United States Armed Forces

United States Armed Forces
Military service mark of the United States Army.png Emblem of the United States Marine Corps.svg Emblem of the United States Navy.png
Military service mark of the United States Air Force.svg USCG S W.svg
Seals of the five service branches
Founded14 June 1775; 244 years ago (1775-06-14)[a]
Service branches
HeadquartersThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia
Leadership
Commander-in-Chief President Donald Trump
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper
Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan (acting)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Joseph Dunford, USMC
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Paul J. Selva, USAF
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman CSM John W. Troxell, USA
Manpower
Military age17 with parental consent, 18 for voluntary service.[b]
ConscriptionMale only (inactive since 1973)
Available for
military service
17 million[4], age 18–25 (2016)
Reaching military
age annually
2 million[5] (2016)
Active personnel1,359,450[6] (ranked 3rd)
Reserve personnel845,600[6]
Deployed personnel210,000
Expenditures
BudgetUS$693 billion (2019)[7] (ranked 1st)
Percent of GDP3.42% (2019)[8]
Industry
Domestic suppliersList
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of the United States
RanksCommissioned officer

Warrant officer

Enlisted

The United States Armed Forces[9] are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.[10] The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.[11]

From the time of its inception, the U.S. Armed Forces played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged as a result of victory in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. Even so, the founders of the United States were suspicious of a permanent military force. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, continuing to serve as the armed forces of the United States, although a number of its officers resigned to join the military of the Confederate States. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the Cold War's onset, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the secretary of defense; and created the Department of the 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 militaries in terms of the number of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers. Although conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1973, but 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.[12] On February 22, 2019, however, a federal judge ruled that registering only males for Selective Service is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Armed Forces is the world's most powerful military on all parameters.[13] As of 2019, the U.S. spends US$693 billion to fund its armed forces mandatory and discretionary accounts.[14] As of 2018, the U.S. constitutes roughly 36 percent of the world's military 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.[15] The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest air force, the U.S. Navy is the world's largest navy by tonnage, and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps combined are the world's second largest air arm. In terms of size, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force.[16][17][18] The U.S. as of FY2019 has about 14,061 aircraft in inventory.[19]

History

The history of the U.S. Armed Forces dates to 14 June 1775, with the creation of the Continental Army, even before the Declaration of Independence marked the establishment of the United States. The Continental Navy, established on 13 October 1775, and Continental Marines, established on 10 November 1775, were created in close succession by the Second Continental Congress in order to defend the new nation against the British Empire in the American Revolutionary War.

These forces demobilized in 1784 after the Treaty of Paris ended the War for Independence. The Congress of the Confederation created the current United States Army on 3 June 1784. The United States Congress created the current United States Navy on 27 March 1794 and the current United States Marine Corps on 11 July 1798. All three services trace their origins to their respective Continental predecessors. The 1787 adoption of the Constitution gave the Congress the power to "raise and support armies", to "provide and maintain a navy" and to "make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces", as well as the power to declare war. The president is the U.S. Armed Forces' commander-in-chief.

The United States Coast Guard traces its origin to the founding of the Revenue Cutter Service on 4 August 1790 which merged with the United States Life-Saving Service on 28 January 1915 to establish the Coast Guard. The United States Air Force was established as an independent service on 18 September 1947; it traces its origin to the formation of the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps, which was formed 1 August 1907 and was part of the Army Air Forces before becoming an independent service as per the National Security Act of 1947. The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps was formerly considered to be a branch of the United States Armed Forces from 29 July 1945 until its status as such was revoked on 3 July 1952.[20]

Space Force proposal

On March 1, 2019, the Department of Defense sent a proposal to Congress that would establish the United States Space Force as an independent military service within the Department of the Air Force. If approved, this would become the sixth military service branch to be created.[21]