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Members of the Armed Forces can retire at any age after 20 years of service. The Department of Defense (DOD) justifies this length of service as necessary to retain a young and vigorous force and attract and retain servicemen. DOD uses a competitive promotion system which precludes most military members from serving full careers and must, by law, retire officers who have been passed over for promotion or who reach a certain age. Since their careers could end in the middle of their potential worklife, DOD believes military members need the assurance of early retirement benefits.

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