Canada - In Canada, people may join the reserve component of the Canadian Forces at age 16 with parental permission, and the regular component at 17 years of age. They may not volunteer for a tour of duty until reaching age 18.
United States - In the United States 17-year-olds may join the armed forces, but may not be deployed in combat situations. The United States military is based on voluntary recruitment, though minors also must have parental permission to enlist (or permission from a legal guardian in the absence of parents). Males under eighteen years of age are not draft eligible, and females are not eligible for conscription at any age. The United States military requires all soldiers to possess a high school diploma or equivalent; this requirement may be waived for young soldiers for up to 180 days from the date of enlistment and during wartime. The United States has recently come under fire for the detention and trial of child soldiers and non-combatant minors captured during military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Omar Khadr, a 15 year old Canadian citizen, arrested in Afghanistan in 2002, and held at Guantanamo for the past five years was to have been one of the first detainees to be charged before a military commission. Human Rights Watch charges that, "the US government incarcerated him with adults, reportedly subjected him to abusive interrogations, failed to provide him any educational opportunities, and denied him any direct contact with his family." In 2004, three Afghan children were released from Guantanamo, believed to be between the ages of 13 and 15 at the time of their capture, to rehabilitation programs operated by UNICEF in Afghanistan.