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The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard. 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 six armed services are among the eight uniformed services of the United States. From its inception during the American Revolutionary War, the U.S. Armed Forces have played a decisive role in the history of the United States. It helped forge a sense of national unity and identity through its victories in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, keeping the Confederacy from seceding from the republic. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the secretary of defense; and created the United States 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. The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest military forces in terms of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers. Although conscription has been used in the past, it has not been used since 1973. 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. The U.S. Armed Forces are considered the world's most powerful military. The military budget of the United States was US$693 billion in 2019, the highest in the world. In 2018, that accounted for 36 percent of the world's defense 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. 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 maritime force. The U.S. as of FY2019 has about 14,061 aircraft in its military inventory. The U.S. Space Force is the world's first and, as of 2021, only independent space force.

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. 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 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. The United States Space Force was established as an independent service on 20 December 2019. It is the sixth branch of the U.S. military and the first new branch since the establishment of the independent U.S. Air Force in 1947. It traces its origin to the formation of the Air Force Space Command, which was formed 1 September 1982 and was a major command of the United States Air Force.

Structure

Presidential command over the U.S. Armed Forces is established by Article II in the Constitution whereby the president is named as the "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States." The United States Armed Forces are split between two cabinet departments, with the Department of Defense serving as the primary cabinet department for military affairs and the Department of Homeland Security responsible for administering the United States Coast Guard. The military chain of command flows from the president of the United States to the secretary of defense (for services under the Defense Department) or secretary of homeland security (for services under the Department of Homeland Security), ensuring civilian control of the military. Within the Department of Defense the military departments, the Department of the Army, United States Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, are civilian led entities that oversee the coequal military service branches organized within. The military departments and services are responsible for organizing, training, and equipping forces, with the actual chain of command flowing through the unified combatant commands. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, although outside the operational chain of command, is the senior-most military body in the United States Armed Forces. It is led by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is the military head of the armed forces and principle advisor to the president and secretary of defense on military matters. Their deputy is the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Other members include the chief of staff of the Army, commandant of the Marine Corps, chief of naval operations, chief of staff of the Air Force, chief of space operations, and the chief of the National Guard Bureau. The commandant of the Coast Guard is not an official member of the Joint Chiefs, but sometimes attends meetings as the one of the military service chiefs. The Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman is the most senior enlisted member in the United States Armed Forces. Leadership of the Armed Forces, to include the president of the United States, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are members of the United States National Security Council, which advises the president on national security, military, and foreign policy matters. The National Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor may also be members of the United States Armed Forces. The National Security Council Deputies Committee also includes the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The United States Homeland Security Council, which advises the president on homeland security, includes the president of the United States, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Homeland Security Advisor may also be a member of the armed forces. Military leadership, including the Secretary of Defense, United States Secretary of Homeland Security, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also sit on the National Space Council.

Service branches

The United States Armed Forces is comprised of six coequal military service branches. Five of the branches, the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, United States Air Force, and United States Space Force are organized under the Department of Defense's military departments. The United States Coast Guard is nominally under the Department of Homeland Security, but may be transferred to the Department of Defense's Department of the Navy (which is the civilian entity that oversees the coequal U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy) at the direction of the president or congress. With the exception of the Coast Guard, the military services only organize, train, and equip forces. The unified combatant commands are responsible for operational control of non-service retained forces.

Army

The United States Army (USA) is the land service branch of the United States Armed Forces and part of the civilian-led Department of the Army, which is led by the Secretary of the Army. The military head of the U.S. Army is the chief of staff of the Army, who is assisted by the vice chief of staff of the United States Army and sergeant major of the Army. It was founded on 14 June 1775 as the Continental Army. The five core competencies of the Army are to conduct: #Prompt and sustained land combat #Combined arms operations ##Combined arms maneuver and wide area security ##Armored and mechanized operations ##Airborne and air assault operations #Special operations #Set and sustain the theater for the joint force #Integrate national, multinational, and joint power on land The U.S. Army is composed of the Regular Army, United States Army Reserve, and United States Army National Guard. The U.S. Army is organized into four army commands, which conduct the majority of the service's organize, train, and equip functions, ten Army service component commands, which command forces attached to the combatant commands, and twelve direct reporting units. The Army also organizes its personnel into 21 different basic branches. The four army commands are: * United States Army Forces Command: Provides Army forces to combatant commanders. * United States Army Training and Doctrine Command: Recruits, trains, and educates soldiers and develops Army doctrine. * United States Army Materiel Command: Develops, maintains, and acquires systems and materiel. * United States Army Futures Command: Modernization and future systems development. The U.S. Army's field structure is broken into several subdivisions under its commands:

Marine Corps

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is the maritime land force service branch of the United States Armed Forces and part of the civilian-led Department of the Navy, which is led by the Secretary of the Navy. The military head of the U.S. Marine Corps is the commandant of the Marine Corps, who is assisted by the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and sergeant major of the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps was founded on 10 November 1775 as the Continental Marines and disbanded in 1783, before being reestablished as the United States Marine Corps on 11 July 1789. The Marine Corps is responsible for amphibious warfare and expeditionary warfare operations, having a very close relationship with its coequal sister service, the United States Navy. The U.S. Marine Corps is composed of the Regular Marine Corps and the United States Marine Corps Reserve. The central unit of the Marine Corps is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, which consist of a command element, ground combat element, aviation combat element, and logistics combat element. The Marine Corps is divided in the Fleet Marine Force and the Supporting Establishment. The Fleet Marine Force includes: * United States Marine Corps Forces Command / Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic: Conducts operations in the Atlantic, Europe, and Africa. Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic under the command of United States Fleet Forces Command. * United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific / Fleet Marine Force, Pacific: Conducts operations in the Pacific and Middle East. Fleet Marine Force, Pacific under the command of United States Pacific Fleet. The U.S. Marine Corps' Marine Air-Ground Task Force structure is broken into several levels under the Fleet Marine Force: The U.S. Marine Corps' unit structure is broken into several subdivisions under the Fleet Marine Force:

Navy

The United States Navy (USN) is the maritime service branch of the United States Armed Forces and part of the civilian-led Department of the Navy, which is led by the Secretary of the Navy. The military head of the U.S. Navy is the chief of naval operations, who is assisted by the vice chief of naval operations and master chief petty officer of the Navy. The Navy was founded on 13 October 1775 as the Continental Navy, which was disbanded on 1 August 1785 before being reestablished as the modern U.S. Navy on 20 January 1794. The five enduring functions of the Navy are: #Sea control #Power projection #Deterrence #Maritime security #Sealift The U.S. Navy is composed of the Regular Navy and United States Navy Reserve. The U.S. Navy is organized into eight navy component commands, which command operational forces, fifteen shore commands, which support the fleets' operating forces, five systems commands, which oversee the technical requirements of the Navy, and nine type commands, which administratively manage units of a certain type. The navy component commands are: *25px United States Fleet Forces Command / United States Naval Forces Northern Command / United States Naval Forces Strategic Command: Conducts naval operations in North America as United States Northern Command's joint force maritime component and strategic deterrence operations as United States Strategic Command's joint force maritime component. * United States Pacific Fleet: Conducts naval operations in the Pacific and Asia as United States Indo-Pacific Command's joint force maritime component. * United States Naval Forces Central Command: Conducts Naval operations in the Middle East as United States Central Command's joint force maritime component. * United States Naval Forces Southern Command: Conducts naval operations in South America as United States Southern Command's joint force maritime component. * United States Naval Forces Europe-Africa: Conducts naval operations in Europe and Africa as United States European Command's and United States Africa Command's joint force maritime component. * United States Fleet Cyber Command / United States Navy Space Command: Naval component to United States Cyber Command and United States Space Command. * United States Naval Special Warfare Command: Commands the United States Navy SEALs and conducts special operations as United States Special Operations Command joint force maritime component. * United States Navy Military Sealift Command: Conducts sealift operations as United States Transportation Command's joint force maritime component. The U.S. Navy's unit structure is broken into several subdivisions under the operating force: *Numbered fleet: Elements of navy component commands led by vice admirals *Task force: Scalable organization that is responsible to the fleet commander for assigned units and functions. *Task group: An individual carrier strike group, amphibious ready group, surface strike group within a given fleet. *Task unit: Units operating together for a specific task, such as air defense units within a carrier strike group. *Task element: Individual units within a task unit. The U.S. Navy's unit structure is broken into several subdivisions under the type command structure. For Naval Air Forces:

Air Force

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air service branch of the United States Armed Forces and part of the civilian-led Department of the Air Force, which is led by the Secretary of the Air Force. The military head of the U.S. Air Force is the chief of staff of the Air Force, who is assisted by the vice chief of staff of the United States Air Force and chief master sergeant of the Air Force. It achieved independence on 18 September 1947 from the U.S. Army, but directly traces its history through the United States Army Air Forces, United States Army Air Corps, United States Army Air Service, the Division of Military Aeronautics, Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, to the birth of Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps on 1 August 1907. The five core missions of the Air Force are: #Air superiority #Global integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance #Rapid global mobility #Global strike #Command and control The U.S. Air Force is composed of the Regular Air Force, United States Air Force Reserve, and United States Air National Guard. The U.S. Air Force is organized into nine major commands, which conduct the majority of the service's organize, train, and equip functions and command forces attached to the combatant commands. The Air Force's major commands are: * Air Combat Command: Provides fighter, attack, intelligence, cyber, combat rescue, and air force ground forces to combatant commanders. * Air Education and Training Command: Recruits, educates, and trains airmen and develops Air Force doctrine * Air Force Global Strike Command: Operates the Air Force's strategic bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile forces as United States Strategic Command's joint force air component. * Air Force Materiel Command: Develops, maintains, and acquires systems and materiel. * Air Force Reserve Command: Manages Air Force reserve forces. * Air Force Special Operations Command: Conducts special operations with aviation and Special Tactics Commandos as United States Special Operations Commmand's joint force air component. * Air Mobility Command: Conducts airlift and air refueling operations as United States Transportation Command's joint force air component. * Pacific Air Forces: Conducts air operations as United States Indo-Pacific Commands joint force air component. * United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa: Conducts air operations as United States European Command's and United States Africa Command's joint force air component. The U.S. Air Force's field structure is broken into several subdivisions under its major commands:

Space Force

The United States Space Force (USSF) is the space service branch of the United States Armed Forces and part of the civilian-led Department of the Air Force, which is led by the Secretary of the Air Force. The military head of the U.S. Space Force is the chief of space operations, who is assisted by the vice chief of space operations and senior enlisted advisor of the Space Force. It achieved independence on 20 December 2019 from the U.S. Air Force, but directly traces its history through Air Force Space Command to 1 September 1982, with even earlier history traced to the Western Development Division established on 1 July 1954. The five core competencies of the Space Force are: #Space security #Combat power projection #Space mobility and logistics #Information mobility #Space domain awareness The U.S. Space Force is composed of the Regular Space Force, not yet having organized a reserve component outside of the Air Force. The Space Force is organized into one field command and one center, with the intent to fully organize into three field commands, activating Space Systems Command to replace the Space and Missile Systems Center and Space Training and Readiness Command to institutionalize its training, education, and doctrine development. The Space Force's field command and center is: * Space Operations Command: Conducts space, cyber, and intelligence operations as primary service component to United States Space Command. * Space and Missile Systems Center: Conducts research, development, acquisitions, and sustainment of Space Force systems. The Space Force's field structure is broken into several subdivisions under its field commands:

Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the maritime security, search and rescue, and law enforcement service branch of the United States Armed Forces and part of the Department of Homeland Security, which is led by the Secretary of Homeland Security. It is the only military branch outside the Department of Defense, but can be transferred to the civilian-led Department of the Navy, which is led by the Secretary of the Navy, in the case that congress stipulates that when declaring war or the president directs. The military head of the U.S. Coast Guard is the commandant of the Coast Guard, who is assisted by the vice commandant of the Coast Guard and master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard was founded as a military service branch on 4 August 1790 as the United States Revenue-Marine, before being renamed on 31 July 1894 as the United States Revenue Cutter Service. On 28 January 1915 it was merged with the civilian United States Life-Saving Service to form the United States Coast Guard. In 1939, the civilian United States Lighthouse Service was merged into the Coast Guard. The Revenue-Marine, and later the Coast Guard, were organized under the Department of the Treasury, transferring to the Department of the Navy during World War I and World War II. In 1967 it was transferred to the Department of Transportation, where it would reside until 2003 when it was permanently transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. The eleven missions of the Coast Guard are: #Port and waterway security #Drug interdiction #Aids to navigation #Search and rescue #Living marine resources #Marine safety #Defense readiness #Migrant interdiction #Marine environmental protection #Ice operations #Law enforcement The U.S. Coast Guard is composed of the Regular Coast Guard and United States Coast Guard Reserve. The U.S. Coast Guard is organized into two area commands. *Coast Guard Atlantic Area: Conducts Coast Guard operations in the Atlantic Ocean and central United States. *Coast Guard Pacific Area: Conducts Coast Guard operations in the Pacific Ocean.

Combatant commands

Unified combatant commands are joint military commands consisting of forces from multiple military departments, with their chain of command flowing from the president, to the secretary of defense, to the commanders of the combatant commands. There are eleven unified combatant commands that come in two types. Geographic commands, such as Africa, Central, European, Indo-Pacific, Northern, Southern and Space commands are responsible for planning and operations in a certain geographic area. Functional commands, such as Cyber, Special Operations, Strategic, and Transportation commands are responsible for a functional activity that crosses geographic boundaries. Each service organizes, trains, and equips forces that are then presented to the unified combatant commands through service component commands. Special Operations Command and Cyber Command also present theater special operations commands or joint force headquarters – cyber to other combatant commanders. Army or Marine Corps components are typically duel hatted as the joint force land component, Navy components are typically duel hatted as the joint force maritime component, and Air Force components are typically duel hatted as the joint force air component, with the theater special operations command duel hatted as the joint force special operations component, and Space Force component sometimes duel hatted as the joint force space component.

Geographic



Africa Command

United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM) is the geographic combatant command responsible for United States military operations in Africa, except for Egypt, which is under United States Central Command. Africa Command is headquartered in Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. Africa Command was created due to the rising strategic importance of Africa, and to harmonize military eff in Africa with the United States Department of State and other U.S. agencies, activated on 1 October 2007 as a sub-unified command of United States European Command, beortsfore becoming an independent combatant command on 1 October 2008. Prior to the establishment of United States Africa Command, military operations on the continent were the responsibility of United States European Command for North Africa, West Africa, and Southern Africa, United States Central Command for East Africa, and United States Pacific Command for the Indian Ocean and African islands off the coast. United States Africa Command includes one combined joint task force: * Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa: conducts combined (multinational) and joint (multiservice) operations in the Horn of Africa United States Africa Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army Africa * Ninth United States Army * Southern European Task Force ;Marine Corps: * United States Marine Corps Forces Africa ;Navy: * United States Naval Forces Africa * United States Sixth Fleet ;Air Force: * United States Air Forces Africa ;Special Operations Command: United States Special Operations Command Africa ;Cyber Command: * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Army

Central Command

United States Central Command (USCENTCOM or CENTCOM) is the geographic combatant command responsible for United States military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia, except for Israel, which is under United States European Command. Central Command is headquartered in MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida, with a forward headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Central Command was established on 1 January 1983, growing out of United States Readiness Command's Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, which itself was established on 1 March 1980 . Prior to its establishment, military operations in the Middle East were the responsibility of United States European Command, and before that United States Strike Command. United States Central Command includes two subordinate units: * Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve: conducts combined (multinational) and joint (multiservice) operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. * United States Forces – Afghanistan: United States component to NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. United States Central Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army Central * Combined Force Land Component Command ;Marine Corps: * United States Marine Forces Central Command ;Navy: * United States Naval Forces Central Command * United States Fifth Fleet ;Air Force: * Ninth Air Force * United States Air Forces Central ;Special Operations Command: * United States Special Operations Command Central ;Cyber Command: * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Army

European Command

United States European Command (USEUCOM or EUCOM) is the geographic combatant command responsible for United States military operations in Europe, Russia, Greenland, and Israel. European Command is headquartered in Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, German, and shares a commander with NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. European Command was established on 1 August 1952. United States European Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army Europe ;Marine Corps: * United States Marine Corps Forces Europe ;Navy: * United States Naval Forces Europe * United States Sixth Fleet ;Air Force: * United States Air Forces in Europe ;Special Operations Command: * United States Special Operations Command Europe ;Cyber Command: * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Air Force

Indo-Pacific Command

United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM or INDOPACOM) is the geographic combatant command responsible for United States military operations in the Pacific, Asia, India, and Antarctica. Indo-Pacific Command is headquartered in Camp H. M. Smith, Oahu, Hawaii. Indo-Pacific Command was established on 1 January 1947 as United States Pacific Command, assuming the responsibilities of United States Far East Command and Alaskan Command on 1 July 1957. It was renamed on 30 May 2018 in recognition of the increasing strategic importance of the Indian Ocean. Indo-Pacific Command has two subordinate unified commands, two direct reporting units, and one standing joint task force: ; United States Forces Japan :;Army: ** United States Army Japan ** I Corps (Forward) :;Marine Corps: ** III Marine Expeditionary Force :;Navy: ** United States Naval Forces Japan ** United States Seventh Fleet :;Air Force: ** Fifth Air Force ; United States Forces Korea :;Army: ** Eighth United States Army :;Marine Corps: United States Marine Forces Korea :;Navy: ** United States Naval Forces Korea ** United States Seventh Fleet :;Air Force: ** Seventh Air Force (Air Forces Korea) :;Special Operations Command: ** United States Special Operations Command Korea ; Joint Intelligence Operations Center Pacific ; Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance ; Joint Interagency Task Force West United States Indo-Pacific Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army Pacific ;Marine Corps: * United States Marine Corps Forces Pacific ;Navy: * United States Pacific Fleet ;Air Force: Pacific Air Forces ;Special Operations Command: United States Special Operations Command Pacific ;Cyber Command: * Joint Force Headquarters – Fleet Cyber Command

Northern Command

United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM or NORTHCOM) is the geographic combatant command responsible for United States military operations and the defense of North America. Northern Command is headquartered in Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado and shares a commander and some staff with the combined U.S.–Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command. Northern Command was established on 1 October 2002 in direct response to the 9/11 Attacks. Northern Command has one sub-unified command and three joint task forces: ; Alaskan Command :;Army: ** United States Army Alaska :;Navy: **United States Naval Forces Alaska :;Air Force: ** Eleventh Air Force ; Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region :;Army: ** United States Army Military District of Washington :;Marine Corps: **Marine Corps National Capital Region Command :;Navy: ** Naval District Washington :;Air Force: ** Air Force District of Washington :;Coast Guard: **Coast Guard Fifth District ; Joint Task Force – Civil Support ; Joint Task Force North United States Northern Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army North ;Marine Corps: * United States Marine Corps Forces North ;Navy: * United States Naval Forces Northern Command ;Air Force: * First Air Force * Air Forces Northern ;Special Operations Command: * United States Special Operations Command North ;Cyber Command: Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Army

Southern Command

United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM or SOUTHCOM) is the geographic combatant command responsible for United States military operations in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Southern Command is headquartered in Doral, Florida. Southern Command was established on 11 June 1963, replacing Caribbean Command. Southern Command has three joint task forces: * Joint Task Force Bravo * Joint Task Force Guantanamo * Joint Interagency Task Force South United States Southern Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army South ;Marine Corps: * United States Marine Corps Forces South ;Navy: * United States Naval Forces Southern Command * United States Fourth Fleet ;Air Force: * Twelfth Air Force * Air Forces Southern ;Special Operations Command: * United States Special Operations Command South ;Cyber Command: * Joint Force Headquarters – Fleet Cyber Command

Space Command

United States Space Command (USSPACECOM or SPACECOM) is the geographic combatant command responsible for United States military operations in outerspace. Space Command is headquartered in Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Space Command was reestablished on 29 August 2019, being first established as a unified combatant command on 23 September 1985 before being inactivated on 1 October 2002 and having space activities folded into Strategic Command. While at strategic command, space operations were handled by the Joint Force Space Component Command, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, and Joint Space Operations. United States Space Command has one subordinate combined command and one joint task force: * Combined Force Space Component Command * Joint Task Force–Space Defense United States Space Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command ;Marine Corps: *United States Marine Corps Forces Space Command ;Navy: * United States Navy Space Command ;Air Force: * First Air Force ;Space Force: * Space Operations Command ;Cyber Command: * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Air Force

Functional



Cyber Command

United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM or CYBERCOM) is the functional combatant command responsible for United States military operations in cyberspace. Cyber Command is headquartered in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, sharing leadership, personnel, and resources with the National Security Agency and Central Security Service. Cyber Command was established on 21 May 2010 as a sub-unified command under United States Strategic Command, becoming an independent combatant command on 4 May 2018. Cyber Command traces its history through Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command – Network Warfare, Joint Task Force – Global Network Operations, Joint Task Force–Computer Network Operations, to Space Command's Joint Task Force–Computer Network Defense on 1 December 1998. Prior to the establishment of Cyber Command, cyber operations were the responsibility of Strategic Command, and before that Space Command. Cyber Command supports the other combatant commands by providing Joint Force Headquarters–Cyber elements. United States Cyber Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army Cyber Command * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Army ;Marine Corps: * United States Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Marines ;Navy: * United States Fleet Cyber Command * United States Tenth Fleet * Joint Force Headquarters – Fleet Cyber Command ;Air Force: * Sixteenth Air Force * Air Forces Cyber * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Air Force

Special Operations Command

United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM) is the functional combatant command responsible for United States military special operations. Special Operations Command is headquartered in MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Special Operations Command was established on 16 April 1987. United States Special Operations Command has one subordinate component command and seven theater special operations commands: ; Joint Special Operations Command :;Army: ** 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta ** Intelligence Support Activity ** Regimental Reconnaissance Company :;Navy: ** Naval Special Warfare Development Group :;Air Force: ** 24th Special Tactics Squadron :;Joint: ** Joint Communications Unit Theater Commands: * United States Special Operations Command Africa * United States Special Operations Command Central * United States Special Operations Command Europe * United States Special Operations Command Korea * United States Special Operations Command Pacific * United States Special Operations Command North * United States Special Operations Command South United States Special Operations Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army Special Operations Command ;Marine Corps: * United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command ;Navy: * United States Navy Special Warfare Command ;Air Force: * Air Force Special Operations Command ;Cyber Command: * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Marines

Strategic Command

United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM or STRATCOM) is the functional combatant command responsible for United States military nuclear and missile defense operations. Strategic Command is headquartered in Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Strategic Command was established on 1 June 1992, replacing the specified command function of Strategic Air Command. United States Strategic Command's service components are: ;Army: * United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command * Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense ;Marine Corps: *United States Marine Corps Forces Strategic Command ;Navy: * United States Naval Forces Strategic Command ;Air Force: * Air Force Global Strike Command ;Cyber Command: * Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Air Force

Transportation Command

United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM or TRANSCOM) is the functional combatant command responsible for United States military mobility and transport operations. Transportation Command is headquartered in Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Strategic Command was established on 1 July 1987, replacing the specified command function of Strategic Air Command.About USTRANSCOM
USTRANSCOM official website, last accessed 8 March 20201
United States Transportation Command has one subordinate command and a reserve unit that are direct reporting elements:Component & Subordinate Commands
USTRANSCOM official website, last accessed 8 March 20201
* Joint Enabling Capabilities Command ** Joint Planning Support Element ** Joint Communications Support Element (Airborne) *Joint Transportation Reserve Unit United States Transportation Command's service components are: ;Army: * Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command ;Navy: * Military Sealift Command ;Air Force: * Air Mobility Command ;Cyber Command: Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber Air Force

Budget

The United States has the world's largest military budget. In the fiscal year 2019, $693 billion in funding were enacted for the DoD and for "Overseas Contingency Operations" in the War on Terrorism. 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. In FY2016 $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. 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.

Personnel

The U.S. Armed Forces is the world's third largest military by active personnel, after the Chinese's People's Liberation Army and the Indian Armed Forces, consisting of 1,359,685 servicemembers in the regular armed forces with an additional 799,845 servicemembers in the reserves as of 28 February 2019. While the United States Armed Forces is an all-volunteer military, conscription through the Selective Service System can be enacted at the president's request and Congress' approval, with all males ages 18 through 25 who are living in the United States are required to register with the Selective Service. Although the constitutionality of registering only males for Selective Service was challenged by federal district court in 2019, its legality was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2020. 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. 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. 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.

Personnel by service

''February 2018 Demographic Reports'' and end strengths for reserve components.

Locations



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. 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. 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). 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.

Rank structure

Rank in the United States Armed Forces is split into three distinct categories: officers, warrant officers, and enlisted personnel. Officers are the leadership of the military, holding commissions from the president of the United States and confirmed to their rank by the Senate. Warrant officers hold a warrant from the secretaries of the military departments, serving as specialist in certain military technologies and capabilities. Upon promotion to chief warrant officer 2, they gain a commission from the president of the United States. Enlisted personnel comprise the majority of the armed forces, serving as specialists and tactical-level leaders until they become senior non-commissioned officers or senior petty officers. Military ranks across the services can be compared by U.S. Uniformed Services pay grade or NATO rank code.

Officer corps

Officers represent the top 18% of the armed forces, serving in leadership and command roles. Officers are divided into three categories: *O-1 to O-3: Company grade officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force or junior officers in the Navy. *O-4 to O-6: Field grade officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force or mid-grade officers in the Navy and Coast Guard. *O-7 to O-10: General officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force or flag officers in the Navy and Coast Guard. Officers are typically commissioned as second lieutenants or ensigns with a bachelor's degree after several years of training and education or directly commissioning from civilian life into a specific specialty, such as a medical professional, lawyer, chaplain, or cyber specialist. The three primary commissioning routes include: *United States service academies: Four-year military college that provides academic, military, physical, and leadership training. ** United States Military Academy at West Point: Commissions officers into the United States Army. ** United States Naval Academy: Commissions officers into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. ** United States Air Force Academy: Commissions officers into the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. ** United States Coast Guard Academy: Commissions officers into the United States Coast Guard. ** United States Merchant Marine Academy: Commissions officers into the United States Navy Reserve. *Reserve Officer Training Corps: Part time military program at traditional colleges. ** Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps: Commissions officers into the United States Army. **Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps: Commissions officers into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. ** Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps: Commissions officers into the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. *Officer candidate school: Shortened military training for civilians or enlisted personnel who already possess a bachelor's degree. ** Army Officer Candidate School: Commissions officers into the United States Army. ** Marine Corps Officer Candidate School: Commissions officers into the United States Marine Corps. **Navy Officer Candidate School: Commissions officers into the United States Navy. ** Air Force Officer Training School: Commissions officers into the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. ** Coast Guard Officer Candidate School: Commissions officers into the United States Coast Guard. Throughout their careers, officers continue professional military education throughout their careers, typically before major milestones. Professional military education institutions across the services and armed forces include: * National Defense University ** National War College ** Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy ** Joint Forces Staff College * Defense Acquisition University * United States Army War College * United States Army Command and General Staff College ** * Marine Corps University ** Marine Corps War College * Naval War College * Naval Postgraduate School: Run by the United States Navy for the entire armed forces. * Air University: For United States Air Force and United States Space Force officers. ** Air War College ** Air Command and Staff College ** Squadron Officer School ** Air Force Institute of Technology During a time of war, officers may be promoted to five-star ranks, with general of the Army, fleet admiral, and general of the Air Force the only five-star ranks currently authorized.

Warrant officer corps

Warrant officers are specialists, comprising only 8% of the officer corps. Warrant officers hold warrants from their service secretary and are specialists and experts in certain military technologies or capabilities. The lowest-ranking warrant officers serve under a warrant, but they receive commissions from the president upon promotion to chief warrant officer 2. They derive their authority from the same source as commissioned officers but remain specialists, in contrast to commissioned officers, who are generalists. There are no warrant officers in the Air Force or Space Force. Warrant officers are typically non-commissioned officers before being selected, with the exception of the Army Aviation where any enlisted grade can apply for a warrant. Army Warrant officers attend the Army Warrant Officer Candidate School.

Enlisted corps

Enlisted personnel consist of 82% of the armed forces, serving as specialists and tactical leaders. Enlisted personnel are divided into three categories: *E-1 to E-3/4: Junior enlisted personnel, usually in initial training or at their first assignment. E-1 to E-3 in the Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard and E-1 to E-4 in the Army, Air Force, and Space Force. In the Army, specialist (E-4) are considered to be junior enlisted, while corporals (E-4) are non-commissioned officers. *E-4/5 to E-6: Non-commissioned officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force and petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard. In the Air Force and Space Force, staff sergeant (E-5) is the first non-commissioned officer rank. Non-commissioned officers and petty officers are responsible for tactical leadership. *E-7 to E-9: Senior non-commissioned officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force and chief petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard. Serve as senior enlisted advisors to officers. The rank of senior enlisted advisor is the highest rank in each service, serving as the primary advisors to their service secretary and service chief on enlisted matters. Prior to entering their service, enlisted personnel must their service's basic training. In the Army, after completing Basic Combat Training recruits then go to advanced individual training for their military occupational specialty. In the Marine Corps, after completing Recruit Training, marines attend the School of Infantry, going to the Infantry Training Battalion for infantry marines, with non-infantry marines completing Marine Combat Training before advancing to technical training for their military occupational specialty. In the Navy, after completing Recruit Training, sailors advance to their "A" schools to complete training for their rating. In the Air Force and Space Force, recruits complete combined Basic Military Training before going to technical training for their Air Force Specialty Codes. In the Coast Guard, after completing Recruit Training, sailors advance to their "A" schools to complete training for their rating.

Women in the armed forces

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, US Coast Guard 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 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 and female crewmembers and officers were accepted into Field Artillery missile units. 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, but at least two retired as captains. 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. In the 2000s, women can serve on U.S. combat ships, including in command roles. They are permitted to serve on submarines. 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. This gave women access to the roughly 10% of military jobs which were previously closed off due to their combat nature. 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. These restrictions were due in part to prior studies which stated that mixed gender units are less capable in combat. Physical requirements for all jobs remained unchanged, though. 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. 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. In March 2012, the U.S. military had two women, Ann E. Dunwoody and Janet C. Wolfenbarger, with the rank of four-star general. 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. No woman has ever become a Navy SEAL. In 2017, a woman who wanted to become the first female Navy SEAL officer quit after one week into initial training. 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. 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. As per the Department of Defense’s report on sexual assault within the U.S. Army for the fiscal year of 2019, 7,825 cases of sexual assault had been reported with the service members either victims or subjects of the assault. There has been a 3% increase in the number of cases as compared to the 2018 report.

Order of precedence

Under 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, and placement of soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen, guardians, and coast guardsmen in formation. * Cadets, U.S. Military Academy * Midshipmen, U.S. Naval Academy * Cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy * Cadets, U.S. Coast Guard Academy * Midshipmen, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy * United States Army * United States Marine Corps * United States Navy * United States Air Force * United States Space Force * United States Coast Guard * Army National Guard * United States Army Reserve * United States Marine Corps Reserve * United States Navy Reserve * Air National Guard * United States Air Force Reserve * United States Coast Guard Reserve * Other training and auxiliary organizations of the Army, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, Civil Air Patrol, and Coast Guard Auxiliary, as in the preceding order. While the U.S. Navy is older than the Marine Corps,Naval History & Heritage Command
"Precedence of the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps"
, U.S. Department of the Navy. 11 February 2016
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. The Marine Corps was established by an act of the Second Continental 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. The Coast Guard is normally situated after the Space Force, however in the event that it is moved to the Department of the Navy, its place in the order of precedence changes to being situated after the Navy and before the Air Force.

See also

* Awards and decorations of the United States Armed Forces * Full-spectrum dominance * List of active United States military aircraft * List of currently active United States military land vehicles * List of currently active United States military watercraft * Military expression * Military justice * National Guard of the United States * Provisional Army of the United States * Public opinion of militaries * Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance * Sexual orientation and gender identity in the United States military * State Defense Force * Tricare – Health care plan for the U.S. uniformed services * United States military casualties of war * United States military veteran suicide * Women in the United States Army * Women in the United States Marine Corps * Women in the United States Navy * Women in the United States Air Force * Women in the United States Space Force * Women in the United States Coast Guard

Notes



Citations



References

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External links


Official U.S. Department of Defense website


{{DEFAULTSORT:United States Armed Forces * Armed Forces Armed Forces Category:United States Department of Homeland Security Category:1775 establishments in the Thirteen Colonies