Military history of the United States
The military history of the United States spans a period of over two centuries. During those years, the United States evolved from a newly formed nation fighting for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (1775–1783), through the American Civil War (1861–1865) and, after collaborating with the Allies during World War II (1941–1945), to world superpower status from the latter part of the 20th century to the present.
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In 1775, the Continental Congress established the Continental Army, Continental Navy, and Continental Marines and named General George Washington its commander. This newly formed military, fighting alongside French soldiers and sailors, triumphed over the British during the war, which led to independence via the Treaty of Paris. In 1789, the new Constitution made the president the commander in chief, and gave Congress the authority to levy taxes, create laws, and declare war.
As of 2021, the United States Armed Forces consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Space Force, all under the command of the Department of Defense, and the Coast Guard, which is controlled by the Department of Homeland Security.
The President of the United States is the commander-in-chief, and exercises the authority through the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who supervises combat operations. Governors have control of each state's Army and Air National Guard units for limited purposes. The president also has the ability to federalize National Guard units, bringing them under the sole control of the Department of Defense.