United States Armed Forces
From its inception during the American Revolutionary War
, the U.S. Armed Forces have played a decisive role in the history of the United States
. It helped forge a sense of national unity and identity through its victories in the First Barbary War
and the Second Barbary War
. It played a critical role in the American Civil War
, keeping the Confederacy
from seceding from the republic. The National Security Act of 1947
, adopted following World War II
, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment
, headed by the secretary of defense; and created the United States Air Force
and the National Security Council
. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.
The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest military forces in terms of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers
. Although conscription
has been used in the past, it has not been used since 1973. The Selective Service System
retains the power to conscript males, and requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service.
The U.S. Armed Forces are considered the world's most powerful military
The military budget of the United States was US$693 billion in 2019, the highest in the world.
, that accounted for 36 percent of the world's defense expenditures
. The U.S. Armed Forces has significant capabilities in both defense and power projection
due to its large budget, resulting in advanced and powerful technologies which enables a widespread deployment of the force around the world, including around 800 military bases outside the United States.
The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest air force, the U.S. Navy is the world's largest navy
, and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps combined are the world's second largest air arm. In terms of size, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest maritime force.
The U.S. as of FY2019 has about 14,061 aircraft in its military inventory.
The U.S. Space Force is the world's first and, as of 2021, only independent space force.
The United States Space Force
was established as an independent service on 20 December 2019. It is the sixth branch of the U.S. military and the first new branch since the establishment of the independent U.S. Air Force in 1947.
It traces its origin to the formation of the Air Force Space Command
, which was formed 1 September 1982 and was a major command
of the United States Air Force.
The military chain of command flows from the president of the United States to the secretary of defense (for services under the Defense Department) or secretary of homeland security (for services under the Department of Homeland Security), ensuring civilian control of the military
. Within the Department of Defense the military departments, the Department of the Army
, United States Department of the Navy
, and Department of the Air Force
, are civilian led entities that oversee the coequal military service branches organized within. The military departments and services are responsible for organizing, training, and equipping forces, with the actual chain of command flowing through the unified combatant commands
The Joint Chiefs of Staff in December 2020.
Leadership of the Armed Forces, to include the president of the United States
, Secretary of Defense
, Secretary of Homeland Security
and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
are members of the United States National Security Council
, which advises the president on national security, military, and foreign policy matters. The National Security Advisor
and Deputy National Security Advisor
may also be members of the United States Armed Forces. The National Security Council Deputies Committee
also includes the Deputy Secretary of Defense
, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
. The United States Homeland Security Council
, which advises the president on homeland security, includes the president of the United States
, Secretary of Defense
, Secretary of Homeland Security
and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
. The Homeland Security Advisor
may also be a member of the armed forces. Military leadership, including the Secretary of Defense
, United States Secretary of Homeland Security
, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
also sit on the National Space Council
Organization of the military services and military departments within the Department of Defense
Logo of the United States Army
The five core competencies of the Army are to conduct:
- Prompt and sustained land combat
- Combined arms operations
- Combined arms maneuver and wide area security
- Armored and mechanized operations
- Airborne and air assault operations
- Special operations
- Set and sustain the theater for the joint force
- Integrate national, multinational, and joint power on land
The U.S. Army is composed of the Regular Army, United States Army Reserve
, and United States Army National Guard
. The U.S. Army is organized into four army commands, which conduct the majority of the service's organize, train, and equip functions, ten Army service component commands, which command forces attached to the combatant commands, and twelve direct reporting units. The Army also organizes its personnel into 21 different basic branches
The four army commands are:
The U.S. Army's field structure is broken into several subdivisions under its commands:
: Only used during large scale wars or as part of multinational commands, consist of four to five field armies and 400,000 to 1 million soldiers. Usually responsible for directing campaigns in a certain geographical area and commanded by a general
: Consists of two to five divisions and 20,000 to 45,000 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant general
. A corps is the highest level of command that provides operational direction for combat operations, with higher levels concerned with administration rather than operations.
: Consists of three to four brigades and 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers commanded by a major general
and are subdivided into airborne
, and mountain
divisions. Each division conducts major tactical operations and sustained battlefield operations.
: Consists of two to three battalions and 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers commanded by a colonel
. Armored and Ranger
units are organized into regiments and Special Forces
are organized into groups. In 2016, the Army reorganized its brigades into brigade combat teams
, which are autonomous modular brigades that most commonly include one combat arms brigade and its assigned support and fire units.
: Consist of four to six companies and consist of up to 1,000 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant colonel
. Battalions are organized into combat arms battalions, combat support, and combat service support battalions by unit type. Armored and air cavalry are organized into squadrons. Battalions and squadrons conduct independent operations of limited scope and duration.
: Consist of three to four platoons and a few dozen to 200 soldiers commanded by a captain
. Artillery is organized into batteries and armored and air cavalry units are organized into troops. Companies, batteries, and troops are tactical-sized unit that can perform a battlefield function on its own.
The U.S. Marine Corps' Marine Air-Ground Task Force structure is broken into several levels under the Fleet Marine Force:
The U.S. Marine Corps' unit structure is broken into several subdivisions under the Fleet Marine Force:
Logo of the United States Navy
The five enduring functions of the Navy are:
- Sea control
- Power projection
- Maritime security
The U.S. Navy is composed of the Regular Navy and United States Navy Reserve
. The U.S. Navy is organized into eight navy component commands, which command operational forces, fifteen shore commands, which support the fleets' operating forces, five systems commands, which oversee the technical requirements of the Navy, and nine type commands, which administratively manage units of a certain type.
The navy component commands are:
The U.S. Navy's unit structure is broken into several subdivisions under the operating force:
The U.S. Navy's unit structure is broken into several subdivisions under the type command structure. For Naval Air Forces:
The United States Air Force
(USAF) is the airservice branch
of the United States Armed Forces and part of the civilian-led Department of the Air Force
, which is led by the Secretary of the Air Force
. The military head of the U.S. Air Force is the chief of staff of the Air Force
, who is assisted by the vice chief of staff of the United States Air Force
and chief master sergeant of the Air Force
. It achieved independence on 18 September 1947 from the U.S. Army, but directly traces its history through the United States Army Air Forces
, United States Army Air Corps
, United States Army Air Service
, the Division of Military Aeronautics
, Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps
, to the birth of Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps
on 1 August 1907.
The five core missions of the Air Force are:
- Air superiority
- Global integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
- Rapid global mobility
- Global strike
- Command and control
The Air Force's major commands are:
The U.S. Air Force's field structure is broken into several subdivisions under its major commands:
The Sodium Guidestar at the Directed Energy Directorate's Starfire Optical Range for real-time, high-fidelity tracking and imaging of satellites.
The five core competencies of the Space Force are:
- Space security
- Combat power projection
- Space mobility and logistics
- Information mobility
- Space domain awareness
The U.S. Space Force is composed of the Regular Space Force, not yet having organized a reserve component outside of the Air Force. The Space Force is organized into one field command and one center, with the intent to fully organize into three field commands, activating Space Systems Command
to replace the Space and Missile Systems Center and Space Training and Readiness Command
to institutionalize its training, education, and doctrine development.
The Space Force's field command and center is:
The Space Force's field structure is broken into several subdivisions under its field commands:
Service mark of the United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the maritime security
, search and rescue
, and law enforcement service branch
of the United States Armed Forces and part of the Department of Homeland Security
, which is led by the Secretary of Homeland Security
. It is the only military branch outside the Department of Defense, but can be transferred to the civilian-led Department of the Navy
, which is led by the Secretary of the Navy
, in the case that congress stipulates that when declaring war or the president directs.
The military head of the U.S. Coast Guard is the commandant of the Coast Guard
, who is assisted by the vice commandant of the Coast Guard
and master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard
. The Coast Guard was founded as a military service branch on 4 August 1790 as the United States Revenue-Marine
, before being renamed on 31 July 1894 as the United States Revenue Cutter Service
. On 28 January 1915 it was merged with the civilian United States Life-Saving Service
to form the United States Coast Guard. In 1939, the civilian United States Lighthouse Service
was merged into the Coast Guard. The Revenue-Marine, and later the Coast Guard, were organized under the Department of the Treasury, transferring to the Department of the Navy during World War I and World War II. In 1967 it was transferred to the Department of Transportation, where it would reside until 2003 when it was permanently transferred to the Department of Homeland Security.
The eleven missions of the Coast Guard are:
- Port and waterway security
- Drug interdiction
- Aids to navigation
- Search and rescue
- Living marine resources
- Marine safety
- Defense readiness
- Migrant interdiction
- Marine environmental protection
- Ice operations
- Law enforcement
Unified combatant commands areas of responsibility
Unified combatant commands are joint military commands consisting of forces from multiple military departments, with their chain of command flowing from the president, to the secretary of defense, to the commanders of the combatant commands. There are eleven unified combatant commands that come in two types. Geographic commands, such as Africa, Central, European, Indo-Pacific, Northern, Southern and Space commands are responsible for planning and operations in a certain geographic area. Functional commands, such as Cyber, Special Operations, Strategic, and Transportation commands are responsible for a functional activity that crosses geographic boundaries. Each service organizes, trains, and equips forces that are then presented to the unified combatant commands through service component commands. Special Operations Command and Cyber Command also present theater special operations commands or joint force headquarters – cyber to other combatant commanders. Army or Marine Corps components are typically duel hatted as the joint force land component
, Navy components are typically duel hatted as the joint force maritime component
, and Air Force components are typically duel hatted as the joint force air component
, with the theater special operations command duel hatted as the joint force special operations component, and Space Force component sometimes duel hatted as the joint force space component.
Seal of United States Africa Command
United States Africa Command
(USAFRICOM or AFRICOM) is the geographic combatant command
responsible for United States military operations in Africa
, except for Egypt
, which is under United States Central Command. Africa Command is headquartered in Kelley Barracks
. Africa Command was created due to the rising strategic importance of Africa, and to harmonize military eff in Africa with the United States Department of State
and other U.S. agencies, activated on 1 October 2007 as a sub-unified command of United States European Command, beortsfore becoming an independent combatant command on 1 October 2008. Prior to the establishment of United States Africa Command, military operations on the continent were the responsibility of United States European Command for North Africa
, West Africa
, and Southern Africa
, United States Central Command for East Africa
, and United States Pacific Command for the Indian Ocean
and African islands off the coast.
United States Africa Command's service components are:
Seal of United States Central Command
United States Central Command
(USCENTCOM or CENTCOM) is the geographic combatant command
responsible for United States military operations in the Middle East
, Central Asia
, and parts of South Asia
, except for Israel
, which is under United States European Command. Central Command is headquartered in MacDill Air Force Base
, Florida, with a forward headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base
. Central Command was established on 1 January 1983, growing out of United States Readiness Command
's Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force
, which itself was established on 1 March 1980 . Prior to its establishment, military operations in the Middle East were the responsibility of United States European Command, and before that United States Strike Command
United States Central Command includes two subordinate units:
United States Central Command's service components are:
Special Operations Command
Seal of United States European Command
United States European Command's service components are:
Special Operations Command
Seal of United States Indo-Pacific Command
Indo-Pacific Command has two subordinate unified commands, two direct reporting units, and one standing joint task force:
Special Operations Command
United States Indo-Pacific Command's service components are:
Seal of United States Northern Command
Northern Command has one sub-unified command and three joint task forces:
United States Northern Command's service components are:
Special Operations Command
Seal of United States Southern Command
Southern Command has three joint task forces:
United States Southern Command's service components are:
Special Operations Command:
Seal of United States Space Command
United States Space Command
(USSPACECOM or SPACECOM) is the geographic combatant command
responsible for United States military operations in outerspace
. Space Command is headquartered in Peterson Air Force Base
. Space Command was reestablished on 29 August 2019, being first established as a unified combatant command on 23 September 1985 before being inactivated on 1 October 2002 and having space activities folded into Strategic Command. While at strategic command, space operations were handled by the Joint Force Space Component Command, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, and Joint Space Operations.
United States Space Command has one subordinate combined command and one joint task force:
United States Space Command's service components are:
Seal of United States Cyber Command
United States Cyber Command
(USCYBERCOM or CYBERCOM) is the functional combatant command
responsible for United States military operations in cyberspace
. Cyber Command is headquartered in Fort George G. Meade
, sharing leadership, personnel, and resources with the National Security Agency
and Central Security Service
. Cyber Command was established on 21 May 2010 as a sub-unified command under United States Strategic Command, becoming an independent combatant command on 4 May 2018. Cyber Command traces its history through Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command – Network Warfare
, Joint Task Force – Global Network Operations
, Joint Task Force–Computer Network Operations, to Space Command's Joint Task Force–Computer Network Defense on 1 December 1998. Prior to the establishment of Cyber Command, cyber operations were the responsibility of Strategic Command, and before that Space Command. Cyber Command supports the other combatant commands by providing Joint Force Headquarters–Cyber elements.
United States Cyber Command's service components are:
Special Operations Command
Seal of United States Special Operations Command
United States Special Operations Command has one subordinate component command and seven theater special operations commands:
United States Special Operations Command's service components are:
Seal of United States Strategic Command
United States Strategic Command's service components are:
Seal of United States Transportation Command
United States Transportation Command has one subordinate command and a reserve unit that are direct reporting elements:
United States Transportation Command's service components are:
A pie chart showing global military expenditures by country for 2018, in US$ billions, according to SIPRI
The United States has the world's largest military budget
. In the fiscal year 2019, $693 billion in funding were enacted for the DoD and for "Overseas Contingency Operations" in the War on Terrorism.
Outside of direct DoD spending, the United States spends another $218 to $262 billion each year on other defense-related programs, such as Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, nuclear weapons maintenance and DoD.
In FY2016 $146.9 billion was allocated for the Department of the Army, $168.8 billion for the Department of the Navy, $161.8 billion for the Department of the Air Force, and $102.8 billion for DoD-wide spending.
By function, $138.6 billion was requested for personnel, $244.4 billion for operations and maintenance, $118.9 billion for procurement, $69.0 billion for research and development, $1.3 billion for revolving and management funds, $6.9 billion for military construction, and $1.3 billion for family housing.
While the United States Armed Forces is an all-volunteer military, conscription through the Selective Service System
can be enacted at the president's request and Congress' approval, with all males ages 18 through 25 who are living in the United States are required to register with the Selective Service.
Although the constitutionality of registering only males for Selective Service was challenged by federal district court
in 2019, its legality was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2020.
As in most militaries, members of the U.S. Armed Forces hold a rank, either that of officer
, warrant officer
, to determine seniority and eligibility for promotion. Those who have served are known as veterans
. Rank names may be different between services, but they are matched to each other by their corresponding paygrade
Officers who hold the same rank or paygrade are distinguished by their date of rank to determine seniority, while officers who serve in certain positions of office of importance set by law, outrank all other officers in active duty of the same rank and paygrade, regardless of their date of rank.
In 2012, it was reported that only one in four persons in the United States of the proper age meet the moral, academic and physical standards for military service.
Personnel by service
As of 31 December 2010, U.S. Armed Forces troops were stationed in 150 countries; the number of non-contingent deployments per country ranges from 1 in Suriname
to over 50,000 in Germany.
Some of the largest deployments are: 103,700 in Afghanistan
, 52,440 in Germany (
), 35,688 in Japan (USFJ
), 28,500 in South Korea
), 9,660 in Italy
and 9,015 in the United Kingdom. These numbers change frequently due to the regular recall and deployment of units.
U.S. global military presence
Altogether, 77,917 military personnel are located in Europe, 141 in the former Soviet Union
, 47,236 in East Asia and the Pacific, 3,362 in North Africa, the Near East
and South Asia, 1,355 in sub-Saharan Africa
and 1,941 in the Western Hemisphere
excluding the United States itself.
Including U.S. territories and ships afloat within territorial waters
As of 31 December 2009, a total of 1,137,568 personnel were on active duty within the United States and its territories
(including 84,461 afloat).
The vast majority (941,629 personnel) were stationed at bases within the contiguous United States
. There were an additional 37,245 in Hawaii
and 20,450 in Alaska
while 84,461 were at sea, 2,972 in Guam
and 179 in Puerto Rico
Rank in the United States Armed Forces is split into three distinct categories: officers
, warrant officers
, and enlisted
personnel. Officers are the leadership of the military, holding commissions from the president of the United States and confirmed to their rank by the Senate
. Warrant officers hold a warrant from the secretaries of the military departments, serving as specialist in certain military technologies and capabilities. Upon promotion to chief warrant officer 2, they gain a commission from the president of the United States. Enlisted personnel constitute the majority of the armed forces, serving as specialists and tactical-level leaders until they become senior non-commissioned officers or senior petty officers. Military ranks across the services can be compared by U.S. Uniformed Services pay grade or NATO rank code.
The United States Air Force Academy commissioned the first 86 U.S. Space Force officers on 18 April 2020 from the members of the class of 2020.
Officers represent the top 18% of the armed forces, serving in leadership and command roles.
Officers are divided into three categories:
Graduation of the class of 2009 at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Graduation of the class of 2011 at the United States Naval Academy.
Officers are typically commissioned as second lieutenants or ensigns with a bachelor's degree after several years of training and education or directly commissioning
from civilian life into a specific specialty, such as a medical professional, lawyer, chaplain, or cyber specialist.
The three primary commissioning routes include:
United States Air Force pilot officers walk to their F-15 fighter jets prior to take off.
Throughout their careers, officers continue professional military education
throughout their careers, typically before major milestones.
Professional military education institutions across the services and armed forces include:
Warrant officer corps
are specialists, accounting for only 8% of the officer corps.
Warrant officers hold warrants from their service secretary and are specialists and experts in certain military technologies or capabilities. The lowest-ranking warrant officers serve under a warrant, but they receive commissions from the president upon promotion to chief warrant officer 2. They derive their authority from the same source as commissioned officers but remain specialists, in contrast to commissioned officers, who are generalists. There are no warrant officers in the Air Force or Space Force.
Warrant officers are typically non-commissioned officers before being selected, with the exception of the Army Aviation where any enlisted grade can apply for a warrant. Army Warrant officers attend the Army Warrant Officer Candidate School
Enlisted personnel consist of 82% of the armed forces, serving as specialists and tactical leaders.
Enlisted personnel are divided into three categories:
- E-1 to E-3/4: Junior enlisted personnel, usually in initial training or at their first assignment. E-1 to E-3 in the Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard and E-1 to E-4 in the Army, Air Force, and Space Force. In the Army, specialist (E-4) are considered to be junior enlisted, while corporals (E-4) are non-commissioned officers.
- E-4/5 to E-6: Non-commissioned officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force and petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard. In the Air Force and Space Force, staff sergeant (E-5) is the first non-commissioned officer rank. Non-commissioned officers and petty officers are responsible for tactical leadership.
- E-7 to E-9: Senior non-commissioned officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force and chief petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard. Serve as senior enlisted advisors to officers.
The rank of senior enlisted advisor
is the highest rank in each service, serving as the primary advisors to their service secretary and service chief on enlisted matters. Prior to entering their service, enlisted personnel must their service's basic training
. In the Army, after completing Basic Combat Training
recruits then go to advanced individual training
for their military occupational specialty
. In the Marine Corps, after completing Recruit Training
, marines attend the School of Infantry
, going to the Infantry Training Battalion for infantry marines, with non-infantry marines completing Marine Combat Training before advancing to technical training for their military occupational specialty
. In the Navy, after completing Recruit Training
, sailors advance to their "A" schools to complete training for their rating
. In the Air Force and Space Force, recruits complete combined Basic Military Training
before going to technical training for their Air Force Specialty Codes
. In the Coast Guard, after completing Recruit Training
, sailors advance to their "A" schools to complete training for their rating
Women in the armed forces
From 2005, the first all female C-130 Hercules crew to fly a combat mission for the U.S. Air Force
The Woman's Army Auxiliary Corps
was established in the United States in 1942. Women saw combat during World War II, first as nurses in the Pearl Harbor
attacks on 7 December 1941. The Woman's Naval Reserve
, Marine Corps Women's Reserve
, US Coast Guard Women's Reserve
, and Women Airforce Service Pilots
(WASPs) were also created during this conflict.
In 1944, WACs arrived in the Pacific and landed in Normandy on D-Day
. During the war, 67 Army nurses and 16 Navy nurses
were captured and spent three years as Japanese prisoners of war. There were 350,000 American women who served during World War II and 16 were killed in action. In total, they gained over 1,500 medals, citations and commendations. Virginia Hall
, serving with the Office of Strategic Services, received the second-highest U.S. combat award, the Distinguished Service Cross
, for action behind enemy lines in France.
After World War II, demobilization led to the vast majority of serving women being returned to civilian life. Law 625, The Women's Armed Services Act
of 1948, was signed by President Truman
, allowing women to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces in fully integrated units during peacetime, with only the WAC remaining a separate female unit. During the Korean War
of 1950–1953, many women served in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals
, with women serving in Korea numbering 120,000[dubious – discuss]
during the conflict.
During the Vietnam War
, 600 women served in the country as part of the Air Force, along with 500 members of the WAC and over 6,000 medical personnel and support staff. The Ordnance Corps
began accepting female missile technicians in 1974
and female crewmembers and officers were accepted into Field Artillery
In 1974, the first six women naval aviators earned their wings as Navy pilots. The congressionally mandated prohibition on women in combat places limitations on the pilots' advancement,
but at least two retired as captains.
In 1989, Captain Linda L. Bray, 29, became the first woman to command American soldiers in battle during the invasion of Panama
. The 1991 Gulf War
proved to be the pivotal time for the role of women in the U.S. Armed Forces to come to the attention of the world media; there are many reports of women engaging enemy forces during the conflict.
In the 2000s, women can serve on U.S. combat ships, including in command roles. They are permitted to serve on submarines.
Women can fly military aircraft and make up 2% of all pilots in the U.S. Military. In 2003, Major Kim Campbell
was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
for landing her combat damaged A-10 Thunderbolt II
with no hydraulic control and only one functional engine after being struck by hostile fire over Baghdad
On 3 December 2015, U.S. defense secretary Ashton Carter announced that all military combat jobs would become available to women.
This gave women access to the roughly 10% of military jobs which were previously closed off due to their combat nature.
The decision gave military services until January 2016 to seek exceptions to the rule if they believe that certain jobs, such as machine gunners, should be restricted to men only.
These restrictions were due in part to prior studies which stated that mixed gender units are less capable in combat.
Physical requirements for all jobs remained unchanged, though.
Many women believe this will allow for them to improve their positions in the military, since most high-ranking officers start in combat positions. Since women are now available to work in any position in the military, female entry into the draft
has been proposed.
Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester
became the first woman to receive the Silver Star, the third-highest U.S. decoration for valor, for direct participation in combat. In Afghanistan, Monica Lin Brown was presented the Silver Star for shielding wounded soldiers with her body.
In March 2012, the U.S. military had two women, Ann E. Dunwoody
and Janet C. Wolfenbarger
, with the rank of four-star general.
In 2016, Air Force General Lori Robinson
became the first female officer to command a major Unified Combatant Command
) in the history of the United States Armed Forces.
No woman has ever become a Navy SEAL
. In 2017, a woman who wanted to become the first female Navy SEAL officer quit after one week into initial training.
Despite concerns of a gender gap, all personnel, both men and women at the same rank and time of service are compensated the same rate across all branches.
A study conducted by the RAND Corporation
also suggests that women who make the military their career see an improved rate of promotion, as they climb through the military ranks at a faster rate.
As per the Department of Defense
’s report on sexual assault
within the U.S. Army for the fiscal year of 2019, 7,825 cases of sexual assault had been reported with the service members either victims or subjects of the assault. There has been a 3% increase in the number of cases as compared to the 2018 report.
Order of precedence
Under Department of Defense regulation, the various components of the U.S. Armed Forces have a set order of seniority.
Examples of the use of this system include the display of service flags, and placement of soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen, guardians, and coast guardsmen in formation.
- Cadets, U.S. Military Academy
- Midshipmen, U.S. Naval Academy
- Cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy
- Cadets, U.S. Coast Guard Academy
- Midshipmen, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
- United States Army
- United States Marine Corps
- United States Navy
- United States Air Force
- United States Space Force
- United States Coast Guard
- Army National Guard
- United States Army Reserve
- United States Marine Corps Reserve
- United States Navy Reserve
- Air National Guard
- United States Air Force Reserve
- United States Coast Guard Reserve
- Other training and auxiliary organizations of the Army, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, Civil Air Patrol, and Coast Guard Auxiliary, as in the preceding order.
While the U.S. Navy is older than the Marine Corps,
the Marine Corps takes precedence due to previous inconsistencies in the Navy's birth date. The Marine Corps has recognized its observed birth date on a more consistent basis. The Second Continental Congress
is considered to have established the Navy on 13 October 1775 by authorizing the purchase of ships, but did not actually pass the "Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies"
until 27 November 1775.
The Marine Corps was established by an act of the Second Continental Congress on 10 November 1775. The Navy did not officially recognize 13 October 1775 as its birth date until 1972, when then–chief of naval operations
Admiral Elmo Zumwalt
authorized it to be observed as such.
The Coast Guard is normally situated after the Space Force, however in the event that it is moved to the Department of the Navy, its place in the order of precedence changes to being situated after the Navy and before the Air Force.
- ^ With the establishment of the Continental Army.
- ^ Maximum age for first-time enlistment is 35 for the Army, 28 for the Marine Corps, 34 for the Navy, 39 for the Air Force and 27 for the Coast Guard.
- ^ "United States Army". Goarmy.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- ^ "Contact Us: Frequently Asked Questions - airforce.com". airforce.com. Archived from the original on 20 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- ^ "Plan Your Next Move to Become a Coast Guard Member". Enlisted Opportunities. U.S. Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 28 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- ^ "QUICK FACTS AND FIGURES". Selective Service System. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- ^ "Number of births in the United States from 1990 to 2016 (in millions)". Statista. 2018. Archived from the original on 7 November 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- ^ "ARMED FORCES STRENGTH FIGURES FOR DECEMBER 31, 2020".
- ^ "National Defense Estimates for FY Budget2021" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. April 2020.
- ^ "Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2012-2019)" (PDF). NATO Public Diplomacy Division. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- ^ As stated on the official U.S. Navy websiteArchived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, "armed forces" is capitalized when preceded by "United States" or "U.S.".
- ^ 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(4)
- ^ "Trump Signs Law Establishing U.S. Space Force". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
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