Desperate U.S. Navy Raises Enlistment Age Limit to 41

The U.S. Navy has raised its maximum age for general enlistment from 39 to 41, after the U.S. military saw historic struggles with recruiting in the 2022 fiscal year.

Navy Times reported on the new enlistment age cutoff on Monday.

Prior to this change, the Navy’s general enlistment cutoff age was 39 and sailors had to report to boot camp before their 40th birthday. Under the new change, recruits must now report to boot camp before their 42nd birthday.

While the enlistment age limit is applied generally across the service, the Navy will still impose more strict age limits for sailors pursuing specific job specialties, such as Navy SEALs and divers. As of Tuesday, the Navy’s recruiting website still listed 28 years old as the maximum cutoff age to begin the SEAL training pipeline.

Currently, the Army’s maximum general enlistment age is still set at 35 years old.

The Air Force’s maximum general enlistment age is 40.

The Marine Corps has the lowest enlistment age, requiring recruits to enlist by age 28.

The Coast Guard has raised its maximum enlistment age from 34 to 42.

This year, the Navy barely passed its active-component enlisted recruiting goal 33,400 new enlisted sailors, bringing in 33,442 sailors in total. While it barely met its active enlisted recruiting goal, the Navy missed its 200 active-duty officer goal number by 209 officers.

The service’s reserve component also saw shortfalls. By the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, the Navy Reserve had recruited 5,442 new recruits of its 7,400-recruit goal. The Navy Reserve also brought in 982 new officers out of its goal of 1,360.

Before the end of the 2022 fiscal year, the Navy began offering up to $115,000 in enlistment incentives for recruits in certain high-demand occupational ratings. The enlistment incentives included a maximum enlistment bonus of $50,000 and up to $65,000 in loan repayments, with the ability for recruits to max out on both incentive offers for a combined $115,000 in incentives.

The Navy’s updated age limit went into effect last week.