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US Government

United States Armed Forces

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.

Flag of the United States Army

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.

Flag of the United States Air Force
Air Force

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.

Flag of the United States Navy

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).

Flag of the United States Marine Corps
Marine Corps

The Marines are responsible for delivering task forces on land, at sea, and in the air. The Marines work closely with the Army, Navy, and Air Force. As America's expeditionary force in readiness, the U.S. Marines are forward deployed in an effort to win battles swiftly and aggressively in times of crisis.

Flag of the United States Coast Guard
Coast Guard

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 Activities To learn more about the United States government:

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Works Cited

History >> US Government

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