United States Armed Forces

The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States.[10] The armed forces consists of six service branches: the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard.[11][12] The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All six armed services are among the eight uniformed services of the United States.[13]

United States Armed Forces

Emblems of the U.S. Armed Forces' service branches
Founded14 June 1775; 247 years ago (1775-06-14)[lower-alpha 1]
Service branches
HeadquartersThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia
Commander-in-Chief President Joe Biden
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN Mark A. Milley, USA
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ADM Christopher W. Grady, USN
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman SEAC Ramón Colón-López, USAF
Military age17 with parental consent, 18 for voluntary service.[lower-alpha 2]
ConscriptionMale only (inactive since 1973)
Available for
military service
17 million[4], age 18–25 (2016)
Reaching military
age annually
2 million[5] (2016)
Active personnel1,358,500[6] (ranked 3rd)
Reserve personnel799,500[7]
BudgetUS$782 billion (2022)[8] (ranked 1st)
Percent of GDP3.42% (2019)[9]
Domestic suppliersList
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of the United States
RanksCommissioned officer

Warrant officer


From their inception during the American Revolutionary War, the U.S. Armed Forces have played a decisive role in the history of the United States. They helped forge a sense of national unity and identity through victories in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. They played a critical role in the American Civil War, keeping the Confederacy from seceding from the republic and preserving the union. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the secretary of defense; and created the United States Air Force and the National Security Council. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest military forces in terms of personnel. They draw their personnel from a large pool of professional volunteers. Although military conscription has been used in the past, it has not been used in the U.S. since 1973. The Selective Service System retains the power to conscript males, and requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service.

The U.S. Armed Forces are considered the world's most powerful military.[14] The military budget of the United States was US$693 billion in 2019, the highest in the world.[15] In 2018, that accounted for 36 percent of the world's defense expenditures. The U.S. Armed Forces has significant capabilities in both defense and power projection due to its large budget, resulting in advanced and powerful technologies which enables a widespread deployment of the force around the world, including around 800 military bases outside the United States.[16] The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest air force, while the U.S. Army Aviation Branch is the second largest. The U.S. Naval Air Forces is the fourth largest air arm in the world and is the largest naval aviation service, while U.S. Marine Corps Aviation is the world's seventh largest air arm.[17] The U.S. Navy is the world's largest navy by tonnage.[18] The U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest maritime force.[19] The U.S. Space Force is the world's only active independent space force.[20][21]

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