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Chapter 4:


As shown in Table 4.4, officers, on average, tend to be older than enlisted personnel. Upon commissioning in FY 2000, the average officer was more than 26 years old in contrast to 19 years old for the average enlisted accession. The mean age of all active officers was 34 years, while that of enlisted members was 27 years. The mean age of officer accessions varies by source of commission. In FY 2000, the average age of newly commissioned officers ranged from less than 23 years for Service academy graduates to over 31 years for officers accessed through direct appointment or "other" commissioning sources.

Table 4.4. FY 2000 Mean Age of Active Component Officer Accessions and
Officer Corps in Comparison to Enlisted Personnel




Active Component Accessions



Active Component Force



Also see Appendix Table B-31 (Age by Service).


Figures 4.3 and 4.4 (together with Appendix Table B-31) highlight the military's emphasis on youth. In particular, Marine Corps officer accessions and officer corps were younger than those in other Services. About 6 percent of Marine Corps officers were 31 or older upon entry. The proportion within this age range among the other Services' newly commissioned officers was greater but still notably small. The percentage who were 31 years or older was 15 percent in the Army, 24 percent in the Navy, and 22 percent in the Air Force. The rigorous physical demands and rapid deployment of Marines, and this Service’s absence of officers in medical and ministry fields, no doubt are related to the relative youth of Marine Corps officers.

Figure 4.5 shows that along with age, there has been a steady increase in the tenure of officers. On average, as of FY 2000, the typical commissioned officer was 34 years old and had been in uniform for 11 years.

Appendix Table B-31. Active Component officer accessions by Service
Figure 4.3.
Age of FY 2000 Active Component officer accessions, by Service.


Appendix Table B-31. Active Component Officer Corps by Age and Service
Figure 4.4.
Age of FY 2000 Active Component officer corps, by Service.

Appendix Table D-26. Age and Months in Service by Fiscal Year
Figure 4.5.
Active Component officers’ mean years of age and months of service, FYs 1973–2000.

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