Some new military recruits may have to enlist for eight years of active duty if they want in

U.S. Space Force Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna, Space Operations Command senior enlisted leader, speaks to enlisted members at Buckley Space Force Base, Colo., Nov. 17, 2021. Bentivegna held an enlisted all-call to answer questions and concerns from members that are assigned to SpOC. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Haley N. Blevins)

By Andy Wolf

A branch of the US Military is considering eight-year active duty enlistment contracts, in what will be the longest active duty terms for first-timers since the peak of the Global War on Terror.

The United States Space Force is looking to maintain a dedicated personnel base and grow experience, as a way of preventing losing expertise amidst recruiting shortfalls and high turnover across the military.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force John Bentivegna claimed the long terms are because it takes a considerable amount of time to train Space Force Guardians, only for them to leave the service after a 3 to 4-year stint.

“I know eight years is a big commitment to make if you’re 20 years old, 21 years old,” Bentivegna told Air Force Times. “But let me explain to you … the training you’ll get, the opportunities you’re going to get, the experience you’ll have — it takes time.”

While all enlisted troops across the armed forces are already required to agree to at least eight years in uniform, half of it is generally the amount spent in active duty, while the remainder is inactive reserve status.

Guardians getting onboard with an eight-year stint would have no Individual Ready Reserve time, and the Space Force would get their money’s worth out of a recruit.

“A guardian’s journey doesn’t end at the traditional four- or six-year mark, which enables the service to build the technical depth and expertise we need for great power competition,” Bentivegna said. “We are working to enrich their experience through technical training schools, fully qualified promotion policies, bonuses, and [reimagining] our professional military education.”

Space Force recruits tend to be a few years older than their counterparts in other Armed Forces branches, with most starting in their early 20s.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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