The United States Military makes up one of the largest and most powerful armies in the world. There are currently (2013) over 1.3 million active military personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Why does the U.S. have a military?
The United States, like many countries, has a military to protect its borders and interests. Starting with the Revolutionary War the military has played an important role in the formation and history of the United States.
Who is in charge of the military?
The president is the Commander in Chief over the entire U.S. military. Under the president is the Secretary of the Department of Defense who is in charge of all the branches of the military except for the Coast Guard.
The Different Branches of the Military
There are five main branches of the military including the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard.
The Army is the main ground force and largest branch of the military. The Army's job is to control and fight on land using land troops, tanks, and artillery.
The Air Force is the part of the military that fights using aircraft including fighter planes and bombers. The Air Force was part of the Army up until 1947 when it was made into its own branch. The Air Force is also responsible for military satellites in space.
The Navy fights in the oceans and the seas throughout the world. The Navy uses all sorts of battleships including destroyers, aircraft carriers, and submarines. The U.S. Navy is significantly larger than any other navy in the world and is armed with 10 of the world's 20 aircraft carriers (as of 2014).
The Marines are the main landing force for the military. The Marines work closely with the Navy in attacking and establishing "beachheads" during war. The Marines are often some of the first soldiers to enter combat.
The Coast Guard is separate from the other branches as it is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is the smallest of the military branches.
It monitors the U.S. Coastline and enforces border laws as well as helps with ocean rescues. The Coast Guard can become part of the Navy during times of war.
Each of the branches above have active personnel and reserve personnel. Active personnel work full time for the military. Reserves, however, have non-military jobs, but train on weekends throughout the year for one of the military branches. During times of war, the reserves can be called upon to join the military full time.
Interesting Facts about the US Military
The United States military budget was over $600 billion in 2013. This was larger than the next 8 countries combined.
The Army is considered the oldest branch of the military. The Continental Army was first established in 1775 during the Revolutionary War.
The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest employer in the world with 3.2 million employees (2012).
There are several United States service academies that help train officers for the military including the Military Academy in West Point, New York, the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.