International explains why the armed forces cannot be confident that they routinely have the informed consent of parents before their child enlists, or that a child’s enlistment is “genuinely voluntary” in a meaningful sense.
If you want to join the Army make sure you know ALL the facts before you sign up. Don’t find out the hard way! Information from AT EASE for young people and to be given to young people.
This report, written by ForcesWatch and published with the public health charity Medact, analyses the way the armed forces market their careers to adolescents and young people, creating powerful messages that which exploit developmental vulnerabilities and social inequality, risking the health and well-being of recruits. Narratives of camaraderie and self-development also serve to promote an uncontroversial and depoliticised idea of the military more widely which promote self-fulfilment in the context of conflict.
New legislation (from 22 July 2011) which grants under 18s the right to leave after a 'cooling off' period. Prior to this, discharge of 'unhappy minors' was at the discretion of the commanding officer.
This report from Veterans For Peace UK details how the Army's training process has a forceful impact on attitudes, health, and behaviour even before recruits are sent to war. The findings show that military training and culture combine with pre-existing issues (such as a childhood history of anti-social behaviour) to increase the risk of violence and alcohol misuse. Traumatic war experiences further exacerbate the problem.
“Before You Enlist!” provides a rational voice to counter the seductive and often deceptive recruiting practices of the U.S. military. The message is not “don’t enlist” but rather to provide young people and their families a more complete picture of the life-altering consequences of joining the military – especially in wartime. Latest version: 2018. This short film is from the US so many of the details about recruitment are different from the UK, but the general questions to ask 'before you enlist' are similar.