How to Decide Which Military Service to Join (Army, Navy or Air Force)

by Uday Kumar on March 27, 2013

Whether it’s the Army, Navy or Air Force deciding which military branch to join is a difficult decision without proper due diligence and introspective evaluation. Since a lot of you are asking me as to which branch or service to join, I thought it is high time to publish an article to help you tackle this problem and make the right decision. Each service of the Armed Forces offers different opportunities and responsibilities which are unique, making the decision personal and specific to your mental and physical abilities. If you are still in your teens or early 20s, you must discuss your decision with your parents before making a commitment. Candidates under age 18 must have parental permission before signing up for the military.

Army, Navy or Air Force1. Research: Compile research on each service. Start online to obtain a general description of how each service functions, duties, basic training requirements, postings and type of job. Each service offers different opportunities and requirements, so use your research to make a list of what you like and dislike about each service. Eg; In the Indian Navy you get postings mostly in big cities, there is more charm and valor to the olive green uniform of the Army,etc.

2. Share your information and desire to join Armed Forces with your family. Although you are the one joining, but your family will be directly affected by your decision. Present your research and ask for opinions. Be open-minded about any feedback you receive, both good and bad. Add family comments and suggestions to your list.

3. Schedule an interview with a friend or friend of friend or college senior who is in the service (if possible). Go with a list of questions to ask that person during your appointment. Ask him/her why he/she joined that particular service, what is the minimum number of years of engagement and what does the service look for in a layman. Write down each answer you receive, so you can review and evaluate the feedback.

4. Review your initial research and compare it to what you learned from your friend/friend of friend/college senior etc who is in the service. Create for each service a one-page list that features the main points you learned and highlights from your personal interview. Refer to your list of likes and dislikes to see how they compare with information you received from your friends/seniors. Cover all bases including a checklist of documentation and requirements.

5. Decide: Engagement in the military service is a huge decision, a life changing one. Before applying for that service, ask yourself if you meet all the criteria.

With social networking and internet bringing communication simpler and easier you can actually get a lot of information on the net.

In my case, I did not do all the research. I wanted to join the Army just because of the charm of the service. But in the SSB I got selected both in the Army and the Navy. And when the final decision was to be taken to whether join the Navy or the Army, I just happened to listen to my parents and I joined the Navy. And let me tell you that was the best that could have happened to me. Because had I did some research like I mentioned above I would have definitely picked up Navy. Because for my personality, family requirements and my upbringing Navy was the best suited (which I realised after 4-5 years of commissioned service). So do your part of research well and do not repent later for the choice of your service.

Got a Question? Leave a comment via Facebook...

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

ADARSH kumar March 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm

sir,my aim is to join INDIAN ARMY….which will be better way for joining ARMY….OFFICER TRAINING ACADEMY or INDIAN MILITRY ACADEMY………….please guide me sir


Uday Kumar March 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm

IMA definitely. But if you are an arts graduate then you may have difficulty answering maths paper of IMA

Anubhav March 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Sir most of the time the interviewing officer asks, why I select you for the forces or what you can give to forces? Then what should be the appropriate answer to this question… sir?


Uday Kumar March 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Dear Anubhav, plz answer genuinely. What can you give the service?? Dont ask me.

Srikanth Jayaraman March 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm

I’ve have been called for the Interview by Navy for SSC. I’ve completed my PG in Engineering. Does my degree add weightage during the SSB interview process. Please guide me and what are the chances of getting selected in the SSB selcetion process.


Uday Kumar March 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Srikanth, more than your degree your knowledge and aptitude is more important. Your PG will definitely make the IO start the interview with a positive note

shafiq ahmed March 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm

hello sir I want to clear one thing….I am in final year 8th semester…i have attended ssb for INS..Iam conference out…sir Tell me whether,I can again appear in UES entry…….What is the next procedure to attend ssb….I am specific in joining indian navy…how times a year I get the opportunity to attend ssb…which entry will be having short time to apply….so that i can appear for ssb as soon as possible…I looked at nausena bharti website…There is entry for only 2012 pass outs…But i dont wanna waste my time in between….Reply me as soon as possible


Anubhav March 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Sir this would be my 1st SSB, So can you provide me with some tips regarding Screening & Personal Interview.


manoj kumar March 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

sir i have done my diploma(electronics engg) after 10’th,am i eligible for technical post in army.


Yash March 28, 2013 at 1:37 am

Hello Uday sir, this article of yours, like all others, is great and helpful. Subscribing to your blog is now one of the best things that I’ve done for my CDSE preparations.
I have a request. It would be great if you could also do a detailed article on How to join Indian Armed Forces after graduation through UPSC, like the one you did on joining through NDA. It would be really helpful for a bunch of folks like me preparing for entry into IMA/OTA/AFA/INA after gaining our degrees.
A personal request is also to include an analysis of the new medical standards in Indian armed forces (for e.g. LASIK surgeries are now allowed in Army & Navy, but not in Air Force).
Hoping to see such an article very soon. I’ll wait for your insightful tips till then.


kearthivaasan March 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

I hav been seen in afcat 01/2013..
can u pls tel me interview procedure and about the questions asked…


Jasmeet March 28, 2013 at 11:39 am

I am a final year IT engg student, & have cleared CDS-II 2012 (IMA & OTA).
I am interested in joining Techniical Corps.
I want to whether I can join it through this entry. If yes, then how?


shobhit March 28, 2013 at 11:42 am

Respected sir,
cleared AFCAT 1/2013 written test and SSB interview date is 29 july in dehradun. Please let me know what is the %age of candidates who are screened in on the first day, and one more question, if the officer asked me whether i have done coaching then what shouild be my reply.


Jasmeet March 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Hello Sir,
I am a final year IT engg student, & have cleared CDS-II 2012 (IMA & OTA).
I am interested in joining Techniical Corps.
I want to know whether I can join it through this entry. If yes, then how?


Seema Verma March 28, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Hello Sir,

I completed my graduation last year in BBA with 57.46%.
I am interested in joining Logistic Officer in Navy.
I am having doubt with my percentage. So, I would like know whether I can join the navy with this percentage and if no, then what would be the solution to improve.


Srikar March 29, 2013 at 10:34 am

Dear Sir,
I need your advice on a problem that has been with me for a long time. I want to join a force that sends its troops behind enemy lines like Para commandos. So the question is do Marcos also serve behind the enemy lines? My parents wont let me join army, so I have no other option but to join Navy. So sir, do you think it is a worth joining Navy Macros? I know their training is VERY hard to pass and I am too young to ask such type of questions but I want to follow my dream…. Please help me out sir


Adarsh March 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm


I had joined the prestigious Indian Naval Academy for the 91 INAC course.

But due to an abdominal injury and knee problem, i resigned from the academy.

Now I want to complete my graduation and then go back to the academy as an NOC.

the onlu question in my mind is that
will i be having any sort of disadvantage in ssb in my future since i have resigned from the academy once?


Priya sharma March 30, 2013 at 10:39 am

Hello sir,
I just want to know…, i am 12th commerce with out maths student …i want know …. how can i entry in navy…? Pls reply me… sir


feroz March 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm

sir iam selected in afcat examination and how to prepare for ssb interviews pls gide me sir, my aim is to become air force officer and i have to serve my country sir, pls respond me sir


Rajat March 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Sir, I have myopia in both eyes, -3.5 and -4.5. I want to join Indian army via cds exam by appearing in 2013’s cdse & I am 24 years old. Will I be eligible if I undergo lasik/laser surgery for myopic eye to cure them, as now I am 24 years old?
Please do reply urgently.


ANUBHAV April 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Sir,I’ve been shortlisted for AFSB. I’m a final year student,so as per the call up letter,i need to carry a certificate mentioning the likely date of declaration of final year result in DD/MM/YYYY format.College authorities aren’t sure about the date of result,So If i just carry a certificate mentioning that college will declare result as per schedule,Will it work at AFSB.


Nikhielesh April 24, 2013 at 4:03 am

I have been recommended for the Indian Coastguard as an Asst.Commandant


ABHISHEK MUKHERJEE April 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hello sir,
I cleared SSB, Indian navy and was recommended, but i was declared medically unfit due to poor colour perception of my eyes. I was given the colour grade CP4. Is there any possibility of me getting recruited?


Amit rawat September 29, 2013 at 8:14 pm

hello Sir,
this is amit Kumar rawat
I am btech 4th year (mechanical eng)student
I interest to join the navy bcoz my elder brother is also in navy
I am familiar with navy, but my hight is 156cm
could I join any engineering branch of navy?


Bharat June 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Dear Sir

I have three questions to ask you.
My Background: I plan to join the Indian Army as soon as I graduate from my current 5yr integrated law under-graduate programme as a regular officer. (not JAG).

1. I would like to know if a candidate joining the Permanent Service Commission will ever have a chance to move out of the service before his retirement? I mean on the the lines of Voluntary retirement.

2. Is it a good idea to join the Army at the age of 22yrs, in terms of career prospects and promotions?

3. What are the job prospects post retirement? What field would the post-retirement work lie given my sort of background? Does the Indian Army really put in efforts to promote the officers’ post-graduation studies?

Awaiting a positive response.

Yours Sincerely


dilip singh July 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm

respected sir,
actually i want to know that i jave applied for 10+2 BTECH cadet entry dec 14 course……………and i ahve completed my 12th from cbse board with a percentage of 87… i want to know that whether i will be shortlisted or not


Deepak November 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

in PCB u should have 84 and above ,

Deepak November 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm

– i am an engineering student of 2nd year and in 3rd year i will fill up UES and at CDS would be an option for me ,there is a question in my mind and that is after my selection in armed forces through CDS or UES does it make any difference of what work i will have to do while serving in army… ?


Sadashiv Shabadi April 5, 2015 at 10:48 am

i am an Engineering student of 3rd year .. i want to join IMA .. Aim to be officer in INDIAN ARMY .. How i should ready be ready to join in IMA ..?!?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: