Military awards and decorations of Canada
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A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for
warfare War is an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, destruction, and mortality, using regula ...
. It is typically authorized and maintained by a
sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimate authority over territory. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined terr ...
, with its members identifiable by their distinct
military uniform A military uniform is a standardised dress worn by members of the armed forces and paramilitaries of various nations. Military dress and styles have gone through significant changes over the centuries, from colourful and elaborate, ornamented ...
. It may consist of one or more
military branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard a subdivision of the national armed forces of a sovereign nation or state. Types of branches Unified armed forces The Canadian Armed Forces is the unifi ...
es such as an
army An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or "weapons"), ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on ...
,
navy A navy, naval force, 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 incl ...
,
air force An air force – in the broadest sense – is the national military branch that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an ...
,
space force A space force is a military branch of a nation's armed forces that conducts military operations in outer space and space warfare. The world's first space force was the Russian Space Forces, established in 1992 as an independent military service ...
,
marines Marines, or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate in littoral zones in support of naval operations. Historically, tasks undertaken by marines have included helping maintain discipline and order aboard the ship (refl ...
, or
coast guard A coast guard or coastguard is a maritime security organization of a particular country. The term embraces wide range of responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to ...
. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats. In broad usage, the terms ''armed forces'' and ''military'' are often treated as synonymous, although in technical usage a distinction is sometimes made in which a country's armed forces may include both its military and other
paramilitary A paramilitary is an organization whose structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is not part of a country's official or legitimate armed forces. Paramilitary units car ...
forces. There are various forms of irregular military forces, not belonging to a recognized state; though they share many attributes with regular military forces, they are less often referred to as simply ''military''. A nation's military may function as a discrete social
subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles. Subcultures develop their own norms and values regarding cultural, poli ...
, with dedicated infrastructure such as military housing, schools, utilities,
logistics Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics manages the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of consumption to meet the requirements of ...
, hospitals, legal services, food production, finance, and banking services. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a
political agenda In politics, a political agenda is a list of subjects or problems (issues) to which government officials as well as individuals outside the government are paying serious attention to at any given time. The political agenda is most often shaped ...
,
emergency service Emergency services and rescue services are organizations that ensure public safety and health by addressing and resolving different emergencies. Some of these agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies, while others deal wi ...
s and reconstruction, protecting
corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal context) and re ...
economic interests, social ceremonies and national honour guards. The profession of
soldier A soldier is a person who is a member of an army. A soldier can be a conscripted or volunteer enlisted person, a non-commissioned officer, or an officer. Etymology The word ''soldier'' derives from the Middle English word , from Old Frenc ...
ing as part of a military is older than
recorded history Recorded history or written history describes the historical events that have been recorded in a written form or other documented communication which are subsequently evaluated by historians using the historical method. For broader world hi ...
itself. Some of the most enduring images of
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 5th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations ...
portray the power and feats of its military leaders. The
Battle of Kadesh The Battle of Kadesh or Battle of Qadesh took place between the forces of the New Kingdom of Egypt under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, just upstream of Lake Homs near the mo ...
in 1274 BC was one of the defining points of Pharaoh Ramses II's reign, and his monuments commemorate it in
bas-relief Relief is a sculptural method in which the sculpted pieces are bonded to a solid background of the same material. The term ''relief'' is from the Latin verb ''relevo'', to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impression that the ...
. A thousand years later, the first emperor of unified China,
Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BC) was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of " king" ( ''wáng'') borne by the previous Shang and Zhou rulers, he ruled as the First Emperor ...
, was so determined to impress the gods with his military might that he had himself buried with an army of terracotta soldiers. Terra cotta of massed ranks of Qin Shi Huang's terra cotta soldiers The Romans paid considerable attention to military matters, leaving to posterity many
treatise A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject and its conclusions." Tre ...
s and writings on the subject, as well as many lavishly carved
triumphal arch A triumphal arch is a free-standing monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crow ...
es and victory columns.


Etymology and definitions

The first recorded use of the word military in English, spelled , was in 1582. It comes from the Latin ''militaris'' (from Latin ''miles'', meaning "soldier") through French, but is of uncertain etymology, one suggestion being derived from ''*mil-it-'' – going in a body or mass. As a noun, the military usually refers generally to a country's armed forces, or sometimes, more specifically, to the senior officers who command them. In general, it refers to the physicality of armed forces, their
personnel Employment is a relationship between two parties regulating the provision of paid labour services. Usually based on a contract, one party, the employer, which might be a corporation, a not-for-profit organization, a co-operative, or any ot ...
,
equipment Equipment most commonly refers to a set of tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment or help them accomplish a particular task. Although many animals use simple tools, onl ...
, and the physical area which they occupy. As an adjective, military originally referred only to soldiers and soldiering, but it soon broadened to apply to land forces in general, and anything to do with their profession. The names of both the Royal Military Academy (1741) and
United States Military Academy The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known metonymically as West Point or simply as Army, is a United States service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort, since it sits on strategic high gro ...
(1802) reflect this. However, at about the time of the Napoleonic Wars, 'military' began to be used in reference to armed forces as a whole, such as '
military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, air forces, and naval forces, whether as a chosen job ( volunteer) or as a result of an involuntary draft (conscription). Some nations (e.g., Mexico) requir ...
', '
military intelligence Military intelligence is a military discipline that uses information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to assist commanders in their decisions. This aim is achieved by providing an assessment of data from ...
', and '
military history Military history is the study of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, cultures and economies thereof, as well as the resulting changes to local and international relationships. Professional historians nor ...
'. As such, it now connotes any activity performed by armed force personnel.


History

Military history is often considered to be the history of all conflicts, not just the history of the state militaries. It differs somewhat from the history of war, with military history focusing on the people and institutions of war-making, while the history of war focuses on the evolution of war itself in the face of changing technology, governments, and geography. Military history has a number of facets. One main facet is to learn from past accomplishments and mistakes, so as to more effectively wage war in the future. Another is to create a sense of military tradition, which is used to create cohesive military forces. Still, another may be to learn to prevent wars more effectively. Human knowledge about the military is largely based on both recorded and
oral history Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews. These interviews are conducted with people w ...
of military conflicts (war), their participating
armies An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or "weapons"), ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on ...
and navies and, more recently,
air force An air force – in the broadest sense – is the national military branch that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an ...
s.


Organization


Personnel and units

Despite the growing importance of
military technology Military technology is the application of technology for use in warfare. It comprises the kinds of technology that are distinctly military in nature and not civilian in application, usually because they lack useful or legal civilian application ...
, military activity depends above all on people. For example, in 2000 the British Army declared: "Man is still the first weapon of war."


Rank and role

The military organization is characterized by a strict
command hierarchy A command hierarchy is a group of people who carry out orders based on others' authority within the group. It can be viewed as part of a power structure, in which it is usually seen as the most vulnerable and also the most powerful part. Mili ...
divided by
military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships, within armed forces, police, intelligence agencies or other institutions organized along military lines. The military rank system defines dominance, authority, and responsibility in a ...
, with ranks normally grouped (in descending order of authority) as officers (e.g.
Colonel Colonel (abbreviated as Col., Col or COL) is a senior military officer rank used in many countries. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, a colonel was typically in charge o ...
),
non-commissioned officer A non-commissioned officer (NCO) is a military officer who has not pursued a commission. Non-commissioned officers usually earn their position of authority by promotion through the enlisted ranks. (Non-officers, which includes most or all enli ...
s (e.g.
Sergeant Sergeant ( abbreviated to Sgt. and capitalized when used as a named person's title) is a rank in many uniformed organizations, principally military and policing forces. The alternative spelling, ''serjeant'', is used in The Rifles and other ...
), and personnel at the lowest rank (e.g. Private Soldier). While senior officers make strategic decisions, subordinated military personnel (
soldier A soldier is a person who is a member of an army. A soldier can be a conscripted or volunteer enlisted person, a non-commissioned officer, or an officer. Etymology The word ''soldier'' derives from the Middle English word , from Old Frenc ...
s,
sailor A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft as part of its crew, and may work in any one of a number of different fields that are related to the operation and maintenance of a ship. The profession of the s ...
s,
marines Marines, or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate in littoral zones in support of naval operations. Historically, tasks undertaken by marines have included helping maintain discipline and order aboard the ship (refl ...
, or
airmen An airman is a member of an air force or air arm of a nation's armed forces. In certain air forces, it can also refer to a specific enlisted rank. An airman can also be referred as a soldier in other definitions. In civilian aviation usage, t ...
) fulfil them. Although rank titles vary by
military branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard a subdivision of the national armed forces of a sovereign nation or state. Types of branches Unified armed forces The Canadian Armed Forces is the unifi ...
and country, the rank hierarchy is common to all state armed forces worldwide. In addition to their rank, personnel occupy one of many trade roles, which are often grouped according to the nature of the role's military tasks on combat operations:
combat Combat (French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed ( not using weapons). Combat is sometimes resorted to as a method of self-defense, or ...
roles (e.g. infantry),
combat support In the United States Army, the term combat support refers to units that provide fire support and operational assistance to combat elements. Combat support units provide specialized support functions to combat units in the following areas * Chemi ...
roles (e.g. combat engineers), and combat service support roles (e.g. logistical support). In the past, the armed forces of some Communist states, such as the Soviet Union, China and Albania, have attempted to abolish military ranks, but they were later reintroduced due to operational difficulties relating to
command and control Command and control (abbr. C2) is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ... hatemploys human, physical, and information resources to solve problems and accomplish missions" to achieve the goals of an organization or en ...
.


Recruitment

Personnel may be recruited or
conscripted Conscription (also called the draft in the United States) is the state-mandated enlistment of people in a national service, mainly a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and it continues in some countries to the present day un ...
, depending on the system chosen by the state. Most military personnel are males; the minority proportion of female personnel varies internationally (approximately 3% in India, 10% in the UK, 13% in Sweden, 16% in the US, and 27% in South Africa). While two-thirds of states now recruit or conscript only adults, as of 2017 50 states still relied partly on children under the age of 18 (usually aged 16 or 17) to staff their armed forces. Whereas recruits who join as officers tend to be upwardly-mobile, most enlisted personnel have a childhood background of relative socio-economic deprivation.Brett, Rachel, and Irma Specht. Young Soldiers: Why They Choose to Fight. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004.  For example, after the US suspended conscription in 1973, "the military disproportionately attracted African American men, men from lower-status socioeconomic backgrounds, men who had been in nonacademic high school programs, and men whose high school grades tended to be low". However, a study released in 2020 on the socio-economic backgrounds of U.S. Armed Forces personnel suggests that they are at parity or slightly higher than the civilian population with respect to socio-economic indicators such as parental income, parental wealth and cognitive abilities. The study found that technological, tactical, operational and doctrinal changes have led to a change in the demand for personnel. Furthermore, the study suggests that the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups are less likely to meet the requirements of the modern U.S. military.


Obligations

The obligations of military employment are many. Full-time military employment normally requires a minimum period of service of several years; between two and six years is typical of armed forces in Australia, the UK and the US, for example, depending on role, branch, and rank. Some armed forces allow a short discharge window, normally during training, when recruits may leave the armed force as of right. Alternatively, part-time military employment, known as reserve service, allows a recruit to maintain a civilian job while training under military discipline at weekends; he or she may be called out to deploy on operations to supplement the full-time personnel complement. After leaving the armed forces, recruits may remain liable for compulsory return to full-time military employment in order to train or deploy on operations. Military law introduces offences not recognised by civilian courts, such as absence without leave (AWOL), desertion, political acts,
malingering Malingering is the fabrication, feigning, or exaggeration of physical or psychological symptoms designed to achieve a desired outcome, such as relief from duty or work. Malingering is not a medical diagnosis, but may be recorded as a "focus of c ...
, behaving disrespectfully, and disobedience (see, for example, offences against military law in the United Kingdom). Penalties range from a summary
reprimand A reprimand is a severe, formal or official reproof. Reprimanding takes in different forms in different legal systems. A reprimand in custody may be a formal legal action issued by a government agency or professional governing board (e.g. medica ...
to imprisonment for several years following a
court martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of memb ...
. Certain fundamental rights are also restricted or suspended, including the freedom of association (e.g. union organizing) and freedom of speech (speaking to the media). Military personnel in some countries have a right of
conscientious objection A conscientious objector (often shortened to conchie) is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion. The term has also been extended to obje ...
if they believe an order is immoral or unlawful, or cannot in good conscience carry it out. Personnel may be posted to bases in their home country or overseas, according to operational need, and may be deployed from those bases on exercises or operations anywhere in the world. During peacetime, when military personnel are generally stationed in
garrison A garrison (from the French ''garnison'', itself from the verb ''garnir'', "to equip") is any body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it. The term now often applies to certain facilities that constitute a mili ...
s or other permanent military facilities, they mostly conduct administrative tasks,
training Training is teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any skills and knowledge or fitness that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one's capability, capacity, productivity and performance. It ...
and
education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty. Va ...
activities, technology maintenance, and recruitment.


Training

Initial training conditions recruits for the demands of military life, including preparedness to injure and kill other people, and to face mortal danger without fleeing. It is a physically and psychologically intensive process which resocializes recruits for the unique nature of military demands. For example: * Individuality is suppressed (e.g. by shaving the head of new recruits, issuing uniforms, denying privacy, and prohibiting the use of first names); * Daily routine is tightly controlled (e.g. recruits must make their beds, polish boots, and stack their clothes in a certain way, and mistakes are punished); * Continuous
stressor A stressor is a chemical or biological agent, environmental condition, external stimulus or an event seen as causing stress to an organism. Psychologically speaking, a stressor can be events or environments that individuals might consider deman ...
s deplete psychological resistance to the demands of their instructors (e.g. depriving recruits of sleep, food, or shelter, shouting insults and giving orders intended to humiliate) * Frequent punishments serve to condition group conformity and discourage poor performance; * The disciplined drill instructor is presented as a role model of the ideal soldier.


Intelligence

The next requirement comes as a fairly basic need for the military to identify possible threats it may be called upon to face. For this purpose, some of the commanding forces and other military, as well as often civilian personnel participate in identification of these threats. This is at once an organization, a system and a process collectively called
military intelligence Military intelligence is a military discipline that uses information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to assist commanders in their decisions. This aim is achieved by providing an assessment of data from ...
(MI). The difficulty in using military intelligence concepts and military intelligence methods is in the nature of the
secrecy Secrecy is the practice of hiding information from certain individuals or groups who do not have the "need to know", perhaps while sharing it with other individuals. That which is kept hidden is known as the secret. Secrecy is often controvers ...
of the information they seek, and the
clandestine Clandestine may refer to: * Secrecy, the practice of hiding information from certain individuals or groups, perhaps while sharing it with other individuals * Clandestine operation, a secret intelligence or military activity Music and entertainm ...
nature that intelligence operatives work in obtaining what may be plans for a conflict escalation, initiation of combat, or an
invasion An invasion is a military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitical entity aggressively enter territory owned by another such entity, generally with the objective of either: conquering; liberating or re-establishing c ...
. An important part of the military intelligence role is the military analysis performed to assess military capability of potential future aggressors, and provide combat modelling that helps to understand factors on which comparison of forces can be made. This helps to quantify and qualify such statements as: "
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, slightly ahead of India. China spans the equivalent of five time zones an ...
and India maintain the largest armed forces in the World" or that "the U.S. Military is considered to be the world's strongest". Although some groups engaged in combat, such as militants or
resistance movement A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to withstand the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objectives ...
s, refer to themselves using military terminology, notably 'Army' or 'Front', none have had the structure of a national military to justify the reference, and usually have had to rely on support of outside national militaries. They also use these terms to conceal from the MI their true capabilities, and to impress potential ideological recruits. Having military intelligence representatives participate in the execution of the national defence policy is important, because it becomes the first respondent and commentator on the policy expected strategic goal, compared to the realities of identified threats. When the intelligence reporting is compared to the policy, it becomes possible for the national leadership to consider allocating resources over and above the officers and their subordinates military pay, and the expense of maintaining military facilities and military support services for them.


Economics

Defense economics is the financial and monetary efforts made to resource and sustain militaries, and to finance
military operation A military operation is the coordinated military actions of a state, or a non-state actor, in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state or actor's favor. Operations m ...
s, including war. The process of allocating resources is conducted by determining a military budget, which is administered by a military finance organization within the military. Military procurement is then authorized to purchase or contract provision of goods and services to the military, whether in peacetime at a permanent base, or in a combat zone from local population. File:Military Expenditures by Country 2019.svg, A pie chart showing global military expenditures by country for 2019, in US$ billions, according to SIPRI File:Military Expenditures as percent of GDP 2017.png, Map of military expenditures as a percentage of
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold (not resold) in a specific time period by countries. Due to its complex and subjective nature this measure is oft ...
by country, 2017. File:2014 militrary expenditures absolute.svg, Military expenditure of 2014 in USD


Capability development

Capability development, which is often referred to as the military 'strength', is arguably one of the most complex activities known to humanity; because it requires determining: strategic, operational, and tactical capability requirements to counter the identified threats; strategic, operational, and tactical doctrines by which the acquired capabilities will be used; identifying concepts, methods, and systems involved in executing the doctrines; creating design specifications for the manufacturers who would produce these in adequate quantity and quality for their use in combat; purchase the concepts, methods, and systems; create a forces structure that would use the concepts, methods, and systems most effectively and efficiently; integrate these concepts, methods, and systems into the force structure by providing military education,
training Training is teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any skills and knowledge or fitness that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one's capability, capacity, productivity and performance. It ...
, and practice that preferably resembles combat environment of intended use; create
military logistics Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement, supply, and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with: * Design, development, acquis ...
systems to allow continued and uninterrupted performance of
military organization 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 under combat conditions, including provision of health services to the personnel, and maintenance for the equipment; the services to assist recovery of wounded personnel, and repair of damaged equipment; and finally, post-conflict
demobilization Demobilization or demobilisation (see spelling differences) is the process of standing down a nation's armed forces from combat-ready status. This may be as a result of victory in war, or because a crisis has been peacefully resolved and milit ...
, and disposal of war stocks surplus to peacetime requirements. Development of
military doctrine Military doctrine is the expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements. It is a guide to action, rather than being hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference acro ...
is perhaps the most important of all capability development activities, because it determines how military forces are used in conflicts, the concepts and methods used by the command to employ appropriately military skilled, armed and equipped personnel in achievement of the tangible goals and objectives of the war, campaign,
battle A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usually consists of multiple battles. In general, a battle is a military engagement that is well defined in duration, area, and forc ...
, engagement, and action.Dupuy, T.N. (1990) ''Understanding war: History and Theory of combat'', Leo Cooper, London, p. 67 The line between strategy and tactics is not easily blurred, although deciding which is being discussed had sometimes been a matter of personal judgement by some commentators, and military historians. The use of forces at the level of organization between strategic and tactical is called
operational mobility In the field of military theory, the operational level of war (also called operational art, as derived from russian: оперативное искусство, or operational warfare) represents the level of command that connects the details of ...
.


Science

Because most of the concepts and methods used by the military, and many of its systems are not found in commercial branches, much of the material is researched, designed, developed, and offered for inclusion in
arsenal An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, or issued, in any combination, whether privately or publicly owned. Arsenal and armoury (British English) or armory (American English) are mostl ...
s by
military science Military science is the study of military processes, institutions, and behavior, along with the study of warfare, and the theory and application of organized coercive force. It is mainly focused on theory, method, and practice of producing mil ...
organizations within the overall structure of the military. Military scientists are therefore found to interact with all Arms and Services of the armed forces, and at all levels of the military hierarchy of command. Although concerned with research into military psychology, particularly combat stress and how it affect troop
morale Morale, also known as esprit de corps (), is the capacity of a group's members to maintain belief in an institution or goal, particularly in the face of opposition or hardship. Morale is often referenced by authority figures as a generic value ...
, often the bulk of military science activities is directed at military intelligence technology, military communications, and improving military capability through research. The design, development, and prototyping of
weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used to deter, threaten, inflict physical damage, harm, or kill. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement ...
s, military support equipment, and
military technology Military technology is the application of technology for use in warfare. It comprises the kinds of technology that are distinctly military in nature and not civilian in application, usually because they lack useful or legal civilian application ...
in general, is also an area in which much effort is invested – it includes everything from global communication networks and
aircraft carrier An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft. Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a ...
s to paint and food.


Logistics

Possessing military capability is not sufficient if this capability cannot be deployed for, and employed in combat operations. To achieve this,
military logistics Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement, supply, and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with: * Design, development, acquis ...
are used for the
logistics management Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics manages the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of consumption to meet the requirements of ...
and logistics planning of the forces
military supply chain management Military supply-chain management is a cross-functional approach to procuring, producing and delivering products and services for military materiel applications. Military supply chain management includes sub-suppliers, suppliers, internal in ...
, the consumables, and capital equipment of the troops. Although mostly concerned with the
military transport Military supply-chain management is a cross-functional approach to procuring, producing and delivering products and services for military materiel applications. Military supply chain management includes sub-suppliers, suppliers, internal inf ...
, as a means of delivery using different modes of transport; from military trucks, to
container ship A container ship (also called boxship or spelled containership) is a cargo ship that carries all of its load in truck-size intermodal containers, in a technique called containerization. Container ships are a common means of commercial intermodal ...
s operating from permanent
military base A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. A military base always provides accommodations for ...
, it also involves creating field supply dumps at the rear of the
combat Combat (French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed ( not using weapons). Combat is sometimes resorted to as a method of self-defense, or ...
zone, and even forward supply points in specific unit's Tactical Area of Responsibility. These supply points are also used to provide military engineering services, such as the recovery of defective and derelict vehicles and weapons, maintenance of weapons in the field, the repair and field modification of weapons and equipment; and in peacetime, the life-extension programmes undertaken to allow continued use of equipment. One of the most important role of logistics is the supply of
munition Ammunition (informally ammo) is the material fired, scattered, dropped, or detonated from any weapon or weapon system. Ammunition is both expendable weapons (e.g., bombs, missiles, grenades, land mines) and the component parts of other weapo ...
s as a primary type of consumable, their storage, and
disposal Disposal may refer to: * Bomb disposal, the process by which hazardous explosive devices are rendered safe * Dispose pattern in computer programming * Disposal of human corpses, the practice and process of dealing with the remains of a deceased ...
.


In combat

The primary reason for the existence of the military is to engage in
combat Combat (French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed ( not using weapons). Combat is sometimes resorted to as a method of self-defense, or ...
, should it be required to do so by the national defence policy, and to win. This represents an organisational goal of any military, and the primary focus for military thought through
military history Military history is the study of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, cultures and economies thereof, as well as the resulting changes to local and international relationships. Professional historians nor ...
. How
victory The term victory (from Latin ''victoria'') originally applied to warfare, and denotes success achieved in personal combat, after military operations in general or, by extension, in any competition. Success in a military campaign constitutes a ...
is achieved, and what shape it assumes, is studied by most, if not all, military groups on three levels.


Strategic victory

Military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek word ''strategos'', the term strategy, when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sen ...
is the management of forces in wars and
military campaign A military campaign is large-scale long-duration significant military strategy plan incorporating a series of interrelated military operations or battles forming a distinct part of a larger conflict often called a war. The term derives from the ...
s by a commander-in-chief, employing large military forces, either national and allied as a whole, or the component elements of
armies An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or "weapons"), ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on ...
, navies and
air force An air force – in the broadest sense – is the national military branch that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an ...
s; such as
army group An army group is a military organization consisting of several field armies, which is self-sufficient for indefinite periods. It is usually responsible for a particular geographic area. An army group is the largest field organization handled b ...
s,
naval fleet A fleet or naval fleet is a large formation of warships – the largest formation in any navy – controlled by one leader. A fleet at sea is the direct equivalent of an army on land. Purpose In the modern sense, fleets are usually, but not ...
s, and large numbers of
aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines. ...
. Military strategy is a long-term projection of belligerents' policy, with a broad view of outcome implications, including outside the concerns of military command. Military strategy is more concerned with the supply of war and planning, than management of field forces and combat between them. The scope of strategic military planning can span weeks, but is more often months or even years.


Operational victory

Operational mobility In the field of military theory, the operational level of war (also called operational art, as derived from russian: оперативное искусство, or operational warfare) represents the level of command that connects the details of ...
is, within warfare and
military doctrine Military doctrine is the expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements. It is a guide to action, rather than being hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference acro ...
, the level of command which coordinates the minute details of tactics with the overarching goals of
strategy Strategy (from Greek στρατηγία ''stratēgia'', "art of troop leader; office of general, command, generalship") is a general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty. In the sense of the "ar ...
. A common synonym is operational art. The operational level is at a scale bigger than one where line of sight and the time of day are important, and smaller than the strategic level, where production and politics are considerations. Formations are of the operational level if they are able to conduct operations on their own, and are of sufficient size to be directly handled or have a significant impact at the strategic level. This concept was pioneered by the
German German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
army prior to and during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposing ...
. At this level, planning and duration of activities takes from one week to a month, and are executed by
Field Armies A field army (or numbered army or simply army) is a military formation in many armed forces, composed of two or more corps and may be subordinate to an army group. Likewise, air armies are equivalent formation within some air forces, and with ...
and
Army Corps Corps (; plural ''corps'' ; from French , from the Latin "body") is a term used for several different kinds of organization. A military innovation by Napoleon I, the formation was first named as such in 1805. The size of a corps varies great ...
and their naval and air equivalents.


Tactical victory

Military tactics Military tactics encompasses the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield. They involve the application of four battlefield functions which are closely related – kinetic or firepower, mobility, protection or ...
concerns itself with the methods for engaging and defeating the enemy in direct combat. Military tactics are usually used by units over hours or days, and are focused on the specific tasks and objectives of squadrons,
companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity representing an association of people, whether natural, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common purpose and unite to achieve specific, declared g ...
,
battalion A battalion is a military unit, typically consisting of 300 to 1,200 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant colonel, and subdivided into a number of companies (usually each commanded by a major or a captain). In some countries, battalions are e ...
s,
regiment A regiment is a military unit. Its role and size varies markedly, depending on the country, service and/or a specialisation. In Medieval Europe, the term "regiment" denoted any large body of front-line soldiers, recruited or conscripted ...
s,
brigade A brigade is a major tactical military formation that typically comprises three to six battalions plus supporting elements. It is roughly equivalent to an enlarged or reinforced regiment. Two or more brigades may constitute a division. Br ...
s, and
divisions Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting ...
, and their naval and air force equivalents. One of the oldest military publications is ''
The Art of War ''The Art of War'' () is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (roughly 5th century BC). The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu ("Master Sun"), is com ...
'', by the Chinese philosopher
Sun Tzu Sun Tzu ( ; zh, t=孫子, s=孙子, first= t, p=Sūnzǐ) was a Chinese military general, strategist, philosopher, and writer who lived during the Eastern Zhou period of 771 to 256 BCE. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of ''The ...
. Written in the 6th century BCE, the 13-chapter book is intended as military instruction, and not as
military theory Military theory is the analysis of normative behavior and trends in military affairs and military history, beyond simply describing events in war. Theories and conceptions of warfare have varied in different places throughout human history. T ...
, but has had a huge influence on Asian military doctrine, and from the late 19th century, on European and United States military planning. It has even been used to formulate business tactics, and can even be applied in social and political areas. The Classical Greeks and the Romans wrote prolifically on
military campaign A military campaign is large-scale long-duration significant military strategy plan incorporating a series of interrelated military operations or battles forming a distinct part of a larger conflict often called a war. The term derives from the ...
ing. Among the best-known Roman works are
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in a civil war, and ...
's commentaries on the
Gallic Wars The Gallic Wars were waged between 58 and 50 BC by the Roman general Julius Caesar against the peoples of Gaul (present-day France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland). Gallic, Germanic, and British tribes fought to defend their home ...
, and the Roman Civil war – written about 50 BC. Two major works on tactics come from the late Roman period: ''Taktike Theoria'' by Aelianus Tacticus, and '' De Re Militari'' ('On military matters') by Vegetius. ''Taktike Theoria'' examined Greek military tactics, and was most influential in the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire primarily in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinopl ...
world and during the Golden Age of Islam. ''De Re Militari'' formed the basis of European military tactics until the late 17th century. Perhaps its most enduring maxim is ''Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum'' (let he who desires peace prepare for war). Due to the changing nature of combat with the introduction of
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons that launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, ...
in the European
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
, and infantry firearms in the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period in European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an effort to revive and surpass idea ...
, attempts were made to define and identify those strategies, grand tactics, and tactics that would produce a victory more often than that achieved by the Romans in praying to the gods before the battle. Later this became known as
military science Military science is the study of military processes, institutions, and behavior, along with the study of warfare, and the theory and application of organized coercive force. It is mainly focused on theory, method, and practice of producing mil ...
, and later still, would adopt the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical method for acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century (with notable practitioners in previous centuries; see the article history of scientific ...
approach to the conduct of military operations under the influence of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going f ...
thinking. In his seminal book ''
On War ''Vom Kriege'' () is a book on war and military strategy by Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831), written mostly after the Napoleonic wars, between 1816 and 1830, and published posthumously by his wife Marie von Brühl in 1832. ...
'', the
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a German state on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It formed the German Empire under Prussian rule when it united the German states in 1871. It was '' de facto'' dissolved by an ...
n
Major-General Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of a ...
and leading
expert An expert is somebody who has a broad and deep understanding and competence in terms of knowledge, skill and experience through practice and education in a particular field. Informally, an expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable s ...
on modern
military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek word ''strategos'', the term strategy, when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sen ...
,
Carl von Clausewitz Carl Philipp Gottfried (or Gottlieb) von Clausewitz (; 1 June 1780 – 16 November 1831) was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the "moral", in modern terms meaning psychological, and political aspects of waging war. His mos ...
defined military strategy as 'the employment of battles to gain the end of war'. According to Clausewitz:
strategy forms the plan of the War, and to this end it links together the series of acts which are to lead to the final decision, that is to say, it makes the plans for the separate campaigns and regulates the combats to be fought in each.
Hence, Clausewitz placed political aims above military goals, ensuring civilian control of the military. Military strategy was one of a triumvirate of '
arts The arts are a very wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling and cultural participation. They encompass multiple diverse and plural modes of thinking, doing and being, in an extremely broad range of media. Both h ...
' or 'sciences' that governed the conduct of warfare, the others being:
military tactics Military tactics encompasses the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield. They involve the application of four battlefield functions which are closely related – kinetic or firepower, mobility, protection or ...
, the execution of plans and manoeuvring of forces in battle, and maintenance of an army. The meaning of military tactics has changed over time; from the deployment and manoeuvring of entire land armies on the fields of ancient battles, and galley fleets; to modern use of small unit
ambush An ambush is a long-established military tactic in which a combatant uses an advantage of concealment or the element of surprise to attack unsuspecting enemy combatants from concealed positions, such as among dense underbrush or behind mo ...
es,
encirclement Encirclement is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces. The situation is highly dangerous for the encircled force. At the strategic level, it cannot receive supplies or reinforcem ...
s,
bombardment A bombardment is an attack by artillery fire or by dropping bombs from aircraft on fortifications, combatants, or towns and buildings. Prior to World War I, the term was only applied to the bombardment of defenseless or undefended objects ...
attacks, frontal assaults,
air assault Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft—such as the helicopter—to seize and hold key terrain which has not been fully secured, and to directly engage enemy forces behind ...
s,
hit-and-run tactics Hit-and-run tactics are a tactical doctrine of using short surprise attacks, withdrawing before the enemy can respond in force, and constantly maneuvering to avoid full engagement with the enemy. The purpose is not to decisively defeat the en ...
used mainly by guerrilla forces, and, in some cases, suicide attacks on land and at sea. Evolution of
aerial warfare Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare. Aerial warfare includes bombers attacking enemy installations or a concentration of enemy troops or strategic targets; fighter aircraft battling for control ...
introduced its own air combat tactics. Often,
military deception Military deception (MILDEC) is an attempt by a military unit to gain an advantage during warfare by misleading adversary decision makers into taking action or inaction that creates favorable conditions for the deceiving force. This is usually ac ...
, in the form of
military camouflage Military camouflage is the use of camouflage by an armed force to protect personnel and equipment from observation by enemy forces. In practice, this means applying colour and materials to military equipment of all kinds, including vehicles, ...
or misdirection using
decoy A decoy (derived from the Dutch ''de'' ''kooi'', literally "the cage" or possibly ''ende kooi'', " duck cage") is usually a person, device, or event which resembles what an individual or a group might be looking for, but it is only meant to lu ...
s, is used to confuse the enemy as a tactic. A major development in infantry tactics came with the increased use of
trench warfare Trench warfare is a type of land warfare using occupied lines largely comprising military trenches, in which troops are well-protected from the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery. Trench warfare became ar ...
in the 19th and 20th centuries. This was mainly employed in
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
in the Gallipoli campaign, and the Western Front. Trench warfare often turned to a stalemate, only broken by a large loss of life, because, in order to attack an enemy entrenchment, soldiers had to run through an exposed '
no man's land No man's land is waste or unowned land or an uninhabited or desolate area that may be under dispute between parties who leave it unoccupied out of fear or uncertainty. The term was originally used to define a contested territory or a dump ...
' under heavy fire from their opposing entrenched enemy.


Technology

As with any occupation, since the ancient times, the military has been distinguished from other members of the society by their tools, the military weapons, and military equipment used in combat. When
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make tools with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted for roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 4,000 BC and 2,000 BC, with t ...
humans first took a sliver of flint to tip the
spear A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with fire hardened spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fasten ...
, it was the first example of applying technology to improve the weapon. Since then, the advances made by human societies, and that of weapons, has been irretrievably linked. Stone weapons gave way to
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze, the presence of writing in some areas, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second prin ...
weapons, and later, the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age ( Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly a ...
weapons. With each technological change, was realized some tangible increase in military capability, such as through greater effectiveness of a sharper edge in defeating leather armour, or improved density of materials used in manufacture of weapons. On
land Land, also known as dry land, ground, or earth, is the solid terrestrial surface of the planet Earth that is not submerged by the ocean or other bodies of water. It makes up 29% of Earth's surface and includes the continents and various islan ...
, the first really significant technological advance in warfare was the development of the
ranged weapon A ranged weapon is any weapon that can engage targets beyond hand-to-hand distance, i.e. at distances greater than the physical reach of the user holding the weapon itself. The act of using such a weapon is also known as shooting. It is somet ...
s, and notably, the sling. The next significant advance came with the
domestication of the horse A number of hypotheses exist on many of the key issues regarding the domestication of the horse. Although horses appeared in Paleolithic cave art as early as 30,000 BCE, these were wild horses and were probably hunted for meat. How and when hors ...
s and mastering of
equestrianism Equestrianism (from Latin , , , 'horseman', 'horse'), commonly known as horse riding ( Commonwealth English) or horseback riding (American English), includes the disciplines of riding, driving, and vaulting. This broad description includes t ...
. Arguably, the greatest invention that affected not just the military, but all society, after adoption of fire, was the
wheel A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axle bearing. The wheel is one of the key components of the wheel and axle which is one of the six simple machines. Wheels, in conjunction with axles, allow heavy objects to be ...
, and its use in the construction of the
chariot A chariot is a type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in modern-day Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, dated to c. 2000&n ...
. There were no advances in military technology, until, from the mechanical arm action of a slinger, the
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group and nation indigenous to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, namely Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, and, to a lesser extent, othe ...
,
Egyptians Egyptians ( arz, المَصرِيُون, translit=al-Maṣriyyūn, ; arz, المَصرِيِين, translit=al-Maṣriyyīn, ; cop, ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, remenkhēmi) are an ethnic group native to the Nile, Nile Valley in Egypt. Egyptian ...
, Romans,
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
ns,
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China * Chinese people, people of Chinese nationality, citizenship, and/or ethnicity **''Zhonghua minzu'', the supra-ethnic concept of the Chinese nation ** List of ethnic groups in China, people of va ...
, etc., developed the
siege engine A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent heavy castle doors, thick city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some are immobile, constructed in place to attack enemy fortifications from a distance, while othe ...
s. The bow was manufactured in increasingly larger and more powerful versions, to increase both the weapon range, and armour penetration performance. These developed into the powerful composite and recurve bows, and crossbows of
Ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the reign of king Wu Ding. Ancient historical texts such as the ''Book of Documents'' (early chapt ...
. These proved particularly useful during the rise of cavalry, as horsemen encased in ever-more sophisticated
armour Armour (British English) or armor (American English; see spelling differences) is a covering used to protect an object, individual, or vehicle from physical injury or damage, especially direct contact weapons or projectiles during combat, or ...
came to dominate the battlefield. Somewhat earlier, in medieval China,
gunpowder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur, carbon (in the form of charcoal) and potassium nitrate ( saltpeter). ...
had been invented, and was increasingly used by the military in combat. The use of gunpowder in the early vase-like mortars in Europe, and advanced versions of the long bow and cross bow, which all had armour-piercing arrowheads, that put an end to the dominance of the armoured knight. After the long bow, which required great skill and strength to use, the next most significant technological advance was the
musket A musket is a muzzle-loaded long gun that appeared as a smoothbore weapon in the early 16th century, at first as a heavier variant of the arquebus, capable of penetrating plate armour. By the mid-16th century, this type of musket gradually di ...
, which could be used effectively, with little training. In time, the successors to muskets and
cannon A cannon is a large-caliber gun classified as a type of artillery, which usually launches a projectile using explosive chemical propellant. Gunpowder ("black powder") was the primary propellant before the invention of smokeless powder dur ...
, in the form of
rifle A rifle is a long-barreled firearm designed for accurate shooting, with a barrel that has a helical pattern of grooves (rifling) cut into the bore wall. In keeping with their focus on accuracy, rifles are typically designed to be held with bo ...
s and
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons that launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, ...
, would become core battlefield technology. As the speed of technological advances accelerated in civilian applications, so too warfare became more
industrialized Industrialisation ( alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial society. This involves an extensive re-organisation of an econom ...
. The newly invented
machine gun A machine gun is a fully automatic, rifled autoloading firearm designed for sustained direct fire with rifle cartridges. Other automatic firearms such as automatic shotguns and automatic rifles (including assault rifles and battle rifles) ...
and repeating rifle redefined
firepower Firepower is the military capability to direct force at an enemy. (It is not to be confused with the concept of rate of fire, which describes the cycling of the firing mechanism in a weapon system.) Firepower involves the whole range of potenti ...
on the battlefield, and, in part, explains the high casualty rates of the
American Civil War The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 26, 1865; also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States. It was fought between the Union (American Civil War), Union ("the North") and t ...
. The next breakthrough was the conversion of artillery parks from the muzzle loading guns, to the quicker loading breech loading guns with recoiling barrel that allowed quicker aimed fire and use of a shield. The widespread introduction of low smoke (smokeless) propellant powders since the 1880s also allowed for a great improvement of artillery ranges. The development of breech loading had the greatest effect on naval warfare, for the first time since the Middle Ages, altering the way weapons are mounted on
warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster an ...
s, and therefore naval tactics, now divorced from the reliance on
sails A sail is a tensile structure—which is made from fabric or other membrane materials—that uses wind power to propel sailing craft, including sailing ships, sailboats, windsurfers, ice boats, and even sail-powered land vehicles. Sails may ...
with the invention of the
internal combustion An internal combustion engine (ICE or IC engine) is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combu ...
. A further advance in military naval technology was the design of the
submarine A submarine (or sub) is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. The term is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely op ...
, and its weapon, the
torpedo A modern torpedo is an underwater ranged weapon launched above or below the water surface, self-propelled towards a target, and with an explosive warhead designed to detonate either on contact with or in proximity to the target. Historically, s ...
.
Main battle tank A main battle tank (MBT), also known as a battle tank or universal tank, is a tank that fills the role of armor-protected direct fire and maneuver in many modern armies. Cold War-era development of more powerful engines, better suspension sys ...
s, and other heavy equipment such as armoured fighting vehicles,
military aircraft A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft that is operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type. Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat: * Combat aircraft are designed to destroy enemy equi ...
, and
ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep waterways, carrying cargo or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research, and fishing. Ships are generally distinguished ...
s, are characteristic to organized military forces. During
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, the need to break the deadlock of trench warfare saw the rapid development of many new technologies, particularly
tank A tank is an armoured fighting vehicle intended as a primary offensive weapon in front-line ground combat. Tank designs are a balance of heavy firepower, strong armour, and good battlefield mobility provided by tracks and a powerful eng ...
s.
Military aviation Military aviation comprises military aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling aerial warfare, including national airlift (air cargo) capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a war thea ...
was extensively used, and
bomber A bomber is a military combat aircraft designed to attack ground and naval targets by dropping air-to-ground weaponry (such as bombs), launching torpedoes, or deploying air-launched cruise missiles. The first use of bombs dropped from an aircra ...
s became decisive in many battles of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, which marked the most frantic period of weapons development in history. Many new designs, and concepts were used in combat, and all existing technologies of warfare were improved between 1939 and 1945. During the war, significant advances were made in military communications through increased use of radio, military intelligence through use of the
radar Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (''ranging''), angle, and radial velocity of objects relative to the site. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, we ...
, and in
military medicine The term military medicine has a number of potential connotations. It may mean: *A medical specialty, specifically a branch of occupational medicine attending to the medical risks and needs (both preventive and interventional) of sold ...
through use of
penicillin Penicillins (P, PCN or PEN) are a group of β-lactam antibiotics originally obtained from '' Penicillium'' moulds, principally '' P. chrysogenum'' and '' P. rubens''. Most penicillins in clinical use are synthesised by P. chrysogenum usi ...
, while in the air, the guided
missile In military terminology, a missile is a guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usually by a jet engine or rocket motor. Missiles are thus also called guided missiles or guided rockets (when a previously unguided rocket i ...
,
jet aircraft A jet aircraft (or simply jet) is an aircraft (nearly always a fixed-wing aircraft) propelled by jet engines. Whereas the engines in propeller-powered aircraft generally achieve their maximum efficiency at much lower speeds and altitudes, jet ...
, and
helicopter A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward and laterally. These attributes ...
s were seen for the first time. Perhaps the most infamous of all military technologies was the creation of the
atomic bomb A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission (fission bomb) or a combination of fission and fusion reactions (thermonuclear bomb), producing a nuclear explosion. Both bom ...
, although the exact effects of its
radiation In physics, radiation is the emission or transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles through space or through a material medium. This includes: * ''electromagnetic radiation'', such as radio waves, microwaves, infrared, vis ...
were unknown until the early 1950s. Far greater use of military vehicles had finally eliminated the cavalry from the military force structure. After World War II, with the onset of the
Cold War The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of Geopolitics, geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term ''Cold war (term), co ...
, the constant technological development of new weapons was institutionalized, as participants engaged in a constant '
arms race An arms race occurs when two or more groups compete in military superiority. It consists of a competition between two or more states to have superior armed forces; a competition concerning production of weapons, the growth of a military, and t ...
' in capability development. This constant state of weapons development continues into the present, and remains a constant drain on national resources, which some blame on the military–industrial complex. The most significant technological developments that influenced combat have been the guided missiles, which can be used by all branches of the armed services. More recently,
information technology Information technology (IT) is the use of computers to create, process, store, retrieve, and exchange all kinds of data . and information. IT forms part of information and communications technology (ICT). An information technology syste ...
, and its use in
surveillance Surveillance is the monitoring of behavior, many activities, or information for the purpose of information gathering, influencing, managing or directing. This can include observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment, such as ...
, including space-based reconnaissance systems, have played an increasing role in military operations. The impact of information warfare that focuses on attacking command communication systems, and military databases, has been coupled with the new development in military technology, has been the use of robotic systems in intelligence combat, both in hardware and software applications. Recently, there has also been a particular focus towards the use of renewable fuels for running military vehicles on. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable fuels can be produced in any country, creating a strategic advantage. The
US military The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. The armed forces consists of six service branches: the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard. The president of the United States is th ...
has committed itself to have 50% of its energy consumption come from alternative sources.


As part of society

For much of
military history Military history is the study of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, cultures and economies thereof, as well as the resulting changes to local and international relationships. Professional historians nor ...
, the armed forces were considered to be for use by the heads of their societies, until recently, the crowned heads of states. In a democracy or other political system run in the public interest, it is a public force. The relationship between the military and the
society A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. So ...
it serves is a complicated and ever-evolving one. Much depends on the nature of the society itself, and whether it sees the military as important, as for example in time of threat or war, or a burdensome expense typified by defence cuts in time of peace. One difficult matter in the relation between military and society is control and transparency. In some countries, limited information on military operations and budgeting is accessible for the public. However transparency in the military sector is crucial to fight
corruption Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organization which is entrusted in a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one's personal gain. Corruption ...
. This showed the Government Defence Anti-corruption Index Transparency International UK published in 2013. Militaries often function as
societies A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societ ...
within societies, by having their own military communities,
economies An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services. In general, it is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with t ...
,
education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty. Va ...
,
medicine Medicine is the science and practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, palliation of their injury or disease, and promoting their health. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practi ...
, and other aspects of a functioning civilian society. Although a 'military' is not limited to nations in of itself as many private military companies (or PMC's) can be used or 'hired' by organizations and figures as security, escort, or other means of protection; where police, agencies, or militaries are absent or not trusted.


Ideology and ethics

Militarist ideology is the
society A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. So ...
's social attitude of being best served, or being a beneficiary of a
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government i ...
, or guided by concepts embodied in the military ''culture, doctrine, system'', or ''leaders''. Either because of the
cultural memory Because memory is not just an individual, private experience but is also part of the collective domain, cultural memory has become a topic in both historiography ( Pierre Nora, Richard Terdiman) and cultural studies (e.g., Susan Stewart). These ...
, national history, or the potentiality of a military threat, the militarist argument asserts that a
civilian Civilians under international humanitarian law are "persons who are not members of the armed forces" and they are not " combatants if they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war". It is slightly different from a non-combatant ...
population is dependent upon, and thereby subservient to the needs and goals of its military for continued
independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independence is the statu ...
.
Militarism Militarism is the belief or the desire of a government or a people that a state should maintain a strong military capability and to use it aggressively to expand national interests and/or values. It may also imply the glorification of the mili ...
is sometimes contrasted with the concepts of
comprehensive national power #REDIRECT Comprehensive National Power This article was merged into a differently spelled article on the same topic {{R from other capitalisation ...
,
soft power In politics (and particularly in international politics), soft power is the ability to co-opt rather than coerce (contrast hard power). In other words, soft power involves shaping the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A def ...
and hard power. Most nations have separate military laws which regulate conduct in war and during peacetime. An early exponent was
Hugo Grotius Hugo Grotius (; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot () and Hugo de Groot (), was a Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, poet and playwright. A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was born in Delft ...
, whose '' On the Law of War and Peace'' (1625) had a major impact of the humanitarian approach to warfare development. His theme was echoed by
Gustavus Adolphus Gustavus Adolphus (9 December Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates">N.S_19_December.html" ;"title="Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title="/nowiki>Old Style and New Style dates">N.S 19 December">Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title="/now ...
. Ethics of warfare have developed since 1945, to create constraints on the military treatment of prisoners and civilians, primarily by the
Geneva Conventions upright=1.15, Original document in single pages, 1864 The Geneva Conventions are four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish international legal standards for humanitarian treatment in war. The singular term ''Geneva Conv ...
; but rarely apply to use of the military forces as internal security troops during times of political conflict that results in popular protests and incitement to popular uprising. International protocols restrict the use, or have even created international bans on some types of weapons, notably
weapons of mass destruction A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or any other weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to numerous individuals or cause great damage to artificial structures (e.g., buildings), natura ...
(WMD).
International convention International law (also known as public international law and the law of nations) is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between states. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework for ...
s define what constitutes a war crime, and provides for war crimes prosecution. Individual countries also have elaborate codes of
military justice Military justice (also military law) is the legal system (bodies of law and procedure) that governs the conduct of the active-duty personnel of the armed forces of a country. In some nation-states, civil law and military law are distinct bod ...
, an example being the United States'
Uniform Code of Military Justice The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. §§ 801–946 is the foundation of military law in the United States. It was established by the United States Congress in accordance with the authority given by the United States Constitution ...
that can lead to
court martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of memb ...
for military personnel found guilty of war crimes. Military actions are sometimes argued to be justified by furthering a humanitarian cause, such as disaster relief operations, or in defence of refugees. The term military humanism is used to refer to such actions.


See also

*
Arms industry The arms industry, also known as the arms trade, is a global industry which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology. It consists of a commercial industry involved in the research and development, engineering, production, and se ...
*
Civil defense Civil defense ( en, region=gb, civil defence) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from man-made and natural disasters. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mit ...
* Civilian control of the military *
Command and control Command and control (abbr. C2) is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ... hatemploys human, physical, and information resources to solve problems and accomplish missions" to achieve the goals of an organization or en ...
*
Conscription Conscription (also called the draft in the United States) is the state-mandated enlistment of people in a national service, mainly a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and it continues in some countries to the present day un ...
*
Court-martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of memb ...
*
Deterrence theory Deterrence theory refers to the scholarship and practice of how threats or limited force by one party can convince another party to refrain from initiating some other course of action. The topic gained increased prominence as a military strategy ...
*
Martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; and the preserv ...
*
Martial law Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to an emergency where civil forces are overwhelmed, or in an occupied territory. Use Marti ...
*
Mercenary A mercenary, sometimes also known as a soldier of fortune or hired gun, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, that joins a military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any ...
*
Militaria Militaria, also known as military memorabilia, are military equipment which are collected for their historical significance. Such items include firearms, swords, sabres, knives, bayonets, helmets and other equipment such as uniforms, military or ...
*
Military academy A military academy or service academy is an educational institution which prepares candidates for service in the officer corps. It normally provides education in a military environment, the exact definition depending on the country concerned. ...
*
Military advisor Military advisors, or combat advisors, advise on military matters. Some are soldiers sent to foreign countries to aid such countries with their military training, organization, and other various military tasks. The Foreign powers or organizations m ...
* Military aid *
Military aid to the civil community Military aid to the civil community (MACC) is a phrase referring to the armed forces providing a service to the civilian community. It is used in many countries, particularly the United Kingdom. United Kingdom In the United Kingdom, military aid t ...
(MACC) *
Military aid to the civil power Aid to the Civil Power (ACP) or Military Aid to the Civil Power (MACP) is the use of the armed forces in support of the civil authorities of a state. Different countries have varying policies regarding the relationship between their military and ...
(MACP) *
Military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement between nations concerning national security. Nations in a military alliance agree to active participation and contribution to the defense of others in the alliance in the event of a crisis. (Online) ...
*
Military dictatorship A military dictatorship is a dictatorship in which the military exerts complete or substantial control over political authority, and the dictator is often a high-ranked military officer. The reverse situation is to have civilian control of the ...
*
Military district Military districts (also called military regions) are formations of a state's armed forces (often of the Army) which are responsible for a certain area of territory. They are often more responsible for administrative than operational matters, and ...
* Military engineering *
Military exercise A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the com ...
* Military fiat * Military incompetence * Military–industrial complex *
Military junta A military junta () is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term '' junta'' means "meeting" or "committee" and originated in the national and local junta organized by the Spanish resistance to Napoleon's invasion of Spain i ...
* Military meteorology * Military operations other than war *
Military police Military police (MP) are law enforcement agencies connected with, or part of, the military of a state. In wartime operations, the military police may support the main fighting force with force protection, convoy security, screening, rear reco ...
*
Military prison A military prison is a prison operated by a military. Military prisons are used variously to house prisoners of war, unlawful combatants, those whose freedom is deemed a national security risk by the military or national authorities, and members o ...
* Military Revolution *
Military sociology Military sociology is a subfield within sociology. It corresponds closely to C. Wright Mills's summons to connect the individual world to broader social structures.Crabb, Tyler and Segal, David. 2015. "Military Sociology" in ''Encyclopedia of P ...
*
Military terminology Military terminology refers to the terms and language of military organizations and personnel as belonging to a discrete category. As distinguishable by their usage in military doctrine, they serve to depoliticise, dehumanise, or otherwise a ...
* Militarization of police *
Militia A militia () is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subjects of a state, who may perform military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of r ...
*
Ministry of defence {{unsourced, date=February 2021 A ministry of defence or defense (see spelling differences), also known as a department of defence or defense, is an often-used name for the part of a government responsible for matters of defence, found in state ...
*
Mobilization Mobilization is the act of assembling and readying military troops and supplies for war. The word ''mobilization'' was first used in a military context in the 1850s to describe the preparation of the Prussian Army. Mobilization theories and ...
*
Police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citize ...
*
Private military company A private military company (PMC) or private military and security company (PMSC) is a private company providing armed combat or security services for financial gain. PMCs refer to their personnel as "security contractors" or "private military ...
* Staff (military) *
Standing army A standing army is a permanent, often professional, army. It is composed of full-time soldiers who may be either career soldiers or conscripts. It differs from army reserves, who are enrolled for the long term, but activated only during wars or ...
*
Weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used to deter, threaten, inflict physical damage, harm, or kill. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement ...
; Armed forces of the world * List of countries by number of military and paramilitary personnel * List of countries by Military Strength Index * List of countries by level of military equipment * List of countries by Global Militarization Index * List of countries without armed forces *
List of countries by military expenditures This is a list of countries by military expenditure in a given year. Military expenditure figures are presented in United States dollars based on either constant or current exchange rates. Military expenditure, total ; Stockholm International ...
* List of countries by past military expenditure * List of countries by military expenditure per capita * List of air forces * List of armies * List of navies


References


External links


Military Expenditure % of GDP
hosted by Lebanese economy forum, extracted from the World Bank public data. * {{Authority control Defense Government institutions International security National security Main topic articles