United States Armed Forces

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United States Armed Forces
Military service mark of the United States Army.png Emblem of the United States Marine Corps.svg Emblem of the United States Navy.svg
Military service mark of the United States Air Force.svg USCG S W.svg
Seals of the five service branches
Founded14 June 1775;243 years ago (1775-06-14) [lower-alpha 1]
Service branches
Headquarters The Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Leadership
Commander-in-Chief Flag of the President of the United States of America.svg President Donald Trump
Secretary of Defense USSecDefflag.svg Patrick M. Shanahan (acting)
Secretary of Homeland Security Flag of the United States Secretary of Homeland Security.svg Kirstjen Nielsen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Flag of the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.svg Gen Joseph Dunford, USMC
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff VJCSflag.svg Gen Paul J. Selva, USAF
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman SEACflag.svg CSM John W. Troxell, USA (Suspended as of September 2018, pending investigation.) [1] [2]
Manpower
Military age17 with parental consent, 18 for voluntary service. [lower-alpha 2]
Conscription Yes (inactive since 1973)
Available for
military service
17 million [6] , age 18–25 (2016)
Reaching military
age annually
2 million [7] (2016)
Active personnel1,356,929 [8] [9] (ranked 3rd)
Reserve personnel811,000 [8]
Deployed personnel210,000
Expenditures
Budget US$706 billion (2018) [10] (ranked 1st)
Percent of GDP3.1% (2017) [11]
Industry
Domestic suppliers List
Related articles
History Military history of the United States
RanksCommissioned officer

Warrant officer

Enlisted

The United States Armed Forces [12] are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. [13] The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States. [14]

Military organized body primarily tasked with preparing for and conducting war

A military or an armed force is a professional organization formally authorized by a sovereign state to use lethal or deadly force and weapons to support the interests of the state. It typically consists of branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force, and in certain countries, Marines and a Coast Guard. The task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and of its citizens, and as the prosecution of war against other states. The military may also have additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within a society, including, the promotion of a political agenda, protecting corporate economic interests, internal population control, construction, emergency services, social ceremonies, and guarding important areas. The military may also function as a discrete subculture within a larger civil society, through the development of separate infrastructures, which may include housing, schools, utilities, logistics, health and medical, law, food production, finance and banking.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

United States Marine Corps Amphibious warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines or U.S. Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.

From the time of its inception, the U.S. Armed Forces played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged as a result of victory in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. Even so, the founders of the United States were suspicious of a permanent military force. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, continuing to serve as the armed forces of the United States, although a number of its officers resigned to join the military of the Confederate States. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the Cold War's onset, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the Secretary of Defense; and created the Department of the Air Force and the National Security Council. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.

History of the United States occurrences and people in the USA throughout history

The history of the United States began with the settlement of Indigenous people before 15,000 BC. Numerous cultures formed. The arrival of Christopher Columbus in the year of 1492 started the European colonization of the Americas. Most colonies formed after 1600. By the 1770s, thirteen British colonies contained 2.5 million people along the Atlantic coast east of the Appalachian Mountains. After defeating France, the British government imposed a series of new taxes after 1765, rejecting the colonists' argument that new taxes needed their approval. Tax resistance, especially the Boston Tea Party (1773), led to punitive laws by Parliament designed to end self-government in Massachusetts.

First Barbary War War against Barbary pirates

The First Barbary War (1801–1805), also known as the Tripolitanian War and the Barbary Coast War, was the first of two Barbary Wars, in which the United States and Sweden fought against the four North African states known collectively as the "Barbary States". Three of these were nominal provinces of the Ottoman Empire, but in practice autonomous: Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis. The fourth was the independent Sultanate of Morocco.

Second Barbary War 1815 war between Algiers and the USA

The Second Barbary War (1815) or the U.S–Algerian war was fought between the United States and the North African Barbary Coast states of Tripoli, Tunis, and Ottoman Algeria. The war ended when the United States Senate ratified Commodore Stephen Decatur’s Algerian treaty on December 5, 1815. However, Dey Omar Agha of Algeria repudiated the US treaty, refused to accept the terms of peace that had been ratified by the Congress of Vienna, and threatened the lives of all Christian inhabitants of Algiers. William Shaler was the US commissioner in Algiers who had negotiated alongside Decatur, but he had to flee aboard British vessels and watch rockets and cannon shot fly over his house "like hail" during the Bombardment of Algiers (1816). He negotiated a new treaty in 1816 which was not ratified by the Senate until February 11, 1822 because of an oversight.

The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest militaries in terms of the number of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers. Although conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1973, but the Selective Service System retains the power to conscript males, and requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service. [15]

A volunteer military or all-volunteer military is one which derives its manpower from volunteers rather than conscription or mandatory service. A country may offer attractive pay and benefits through military recruitment to attract potential recruits. Many countries with volunteer militaries reserve the right to renew conscription in the event of an emergency.

Conscription in the United States

Conscription in the United States, commonly known as the draft, has been employed by the federal government of the United States in five conflicts: the American Revolution, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. The third incarnation of the draft came into being in 1940 through the Selective Training and Service Act. It was the country's first peacetime draft. From 1940 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the United States Armed Forces that could not be filled through voluntary means. The draft came to an end when the United States Armed Forces moved to an all-volunteer military force. However, the Selective Service System remains in place as a contingency plan; all male civilians between the ages of 18 and 25 are required to register so that a draft can be readily resumed if needed. United States Federal Law also provides for the compulsory conscription of men between the ages of 17 and 45 and certain women for militia service pursuant to Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution and 10 U.S. Code § 246.

Selective Service System US federal government agency that maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription

The Selective Service System is an independent agency of the United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription. All U.S. citizens and immigrant non-citizens, who were born male, between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by law to have registered within 30 days of their 18th birthdays, and must notify Selective Service within ten days of any changes to any of the information they provided on their registration cards, such as a change of address. In practice, the selective service system has minimal practical effect today since the U.S. military operates on a volunteer basis. Nevertheless, it is seen as a contingency mechanism for the possibility that conscription someday becomes necessary again.

As of 2017, the U.S. spends about US$610 billion annually to fund its military forces and Overseas Contingency Operations. [8] Put together, the U.S. constitutes roughly 40 percent of the world's military expenditures. The U.S. Armed Forces has significant capabilities in both defense and power projection due to its large budget, resulting in advanced and powerful technologies which enables a widespread deployment of the force around the world, including around 800 military bases outside the United States. [16] The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest air force, the U.S. Navy is the world's largest navy by tonnage, and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps combined are the world's second largest air arm. In terms of size, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force. [17] [18] [19]

Power projection Military term

Power projection is a term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a state "to apply all or some of its elements of national power — political, economic, informational, or military — to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces in and from multiple dispersed locations to respond to crises, to contribute to deterrence, and to enhance regional stability."

Navy Military branch of service primarily concerned with naval warfare

A navy or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes anything conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields. The strategic offensive role of a navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores. The strategic defensive purpose of a navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Naval operations can be broadly divided between riverine and littoral applications, open-ocean applications, and something in between, although these distinctions are more about strategic scope than tactical or operational division.

Tonnage is a measure of the cargo-carrying capacity of a ship. The term derives from the taxation paid on tuns or casks of wine. In modern maritime usage, "tonnage" specifically refers to a calculation of the volume or cargo volume of a ship. Tonnage should not be confused with displacement, which refers to the actual weight of the vessel. Tonnage is commonly used to assess fees on commercial shipping.

History

The history of the U.S. Armed Forces dates to 14 June 1775, with the creation of the Continental Army, even before the Declaration of Independence marked the establishment of the United States. The Continental Navy, established on 13 October 1775, and Continental Marines, established on 10 November 1775, were created in close succession by the Second Continental Congress in order to defend the new nation against the British Empire in the American Revolutionary War.

Continental Army Colonial army during the American Revolutionary War

The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.

United States Declaration of Independence announcement by which the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and thus founded the United States

The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Continental Navy

The Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. The fleet cumulatively became relatively substantial through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron John Adams and vigorous Congressional support in the face of stiff opposition, when considering the limitations imposed upon the Patriot supply pool.

These forces demobilized in 1784 after the Treaty of Paris ended the War for Independence. The Congress of the Confederation created the current United States Army on 3 June 1784. The United States Congress created the current United States Navy on 27 March 1794 and the current United States Marine Corps on 11 July 1798. All three services trace their origins to their respective Continental predecessors. The 1787 adoption of the Constitution gave the Congress the power to "raise and support armies", to "provide and maintain a navy" and to "make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces", as well as the power to declare war. The President is the U.S. Armed Forces' commander-in-chief.

The Treaty of Paris, signed in Paris by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War. The treaty set the boundaries between the British Empire in North America and the United States, on lines "exceedingly generous" to the latter. Details included fishing rights and restoration of property and prisoners of war.

Congress of the Confederation governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789

The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789. A unicameral body with legislative and executive function, it comprised delegates appointed by the legislatures of the several states. Each state delegation had one vote. It was preceded by the Second Continental Congress (1775–1781) and governed under the newly adopted Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which were proposed in 1776–1777, adopted by the Continental Congress in July 1778 and finally agreed to by a unanimous vote of all thirteen states by 1781, held up by a long dispute over the cession of western territories beyond the Appalachian Mountains to the central government led by Maryland and a coalition of smaller states without western claims, the plan introduced by Maryland politician John Hanson; the plan is referred to as 'The Hanson Plan'. The newly reorganized Congress at the time continued to refer itself as the Continental Congress throughout its eight-year history, although modern historians separate it from the earlier bodies, which operated under slightly different rules and procedures until the later part of American Revolutionary War. The membership of the Second Continental Congress automatically carried over to the Congress of the Confederation when the latter was created by the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. It had the same secretary as the Second Continental Congress, namely Charles Thomson. The Congress of the Confederation was succeeded by the Congress of the United States as provided for in the new Constitution of the United States, proposed September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia and ratified by the states through 1787 to 1788 and even into 1789 and 1790.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The United States Coast Guard traces its origin to the founding of the Revenue Cutter Service on 4 August 1790 which merged with the United States Life-Saving Service on 28 January 1915 to establish the Coast Guard. The United States Air Force was established as an independent service on 18 September 1947; it traces its origin to the formation of the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps, which was formed 1 August 1907 and was part of the Army Air Forces before becoming an independent service as per the National Security Act of 1947. The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps was formerly considered to be a branch of the United States Armed Forces from 29 July 1945 until its status as such was revoked on 3 July 1952. [20]

Command structure

Structure of the National Command Authority US National Command.png
Structure of the National Command Authority

Command over the U.S. Armed Forces is established in the Constitution. The sole power of command is vested in the President by Article II as Commander-in-Chief. The Constitution presumes the existence of "executive Departments" headed by "principal officers", whose appointment mechanism is provided for in the Appointments Clause. This allowance in the Constitution formed the basis for creation of the Department of Defense in 1947 by the National Security Act. The DoD is headed by the Secretary of Defense, who is a civilian and member of the Cabinet. The Defense Secretary is second in the U.S. Armed Forces chain of command, with the exception of the Coast Guard, which is under the Secretary of Homeland Security, and is just below the President and serves as the principal assistant to the President in all defense-related matters. [21] Together, the President and the Secretary of Defense comprise the National Command Authority, which by law is the ultimate lawful source of military orders. [22]

To coordinate military strategy with political affairs, the President has a National Security Council headed by the National Security Advisor. The collective body has only advisory power to the President, but several of the members who statutorily comprise the council (the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Defense) possess executive authority over their own departments. [23]

Just as the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, are in charge of the entire military establishment, maintaining civilian control of the military, so too are each of the Defense Department's constitutive military departments headed by civilians. The four DoD branches are organized into three departments, each with civilian heads. The Department of the Army is headed by the Secretary of the Army, the Department of the Navy is headed by the Secretary of the Navy and the Department of the Air Force is headed by the Secretary of the Air Force. The Marine Corps is organized under the Department of the Navy, however it is still considered a separate and equal service. The Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security and receives its operational orders from the Secretary of Homeland Security. However, the Coast Guard may be transferred to the Department of the Navy by the President or Congress during a time of war, thereby placing it within the DoD. [24]

The President, Secretary of Defense and other senior executive officials are advised by a seven-member Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is headed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking officer in the United States military and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. [25] The rest of the body is composed of the heads of each of the DoD's service branches (the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force) as well as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Although commanding one of the five military branches, the Commandant of the Coast Guard is not a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Despite being composed of the highest-ranking officers in each of the respective branches, the Joint Chiefs of Staff does not possess operational command authority. Rather, the Goldwater-Nichols Act charges them only with advisory power. [26]

All of the branches work together during operations and joint missions in Unified Combatant Commands, under the authority of the Secretary of Defense with the typical exception of the Coast Guard. Each of the Unified Combatant Commands is headed by a Combatant Commander, a senior commissioned officer who exercises supreme command authority per 10 U.S.C.   § 164 over all of the forces, regardless of branch, within his geographical or functional command. By statute, the chain of command flows from the President to the Secretary of Defense to each of the Combatant Commanders. [27] In practice, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff often acts as an intermediary between the Secretary of Defense and the Combatant Commanders.

Budget

U.S. military spending from 1910 to 2007, adjusted for inflation to 2003 dollars; the large spike represents World War II spending. US defense spending 1910 to 2007.png
U.S. military spending from 1910 to 2007, adjusted for inflation to 2003 dollars; the large spike represents World War II spending.
American defense spending by GDP percentage 1910 to 2007 US defense spending by GDP percentage 1910 to 2007.png
American defense spending by GDP percentage 1910 to 2007

The United States has the world's largest military budget. In the fiscal year 2016, $580.3 billion in funding were enacted for the DoD and for "Overseas Contingency Operations" in the War on Terrorism. [8] Outside of direct DoD spending, the United States spends another $218 to $262 billion each year on other defense-related programs, such as Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, nuclear weapons maintenance and DoD.

By military department, $146.9 billion was allocated for the Department of the Army, $168.8 billion for the Department of the Navy, $161.8 billion for the Department of the Air Force and $102.8 billion for DoD-wide spending. [8] By function, $138.6 billion was requested for personnel, $244.4 billion for operations and maintenance, $118.9 billion for procurement, $69.0 billion for research and development, $1.3 billion for revolving and management funds, $6.9 billion for military construction and $1.3 billion for family housing. [8]

Personnel

Active duty U.S. military personnel from 1950 to 2003; the two peaks correspond to the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Active duty end strength graph.png
Active duty U.S. military personnel from 1950 to 2003; the two peaks correspond to the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The projected active duty end strength in the armed forces for fiscal year 2017 was 1,281,900 servicemembers, [8] with an additional 801,200 people in the seven reserve components. [8] It is an all-volunteer military, but conscription through the Selective Service System can be enacted at the President's request and Congress' approval. All males ages 18 through 25 who are living in the United States are required to register with the Selective Service for a potential future draft.

The U.S. Armed Forces is the world's third largest military, after the Chinese's People's Liberation Army and the Indian Armed Forces, and has troops deployed around the globe.

As in most militaries, members of the U.S. Armed Forces hold a rank, either that of officer, warrant officer or enlisted, to determine seniority and eligibility for promotion. Those who have served are known as veterans. Rank names may be different between services, but they are matched to each other by their corresponding paygrade. [28] Officers who hold the same rank or paygrade are distinguished by their date of rank to determine seniority, while officers who serve in certain positions of office of importance set by law, outrank all other officers in active duty of the same rank and paygrade, regardless of their date of rank. [29] In 2012, it was reported that only one in four persons in the United States of the proper age meet the moral, academic and physical standards for military service. [30]

Personnel by service

February 2018 Demographic Reports and end strengths for reserve components. [8] [31] [32] [33] [34]

ComponentMilitaryEnlistedOfficerMaleFemaleCivilian
Flag of the United States Army.svg United States Army 471,513376,20690,785465,78469,345299,644
Flag of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps 184,427163,09221,335181,84515,55120,484
Flag of the United States Navy.svg United States Navy 325,802267,28654,114265,85262,168179,293
Flag of the United States Air Force.svg United States Air Force 323,222258,01561,144270,46250,750174,754
USCG Parade Flag.svg United States Coast Guard 42,04232,7828,239
Total Active1,347,1061,137,916236,8261,219,510210,485681,232
US Army National Guard Insignia.svg Army National Guard of the United States 336,879291,86545,014
United States AR seal.svg United States Army Reserve 190,699153,06437,635
MarforresLogo.jpg United States Marine Corps Reserve 38,47334,0794,394
United States NR Seal.svg United States Navy Reserve 57,65043,59614,054
Air national guard shield.svg Air National Guard of the United States 106,54991,27415,275
Air Force Reserve Command.png United States Air Force Reserve 68,21654,65813,558
United States Coast Guard Reserve emblem.png United States Coast Guard Reserve 6,1425,0861,056
Total Reserves807,562673,622130,986
Other DoD personnel108,833

Personnel stationing

Overseas

As of 31 December 2010, U.S. Armed Forces troops were stationed in 150 countries; the number of non-contingent deployments per country ranges from 1 in Suriname to over 50,000 in Germany. [35] Some of the largest deployments are: 103,700 in Afghanistan, 52,440 in Germany (see list), 35,688 in Japan (USFJ), 28,500 in South Korea (USFK), 9,660 in Italy and 9,015 in the United Kingdom. These numbers change frequently due to the regular recall and deployment of units.

U.S. global military presence US Global Military Presence.svg
U.S. global military presence

Altogether, 77,917 military personnel are located in Europe, 141 in the former Soviet Union, 47,236 in East Asia and the Pacific, 3,362 in North Africa, the Near East and South Asia, 1,355 in sub-Saharan Africa and 1,941 in the Western Hemisphere excluding the United States itself.

Domestic

Including U.S. territories and ships afloat within territorial waters As of 31 December 2009, a total of 1,137,568 personnel were on active duty within the United States and its territories (including 84,461 afloat). [36] The vast majority (941,629 personnel) were stationed at bases within the contiguous United States. There were an additional 37,245 in Hawaii and 20,450 in Alaska while 84,461 were at sea, 2,972 in Guam and 179 in Puerto Rico.

Types of personnel

Enlisted

Service members of the U.S. Armed Forces at an American football event: (left to right) U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army personnel USmilitary.JPG
Service members of the U.S. Armed Forces at an American football event: (left to right) U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army personnel

Prospective service members are often recruited from high school or college, the target age ranges being 18–35 in the Army, 18–28 in the Marine Corps, 18–34 in the Navy, 18–39 in the Air Force and 18–27 (up to age 32 if qualified for attending guaranteed "A" school) in the Coast Guard. With the permission of a parent or guardian, applicants can enlist at age 17 and participate in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), in which the applicant is given the opportunity to participate in locally sponsored military activities, which can range from sports to competitions led by recruiters or other military liaisons (each recruiting station's DEP varies).

After enlistment, new recruits undergo basic training (also known as "boot camp" in the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard), followed by schooling in their primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), rating and Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) at any of the numerous training facilities around the United States. Each branch conducts basic training differently. The Marine Corps send all non-infantry MOS's to an infantry skills course known as Marine Combat Training prior to their technical schools. Air Force Basic Military Training graduates attend Technical Training and are awarded their Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) at the apprentice (3) skill level. All Army recruits undergo Basic Combat Training (BCT), followed by Advanced Individual Training (AIT), with the exceptions of cavalry scouts, infantry, armor, combat engineers and military police recruits who go to One Station Unit Training (OSUT), which combines BCT and AIT. The Navy sends its recruits to Recruit Training and then to "A" schools to earn a rating. The Coast Guard's recruits attend basic training and follow with an "A" school to earn a rating.

Initially, recruits without higher education or college degrees will hold the pay grade of E-1 and will be elevated to E-2 usually soon after basic training. Different services have different incentive programs for enlistees, such as higher initial ranks for college credit, being an Eagle Scout and referring friends who go on to enlist as well. Participation in DEP is one way recruits can achieve rank before their departure to basic training.

There are several different authorized pay grade advancement requirements in each junior-enlisted rank category (E-1 to E-3), which differ by service. Enlistees in the Army can attain the initial pay grade of E-4 (specialist) with a four-year degree, but the highest initial pay grade is usually E-3 (members of the Army Band program can expect to enter service at the grade of E-4). Promotion through the junior enlisted ranks occurs after serving for a specified number of years (which can be waived by the soldier's chain of command), a specified level of technical proficiency or maintenance of good conduct. Promotion can be denied with reason.

Non-commissioned and petty officers

With very few exceptions, becoming a non-commissioned officer (NCO) or petty officer in the U.S. Armed Forces is accomplished by progression through the lower enlisted ranks. However, unlike promotion through the lower enlisted tier, promotion to NCO is generally competitive. NCO ranks begin at E-4 or E-5, depending upon service and are generally attained between three and six years of service. Junior NCOs function as first-line supervisors and squad leaders, training the junior enlisted in their duties and guiding their career advancement.

While considered part of the non-commissioned officer corps by law, senior non-commissioned officers (SNCOs) referred to as chief petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard, or staff non-commissioned officers in the Marine Corps, perform duties more focused on leadership rather than technical expertise. Promotion to the SNCO ranks, E-7 through E-9 (E-6 through E-9 in the Marine Corps) is highly competitive. Personnel totals at the pay grades of E-8 and E-9 are limited by federal law to 2.5 percent and 1 percent of a service's enlisted force, respectively. SNCOs act as leaders of small units and as staff. Some SNCOs manage programs at headquarters level and a select few wield responsibility at the highest levels of the military structure. Most unit commanders have a SNCO as an enlisted advisor. All SNCOs are expected to mentor junior commissioned officers as well as the enlisted in their duty sections. The typical enlistee can expect to attain SNCO rank after 10 to 16 years of service.

Senior Enlisted Advisors

Each of the five services employs a single Senior Enlisted Advisor at departmental level. This individual is the highest ranking enlisted member within that respective service and functions as the chief advisor to the service secretary, service chief and Congress on matters concerning the enlisted force. These individuals carry responsibilities and protocol requirements equivalent to three-star general or flag officers. They are as follows:

Warrant officers

Additionally, all services except for the Air Force have an active warrant officer corps. Above the rank of warrant Officer One, these officers may also be commissioned, but usually serve in a more technical and specialized role within units. More recently, they can also serve in more traditional leadership roles associated with the more recognizable officer corps. With one notable exception (Army helicopter and fixed-wing pilots), these officers ordinarily have already been in the military often serving in senior NCO positions in the field in which they later serve as a warrant officer as a technical expert. Most Army pilots have served some enlisted time. It is also possible to enlist, complete basic training, go directly to the Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama and then on to flight school.

Warrant officers in the U.S. military garner the same customs and courtesies as commissioned officers. They may attend the officer's club, receive a command and are saluted by junior warrant officers and all enlisted service members.

The Air Force ceased to grant warrants in 1959 when the enlisted grades of E-8 and E-9 were created. Most non-flying duties performed by warrant officers in other services are instead performed by senior NCOs in the Air Force.

Commissioned officers

Officers receive a commission in one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces through one of the following routes.

  • Service academies (United States Military Academy (Army), United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy)
  • Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC)
  • Officer Candidate School (OCS) (Officer Training School (OTS) in the Air Force): this can be through active-duty schools, or through state-run schools in the case of the Army National Guard.
  • Direct commission: civilians who have special skills that are critical to sustaining military operations and supporting troops may receive direct commissions. These officers occupy leadership positions in law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, intelligence, supply-logistics-transportation, engineering, public affairs, chaplain, oceanography and others.
  • Battlefield commission: under certain conditions, enlisted personnel who have skills that separate them from their peers can become officers by direct commissioning of a commander so authorized to grant them. This type of commission is rarely granted and is reserved only for the most exceptional enlisted personnel; it is done on an ad hoc basis, typically only in wartime. No direct battlefield commissions have been awarded since the Vietnam War. The Navy and Air Force do not employ this commissioning path.
  • Limited Duty Officer: due to the highly technical nature of some officer billet s, the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard employ a system of promoting proven senior enlisted members to the ranks of commissioned officers. They fill a need that is similar to, but distinct from that filled by warrant officers (to the point where their accession is through the same school). While warrant officers remain technical experts, LDOs take on the role of a generalist, like that of officers commissioned through more traditional sources. LDOs are limited, not by their authority, but by the types of billets they are allowed to fill. However, in recent times they have come to be used more and more like their more-traditional counterparts.

Officers receive a commission assigning them to the officer corps from the President with the Senate's consent. To accept this commission, all officers must take an oath of office.

Through their careers, officers usually will receive further training at one or a number of the many staff colleges.

Company grade officers in pay grades O-1 through O-3 (known as "junior" officers in the Navy and Coast Guard) function as leaders of smaller units or sections of a unit, typically with an experienced SNCO (or CPO in the Navy and Coast Guard) assistant and mentor.

Field grade officers in pay grades O-4 through O-6 (known as "senior" officers in the Navy and Coast Guard) lead significantly larger and more complex operations, with gradually more competitive promotion requirements.

General officers, (known as flag officers in the Navy and Coast Guard) serve at the highest levels and oversee major portions of the military mission.

Chiefs of Staff

Each service has a uniformed head who is considered the highest-ranking officer within their respective service, with the exception of the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the chief of the National Guard Bureau. They are responsible for ensuring personnel readiness, policy, planning and training and equipping their respective military services for the combatant commanders to utilize. They also serve as senior military advisors to the President, the Secretary of Defense, their respective service secretaries, as well as other councils they may be called to serve on. They are as follows:

Five-star ranking

These are ranks of the highest honor and responsibility in the U.S. Armed Forces, but they are almost never given during peacetime and only a very small number of officers during wartime have held a five-star rank:

No corresponding rank exists for the Marine Corps or the Coast Guard. As with three- and four-star ranks, Congress is the approving authority for a five-star rank confirmation.

The rank of General of the Armies is considered senior to General of the Army, but was never held by active duty officers at the same time as persons who held the rank of General of the Army. It has been held by two people: John J. Pershing who received the rank in 1919 after World War I and George Washington who received it posthumously in 1976 as part of the American Bicentennial celebrations. Pershing, appointed to General of the Armies in active duty status for life, was still alive at the time of the first five-star appointments during World War II and was thereby acknowledged as superior in grade by seniority to any World War II–era Generals of the Army. George Washington's appointment by Public Law 94-479 to General of the Armies of the United States was established by law as having "rank and precedence over all other grades of the Army, past or present", making him not only superior to Pershing, but superior to any grade in the Army in perpetuity.

In the Navy, the rank of Admiral of the Navy theoretically corresponds to that of General of the Armies, though it was never held by active-duty officers at the same time as persons who held the rank of Fleet Admiral. George Dewey is the only person to have ever held this rank. After the establishment of the rank of Fleet Admiral in 1944, the Department of the Navy specified that the rank of Fleet Admiral was to be junior to the rank of Admiral of the Navy. However, since Dewey died in 1917 before the establishment of the rank of Fleet Admiral, the six-star rank has not been totally confirmed.

Women in the military

From 2005, the first all female C-130 Hercules crew to fly a combat mission for the U.S. Air Force C-130 - First all female crew.jpg
From 2005, the first all female C-130 Hercules crew to fly a combat mission for the U.S. Air Force

The Woman's Army Auxiliary Corps was established in the United States in 1942. Women saw combat during World War II, first as nurses in the Pearl Harbor attacks on 7 December 1941. The Woman's Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Women's Reserve and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were also created during this conflict. In 1944, WACs arrived in the Pacific and landed in Normandy on D-Day. During the war, 67 Army nurses and 16 Navy nurses were captured and spent three years as Japanese prisoners of war. There were 350,000 American women who served during World War II and 16 were killed in action. In total, they gained over 1,500 medals, citations and commendations. Virginia Hall, serving with the Office of Strategic Services, received the second-highest U.S. combat award, the Distinguished Service Cross, for action behind enemy lines in France.

After World War II, demobilization led to the vast majority of serving women being returned to civilian life. Law 625, The Women's Armed Services Act of 1948, was signed by President Truman, allowing women to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces in fully integrated units during peacetime, with only the WAC remaining a separate female unit. During the Korean War of 1950–1953, many women served in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals, with women serving in Korea numbering 120,000 [ dubious ]during the conflict. During the Vietnam War, 600 women served in the country as part of the Air Force, along with 500 members of the WAC and over 6,000 medical personnel and support staff. The Ordnance Corps began accepting female missile technicians in 1974 [38] and female crewmembers and officers were accepted into Field Artillery missile units. [39] [40]

Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, awarded the Silver Star for direct combat Leigh Ann Hester medal.jpg
Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, awarded the Silver Star for direct combat

In 1974, the first six women naval aviators earned their wings as Navy pilots. The Congressionally mandated prohibition on women in combat places limitations on the pilots' advancement, [41] but at least two retired as captains. [42] In 1989, Captain Linda L. Bray, 29, became the first woman to command American soldiers in battle during the invasion of Panama. The 1991 Gulf War proved to be the pivotal time for the role of women in the U.S. Armed Forces to come to the attention of the world media; there are many reports of women engaging enemy forces during the conflict. [43]

In the 2000s, women can serve on U.S. combat ships, including in command roles. They are permitted to serve on submarines. [44] Women can fly military aircraft and make up 2% of all pilots in the U.S. Military. In 2003, Major Kim Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for landing her combat damaged A-10 Thunderbolt II with no hydraulic control and only one functional engine after being struck by hostile fire over Baghdad.

On 3 December 2015, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that all military combat jobs would become available to women. [45] This gave women access to the roughly 10% of military jobs which were previously closed off due to their combat nature. [46] The decision gave military services until January 2016 to seek exceptions to the rule if they believe that certain jobs, such as machine gunners, should be restricted to men only. [47] These restrictions were due in part to prior studies which stated that mixed gender units are less capable in combat. [48] Physical requirements for all jobs remained unchanged, though. [48] Many women believe this will allow for them to improve their positions in the military, since most high-ranking officers start in combat positions. Since women are now available to work in any position in the military, female entry into the draft has been proposed. [49]

Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester became the first woman to receive the Silver Star, the third-highest U.S. decoration for valor, for direct participation in combat. In Afghanistan, Monica Lin Brown was presented the Silver Star for shielding wounded soldiers with her body. [50] In March 2012, the U.S. military had two women, Ann E. Dunwoody and Janet C. Wolfenbarger, with the rank of four-star general. [51] [52] In 2016, Air Force General Lori Robinson became the first female officer to command a major Unified Combatant Command (USNORTHCOM) in the history of the United States Armed Forces. [53]

Despite concerns of a gender gap, all personnel both men and women at the same rank and time of service are compensated the same rate across all branches. [54]

A study conducted by the RAND Corporation also suggests that women who make the military their career see an improved rate of promotion, as they climb through the military ranks at a faster rate. [55]

Order of precedence

Under current Department of Defense regulation, the various components of the U.S. Armed Forces have a set order of seniority. Examples of the use of this system include the display of service flags, placement of Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen in formation, etc. When the Coast Guard shall operate as part of the Department of the Navy, United States Coast Guard Academy cadets, the United States Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Reserve shall take precedence after United States Naval Academy midshipmen; the United States Navy; and Navy Reserve, respectively. [56]

Note: While the U.S. Navy is older than the Marine Corps, [57] the Marine Corps takes precedence due to previous inconsistencies in the Navy's birth date. The Marine Corps has recognized its observed birth date on a more consistent basis. The Second Continental Congress is considered to have established the Navy on 13 October 1775 by authorizing the purchase of ships, but did not actually pass the "Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies" until 27 November 1775. [58] The Marine Corps was established by act of said Congress on 10 November 1775. The Navy did not officially recognize 13 October 1775 as its birth date until 1972, when then–Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt authorized it to be observed as such. [57]

See also

Notes

  1. With the establishment of the Continental Army.
  2. Maximum age for first-time enlistment is 35 for the Army, [3] 28 for the Marine Corps, 34 for the Navy, 39 for the Air Force [4] and 27 for the Coast Guard. [5]

Related Research Articles

Legion of Merit military award of the United States Armed Forces

The Legion of Merit (LOM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued to members of the seven uniformed services of the United States as well as to military and political figures of foreign governments.

Armed Forces of the Philippines combined military forces of the Philippines

The Armed Forces of the Philippines are the military forces of the Philippines. It consists of the three main service branches; the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The President of the Philippines is the Commander-in-Chief of the AFP and forms military policy with the Department of National Defense, an executive department acting as the principal organ by which military policy is carried out, while the Chief of Staff is the overall commander and the highest-ranking officer in the AFP. A previous attached branch is the defunct Philippine Constabulary, while the Philippine Coast Guard is a wartime attached service. Military service is entirely voluntary.

The Commendation Medal is a mid-level United States military decoration which is presented for sustained acts of heroism or meritorious service. For valorous actions in direct contact with an enemy, but of a lesser degree than required for the award of the Bronze Star Medal, a Commendation Medal with "V" Device or Combat "V" is awarded; the "V" device may be authorized for wear on the service and suspension ribbon of the medal to denote valor. On January 7 2016, The "C" Device or Combat "C” was created and may be authorized for wear on the service and suspension ribbon of the Commendation Medal to distinguish an award for meritorious service or achievement under the most arduous combat conditions. A Commendation Medal with Combat Device is unofficially named the “Combat Commendation” and is often considered to be a higher level form of the Commendation Medal, regardless of the Awarding Branch. Retroactive award of the “C” device is not approved for medals awarded before 7 January 2016. Each branch of the United States Armed Forces issues its own version of the Commendation Medal, with a fifth version existing for acts of joint military service performed under the Department of Defense.

The United States of America has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10 and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 32 and Title 42 of the United States Code.

Joint Chiefs of Staff body of senior uniformed leaders in the U. S. Department of Defense who advise the President on military matters

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council on military matters. The composition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is defined by statute and consists of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), the Military Service Chiefs from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, all appointed by the President following Senate confirmation. Each of the individual Military Service Chiefs, outside their Joint Chiefs of Staff obligations, works directly for the Secretary of the Military Department concerned, i.e., Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force.

Officer Candidate School or Officer Cadet School (OCS) are institutions which train civilians and enlisted personnel in order for them to gain a commission as officers in the armed forces of a country. How OCS is run differs between countries and services. Typically, Officer Candidates are already Bachelor's Degree holders, and undergo a short duration of training which focuses primarily on military skills and leadership. This is in contrast with service academies which include academic instruction leading to a bachelor's degree.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff highest ranking military officer in the United States

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is, by U.S. law, the highest-ranking and senior-most military officer in the United States Armed Forces and is the principal military advisor to the President, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff outranks all other commissioned officers, they are prohibited by law from having operational command authority over the armed forces; however, the Chairman does assist the President and the Secretary of Defense in exercising their command functions.

Flags of the United States Armed Forces

The several branches of the United States Armed Forces are represented by flags, among other emblems and insignia. Within each branch, various flags fly on various occasions, and on various ships, bases, camps, and military academies.

Achievement Medal

The Achievement Medal is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces. The Achievement Medal was first proposed as a means to recognize the contributions of junior officers and enlisted personnel who were not eligible to receive the higher Commendation Medal or the Meritorious Service Medal.

Uniform Service Diver Insignia (United States) Qualification badges of the uniformed services of the United States which are awarded to servicemen qualified as divers

The diver insignia are qualification badges of the uniformed services of the United States which are awarded to servicemen qualified as divers. Originally, the diver insignia was a cloth patch decoration worn by United States Navy divers in the upper-portion of the enlisted service uniform's left sleeve during the first part of World War II, when the rating insignia was worn on the right sleeve. When enlisted rating insignia were shifted to the left sleeve in late World War II, the patch shifted to the upper right sleeve. The diving patch was created during World War II, and became a breast insignia in the late 1960s.

Meritorious Service Medal (United States) military award presented to members of the United States Armed Forces

The Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) is a military award presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to January 16, 1969.

The U.S. Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) was established in 1951 by Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall. Its members are civilian women and men appointed by the Secretary of Defense to provide advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to the recruitment and retention, treatment, employment, integration, and well-being of women in the U.S. Armed Forces. Beginning in 2002, the Committee began providing advice and recommendations on family issues related to recruitment and retention. DACOWITS' recommendations have been instrumental in effecting changes to laws and policies pertaining to military women.

Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a state so as to offer such military capability as a national defense policy may require. In some countries paramilitary forces are included in a nation's armed forces, though not considered military. Armed forces that are not a part of military or paramilitary organizations, such as insurgent forces, often mimic military organizations, or use ad hoc structures, while formal military organization tends to use hierarchical forms.

Public Affairs is a term for the formal offices of the branches of the United States Department of Defense whose purpose is to deal with the media and community issues. The term is also used for numerous media relations offices that are created by the U.S. military for more specific limited purposes. Public affairs offices are staffed by a combination of officers, enlisted personnel, civilian officials and contract professionals.

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Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC) is a military position within the United States Department of Defense and is the most senior noncommissioned or petty officer overall in the United States Armed Forces. The SEAC is appointed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve as a spokesperson to address the issues of enlisted personnel to the highest positions in the Department of Defense. As such, the SEAC is the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and serves at the pleasure of the Secretary of Defense. The SEAC's exact duties vary, depending on the Chairman, though he generally devotes much time traveling throughout the Department of Defense observing training and communicating to service members and their families. The normal tour of assignment is four years, which runs concurrently with the Chairman. The first member to hold this post was William Gainey. On 11 December 2015, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, administered the Oath of Office to CSM John W. Troxell, USA. Troxell became the third member and second soldier to hold the office.

In the United States armed forces, the Chiefs of Chaplains of the United States are the senior service chaplains who lead and represent the Chaplain Corps of the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force. The Navy created the first Office of the Chief of Chaplains in 1917; the Army followed in 1920, and the Air Force established its own in 1948 after it became a separate branch.

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This is a timeline of women in warfare in the United States from 1900 until 1949.

Timeline of women in warfare and the military in the United States from 2011–present

This article lists events involving Women in warfare and the military in the United States since 2011. For the previous decade, see Timeline of women in warfare and the military in the United States, 2000–2010.

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