United States Armed Forces

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flag United States Armed Forces
United States Armed Forces
United States Army United States Marine Corps United States Navy
United States Air Force United States Coast Guard United States Space Force
Commander in Chief : President Donald Trump
Defense Minister: Mark Esper
Military leadership: United General Staff
Headquarters: Arlington County , Virginia
Military strength
Active soldiers: approx. 1.3 million (2020)
Reservists: approx. 860 thousand (2020)
Conscription: suspended 1973
Resilient population: total (men and women; ages 15–49): approx. 120,025,000
Eligibility for military service: Completed 18 years of age, obligation possible from the completed 17 year of life with the consent of the parents.
Share of soldiers in the total population: 0.46%
Military budget: $ 738 billion (2020)
Share of gross domestic product : 3.4% (2019)
Founding: 1784
Factual foundation: 1775
Highest manpower: 12,123,000 (1945)

The armed forces of the United States (official English name: United States Armed Forces , unofficially mostly US Military ) are the military of the United States of America , a central instrument of the foreign policy of the United States and of crucial importance for the hegemonic position of the country. They consist of the six armed forces : US Army , US Air Force , US Navy , US Marine Corps , US Coast Guard and US Space Force . Overall, they have been the best-equipped and also in terms of personnel , after the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China , the second largest military power for decades .

The six branches of the armed forces consist of over 1.28 million active soldiers and nearly 860 thousand reservists that in case of war the paramilitary aligned Coast Guard (US Coast Guard) and the National Guard can be added. In addition, they have around 745,000  civilian employees. The Commander-in-Chief is the President of the United States , while the two houses of Congress exercise democratic control. The oldest part of the armed forces is the army, which was founded in 1775, the youngest are the space forces founded in 2019. In addition to these armed forces, some states have also founded their own military units, the so-called State Guards , which are exclusively subordinate to the respective governor .

According to extensive external assessments, American self-portrayal and political science consensus, the armed forces of the USA are the most powerful in the world. This clout is based on what is by far the largest military budget in the world and continues to do so, from which the most extensive parts flow into reconnaissance, information flow, networking, equipment and research. The budget for the 2016 financial year is $ 580 billion for core tasks and $ 218 to 262 billion for nuclear weapon maintenance, veteran care and other expenses. Technical innovation and human resource development in the United States military is a game changer for NATO partners , of which the United States is a leading member, and other allies .

Organizationally, the armed forces went through a change from a localized militia system based on the English model, which was centralized into a professional army through recurring instances of conscription , and today they show features of all three recruiting methods. The strength of the United States military has always been based on the importance the United States attaches to itself in foreign policy, so that armed forces and diplomacy have developed in parallel. Through dozens of interventions abroad as well as its external deterrent effect , the military was partly responsible for the country's rise to superpower and for maintaining this status beyond the Cold War . In addition to the global disintegration of state structures , the United States' military lead has favored the emergence of asymmetrical forms of combat , which pose strategic challenges for the US armed forces.


Continental Army infantrymen
American soldiers in New York in 1919 after returning home from the First World War

Before and during the founding of the United States, quasi-military groupings emerged from poorly trained militias under state command . A decision of the Continental Congress provided for the establishment of a Continental Army in which these should be combined. This force won, with considerable support from France, the War of Independence under the command of George Washington , but was subsequently disbanded on the basis of the ideals of the revolution .

Over time, the need for a standing army and a navy became apparent. The order of several frigates in 1794 marked the actual birth of the US Navy. The army once again brought together the disorganized and poorly trained contingents of the State militias in order to bundle their strengths and to rectify their weaknesses.

Between the founding of the United States and the Civil War, American forces triumphed in the American-Tripolitan War on the North African coast, could not prevail in the British-American War , but made the territorial expansion of the United States possible to the south-west. At the beginning of the Civil War, several units became part of the Confederate military , including some of the most capable generals. The war took the lives of 600,000 people and lasted four years before the Union Army won the final victory.

In the period between the Civil War and the 1890s, the importance of the military declined, although units of the Army fought against Indians as the United States expanded to the west . At the turn of the century, however, this trend was reversed when the power of the United States began to increase, necessitating the final legal separation of police and military competencies . The army fought in the Spanish-American War and the Philippines in 1898 . Add to this dozens of interventions based on the Monroe Doctrine in Latin America and the dispatch of the Great White Fleet by President Theodore Roosevelt to demonstrate the new national self-confidence. With the Militia Act of 1903 which was the National Guard established.

In April 1917, the United States entered World War I as an associated power on the side of the Entente in response to the rampant unrestricted submarine warfare of the German Empire . The USA supported its allies with enormous quantities of supplies, relieved them by sending an expedition army of millions to Europe and thus made a decisive contribution to the defeat of the Central Powers . Due to the isolationism prevailing in the interwar period , the US military, especially the land forces, was greatly reduced, but in some cases expanded again in the run-up to the Second World War .

Into the Jaws of Death : Storming the Omaha beach section during D-Day

Due to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , the United States first entered the war against Japan in December 1941, and shortly afterwards the two Axis powers Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. In the confrontation with National Socialist Germany , the armed forces took part in the reconquest of large parts of North Africa, Italy and Western Europe and, as in the First World War, established a superiority in weapons, troops and supplies that enabled the Allies to overthrow the German Empire . Only in this way was it possible for the Western Allies to open a second front in the large-scale, successfully committed landing in Normandy . In the Pacific they pushed back the troops of the Japanese Empire in an arduous so-called " island hopping " (German: "island jumping") with almost no outside support . The United States forced the Japanese surrender by using two atomic bombs , which it had been in possession of as the first nation in the world since 1945 ( Manhattan Project ), in order to avoid a loss-making invasion of the main Japanese islands .

Already in the final phase of the Second World War the impending tensions of the Cold War began to develop . The tendency of US society to be critical of the state , which had made the downsizing of the military after the end of great wars a matter of course, gave way to fear of the spread of communism , so that American troops were stationed abroad in large numbers.

For 40 years the National Security Act , passed in 1947, was to represent the most radical military reform. Many authorities and units that had been set up in the global conflict that had just ended with the stipulation that it would function as quickly as possible were eventually merged or reformed. If the air units were part of the army in World War II , the law put them on an equal footing with the other armed forces under the umbrella of the United States Air Force . The most important innovation was the creation of a central foreign intelligence service, which was to be supported by an entire network of intelligence services with special competencies in the course of the Cold War . The law also included the creation of general staffs and ministries across the armed forces.

With the advent of the Cold War, a debate about the strategy of the armed forces sparked . Senior Air Force officers relied on nuclear weapons as a conventional offensive and demanded massive spending on strategic bombers . In contrast, the Navy referred to the success of the dominance of the sea in World War II. The cancellation of an ordered aircraft carrier by Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson , who preferred the air force, sparked the admirals' uprising .

Indeed, both branches of the armed forces remained largely equal during the Cold War, although the strategic initiative in the air became an increasingly important moment in American and Western military doctrine. The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) made a major contribution to deterring the Soviet Union and, due to Europe's geostrategic location, became a central hub for American military operations around the world. At the height of its strength, 60,000 Air Force personnel were under the USAFE .

American artillery during the Korean War near Seoul
Area bombing in the Vietnam War

Although there was no direct confrontation with the Soviet Union , American soldiers fought in several proxy wars between the two power blocs. During the three years of the Korean War , as a result of which a significant proportion of the US armed forces were stationed in South Korea, and for lack of a successful conclusion almost fell into collective oblivion, the ultimately lost Vietnam War caused far-reaching military and social changes. The USA failed to defend the Republic of South Vietnam against attacks from the northern part of the country, which was dominated by communism. The most significant example was the suspension of conscription in 1973. For nearly two decades, the trauma of the war in Southeast Asia prevented major US military operations.

Target acquisition videos presented the Second Gulf War as precisely waged

In the 1980s, American troops fought in Operations Just Cause in Panama and Urgent Fury in Grenada. In Lebanon , the death of 239 Marines and the subsequent withdrawal of foreign troops started the civil war there. The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act reorganized the military and successfully ended the escalating rivalries between the armed forces. After the collapse of the Soviet Union , cuts, rationalizations and site closings began. Nevertheless, the US military denied missions. The liberation of Kuwait in conjunction with almost 30 other countries, which led to the complete destruction of the armed forces of Iraq within four days with minimal losses to the coalition, demonstrated the military supremacy of the United States. The US armed forces initially wore down the Iraqi units with weeks of air strikes, and ground troops were only deployed when strong resistance was no longer to be expected. The operation in Somalia experimented with the use of military units to stabilize weak or to establish national states capable of acting . However, it ended in defeat in the Battle of Mogadishu , which confronted the US military with the tactics of guerrillas in urban areas . In addition, the US military intervened in several smaller missions such as in Kosovo and Haiti .

Soldiers in the mountains of Afghanistan
US soldiers in Baghdad

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 set a strategic reorientation that was reflected, for example, in the transformation of the US Army and the termination of the Comanche program . The defense budget rose to a level previously unheard of since the Cold War. The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in March 2003 . The war against Iraq was also fought under the pretext of counter-terrorism, but it later emerged that Saddam Hussein's regime had no ties to Osama bin Laden, nor were chemical agents found that would have posed a threat to the region. While the campaigns were militarily successful, pacifying the operational areas proved difficult. Since the end of 2008, the fighting has shifted from Iraq back to Afghanistan, which, like the Korean War, was referred to as the "Forgotten War". The strategy of cooperation with locals that was once successfully applied in Iraq and the planned expulsion of insurgents from their areas of retreat had so far not led to any success in the strategically difficult-to-control mountains of Afghanistan. Rather, the combat area has now expanded to include border regions in Pakistan , where the US armed forces have already carried out several operations, including with remote-controlled drones. Due to the difficult distinction between the Taliban, insurgents and local groups, incidents occur again and again, to which uninvolved civilians fall victim. Both missions now last longer than the American engagement in World War II.

War victims


Memorial service for a US soldier who died in Iraq

In absolute terms, World War II , the Civil War , World War I , and the Vietnam War were the war with the greatest losses in the United States. In these wars, 292,131, 184,594 (both civil war parties combined), 53,513 and 47,369 American soldiers, respectively, were killed by direct enemy action.

Fallen US soldiers by gender, age and origin
Commemorative flag for soldiers who are in the "Missing In Action" status or who are prisoners of war.

If other causes of death such as epidemics, wounds resulting in death, frostbite or friendly fire are added, the highest death rate was recorded in the Civil War, in which 600,000 more American soldiers were killed than in all other wars in the United States combined. About 4.8% of the total number of soldiers deployed did not survive the war.

The War of Independence and the War against Mexico, in which with 4435 and 1733 soldiers respectively, 2.2% of the troops were killed in combat, were marked by similar severity, measured by the number of casualties. This was proportionally more than the 1.8% of the troops who fell in World War II, but the absolute numbers were considerably higher there with an average of 6,700 men per month.


The percentage of wounded in wars with American participation since the beginning of the 20th century has declined. In the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, a quarter, and in the southern states almost a third of the troops were sidelined because of wounds. All other major wars, including World War II, had injury rates between 5% and 7%. After that, the rate fell to 2.4% in Korea and Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, the injury rate fell to previously unknown levels. This tendency can be explained with the general developments in medical technology and the deliberately increased effort of the US armed forces with regard to troop welfare, which in turn is based on the professionalization of the military.

The American soldier's risk of being killed in combat or of dying from injuries sustained in combat fell to a low during the occupation of Iraq , although the predominantly urban battlefield made medical evacuation of soldiers difficult. This development is based on the development of so-called Forward Surgical Teams (German, roughly: "upstream surgical treatment group"). These are mobile and well-equipped medical teams on alert who can guarantee full outpatient medical care up to and including inpatient accommodation for the wounded. These treatment teams, who also operate on site , have increased the probability of surviving an injury from 75% in the Vietnam War to 90% at the end of 2004.


Missing Man Table as a place of honor for missing and fallen soldiers in a dining room in Afghanistan.

The search for missing soldiers from all branches of the armed forces is the job of the Joint POW / MIA Accounting Command , a working group of the Defense Prisoner of War / Missing Personnel Office within the Department of Defense. This has been cooperating with the Russian Federation in its role as the successor state of the Soviet Union in a committee since March 2011 .

Around 83,900 American soldiers have been missing worldwide since 1945, of which just under 74,000 were due to World War II. With the increasing miniaturization and professionalization of the armed forces, accompanied by rising expectations for troop welfare organizations and the expanded diplomatic, logistical and technical possibilities, the whereabouts of so-called MIA 's (Missing in Action) to clarify these figures fell to the conflicts after the Second World War a few thousands each: for the Korean War to 8,000 and for the Vietnam War to 1,600. Although individual cases from the Second Gulf War, for example that of the pilot Scott Speicher , received lively public sympathy, according to official statistics there are no missing persons from this war.

War crimes

Victims of the Mỹ Lai massacre

See also:

United States soldiers have committed war crimes in several armed clashes , which have become public due to the increasing media coverage of the war and the proclaimed claim of the US armed forces to wage wars that are as "clean" as possible. In this respect, the Vietnam War stood out with the Mỹ Lai massacre . The Nogeun-ri massacre became known from the Korean War . During the Iraq war and during the occupation of Iraq , accusations against US soldiers were increased. Among the confirmed incidents, the Abu Ghuraib torture scandal and the Haditha massacre achieved notoriety.

War costs

Determining the costs that warfare has caused for the United States outside of the normal defense budget is proving difficult and cannot be generally reliably approached due to the fact that documents have been lost many times, changed accounting mechanisms and inflation can often not be reconstructed. Nevertheless, a congressional report from 2008 found that the Second World War, adjusted for inflation, cost 4.1 trillion US dollars (as of June 30, 2008) and weighed on the gross national income of the US at that time by 37.5%. The next largest fiscal burdens on the US prior to the 21st century were the Vietnam War, which devoured $ 686 billion and nearly 9.5% of gross national income in 1968, and the Korean War, which was financed at $ 320 billion and about 14.1% in 1952. of the GNI. By contrast, the United States' global warfare and security measures since 2001 cost $ 859 billion up to the 2008 budget year, but were relatively minor in 2008 at 4.2%.


Protected object and document of legitimation of the armed forces: The Constitution of the United States

Legal order definition

The mission of the United States Armed Forces is to protect the United States Constitution , whose core values ​​are Republican - Democratic principles . The content of this protection mandate is delimited beyond the constitution by the War Powers Resolution , a federal law. In the political system of the United States , which primarily expresses the executive power of the constitution, numerous institutions are anchored that advise the president in exercising the supreme command.

Constitutional basis

According to Article II, Section 2, Section I, Clause 1 of the Constitution, the President is “[...] Commander in Chief of the United States Army and Navy and the State Militia when called to serve the United States [...] ] ". According to Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, only Congress , which has to approve a war with a two-thirds majority of both houses , has the “right to declare war ” . This sentence is followed by provisions that clarify its financial sovereignty, especially in military questions: According to them, Congress alone determines “to raise and maintain armies; however, the approval of funds for this should not be granted for longer than two years; "(sentence 12)" to build and maintain a fleet; "(sentence 13)," to issue regulations for the command and service of land and naval forces ; "(Sentence 14).

Although the Philadelphia Convention developed the United States Constitution in the spirit of peaceful human development, the United States military is not by definition committed to international peace and stability.

Federal laws

According to the customs of common law , the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, the constitution is kept general, so that federal law differentiates the responsibility for national defense . American security and defense policy is based on the National Security Act of 1947. After the Korean War, presidents began to declare armed forces deployed as police actions , which undermined the legislature's unconditional authority to declare war. Therefore, in 1973, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution by overriding the veto of then President Richard Nixon . It stipulated that the President must inform Congress within 48 hours of the commencement of any acts of war. The mission must end after 60 days before the President must request an extension for a further 30 days. Congress can grant this in urgent exceptional cases before it has to proceed to a formal declaration of war.

The orders of the armed forces are specified in individual laws in Book 10 of the United States Code .

The Posse Comitatus Act in principle excludes deployments by the federal military in Germany, but not deployments by the coast guard and the national guards closely associated with the army and air force.

Swearing in

Except for the text, the formalities of the swearing-in can be varied. Often they take place on the fringes of sporting events; small groups can also be sworn in.

All members of the armed forces are sworn in to the constitution. The vow text for officers who have received their patent is different from the oath of all other conscripted soldiers. The current version of the convocation oath was adopted on May 5, 1960 and reads:

" I, [name of the person to be sworn in], do solemnly swear [alternatively: affirm] that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. "

- Title 10, US Code

in German:

I, [name of person to be sworn in], solemnly swear [alternatively: affirm] that I will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, whether foreign or domestic ; that I will maintain true fidelity and loyalty to the same; and that I the orders of the President of the United States and me after the Uniform Code of Military Justice [English Note .: Designation for the American military law will afford] parent officers consequence, so help me God. "

- Tenth Book of United States Federal Law

Civil control

By dividing the command of the armed forces on the one hand, and budget sovereignty and the right to declare war on the other hand, to the executive and legislative branches, a long-lasting tradition of civilian control over the army could be established. Reliable civilian controls did not, however, set in until the 19th century after frequently recurring tensions between politics and the military.

The exemplary precedent for the absolute subordination of the armed forces to the will of politics is George Washington's self -image as a citizen-soldier , which goes back in its main features to the Anglo-American militia system. Washington defused the threatening Newburgh conspiracy towards the end of the Revolutionary War and withdrew from its officer license immediately after the end of the war .

After several smaller attempts to overthrow, the call of broad sections of the population for a military dictatorship in view of the impending defeat of the Union once again endangered the prevailing relationship between the two institutions. The Democrats also tried in 1863 to put the still serving General Ulysses S. Grant as a presidential candidate. The popular Grant refused to run and was only elected president in 1868 when he was retired. In addition to a tendency towards criticism of the state, these precarious conflicts always led to a downsizing of the military after war missions until the Second World War.

In the 20th century, the tradition of civil control solidified. Above all, however, critics from the liberal to left-wing spectrum point to the temporarily prevailing party affiliation of higher officers to the Republicans of up to 70% as well as Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning of the possible strengthening of a military-industrial complex .

Defense institutions and habits

The predominantly general provisions of the constitution in the tradition of common law mean that, in contrast to the German Basic Law, not a single ministry is mentioned in it. Except for the restriction that international agreements require ratification by Congress, the President is free to shape foreign policy. Nevertheless, the defense minister is considered one of the most important cabinet members who has not yet been left out by any president.

Since the Second World War, however, an increasingly complex network of committees has emerged, from whose expertise the president, defense minister and senior officers can draw. The most important institutions, such as the National Security Council of the United States , emerged mainly as a result of the two major reform laws of 1947 and 1986. The political opposition usually tries to influence opinion-forming on defense-policy issues through the committees of the parliamentary chambers. In addition, a network of analysts and think tanks linked to the military, politics, media, companies and universities has developed in the United States over the past few decades and has become an integral part of American politics.

From a daily political point of view, the groundbreaking National Security Strategy of the United States , a doctrine at the interface between military and politics , is derived from the two superordinate legal texts, the Constitution and War Powers Resolution . The armed forces then obtain their strategic instructions from their subordinate, purely military national defense strategy . Their importance can be measured by the fact that every president has to work out an updated version at the beginning of his term of office, which is known to the public under his name, for example the so-called Bush Doctrine . The current national defense strategy focuses on the fight against global terrorism , the safeguarding of national interests and existential resources for the United States.

The Secretary of Defense has a part in the supreme command of the President through the National Command Authority in his department.

Strategy and military doctrine

Geostrategic starting position

State of the United States

The territory of the United States is essentially divided into two parts. While the so-called Continental United States or lower 48 are the seat of the capital Washington, DC , Alaska is separated from Russia by the Bering Strait . In geostrategic terms, the United States is bordered by two allies, Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. In the west, the USA borders on the Pacific , in which the American archipelago Hawaii is located, and in the east on the Atlantic . Securing these oceans underwater, on the surface of the water, out of and in the air is of central importance for the United States' claim to validity. The United States considers these transport routes to be secure if threats such as potential attackers or pirates can be prevented or combated in order to secure unrestricted access to its allies. These are located across the two oceans in Europe, East Asia and Oceania and include the United Kingdom and other NATO members, respectively Japan and the Republic of Korea and Australia . This results in the strategic priorities of the armed forces among themselves. Therefore, since World War II, air superiority has been critical to any United States military intervention. The US Navy operates in carrier groups that monitor the world's oceans. This allows the Marine Corps to intervene freely should it be necessary. The Army can then be mobilized for longer operations on the ground . This cascade-like build-up of military strength at every point on earth should proceed more quickly than with possible opponents. Therefore, speed is also a crucial factor in this process.

Defense documents

Hierarchical organizational chart of United States military doctrine under the primacy of politics.

The military doctrine of the United States is one of the most complex of all because of the large number of strategic publications alone. A report called Quadrennial Defense Review ( QDR ) is required by law and is published every four years and is usually given with the year of its publication. Its purpose is to present to Congress the military apparatus' short-term defense policy expectations and prognoses, particularly those related to budgetary issues.

The most important defense policy document within the executive is the general military doctrine Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States in its amended version from May 2007. All strategic documents are subject to a systematic, hierarchical numbering, so that the Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States named Joint Publication 1 or JM-1 . The Joint Publication 1 is a “comprehensive guide to the use of the United States' armed forces”. War is understood as a “complex, human endeavor” that does not follow any given rules. The US armed forces are thus in the tradition of the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz , to whom the document expressly refers. In addition, the military sees itself as an equal political instrument alongside other political instruments such as diplomacy, business and information technology.

Unique selling points

Since the Cold War, the political science branch of Strategic Studies has assigned the United States, as well as other current and historical political communities, unique selling points in warfare based on political, geographic, and cultural realities. In summary, these result in an American way of war , which manifests itself in an impatience for long-lasting military operations and therefore tries to force an early decision on the conflict. Various elements of the American Way of War , such as the use of special forces or satellites, are controversial as defining this. However, there is consensus on the observation that the politico-military leadership of the United States relies on the strategic effects of air warfare , that is, is convinced that, under the right conditions, superior firepower in and from the air can bring about a political settlement of a conflict. This belief is also the concept of strategic bombing (strategic bombing) and the influential air war theses John Warden and John Boyd basis. Colin Gray assigns the attributes “apolitical, astrategic, ahistorical, optimistic, solution-oriented , culturally ignorant, technology-dependent, firepower-oriented, large-scale, highly conventional, logistically excellent [and] failure-savvy” to the American way of war .


The US Army has about 7,500 M1 Abrams - Battle Tank
The "stealth bomber" B-2 of the US Air Force will cost 828 million US dollars each.
The eleven aircraft carriers of the US Navy form a global operation basis.
The marines are often used first in a conflict
The red and white paint is the trademark of the US Coast Guard .

Armed forces

From a legal perspective, the six branches of the military are agencies whose mandate defines the tenth book of the United States Code . Three of them, namely the air force , the army and the navy , have their own department in the Pentagon , the seat of the United States Department of Defense . The marine infantry is also subordinate to the Department of the Navy (DoN) due to its special dependence on the US Navy . Due to its predominantly non-military tasks in peacetime, the Coast Guard is subordinate to the civilian Ministry of Internal Security , even if it is considered a part of the armed forces by law. In the event of a declaration of war or a presidential decree, it will be subordinated to the Department of the Navy of the Pentagon until the President removes this supervision again. Despite functioning as an armed force as a whole, the American armed forces are unusually self-sufficient. The structures of the individual armed forces are very similar, which increases compatibility with one another.


The United States Army is the United States Army . It has a manpower of around 522,000. Characteristic for the Army are the purely arithmetically complete through-motorization , the emphasis on command missions and special units, as well as the combat of linked weapons within the armed force. Army aviation consists only of helicopters. Its roots in the American Revolution make it the oldest of the national armed forces.

Air Force

The United States Air Force (USAF) has around 331,000  soldiers and about 14,100 aircraft the strongest air force in the world force and strategic core of the US armed forces. Both offensive and defensive major operations are usually initiated by the Air Force .

Their share of the total defense budget is the largest at around 30%. The space strategy was also given to her. The history of military aviation began in the United States in 1907. It was not until 1947 that the Air Force became an independent, equal part of the armed forces and developed its prominent role in the course of the Cold War . In addition to the Air Force, the National Guard, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Navy have numerous aircraft (these are only indirectly part of the United States Air Force).


The United States Navy (USN) has 325,000 men, making it the largest navy in the world in terms of numbers. It also includes 289 ships and 3,700 aircraft in five fleets. Due to the geographic location of the United States, which is surrounded by two oceans , the second oldest armed force is of particular strategic importance. It received great recognition during World War II, and President Ronald Reagan wanted to expand it to over 600 ships in the 1980s .

Marine infantry

The United States' military, media and popular culture figurehead is the United States Marine Corps (USMC) . Its 186,000 soldiers are divided into expeditionary forces, so-called Marine Expeditionary Forces , and are often the first to be deployed on the offensive. The Marines are dependent on the Navy , but in contrast to the other branches of the armed forces have almost all branches of service . Its founding in the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia was unusual and became part of its ethos , its importance grew above all through the Pacific and Korean wars .

Coast guard

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the Coast Guard of the United States. In peacetime it is not subordinate to the Ministry of Defense but to the Ministry of Internal Security . Its 38,000 men are entrusted with the tasks of coastal protection, disaster control , the fight against crime at sea and environmental protection. It works closely with the armed forces and has limited military capacities and was created in 1915 from various coastal protection authorities. Due to fear of terrorist attacks and the United States' proximity to South American drug growing areas, the burden on the Coast Guard has increased steadily in recent years.

Armed Forces in Space

By directive from US President Trump , the US Air Force Space Command will be converted into a sixth, separate branch, the US Space Force (USSF) .

Support units

A large part of the US military is entrusted with tasks that do not or only indirectly contribute to influencing the battlefield. In this respect, there is a broad base of armed forces , which, however, is not institutionalized in the sense of the term in the German Bundeswehr in a single authority and embodied by this.

There is no central medical service as in the Bundeswehr. Medical care is the responsibility of the armed forces, with the Marine Corps and Coast Guard having access to Navy facilities, as with other matters . The overall supervision of the medical services of the armed forces of the United States is held by the Surgeons General (in German roughly: "Generalarzt"), whose rank is that of a three-star general.

In order to simulate possible enemy formations, certain units are appointed as opposing forces .

information gathering

Defense Intelligence Agency coat of arms .

Many United States government agencies cooperate with or are part of the armed forces. All armed forces have their own secret service . For the army this is the United States Army Intelligence , for the navy it is the Office of Naval Intelligence . The Air Force has the Air Intelligence Agency , the Marine Corps has the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, and the Coast Guard has the Coast Guard Intelligence . The Defense Intelligence Agency , which processes and prepares the collected news material centrally, is superordinate to it, so that it can be used by military decision-makers. The former lead role of the Central Intelligence Agency has been transferred to the Director of National Intelligence , who receives all news material from all US intelligence services, the United States Intelligence Community , centrally and presents it to political decision-makers. The previously not infrequent parallel work and recurring disputes over competence between individual secret services in the United States should be remedied.

In order to be able to meet the requirements of the current military doctrine for the largest possible range of information, the Ministry of Defense maintains a certain number of intelligence services that are dedicated to individual aspects of obtaining information. In doing so, they make use of both openly accessible and secret information. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency is active in the field of geographic reconnaissance. The National Reconnaissance Office is responsible for all aspects of space-based information gathering and operates the US spy satellites .

The best-known military and at the same time the largest intelligence service in the United States is the National Security Agency , which is administratively and technically subordinate to the Department of Defense, but operationally directly to the National Security Advisor . It focuses on the worldwide surveillance of telecommunications . The agency evaluates tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and other communications relating to the national security of the United States every day. It maintains several sub-authorities.


American Forces Network logo.
AAFES logo

Troop welfare has traditionally been of great importance. This is based on the belief that good supplies increase soldiers' motivation. The Department of Defense operates its own sub-agency, Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) , to entertain the soldiers stationed around the world (see below) . This organizes demonstrations of all kinds and now works with the United Service Organizations , a volunteer organization that also works to strengthen the morale of American soldiers abroad.

With American Forces Network , a media merger is called, the soldiers abroad will supply primarily with news. Due to the decades of anchoring at their locations, the offer has meanwhile expanded into a diverse information and entertainment platform.

The US armed forces trade chain , also present worldwide, is the Army & Air Force Exchange Service . They supply the PX stores , which are known in many stationing countries beyond the borders of the military bases, even if only military members and their families are allowed to shop there. The PX Stores are intended to offer American military personnel and their families the same standard of care worldwide as CONUS in terms of product range . At the same time, the products on offer are generally tax-free, which offers a special incentive to buy in addition to the local product selection. The reason for this exemption is the fact that the AAFES is not allowed to generate any income because it is co-financed by the military budget of the United States, i.e. by taxpayers' money. The concept of the PX Store was adopted by several other globally active military, for example the armed forces of the United Kingdom and the German Armed Forces .


Combat strength and its development

Start an intercontinental ballistic missile of the type Peacekeeper (made in 2005 out of service)

The military of the United States is unique in terms of the conventional combat strength that it can build up at a very high rate worldwide and, if necessary, maintain it over the long term. Even if partners within NATO and the armed forces of Russia , China and India are able to undertake military expeditions overseas, the United States is the only nation able to wage a major regional war outside of its home territory on another continent at short notice to lead. Accordingly, a doctrinal claim is derived from it. The United States is also one of the few nations that keeps ready- to-use nuclear-armed ICBMs on constant alert. The US currently has the world's largest arsenal of strategic weapons.

In order to be deployable worldwide, the United States invests a considerable part of its military budget in logistical capacity. This should guarantee the needs-based development of combat strength. The US Air Force maintains a large fleet of C-5 Galaxy , C-17 Globemaster III , and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft . The US Marine Corps has seven Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) at sea. These naval expedition units, each about 2200 strong, are transported by the Atlantic and Pacific fleets of the US Navy as part of the Fleet Marine Force , a combined command of the two branches of the armed forces. The United States fleet has eleven aircraft carriers and carrier combat groups .

The US armed forces maintain a large fleet of transport aircraft, here several C-17 Globemasters
Soldiers from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The US Army is not as mobile as the US Marine Corps . In view of the expected tasks of the Army in the 21st century the former has Chief of Staff of the US Army , General Schoomaker a restructuring announced from the current 37 to 48  brigades with a stronger emphasis on the ability to concentrate combat power and redirect. Nevertheless, the tasks of the Army and Marine Corps remain very different.

The forces that can be mobilized worldwide are the basis for the unprecedented level of military power. The left-liberal journalist Gregg Easterbrook , whose writings appear regularly in several daily newspapers and national magazines, describes it as follows:

The American military is currently the most powerful the world has ever known, in both absolute and relative terms; [it is] stronger than the Wehrmacht in 1940, and stronger than the Legion at the height of Roman power . "

The asymmetrical warfare common nowadays - the new antithesis of conventional warfare - complicates the conditions not only for the US armed forces, but also for the military forces of all states. However, due to numerous practical missions (for example in Panama, in Afghanistan and during the occupation of Iraq), the US military has gained the most extensive experience with this form of war compared to all other conventional armed forces. The most important defense policy consequences that the United States have drawn from this so far are the return to the presence on the ground (see below), the competition with the guerrilla movement for its political legitimation in the population (" winning hearts and minds ") and an increased use of Special forces as a de facto part of the armed forces .

Troop strength

Number of active soldiers from 1950 to 2003

To counteract the overstretching of the military, Defense Secretary Robert Gates submitted a proposal to then President George W. Bush in 2007 to increase the armed forces by 92,000 to just under 1.45 million soldiers. Of this number, 65,000 are said to be in the Army , the rest in the Marine Corps . The expansion is to continue until 2012 and reverses the last troop reduction by Donald Rumsfeld in 2001 (before the 9/11 attacks), who cut almost 40,000 jobs. Gates thus agreed with the increasing criticism of the politics of his predecessor. This denied v. a. Rumsfeld's trust in technology as the sole means of ending the war and occupation.

The overstretching of the armed forces also results in the first increase in troops since the Cold War. The number of active soldiers has declined since the Vietnam War. In 1970 there were 3,064,760 soldiers in service under Richard Nixon , ten years later under Jimmy Carter there were still 2,050,627. This number remained stable until the end of the East-West conflict , but from 1990 onwards a strong rationalization set in, which lasted until the attacks of September 11, 2001. The downsizing under Nixon had been so massive that Carter added more.


In a comparison of the defense spending of different countries, the United States ranks first in 2018 (as in 2005).

The annual expenditure for the maintenance of the armed forces were in the tenure of George W. Bush at an average of nearly 400 billion $ (approximately 329 billion), where they were to a reduction by half a percent in 2005, increased steadily. In an international comparison, the United States ranks first with this volume, followed by France (72.974 billion US dollars) and Great Britain (67.667 billion US dollars). The United States' share of world military spending is 40 percent. Between 2001 and 2004, the defense budget increased by 30% from $ 324 billion to $ 455 billion. The most expensive armed forces in the world are only profitable because of constant military confrontations in all parts of the world.

Although the President proposes a publicly transparent budget to Congress every year, the financing of the military is opaque, as many of the expenditures declared as civil are also used by the military. For example, the term military budget includes the expenditure of the Ministry of Energy for the storage and maintenance of national nuclear weapons, while the term defense budget does not. In addition, many operations and purchases are co-financed with the intelligence services . The defense budget does not include the costs for ongoing large-scale operations, as is currently the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are listed separately.

Before the United States entered World War II , military spending has traditionally been at a very low level. Despite a previous modernization program, they were still 1.7% in 1940. The US military budget has not exceeded 5% of GDP since the end of the Cold War and is therefore considered economically viable. It reached its historical high as a percentage in the 1944 budget year at 37.8% of GDP. In the Korean War, the budget did not even reach 15%, and at no point during the Vietnam War was more than a tenth of GDP spent on the military. After continual cuts with a post-war low of 3% in 1999–2001, the Bush administration raised the budget to 3.9% of GDP in 2006.

United States military spending in 2004, adjusted for inflation and measured against the US dollar, again exceeded its 1989 spending and 2005 spending exceeded 1988.

Supporters of the military budget cite these relations above all. Opponents, such as some Quaker associations , usually measure the excessive amount of the US military budget they criticize by its share of total government spending. Including the operation of the nuclear armed forces and the costs of war missions, the proportion of military expenditure is over 40% of the government budget. Moreover, the absolute level of the defense budget, which exceeds that of the rest of the world, is rejected as counterproductive or excessive.

The operating costs for the armed forces consume a large part of the military budget . With just under 117.0 billion dollars, the operational management took up almost 30 percent of the budget, while personnel costs of around 98.6 billion took up another quarter of the annual budget. The remainder was mainly divided between equipment procurement with $ 72.7 billion and research with $ 61.8 billion, as well as construction.

An increasing concern of the armed forces is the constant cost explosion in all areas of budgeting. An investigation by the Congressional Research Service , the scientific service of Congress, blames both internal actions and external developments. Not only the objective costs of equipment development and procurement, but also the self-imposed pace of research, as well as the constant expansion of social security, training financing and real estate subsidies for recruited soldiers and their families, while the widespread range of tasks, contribute to the self-inflicted cost development The increased pace of operations and the rapidly increasing costs of external health care would also be added. Overall, the running costs of the US armed forces per soldier have risen from just under US $ 30,000 in 1955 to almost US $ 120,000.

The then US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wanted to save an additional 78 billion dollars (59.6 billion euros) between 2011 and 2016. A troop reduction by 47,000 soldiers from 2015 should also contribute to this.

The rivalry between the direct recipients of the defense budget (Army, Navy, Air Force) is reflected in the “competition” of interest groups specific to the armed forces. In particular, the Navy League , the Air Force Association and the Association of the US Army are not trying to defend the annual budget exclusively against impending cuts, but are also targeting the budget of the other branches of the armed forces. They often enjoy the support of prospective contractors.


Diagram: U.S. Forces Chain of Command

In the following, the vertical leadership, i.e. the chain of command, in descending order, as well as the horizontal leadership, i.e. the ministerial, geographic and functional structure of the US military are explained.

Vertical chain of command

Civilian leadership

Under the United States Constitution , the President is the Commander in Chief of the US Forces. The defense minister , who himself has no authority over conventional military operations, forms together with him the “ National Command Authority ”, whose sole and exclusive competence is the use of nuclear weapons . In practice, the president primarily decides on the deployment of soldiers; the defense policy structure of this command is taken over by the defense minister, who traditionally does not hold a current military rank.

At the interface between military action and American diplomacy, the National Security Council advises the President. This body also serves to coordinate and implement American security policy.

The President is supported in the day-to-day political leadership of the US armed forces by the Secretary of Defense. This is responsible for the implementation of the orders of the President and the management of the US Department of Defense, especially with regard to structure, training and further education, procurement policy and troop welfare. Departments for the individual armed forces are subordinate to him.

Both the President and the Defense Minister are in matters of defense and national security of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Joint Chiefs of Staff) advice.

The incumbents at the time: Leon Panetta was appointed Secretary of Defense as CIA director, while Martin E. Dempsey was appointed Chief of Staff as Chief of Staff of the US Army.

Military leadership

In accordance with the Goldwater-Nichols Act , which was passed in 1986 and changed the organizational structure of the entire armed forces and the Department of Defense, the four commanders of the individual armed forces, together with its chairman and his deputy, form the United General Staff. The chain of command, on the other hand, runs from the President through the Defense Minister to the individual commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands (UCC) .

There are currently a total of nine such UCCs : five have regional, four functional areas of responsibility. Each branch of the armed forces is responsible for providing the commanders of these commanders with a sufficient number of troops for use.

Roughly ranging chain of command continue descending from the officer corps ( Officers ) on NCOs (non-commissioned officers) to the crew degrees (Enlisted ranks) .

General Staff

Joint Chiefs of Staff badge .

The four chiefs of staff of the armed forces, the chairman and his deputy form the United General Staff of the United States Armed Forces ( Joint Chiefs of Staff ).

Post Rank and name
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford ( USMC )
Deputy Chairman General Paul J. Selva ( USAF )
Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark A. Milley ( USA )
Chief of Staff of the Navy Admiral John M. Richardson ( USN )
Commander of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller (USMC)
Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David L. Goldfein (USAF)

Rank structure

The rank structure of the armed forces of the United States is fully integrated into that of NATO . Despite different names, each rank can be clearly assigned based on its pay level and can be compared with other armed forces using the corresponding NATO rank code .


The US Senate awards officer patents after careful examination. In contrast to other countries, no factors other than abilities and achievements decide on admission to the officer corps. During the annual promotion round, however, the commission appointed for this purpose may, if necessary, focus on certain areas in which a disproportionately large number of soldiers will then be promoted.

The US armed forces recruit officers from a variety of sources. The most commonly used route is through one of several military academies set up for this purpose , including the US Military Academy , the US Naval Academy , and the US Air Force Academy . Moreover, there is for graduates of a college the opportunity at the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program (ROTC) participate and to enter after graduation to active duty. A distinction is made between the instruction as an active and a reserve officer, so that lasts Officer Candidate School (in German as: " an officer candidate school") is much longer than the rates for the ROTC program. 60% of all officers in the US armed forces and 75% of all officers in the US Army emerge from the ROTC, but these have so far only provided two of the 17 chairmen of the United Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) . People who already practice certain professions in civilian life can easily be appointed officers in their professional field, and are excluded from a command because of their specialist appointment. This mostly concerns the use as a lawyer, engineer or doctor. The Air Force has the highest percentage of officers.

Field transport, called battlefield commission , is comparatively rare. Several officers must agree on such a promotion.

Regulations on generality

The service law of the armed forces ( US Code Title 10 Sections 525 and 526 ) limits the absolute number of active officers in the rank of Lieutenant General and General . In total, the number of generals is 302 officers for the US Army , 216 for the US Navy , 279 for the US Air Force , 80 for the US Marine Corps , and two for the United States Public Health Service ( Assistant Secretary for Health and the Surgeon General of the United States ). For the Army , Navy and Air Force , no more than 16.3 percent of the active generals may be higher than a major general and no more than 25 percent may hold the rank of general. This corresponds to eleven generals for the army, eight admirals for the navy, ten generals for the air force and three generals for the marine infantry.

Many of these four-star ranks are reserved for certain posts. In the Army and in the Air Force the Chief of Staff and the Vice Chief of Staff are generals, in the Navy the Chief of Naval Operations and the Vice Chief of Naval Operations are each admirals. In the Marine Corps , the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Assistant Commandant hold the rank of general. In addition, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Assistant Secretary for Health are an admiral.

However, the law allows numerous exceptions. Officers who serve as chairmen of the general staff or as their deputies are excluded from the percentage regulation for their armed forces. Officers who serve in cross-armed forces positions are also treated separately. For example, the Unified Combatant Commanders and the Commanding General of the US Forces in Korea are excluded from the generals limit, but count towards the percentages for lieutenants general. In addition, the President can change the limits for individual branches of the armed forces if he compensates for those changes in another branch of the armed forces. Finally, the President also has the option of ignoring the aforementioned limitations in times of war or in times of national emergency.

Retirement arrangements

Officers must retire after either five years of general / admiral service or 40 years of service, whichever is later. In addition, the President can extend the term of service by five years, up to a maximum of 62 years of age. All officers must retire in the month following their 62nd birthday, but the President can keep up to ten retired officers on until their 64th birthday.

Since the ranks “Lieutenant General” and “General” are only granted temporarily, the officer must hold an appropriate position. If he does not, he must retire within 60 days or he will be transferred to a lower rank. If the government has designated an officer for a position that is not yet vacant, it must “park” him in an appropriate post. These posts include, for example, for Lieutenant Generals who are eligible for promotion to General, the Director of the Joint Staff , and Directors J-3 and J-5 of the Joint Staff. Generals "parked" for later use are used as vice chief of staff of their armed forces or as commanding general of the US Southern Command . Some short-term appointments away from this post indicate that the Southern Command appears to be a frequently used channel in this process. ( Wesley Clark , named Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) after 12 months ; Peter Pace , named Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after 12 months ; Bantz J. Craddock , named SACEUR after 20 months ).

Warrant Officer

With the exception of the Air Force , in which this career does not exist, warrant officers in the US armed forces are technically officers when they reach the rank of Chief Warrant Officer , but form a career of their own. Just like officers, they are sworn in by the US President. They receive similar privileges and responsibilities as the officers. However, they are specialists in their area of ​​responsibility and, in contrast to officers, cannot command troops in combat missions, but only exercise authority in their specialty. They can be compared with officers in the military service of the Bundeswehr .


Below the officer corps there is initially no differentiation in the English-speaking world and all ranks are summarized as enlisted . However, above a certain grade, the term enlisted personnel is no longer used , but rather the term non-commissioned officers ( NCO , German: "Officer without a patent").

After their engagement, the recruits go through their basic training , followed by the technical special training, which trains the recruits in a counterpart to the German specialization for a post in a post or course training.

On the issue of non-commissioned officers , the non-commissioned officers , the armed services are different. In contrast to the other armed forces, the Army and Marine Corps already classify the rank of corporal as a non-commissioned officer. The petty officer ranks 3rd to 1st class of the Navy and Coast Guard extend into the field of Sergeants (Staff / Senior Non-commissioned Officer) .

Horizontal leadership structure

Defense departments

The Ministry of Defense is divided below the ministerial level. A large number of agencies have special competencies such as building satellites for military reconnaissance or building the United States' planned missile defense system. For the command structure, however, only three armed forces-specific departments that are led by civilians are relevant. Until they were subordinated to a new headquarters as part of the US security policy reform in 1947, the armed forces departments enjoyed cabinet rank. Since then, the secretaries of these departments have been classified as German state secretaries and not, as their American title might otherwise suggest, as ministers.

Department of the Army coat of arms
Department of the Navy coat of arms
Department of the Air Force coat of arms

The Department of the Army is the department responsible for the army. The Secretary of the Army (official abbreviation: SECARM ) has the task of informing his superiors as well as the public about army-specific skills and requirements. The highest-ranking officer in the army, the Chief of Staff of the Army, is at his side for advice . The current incumbent is Pete Geren .

A specialty is the Department of the Navy , whose Secretary of the Navy is organizationally assigned to that of the Marine Corps in addition to his area of ​​responsibility for the Navy . In the event of a presidential decree that elevates the coast guard to a war force, responsibility for this is also assigned to him. The Secretary of the Navy (abbreviated: SECNAV ) oversees the organization, training, equipment and (de) mobilization of the armed forces assigned to him. He is also involved in the development of new doctrines and guidelines. The current incumbent is Ray Mabus .

The third Secretary of State is the Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) in the Department of the Air Force . The day-to-day administration of his armed forces is also assigned to him. The current SECAF is Michael B. Donley .

Regional commands

Areas of responsibility:
US armed forces regional
command areas
Security chain of command of the USA

In order to meet the requirement of all American armed forces to be ready for action “anytime and anywhere”, which developed from their outstanding military strength, there is a geographical division into six regional commands, so-called Unified Combatant Commands (UCC) , which are located all over the world operate in their area of ​​responsibility and most of which are stationed overseas. The regional commands of the individual armed forces, which are always at the same location, are subordinate to them. So the USCENTCOM z. B. ARCENT (Army Forces Central Command) , CENTAF (Central Command Air Forces) , MARCENT (Marine Forces Central Command) , NAVCENT (Naval Forces Central Command) and SOCCENT (Special Operations Command Central) .

The naming of the UCCs can be misleading for outsiders, because the commanded region behind the acronyms does not exactly correspond to the geographic region mentioned. The territorial division was chosen largely according to the availability of troops in the event of a crisis and according to logistics considerations.

The currently most active and therefore strongly represented in the media regional command is the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) . It controls both operations in Iraq and Afghanistan . The command area of CENTCOM extends from Egypt to Pakistan and in north-south expansion from Kazakhstan to Ethiopia and thus also includes the Middle East. An advanced command base for CENTCOM was established near Doha , Qatar , after September 11, 2001 , while headquarters are still at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Florida.

The United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) is based at Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs , Colorado . The territorial jurisdiction of NORTHCOM extends from Alaska, which it has jointly with Pacific Command , to Puerto Rico in the northern Caribbean and includes Canada and Mexico in addition to the United States. It thus has the same command area as the North American Aerospace Defense Command , an airspace defense command for North America operated in American-Canadian cooperation. This is domiciled at the same location as the NORTHCOM and de facto combined with it, since it also has the same commander. NORTHCOM is currently entrusted with the support of various orders from the US Department of Homeland Security, for example the construction work following Hurricane Katrina or Operation Noble Eagle , which has broad object protection as its content.

The rest of Latin America is the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) assumes that in Miami ( Florida was set up) after it was previously located in Panama. The main task of the command is to coordinate the fight against drugs .

The United States European Command (USEUCOM) has one of the largest territories to be monitored , which extends in a north-south direction from Svalbard to the African coast and in a west-east direction from Greenland to the Bering Strait . The Middle East and large parts of Asia are left out. The headquarters of the command are the Patch Barracks in Stuttgart-Vaihingen .

On February 6, 2007, US President George W. Bush announced that another regional command , the United States Africa Command , would have been set up for the African continent and would be fully operational in 2008. This is happening in coordination with numerous African governments and will bring the military, but also the development aid from the United States to greater advantage. In October 2008, AFRICOM finally reached its full operational capability.

The United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) is stationed near Honolulu , Hawaii . From there the control area of ​​the Pacific Command extends to China and India and overlooks the Antarctic in addition to Oceania , and in the west its control area extends to Madagascar .

Functional commands

In addition to the regionally defined commands, there are three commands with functionally defined areas of responsibility, which are also referred to as Unified Combatant Commands .

The US Navy SEALs are next to the Delta Force , the most famous of the Special Operations Command subordinate unit.

The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) was established in 1987 according to the Nunn-Cohen Amendment , an amendment to the Goldwater Nichols Act . The Ministry of Defense was forced to provide its own budget for SOCOM . Due to this independence from the responsible armed forces, the special forces de facto became their own armed forces. The trigger for this measure were the negative experiences of excessive competitive thinking between the special units of the individual armed forces, which made a coordinated approach, geared towards overall strategic success, difficult during the American landing in Grenada in 1983. The SOCOM is responsible for all training, equipment and provision of special forces of all branches of the armed forces in order to put the regional commanders are available upon request. At the same time, it not only functions as a functional command, but also has its own associations around the world, for example in the context of combating terrorism . It is currently the only group command that trains, supplies and equips troops and still leads (partially) in missions.

The importance of smoothly running logistics becomes clear in the existence of a logistics command. The US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) monitors capacities, bottlenecks and needs across the entire spectrum of operations. This task was also handed over to the care of a central coordination point when the military had an increasingly branched global presence towards the end of the Cold War and the armed forces were no longer able to efficiently manage the logistics.

The US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is tasked with managing and monitoring the strategic capacities of the United States (the nuclear forces and space units ) . It also coordinates the secret services and missile defense .

The former US Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) assessed and tested military transformation processes and changes, for example the effects of new weapons, tactics and command structures, and made appropriate recommendations. The USJFCOM , although originally a functional command , still had regional competencies as it emerged from the former US Atlantic Command . On August 9, 2010, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that the JFCOM would be dissolved due to austerity constraints within a year and the tasks would be transferred to the Joint Staff . It was officially dissolved on August 31, 2011.

All regional and functional commandos are connected to each other and to the Pentagon through a globally networked communication system, the so-called Global Information Grid .


The M16 is the standard assault rifle of the US armed forces, here in the M16A4 version
The introduction of the Stryker is often criticized because of various shortcomings

Compared to other nations, the government's procurement policy is more in the focus of public attention and is more likely to trigger discussions and scandals. When it comes to the procurement of large equipment, which is the focus, the armed forces responsible negotiate intensively with the president , the defense minister and the congress about their financing.

The standard assault rifle in the US armed forces is the fourth generation M16 . Since 2007, all armed forces have had camouflage clothing in digital camouflage patterns. The two armed forces operating on land, the army and the marine infantry, have largely the same types of armored vehicles. The same applies to the aircraft units, the standard version of which is adapted to the needs of the armed forces.

Since the strategic reorientation after September 11, 2001, two debates have prevailed about the advancing mechanization of the military. The first debate deals with the need to research future technologies, as the Bush administration has carried out. Critics of the immense research budget in the defense budget doubt this necessity or complain about the inadequate marginal utility of the wide-ranging research. Rather, they demand a more rapid implementation of existing arms purchases and an increase in manpower. The second controversy among officers, defense experts and publicists revolves around the question of the intent of the armaments. Some fear that the armament is misdirected towards smaller and agile formations to fight the war on terror, and advocate a defense policy that braces itself against emerging state competitors from the United States, especially the People's Republic of China. The representatives of the opposing side argue that this way of thinking does not appreciate the currently prevailing military situation and fear that China might react to armaments aimed at the future.

Traditionally, military equipment has been given a popular name under which it can be better presented to the public. These are to be distinguished from appreciative or derisive names that the troops often choose. The popular names are given to pay homage to specific moments, groups or people in American history . Helicopters are usually named after Indian tribes, ships after presidents, war heroes or battle sites.

Individual equipment of the soldiers

US soldier with an M249 during an exercise
An 82nd Airborne Division soldier with an M14 in Afghanistan in 2008

In addition to the M16, for which a successor is currently being sought after almost 40 years in service, the soldiers of the United States have a large variety of infantry weapons. Often teams use the short version of the M16, the M4, in confined spaces such as land and air vehicles as well as in urban warfare . Both versions can be equipped with different accessories such as night vision and thermal imaging modules on the rifle scope . The M203 grenade launcher is also attached to the gun barrel. The most widely used pistol in the US armed forces has been the M9 since the late 1980s, but it was only slowly able to assert itself against its predecessor, the M1911 . From 2017 it will be gradually replaced by the M17 model.

Weapons specialists such as machine guns and snipers have several weapon options, depending on the type of mission and the range of fire. These include the M240 , M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and M60 machine guns as well as the M24 , M107 sniper rifles and, despite its age, the M14 . This is used as a Designated Marksman Rifle and is intended to give individual infantry units the opportunity to fight enemy units over great distances. The armed forces hand over the Mossberg 590 and M1014 as shotguns . Of the various hand grenade versions, the M67 hand grenade and the M18 smoke grenade are the most widespread.

Members of special forces also have access to other weapons in addition to the normal procurement system, effectively there are no restrictions. The weapons are selected here according to the personal preferences of the soldiers. This is particularly important for secret operations behind enemy lines in order to cause confusion among enemy troops and not to be identified as US units.

In addition to training, it is above all the cost-intensive equipment of each individual soldier that constitutes the military dominance of the United States. Every soldier in combat has a GPS navigation device. A project called Future Force Warrior ( FFW , " Infantryman of the Future " in the German Armed Forces ) is currently under development, which combines several technical devices, for example individual communication functions, a multimedia helmet or steerable projectiles, on the infantryman. This upgrade of the individual soldier is integrated into a strategic, holistic concept called Future Combat Systems , which includes all land systems.

In 2002, the US armed forces spent $ 28,000 on research and development per soldier compared to the European average of US $ 7,000.


Field jacket in a digital camouflage pattern.

All branches of the armed forces are currently receiving field / service uniforms , which have all gone through a cross- armed forces development program, and are based on the principle of the pixellated camouflage pattern . In the army, the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) replaced the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) . During the development of the Marines uniform MARPAT there were disputes with the Canadian armed forces regarding patent regulations about whether the American version was a plagiarism of the Canadian one. The reason for this was the striking similarity between the two field suits, although Canada had already started development in 1995. The United States Marine Corps later admitted to borrowing from its Canadian allies. The Air Force intends to have introduced the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) by 2011 . The Navy will also introduce new uniforms from 2008, both for deck personnel and the camouflage uniform Naval Work Uniform (NWU) .

In addition to field uniforms, all soldiers receive a service uniform that is worn outside of combat operations, as well as a dress uniform .


The wearing of berets developed into an uncontrolled fashion among the US armed forces from their first use in World War II, based on the example of British comrades. The Marines discarded a test run in the early 1950s and to date have not authorized the wearing of a beret, while the Navy sticks to their traditional caps. Since the 1970s, Air Force liaison officers have been allowed to wear berets. The Army in particular found it difficult to use this form of military headgear . In the 1970s, the skeptical staff of the army prohibited all conventional units from wearing a beret. Hence, they were considered a privilege of the Green Berets and the paratroopers . The decision of June 14, 2001 to introduce a black beret with their unit badge for all regular members of the Army sparked resistance among the special forces, who viewed themselves as dishonored. The Department of Defense dismissed this stance as a pretense and accelerated its adoption to end the debate. In addition, it represented the special forces as “cold warriors” and raised the “beret for all” to a symbol for the transformation and modernity of the armed forces.

Armored vehicles

The armored personnel
carrier of the US armed forces, the M2 Bradley .

In terms of armored vehicles, the United States armed forces have been shaped heavily by the Cold War. Almost 8,000 heavy Abrams main battle tanks form the backbone of the tank brigades in both the Army and the Marine Corps , the original procurement of the relatively heavy Bradley armored personnel carrier has not yet been completed and will be supplemented by the outdated M113 . However, the tank specifications of the Cold War turned out to be problematic for the war on terror : Due to the high weight of heavy armored vehicles, their mobility, especially their ability to be moved by air, is severely limited - the heaviest transport aircraft in the Air Force, the C-5, currently fits two Abrams at most , while the usual C-130 tactical vans can't even take the weight of the Bradley . Furthermore, until April 2005, despite minor personal injuries in Iraq, 80  Abrams were so badly damaged that repairs had to take place in the United States. The Iraqi rebels took advantage of the fact that tanks are protected on the front side in anticipation of their similarly armored and armed counterparts, while concessions were made to the total weight on the other sections. In total, the United States has 29,920 armored vehicles and 5,178 artillery pieces.


US Air Force
F-117 Nighthawk .
The Blackhawk helicopter

The US armed forces operate with a worldwide unique range of aircraft to maintain their strategically essential air superiority. Due to certain historical developments, however, aviation in the armed forces is not concentrated in the Air Force alone: ​​Since the Air Force experienced an increasingly independent development in World War II, it should no longer remain subordinate to the Army as army aviation . At that time, the military use of helicopters was not foreseeable, since the Key West agreement , which regulated the relationship and the separation between the two armed forces, always referred to " fixed wing aircraft ". Today it is the Army in particular , which maintains a large number of reconnaissance and combat helicopters in its own corps. These are mainly the OH-58 Kiowa and the AH-64 Apache . The most important transport and multifunction helicopter, in some very different versions, is the UH 60 Black Hawk . Since 2005, only the reserve has had the older AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter . The CH-47 Chinook has been in service as a heavy-duty transporter for decades .

The aforementioned fixed-wing aircraft are now owned by the Air Force , Navy and Marine Corps . During the Cold War, American arms companies built combat aircraft with specific operational profiles, which were then adapted to the requirements and special wishes of the armed forces. Of these, the F-series became known, most of which are still in service today, such as the F-15 Eagle , F-16 Fighting Falcon and F / A-18 Hornet . Only the Air Force with the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit models and the F-117 Nighthawk, which is no longer in active service , has long-range and stealth aircraft, i.e. aircraft that are mostly undetectable on the radar . Monitoring services are primarily provided by the AWACS , while the logistics are mainly provided by the C-5 Galaxy and the C-130 Hercules . The combined United States military has 18,169 aircraft and 35,324 missiles.


An aircraft formation flies over three carrier groups during exercise Valiant Shield 2006 .

The Navy has a total of 289 ships of various types . The ten aircraft carriers form associations known as the carrier battle group . In addition to the aircraft carrier as its core, such an association consists of a guided missile cruiser , two guided missile destroyers , a frigate , one or two hunting submarines and a supply ship . The alternative to such an aircraft carrier combat group is the Expeditionary Strike Group , which in addition to the escorts consists of amphibious assault ships and dock landing ships .

Today, the Navy has essentially one class of each genus, which represents the majority of this type, in the case of aircraft carriers this is the Nimitz class . The most modern units for amphibious warfare are the Wasp and San Antonio types . Destroyers are predominantly of the Arleigh Burke type and are supplemented by the Zumwalt class . Cruisers are only available in the Ticonderoga class . Frigates have not been around since the Oliver Hazard Perry class was decommissioned in 2015. The hunting submarines are predominantly of the Los Angeles class , while strategic missile submarines can be found in the Ohio class .

The main components of the naval force for decades to come are currently under construction or under development. The Gerald R. Ford class will be introduced as a new class of aircraft carrier, while the America class is planned for amphibious warfare . The next destroyers will belong to the Zumwalt class , frigates will be replaced by smaller and more agile Littoral Combat Ships of the Freedom and Independence classes . The planning of the cruisers is less advanced; with CG (X) there is only vague planning. Quite different with the hunting submarines, where three Virginia-class units are already active.

The Navy has a total of 1,866 ship units.


The F-35 Lightning II is one of the most modern combat aircraft ever

Currently (2007) several companies are testing technologies and devices on behalf of the infantry-influenced armed forces Army and Marine Corps , which could consolidate the dominance of the US military on land in the long term, despite the approaching emerging competitors such as China or Russia . These are coordinated in a single program, the Future Combat Systems . The basic concept of this complex project is to accelerate the fighting, for example through accelerated communication and an improved flow of information. In addition, an increasing mechanization in the field of robotics and nanotechnology should take place in order to make the fight independent of human restrictions and to strengthen the possibilities on the offensive. Fighting small robots, for example, could wait several months for their order to operate. The first models are already being used in Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly for bomb disposal. In the field of aerial reconnaissance, remote-controlled reconnaissance drones are already widespread and can now even fight targets, e.g. B. the MQ-1 Predator . The new tank models mentioned above will also require less maintenance and less personnel. Experts such as the Cato Institute see the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as the last manned aircraft in American military history, but according to the manufacturer Lockheed Martin, this model could already do without a pilot. The navy is developing towards smaller units with smaller and more agile ships in addition to the large carrier combat groups that still exist. The MRAP system offers soldiers better protection than the HMMWV and should completely replace it in the medium term.


South Korean and American soldiers on the border with North Korea

Since the Second World War, the number of American troops stationed has increased steadily. American troops are stationed in over 163 countries on all continents of the world. During the Cold War, this served to contain possible dangers from the Soviet Union and its communist partners. In contrast to the number of troops, deployments abroad have increased since the end of the Cold War . Site closings were absorbed by the opening of new bases or were strategically justified in this sense: new bases emerged, for example in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, as a result of the closure and rationalization of American bases in Europe , East Asia and on the territory of the United States itself Africa. Of the nearly 1.4 million men, around 285,000 are currently permanently stationed abroad. 121,500 soldiers do their duty round (English: tour of duty ) at sea from where convoys of the United States are on alert. Except for about 2100 Marines, they belong to the Navy . Overall, the Pentagon employs almost 451,000 soldiers and civilians overseas. The largest base is Norfolk in the state of Virginia with approximately 78,000 employees.

American soldiers on a German military training area
The USA offers military advice to allied states worldwide, here Uganda

In August 2004, President George W. Bush presented a strategic concept for these reallocations to the public. It provides for a withdrawal of US troops, especially from Western Europe, and a transfer to the USA and, to a lesser extent, to other countries. By 2014, 70,000 members of the armed forces and around 100,000 family members are to be relocated back to the USA. The number of bases abroad should decrease from 850 to 550 during this period.

Despite the general reduction, certain priorities are to be formed: In Asia, naval and air force units are to be reinforced. The heavy armored units are to be largely withdrawn from Europe and replaced by light, air-deployable units and special units. In addition, large-scale training facilities are to be retained in Europe. In the Middle East, a comparatively high number of military units with a high level of readiness are to be stationed, and in Africa, smaller US military facilities in particular are to be operated in large numbers.

Central elements of this new stationing concept are Main Operating Bases (MOBs), Forward Operating Sites (FOSs) and Cooperative Security Locations (CSLs).

Combat missions

The following troop strengths operate worldwide as part of official combat missions:

  • Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom : 185,500
  • Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom : 21,500

Stationings by world region

see also: List of United States Military Bases Abroad

Properties and locations

Pearl Harbor is an important base for the US Navy

The military has bases in all 50 US states and seven overseas territories. In terms of bases abroad , Germany ranks 37 locations with 293 facilities, ahead of Japan with 111 and South Korea with 105 and Great Britain with 50.

According to the Department of Defense's 2006 Base Structure Report, the United States military owns nearly 577,000  properties around the globe covering approximately 29.7 million acres . This area, the equivalent of almost 12 million hectares , corresponds to half the area of ​​Great Britain. The Pentagon puts the value of these properties , which include housing and military facilities, at a total of 653.4 billion US dollars.

Critics of the global American military presence such as the libertarian Japaneseologist Chalmers Johnson or the religiously inspired pacifist Laurence Vance criticize the report as deliberately confusing and opaque.

The largest base by area is an Army missile test and launch base in New Mexico . The White Sands Missile Range is 3.6 million acres, which is approximately 14,569 square kilometers.

Site closings

Since 1988, the Department of Defense has initiated five major waves of site closures known to the American public as Base Realignment and Closure or under its acronym BRAC and the annexed year. Against the background that the infrastructure in the United States cannot be expanded across the board as in Europe and the military is the most important employer in many remote areas, the closing rounds are causing controversy in the public and in the Senate , in which the representatives of the states represent are. Classically, most site closings are argued against with precisely this economic dependency, sometimes with national security. The proposal submitted by the parliamentary BRAC Commission to the Congress is legally binding . The House of Representatives and the Senate have to come up with a joint counter-resolution within a month and a half to effect changes.

The Pentagon last came up with details of a massive site abandonment in May 2005, for the first time in ten years. 33 garrisons were affected by the closure plan, 29 more were to cut several thousand both military and civilian positions. In addition, 150 smaller locations were named. Occasionally, locations should accommodate troop contingents and thus generate synergies. The fiscal goal of the 2005 closure plan was to save nearly $ 50 billion over 20 years.

Service in the armed forces and domestic political dimensions

The United States Armed Forces have been a professional army since 1973 . Every American citizen, male or female, and every non-American with a green card is permitted to serve in the armed forces , but the latter is not permitted for officer ranks. A large variety of military awards are intended to honor the achievements and qualifications of military personnel and to strengthen the morale of the troops in the long term .

Role of the military as trainer and employer

Soldiers during a reaction test
Continuous training ensures the effectiveness of the US armed forces

Aside from officials and employees of the United States government, the Department of Defense is the largest employer in the country and world, with over three million employees, ahead of Wal-Mart with 1.3 million employees.

In general, service in the armed forces is considered beneficial in United States society. Even short periods of service of less than five years are generally recognized as “service to the community” . However, high-ranking politicians are expected to have done active service, especially in times of war.

The military is a recognized career and advancement opportunity. Above all, the opportunity for further training is largely appreciated by society. Nevertheless, the prejudice that is widespread at home and abroad that the military is a reservoir for the lower classes, who feel compelled to serve as cannon fodder due to the lack of alternatives, does not apply: apart from the almost unheard of worldwide training costs for individual soldiers, the military also has at its disposal 95 percent have an above-average number of high school graduates (79 percent of the total working population). The proportion of Master’s graduates also slightly exceeds that of the general population.

Recruiting university graduates with technical qualifications is problematic in the 21st century. The armed forces cannot keep up with the big technology companies in terms of pay or prestige. While in the past an intrinsic motivation of potential recruits could be conveyed through the promise of meaning , recruiting officers find that working on sensors and controls to avoid traffic accidents is more attractive for young engineers than a military career. In the area of computer security , officers are now arguing that young hackers in the armed forces receive a medal for activities that could otherwise bring them to prison.

Eligibility for military service

As a result of the Vietnam War , the US armed forces are made up of volunteers, but all male citizens over the age of 18 are registered in the Selective Service System . The professionalization of the armed forces of the United States has advanced so far since the Vietnam War that a reinstated military service would require enormous structural, strategic, financial and personnel preparation.

The age limits for military service in the US armed forces depend on the armed forces as well as active or reservist service. Each armed force requires the written consent of the parents if the recruit has reached the minimum age of 17 but has not yet reached the age of 18.


The reintroduction of conscription is a taboo subject in United States society. Since its suspension, the volunteer army has been upheld by both dominant parties in the United States, the Democrats and the Republicans , which is expressed in the catchphrase All-Volunteer Force (German for "completely voluntary armed force"). In the 2004 presidential election campaign , the Democrats tried to take advantage of this taboo and the associated fear of young voters about conscription given the involvement of the US armed forces in Iraq by spreading rumors about their reintroduction. In an official proclamation on July 1st, President George W. Bush urged the American people to mark the 30th anniversary of the All-Volunteer Force .


Drill Instructors are a symbol of the
Marine Corps in popular culture .

After a recruit has been recruited, he is sent to the basic training of his armed forces. With the exception of the army, all armed forces maintain central training camps. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice , American military law, training with the Coast Guard is also to be regarded as military. For the Army , Navy and Coast Guard, training takes eight weeks, and for the Air Force 45 days. The Marines are undergoing by far the longest training course, lasting 13 weeks.

After the basic training , the soldiers who are now senior soldiers visit one of the advanced training facilities where they are instructed in their advanced qualifications ( Military Occupational Specialty , MOS ; for example: "military occupational specialization"), which they must have already decided upon when they were recruited. In the Army , this choice also decides on the location of the basic training. Various MOS courses are decentrally assigned to the five training locations. The MOS -courses are to be made in recruiting a relevant means of recruiters, the potential soldiers military service tasty.


Ethnic minorities

A long tradition of integrating ethnic and religious minorities is reflected in the history and composition of the US armed forces. Even today, minorities gain recognition through military service, especially during military service. In general, the military avoided the formation of ethnic groups in order to prevent political fault lines from developing.

The possibility of acquiring citizenship through military service, which many immigrants made use of especially during the Second World War and many Hispanics afterwards, helped shape the concept of the " American Dream ". The army dedicates its own internet portals to the soldiers of Latin American, African / Afro-American, Asian and indigenous descent.

The US armed forces are made up of members of many different ethnic groups

On July 26, 1948, the then US President Truman abolished racial segregation with Executive Order 9981 , thereby establishing the general recognition of the military as an integrative force. Despite the persistence of racial segregation until the Second World War, the use of non-whites was an indispensable cultural and information resource, which brought the tolerance of minorities closer and closer to real appreciation.

The ethnic and religious integration in the US military is largely regarded as a success and - to a limited extent - as a possible model for civil society. A study by the Palm Center concludes that three reasons can be identified for this: First, the military bureaucracy leads to blindness to ethnic and religious diversity, that is, possible discrimination leads to inefficiency, waste of public funds and structural problems. Second, the military has a means of coercion that is inconsistent with the style of American civil policy. Thirdly, these means of coercion would lead to a forced coexistence, which, in view of shared experiences in the border area , would very quickly melt existing prejudices .

On November 30, 2007, the then Chief of Staff of the Army , General George Casey , launched the Diversity Task Force (German roughly: "Working Group Diversity") in order to centralize efforts to achieve ethnic concentration.


In the Civil War , out of 2.2 million Union soldiers, 400,000 were non-American born. The Union took measures to ensure that immigrants were drafted into military service as soon as possible. Some were recruited as soon as they arrived. In addition, the Union sent recruiters to Ireland to recruit locally, while the Confederation actively tried to prevent this by spreading demoralizing rumors. In addition, almost 216,000 people of German origin served on the part of the Union, so that almost exclusively German was spoken in over 30 regiments .

Navajo Indians during World War II
African-Americans make up the largest ethnic minority in the US military today

In the run-up to the First World War, the Italian and Irish immigrants had to struggle with the Reformation, anti-Catholic affect that was widespread in the United States at the time, which was reduced by their recognizable commitment with almost five million men, although almost three quarters of them spoke insufficient English. When war broke out, the general addressed nativism against the Germans, a general suspicion of espionage documents.

The anti-Semitism became more socially acceptable in the United States as in all western countries in the early 20th century. In view of the general outrage over the National Socialist genocide of European Jews , however, its spread decreased again and recognition for the Jewish soldiers increased. In the last few years the use of young Jewish immigrants in a secret unit as information gatherers behind the German lines has become known (“ Ritchie Boys ”) . These military achievements promoted the integration of Jewish immigrants and contributed to the development of a Jewish sense of self-worth that was specifically American.

At all times, only the black minority was affected by official racial segregation. As the only ethnically defined group, it was exempted from the official procedure that the armed forces did not establish ethnically or religiously dominated associations to prevent political fault lines from arising. The first black experimental air force unit became known as the Tuskegee Airmen .

Despite the bloody Indian wars, many Native Americans enlisted in the armed forces in the 20th century. Her work as a radio operator became famous during World War II, when it was impossible for the Japanese to decipher the Navajo language .

Racial segregation was formally repealed with the Truman Decree. During the Vietnam War, in particular, the military established several authorities that were supposed to ensure de facto equal rights for all soldiers.

Proportions of ethnic groups

The proportion of Hispanic residents of the United States exceeded that of blacks by the 2000s. Nevertheless, due to a general recruitment crisis as a result of the Iraq war, blacks continue to form the largest minority among the soldiers. In the 2004 budget year, their share of 15 percent exceeded that of Latin American descendants by one percentage point. The proportions of natives and Asians are seven percent each.

Naturalization through military service

Between March 2003 and March 2007, approximately 26,000 non-Americans were naturalized while serving in the armed forces . Another 40,000 were eligible in March 2007.

The admission of foreign green card holders to the armed forces often gives rise to political disputes. Green card holders are excluded from reserve service and are not allowed to hold officer ranks.

Women in the military

As a member of the USAF Thunderbirds , Major Nicole Malachowski is one of the most famous women in the US military.

In principle, the military is open to women . In 2009 the proportion of women was 13.4%. Just like all male comrades, they must be able to demonstrate their combat readiness, but de jure they are not allowed to intervene in combat. With a view to asymmetrical warfare , this can hardly be prevented in some cases because there is no clear separation of front and support units.

In recent years there has been a widespread tendency in the US military to open up more and more fields and careers to women.

Women were officially admitted to service with the formation of the Army Nursing Corps in 1901. The navy founded an institution of the same nature in 1908. The usual procedure before that was to employ women individually as nurses, kitchen helpers, secretaries and in similar fields of activity. However, several hundred women succeeded in camouflaging and enrolling themselves as men , especially during the Civil War (on both sides). Only the introduction of the physical aptitude test at the beginning of the 20th century finally ruled out this approach.

The only Medal of Honor to date , which is the highest military honor in the United States, was awarded to Mary E. Walker for her outstanding medical achievements in service in 1865, when she reached the limits of her own health. This was withdrawn when the award conditions were tightened in 1917, along with almost 900 other awards. Until their success in 1977, Walker's descendants tried to get their achievements recognized again.

The first female officer to be general was Anna Mae Hays, who ran the Army Nurse Corps . On June 11, 1970, she was raised to the rank of Brigadier General. Just minutes later, Elizabeth P. Hoisington followed. Hoisington had commanded the Women's Army Corps , created during World War II , in which all women served. By 1978 all four armed forces had followed the Army in appointing a female general. The Coast Guard first named a woman as Rear Admiral in 2000 .

According to a study by the US Veterans Hospital in Iowa City of 558 female military veterans, around 30 percent were rape by comrade while on duty .

In 1986 the number of female veterans broke the million mark. In February 2010, one of the most famous restrictions fell when the Department of Defense allowed women on submarines.

Dealing with homosexual people

In contrast to the relationship with the ethnic minorities, the military has in the past been reserved towards homosexual people. Confessing homosexual people were banned from using weapons until the end of 2010. The so-called Don't ask, don't tell policy was an emergency solution for them , which protected them from questions about sexual orientation and possible reprisals through official channels. In return, they were not allowed to reveal this of their own accord or to advocate the interests of homosexuals in general. Violation of this decree could result in honorary dismissal.

In December 2010, the United States House of Representatives and Senate passed bill to repeal the military's don't-ask-don't-tell policies. In the future, homosexual American soldiers can serve openly.


A topic that recurs internally and publicly is attacks by soldiers on other people, whether members of the military or civilians. Even if sexually motivated assaults such as the Tailhook scandal , in which a military symposium degenerated into an officer's feast in 1991, or the Aberdeen Proving Ground scandal , in which army trainers exploited the inexperience of female recruits in 1996, caused quite a stir If there is always a great interest in clarification, mostly anonymous surveys and surveys indicate that violence and coercion within the troops are even more topical. Usually the interests of politics, superiors, subordinates and peers contradict each other.

Rape has repeatedly attracted attention in host countries. In Okinawa, whose population, like most Japanese, largely rejects the former occupation power remaining, the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three soldiers is particularly evident.

Veterans affairs

The coat of arms of the Ministry of War Veterans.
Graves in Arlington, Virginia.

Traditionally, the United States Armed Forces have placed great emphasis on veteran welfare. This is reflected in the existence of a ministry with cabinet rank set up specifically for their affairs, the so-called United States Department of Veterans Affairs , which had a budget of almost $ 70 billion in the 2006 financial year. This is distributed among the three sub-departments of the ministry, which are responsible for medical and financial care as well as for looking after the military funeral system.


Currently, the number of people alive who has ever served in the United States Armed Forces is 25 million. Despite increasing life expectancy, this number will drop to just under 17 million over the next 20 years. This decline reflects the demographics of the transition from conscription to the volunteer army. According to the ministry, spending per veteran will increase, which is also related to increasing life expectancy and access to modern medical care.

Funeral services

Under the aegis of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the military operates 125 cemeteries across the United States, with six more under construction. The most famous of these is Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia .

Medical supplies

The Department of Veterans Affairs spends most of its expenditure on providing medical care to eligible individuals. In 2005 it operated 156 hospitals, 135 old people's homes, 43  rehabilitation centers and 711 outpatient clinics. The latter are operated with the claim that every veteran can be reached from any point in the United States under reasonable circumstances.

The health care system of the Veterans Ministry suffered a serious loss of confidence in February 2007 through investigative investigations into irregularities. The Washington Post printed its findings over several weeks about the irregularities identified in the Walter Reed Military Hospital , a central hospital of the armed forces. Patients in the facilities complained of unreasonable hygienic conditions, bureaucratic administration and an overburdened staff. When it emerged that senior Army officers had been trying to cover up deteriorating conditions since 2004 in advance of a planned move, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates fired the facility's Major General on duty, George Weightman. Francis J. Harvey, the Army Secretary of State, also resigned, likely under pressure from Gates. Numerous government agencies are investigating the findings.

power consumption

The Air Force's permanent and worldwide readiness for refueling makes up a large proportion of the budget.

The US military is the world's largest buyer and consumer of petroleum . In October 2006, it was consuming almost 365,000 barrels of oil a day, which is roughly equivalent to Greece's energy consumption. In addition, the marine industry is the world's largest consumer of diesel and biodiesel . It should be noted, however, that the world market price of oil does not apply to the Pentagon due to volume discounts and pre-emptive rights.

In an internal comparison of the armed forces, the Air Force was by far the largest energy consumer with almost 53% in the 2005 financial year, followed by the Navy with 32% and the Army with 12%. This is due to the fact that 89% of the energy is used for flight operations. In total, the Department of Defense spent $ 8.6 billion on the purchase of 133 million barrels of oil during this period. Two years earlier it had spent $ 5.4 billion for 142 million barrels. Almost 40,000 men are involved in the handling of the oil transport in the Army .

Securing the energy supply for the military is of the utmost importance and, under US President George W. Bush, found its way into the country's most important strategic document, the national security strategy . As early as 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney stated in a white paper the importance of oil for the United States and recommended increasing investment in Africa while at the same time breaking away from the unstable Middle East.

Use of amphetamines

A controversial practice by the US armed forces is the use of amphetamines to increase the performance of soldiers in the short term. The substances known as "go pills" are given to selected unit types such as infantry special units or pilots , and barbiturates known as "no-go pills" are administered for quick relaxation . According to the military, the program takes place “under strict medical supervision ”.

The side effects of amphetamines when their effects wear off have led to controversial accidents in the past. The most famous incident occurred on April 17, 2002 in Tarnak near Kandahar in Afghanistan . Two Air National Guard pilots dropped a bomb on a Canadian unit, killing four and injuring eight soldiers. The two pilots brought to their defense of having been under the influence of stimulants, so they the muzzle flash of assault rifles and anti-tank weapons with air missiles floor had confused.

The armed forces justify the use of amphetamines with military necessities such as long-haul flights, night missions or extended deployment times and point out that they are taken voluntarily. In fact, pilots have to give their consent in writing, but critics point to the high social and professional pressure under which these agreements usually come about, since pilots who do not take stimulants can be suspended from operational readiness at any time.


The salary of American soldiers is based on Western standards and for recruits (Private E-1) starts at 1,516.20 dollars (as of January 2013), but may be lower for the Private E-1 in the first 4 months. The amount of the pay depends on the rank of the soldier and the years of service that he has served in a row. A sergeant major can achieve a base salary of over 5,000 dollars after 14 years of service, with teams earning a maximum of 2,403.30 dollars. For non-commissioned officers, the range extends from the corporal with at least $ 1,979.70, from the 2nd year of service then $ 2,081.10 (E-4) and a maximum of $ 2,403.30, to the Sergeant Major as the highest non-commissioned officer from the 38th year of service is paid at $ 7,435.22. Pay for warrant officers starts at $ 2,811.60 for warrant officers (O-1) under 2 years of service and reaches a maximum of $ 9,222.90 as chief warrant officer 5. An officer, e.g. B. Second Lieutenant (O-1), earns a minimum of $ 2,876.40 and a maximum of $ 19,566.90 as a Four Star General (O-10). The salary is usually reset every year, most recently on January 1, 2013. A private E-1 earned only $ 1,273.50 in 2008 compared to $ 1,516.20 in 2013.

Each soldier, regardless of rank and seniority, receives US $ 250 per month for separation from his family . With the danger bonus , a distinction is made between presence in a crisis region and between a combat mission, which are remunerated at a flat rate of US $ 150 or US $ 225 per month. In addition, special types of operations such as diving missions and parachute jumps are entitled to allowances. On request, teams receive civilian or military clothing money. Except for those working in the medical field, no distinction is made between activities. Special remuneration is available for foreign language skills at an academic level, service at sea, on board aircraft, special circumstances or tasks.

External impact

Soldiers from the Army Drill Team during a show event
Lee Ermey's previous work as an instructor came to fruition in Full Metal Jacket
Military ceremonies strengthen the image of the US armed forces
US soldiers present the rifle during a public event
Airplanes of the Blue Angels , a US Navy aerobatic team

Media reception

The armed forces of the United States play an important role in both representation and external perception. Opinions range from worship of the country's military tradition to condemnation of the US military as a negative example of a violent, uncontrollable apparatus, and are often a mirror of opinion of the United States as a whole.

The United States military has the strongest presence of any military in the world. The main reasons for this are the frequent deployments of the armed forces and the dominance of the Hollywood film venue .

The various branches of the armed forces all have large budgets for public image, which are particularly important when it comes to recruiting, and they try to set themselves apart from the others in special ways. Because of their often legendary glorified history, the marines in particular stand out. In contrast, the army, as an equally infantry-style armed force, tends to present itself as the oldest and closest armed force to the people. The Air Force and the Navy present themselves as the strategic base of the US armed forces. The Coast Guard maintains its image as the home of undemanding rescuers.

Movie and TV

The military history of the United States has provided Hollywood with material to work with for decades. From the 1940s to the 1970s, a large number of films about World War II were made in various genres, including classic films such as “ The Longest Day ”, “ The Bridge of Arnhem ”, “ The Dirty Dozen ” or “ Torah! Torah! Torah! " counting.

Cinematically, the Korean War was largely skipped and replaced by the flood of World War II films, according to the term The Forgotten War , which is common in the United States . The best known exception to this circumstance is the internationally successful television series M * A * S * H and the film that preceded it . Due to their dates of publication, however, they were more related to the then current Vietnam War.

The cinematic reappraisal of the Vietnam War was difficult in the United States until the mid-1980s, so that Francis Ford Coppola z. B. for the production of his film " Apocalypse Now " from 1979 had to fall back on the support of the Philippine Air Force . The reason for this was mostly the military-technological monopoly of the Ministry of Defense, which refused to support critical films and still helps to shape the content of technically complex productions. Nevertheless, some directors succeeded in creating critical masterpieces with the greatest technical effort and modifications, for example " Platoon " by Oliver Stone or " Full Metal Jacket " under the direction of Stanley Kubrick . The film " Top Gun " caused a run on the recruiting offices of the Air Force because of its flight scenes.

After the end of the Cold War and the victory in the Second Gulf War at the turn of 1990/91, the critical undertone of the Vietnam War films gave way to a mostly thoughtful appraisal of martial circumstances against the background of the Second World War and the Gulf War, especially in films such as “ Saving Private Ryan "Or" The fine line ". The increase in films and series with a criminal or military legal background is striking . The films “ Courage to Truth ” and “ A Question of Honor ” as well as the series “ JAG - On behalf of honor ” and its offshoot “ Navy CIS ” should be mentioned here.


Due to the constantly critical media coverage, the Pentagon has always tried to maintain good media relations, whereby it has also repeatedly made attempts at instrumentalization. The journalists embedded in the fighting in the Iraq war in 2003 became internationally known . Especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States Department of Defense has endeavored to portray its warfare as "proportionate" and "surgically thoughtful". Due to numerous failures since the introduction of the so-called smart bombs , analysts such as Fred Kaplan and human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch question the actual precision of these smart bombs and condemn the US Air Force for multiple avoidable victims. The situation is similar with the use of cluster bombs .

It is thanks to the press and television that some war crimes committed by the United States Armed Forces have been exposed, such as the Mai Lai massacre and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal .

World wide web

The US armed forces are leaders in terms of their external image on the World Wide Web . Early the military of the United States secured the .mil - top-level domain . All military authorities, bases, branches of service, medium-sized units and other institutions operate a website. A diverse military subculture has emerged on the English-language web, which the Pentagon is helping to shape together with veterans and enthusiasts as well as future recruits. There are, for example, numerous military communities in which veterans can search for former comrades or life partners from the military. In addition, the Ministry of Defense supports the now unmanageable network of analysts, think tanks and bloggers . However, there is an equally large community that is critical of current defense events.

Computer games

In recent years, the army in particular has shown a steadily growing interest in the computer and video game market . The armed forces support developers or develop games themselves. The best-known example is America's Army production . The Army released the first person shooter in 2002 and distributes it for free as a recruiting game. On the Internet servers, recruiters target the best players.

Public reputation

The armed forces are held in high regard in the United States. A Gallup - poll According to July 2006, 73% of respondents had at least slight confidence in the military. In this survey it outstripped the police and religious associations by almost 15 percent.

The military recorded the highest approval rates in recent history in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. According to the 2002 survey, 79% of those questioned had a “high” to “very high” trust in military institutions. As a result of the Iraq war, the presidential office suffered far more than the military, which, despite the loss of confidence during this period, continued to receive the highest levels of trust. A similar ranking was determined in a Harris poll in March 2006, which registered low values ​​for all institutions and narrowed approval. The first Harris poll on the credibility of social institutions in 1966 showed 61 percent approval. As a result of the Vietnam War, this figure fell to 23 percent in 1971.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/1086471/umfrage/militaerische-staerke-der-usa/
  2. United States of America Military Strength. Current military capabilities and available firepower for 2016 detailed Globalfirepower, accessed January 30, 2017
  3. CIA World Factbook , Military Section from the United States Article. Retrieved August 31, 2006.
  4. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-congress-idUSKBN1YF2RW
  5. https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/150664/umfrage/Share-der-militaergabe-am-bip-ausgewaehlter-laender/ Retrieved on August 10, 2020
  6. Udo Sautter: The United States. Data, facts, documents . A. Francke Verlag, Tübingen, Basel 2000, ISBN 3-7720-2278-2 , p. 136 f.
  7. US Census : Military Reserve Personnel: 1995 to 2008 ( Memento from October 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 477 kB), September 30, 2008. Accessed July 31, 2010.
  8. Statistical Information Analysis Division ( Memento from July 12, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 17 kB). Status: March 2010. Accessed July 31, 2010.
  9. "Back then it was clear who would strike, namely the strongest army in the world.", From: Sgrena, Giuliana : A bit of freedom and much chaos , in: Die Zeit , July 1, 2004. Retrieved on September 7, 2008.
  10. ^ " The United States is today the greatest military power in the world. ", In: Wallerstein, Immanuel: " Five Reasons Why Great Military Powers Lose Wars " , August 15, 2006. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  11. ^ A b "Analysts say one of the crucial lessons of the continued fighting is that the strongest military in the world, no matter how well-trained or well-led, cannot end the resistance in an Arab nation where the political stakes are so high and latent anger against foreign powers so great. ", in: o. V .: US Fights Shifting Iraqi Foes , in: Christian Science Monitor , March 30, 2004.
  12. a b "The strongest army in the world seems vulnerable.", From: Brink, Nana: War and Technology - Between Computer and Kalashnikov ( Memento from January 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), in: Deutschlandradio , November 20, 2004. Retrieved on September 7, 2004.
  13. cf. Kerry, John : Foreign Policy in a Post-Saddam World: Rebuilding Our Alliances and Iraq ( Memento December 11, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), from: Foreign Affairs , December 16, 2003. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  14. cf. Freedman, Lawrence: Deterrence , Cambridge: Polity 2004, p. 82.
  15. America's $ 1 Trillion National Security Budget March 13, 2014 ( February 14, 2016 memento on the Internet Archive )
  16. ^ " Within Canada's North American and European collective security partnerships, the United States and the United Kingdom spearhead most developments. “, Quoted according to the Canadian Navy website ( October 28, 2005 memento in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved May 27, 2008.
  17. James M. McPherson: Dying for Freedom. Oxford University Press, 1997, 7th revised German edition, ISBN 978-3-471-78178-4 , p. 840.
  18. Source: Louisiana State University statistics ( January 18, 2007 memento in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  19. cf. Nagele, Peter: Forward Surgical Teams of the US Army , in troop service , episode 288, issue 6/2005. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  20. ^ Atul Gawande: Casualties of War - Military Care for the Wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. In: New England Journal of Medicine. 351, 2004, pp. 2471-2475, doi: 10.1056 / NEJMp048317 .
  21. cf. Defense Prisoner of War / Missing Personnel Office : Russia ( September 26, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ), March 2, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  22. a b cf. Defense Prisoner of War / Missing Personnel Office : Summary Statistics ( Memento of February 25, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), datasheet of March 2, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  23. Daggett, Stephen: Costs of Major US Wars (PDF; 155 kB), page 2, July 24, 2008. Accessed September 7, 2008.
  24. German translation of the constitution (PDF; 201 kB) on the Internet at the United States Embassy in Berlin. Retrieved April 11, 2007.
  25. Oaths of Enlistment and Oaths of Office - " Conscription and Oath of Office ". Source: US Army Center or Military History ("Army Institute for Military History"). Retrieved June 16, 2007.
  26. Historical treatise of civilian control over the military at the Ministry of Defense of May 2, 2001. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  27. Source: Weaning the military from the GOP . Rosa Brooks in the LA Times online January 5, 2007. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  28. a b c Mullen, Mike G. (Ed.): Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States (Joint Publication 1) , pp. I-1.
  29. cf. Weigley, Russell F .: The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy , John Weigley and Sons 1973, ISBN 0-253-28029-X .
  30. cf. Sapolsky et al .: US Defense Politics , New York and Abingdon: Routledge 2009, p. 23.
  31. cf. Cohen, Eliot: The Mystique of US Airpower , in: Foreign Affairs Vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 109-124.
  32. cf. Gray, Colin S .: The American Way of War , in: McIvor, Anthony D .: Rethinking the Principles of War , Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press 2005, pp. 27-33.
  33. a b Manpower from January 31, 2013, accessed on March 14, 2013 from Military Personnel Statistics - Total Armed Services ( Memento from February 5, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 10 kB).
  34. Military Statistics Brochure 2006 ( Memento of September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) by EUROCONTROL , p. 5 (accessed on August 31, 2006).
  35. a b United States Department of the Navy : Status of the Navy, November 25, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  36. ^ President Donald J. Trump is Achieving a Safe and Secure Future in Space . In: The White House . ( whitehouse.gov [accessed June 18, 2018]).
  37. See the United States Public Health Services website ( June 17, 2007 memento in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved April 8, 2007.
  38. Source: The Paradox of Military Technology - article by Max Boot in The New Atlantis in the autumn edition. Retrieved April 14, 2007.
  39. Gates calls for buildup in troops - Article of the Boston Globe of 12 January 2007. Retrieved on 11 February, 2007.
  40. For his failures, Rumsfeld must go - Comment from Retired Major General Paul Eaton in the International Herald Tribune, March 20, 2006. Retrieved April 14, 2007.
  41. Source: Graphic at LATimes.com from December 20, 2006. Accessed February 11, 2007.
  42. US Military Deployment 1969 to the present at PBS . Retrieved December 25, 2007.
  43. Budget of the British Armed Forces (English)
  44. ^ Annual report 2005/2006 of the Bonn Center for Conversion ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), p. 14. PDF.
  45. All figures in tables and charts on TruthAndPolitics.org ( Memento of April 21, 2004 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on October 2, 2006.
  46. Numbers  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute . Retrieved October 3, 2006.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / first.sipri.org  
  47. Source: 41% Percent of Your 2006 Taxes Go to War - listing ( memento of April 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) of the Quaker think tank Friends Committee on National Legislation of March 14, 2007, accessed on April 14, 2007. The group comments here ( Memento from April 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) on her methodology.
  48. List from a data sheet of the Austrian Ministry for National Defense . Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  49. cf. Stephen Daggett, Ronald O'Rourke, Lawrence Kapp: FY2009 Defense Budget: Issues for Congress (PDF; 552 kB), p. 16ff. Status: February 11, 2008. Accessed September 7, 2008.
  50. "National bankruptcy threatens - USA must save Military is being downsized" derStandard from January 7, 2011, accessed on January 7, 2011
  51. cf. Kernell, Samuel, and Jacobson Gary C .: The Logic of American Politics , Chapter 13: Interest Groups , Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press 2006, 3rd Edition, p. 524.
  52. US Code Title 10 Section 525 (English)
  53. US Code Title 10 Section 526 (English)
  54. Ranks of the Public Health Service ( Memento from June 17, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (English)
  55. Tom Bowman: Unceremonious End to Army Career ( Memento of December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) ( The Baltimore Sun of May 29, 2005, archived at TruthOut.org; English)
  56. Data sheet ( Memento of the original from August 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. via the Secretary of the Army . Accessed December 1, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.army.mil
  57. Data sheet of the US Navy to SECNAV . Retrieved August 25, 2007.
  58. English: Anytime, anywhere . This is a winged word within the US military that doesn't just have to refer to confrontational readiness. The article TACPs: Supporting troops anytime, anywhere may serve as an example .
  59. In a statement today, President Bush said AFRICOM will strengthen security cooperation with Africa and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of African nations. "Africa Command will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth in Africa," Bush said. Pentagon press release dated February 6, 2007. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  60. Gates to close JFCOM, cut gen. Officer billets ( Memento of March 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (MarineCorpsTimes.com of August 10, 2010; English)
  61. ^ Debate between representatives ( Memento of July 12, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) of various think tanks in January 2007. Retrieved on May 5, 2007.
  62. As an example: Article ( Memento from February 20, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) in ZMag from January 14, 2007. Retrieved on May 5, 2007.
  63. Internet site of the US Army around the FCS ( Memento from April 20, 2005 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved October 2, 2006.
  64. Source: Article in the online edition of the Observer of March 10, 2002. Retrieved on June 4, 2007.
  65. Chronology of the debate and technical evidence . Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  66. ^ Presentation ( memento of October 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) of the debate including chronology. Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  67. ^ Tanks take a beating in Iraq . USA Today March 29, 2005 . Retrieved October 3, 2006.
  68. a b c Source: GlobalFirepower.com ( Memento of November 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved November 28, 2007.
  69. The three services must be put on notice that the F-35 will be the last manned fighter ever developed [... ]
  70. Lockheed Says F-35 Could Fly Pilotless - Article by Renae Merle in the Washington Post, August 16, 2006 . Retrieved November 1, 2006.
  71. a b c Source: FAQ section on the Pentagon website . Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  72. The number of stationed soldiers can be found in the document Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country ( Memento of March 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). As of September 30, 2006. Accessed February 19, 2007.
  73. a b Source: Base Structure Report 2013 of the Pentagon on the website of the State Secretary for Procurement, Technology and Logistics ( Memento of February 21, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  74. The Arithmetic of America's Military Bases Abroad: What Does It All Add Up to? - Article by Chalmers Johnston on January 19, 2004 on the History News Network . Retrieved March 16, 2007.
  75. ^ Article by Vance at the liberal- pacifist think tank Anti-War.com from March 16, 2004. Retrieved on March 16, 2007.
  76. For comparison: Saarland = 2,569 km² (x 5.6) and Schleswig-Holstein 15,799 km² (92% of it)
  77. See the website specially set up for BRAC 2005 . , accessed June 4, 2007.
  78. Source: MSNBC, May 14, 2005. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  79. List of affected locations at MSNBC from May 13, 2005. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  80. See a comparison with the following competitors in the Ministry's FAQ . Accessed June 4, 2007.
  81. Source: FAQ of the Ministry of Defense. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  82. Amy Zegart, Kevin Childs: The Divide Between Silicon Valley and Washington Is a National Security Threat . In: The Atlantic, December 13, 2018
  83. 30th Anniversary of the All-Volunteer Force - Proclamation Bush in the online archive of the White House . Retrieved February 15, 2007.
  84. ^ Hispanic Americans in the US Army - A Rich Culture contributing to America's Future
  85. ^ African Americans in the US Army
  86. ^ Asian / Pacific Americans in the Army
  87. ^ American Indians in the US Army
  88. Source: US Military Integration of Religious, Ethnic, and Racial Minorities in the Twentieth Century . Study ( September 28, 2007 memento on the Internet Archive ) of the Palm Center May 2001. Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  89. Gen. Casey Announces Creation of Diversity Task Force . Press release from JD Lepold of the Army News Service dated December 3, 2007. Retrieved January 20, 2008.
  90. ^ Population Representation in the Military Services 2004 . Annual Report of Ethnic Representation , issued by the Ministry of Defense. Retrieved June 16, 2007.
  91. ^ Wounded Troops Become Citizens at Walter Reed Ceremony - "Naturalization ceremony for wounded soldiers in the Walter Reed Hospital ". Report by Carmen L-Gleason for the American Forces Press Service, March 17, 2007. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  92. The following article in National Review ( Memento of September 8, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) may serve as an example .
  93. Exemplary list of the units and activities open to women on www.goarmy.com
  94. a b c History FAQ at Women's Memorial ( Memento from June 22, 2013 on WebCite )
  95. Biography at Mishalov.com . Retrieved February 18, 2007.
  96. Sadler AG, Booth BM, Cook BL, Doebbeling BN: Factors associated with women's risk of rape in the military environment. , American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Mar; 43 (3): 262-73 PMID 12594773 .
  97. Source: Digitized version of a study from 1986 by Maria Roca at the Office for Labor Statistics (PDF; 186 kB). Retrieved May 1, 2007.
  98. Ewing, Philip: Pentagon announces end of ban on women on subs ( Memento November 1, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), in: Military Times , February 27, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  99. Süddeutsche: America's gay soldiers
  100. ^ CNN report of March 7, 1996 on the conviction of the perpetrators ( Memento of January 2, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved February 18, 2007.
  101. Budget report of the Ministry ( Memento of February 26, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 415 kB) for the fiscal year 2008.
  102. a b Budget report of the Ministry ( Memento of July 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) for the fiscal year 2007.
  103. Congress report of May 8, 2006 on the Ministry of Veterans (PDF).
  104. Source: Article in the online edition of Energy Bulletin, October 13, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2007.
  105. Source: Energy Conservation Plans Overlook Military Realities ( December 3, 2013 memento on the Internet Archive ) - Article in the September 2006 online edition of National Defense magazine . Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  106. Source: Energy Bulletin of May 20, 2007. Accessed December 1, 2013.
  107. See White Paper ( iasps.org (PDF)). Retrieved June 10, 2007.
  108. The US Military Needs Its Dexedrine - Presentation of the obstacles that a refusal to use stimulants can bring (February 10, 2003). Retrieved June 16, 2007.
  109. See the salary table ( Memento from August 23, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) from January 1, 2012. Retrieved on August 19, 2012.
  110. 2013 Military Pay Scale Chart
  111. See the salary table ( Memento from August 23, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) from January 1, 2012, page 3. Accessed on August 19, 2012.
  112. (...) per month (...). Retrieved July 27, 2007 (Explanation from Military.com ).
  113. See the salary table ( Memento from August 23, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) from January 1, 2012. Retrieved on August 19, 2012.
  114. See the list with explanations from Military.com . Accessed December 1, 2013.
  115. ^ Defense Finance and Accounting Service ( Memento from 23 August 2012 in the Internet Archive ) - List of all payments in the military sector with explanations. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  116. The Korean War has been called the “Forgotten War”, historically overshadowed by World War II and Vietnam […] . Military.com portal on the Korean War. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  117. Smart Bombs, Dumb Targets . Article by Fred Kaplan on Slate.com on December 16, 2003.
  118. On April 7, a US Air Force B-1B Lancer aircraft dropped four 2,000-pound satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) on a house in al-Mansur district of Baghdad. The attack killed an estimated eighteen civilians. Human rights assessment of the 2003 Iraq bombing in December 2003. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  119. Cluster Munitions, 'Decapitation' Attacks Condemned . Human Rights Watch, December 12, 2003. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  120. Source: Second published on usmilitary.about.com on July 1, 2006. Accessed December 16, 2007.
  121. ^ US Military Still the Most Trusted Institution . Second published on usmilitary.about.com on March 8, 2007. Retrieved December 16, 2007.

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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on July 20, 2007 in this version .