What is the military? In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the five service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.
There are two general categories of military service: active duty (full-time servicemembers), and reserve and guard forces (normally serve one weekend a month, but may occasionally be called to full-time military duty).
Who runs the military? The president is the commander in chief. He makes all final decisions, but Congress has a role in determining issues like pay and benefits. Most military policies are determined by the Department of Defense (DoD), which has control over the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The Department of Homeland Security has control over the Coast Guard.
What does the military do? Each branch of the military has a unique mission within the overall mission of U.S. security and peace. Here they are in a nutshell.
The Air Force’s main focus is aerospace superiority and rapid global mobility; the ability to engage adversary targets anywhere, anytime; and the ability to rapidly position forces anywhere in the world.
Although the Air Force is focused on flying, there are many jobs that range from security to electronics. If you like flying and/or working with flight systems and technology, the Air Force may be for you.
The Army generally deals with land-focused missions. Soldiers can deploy to a conflict area, engage and overwhelm the enemy, and ensure that peace and security have been established. The Army is chiefly used for missions that require great team effort, focus and persistence.
The Army has the widest range of jobs of all the service branches. If you like the idea of ensuring peace and security through land- and river-based operations and being part of a huge team, the Army may be for you.
Coast Guard missions include homeland security, marine environmental protection, force protection, search and rescue, law enforcement, and maintaining the world’s navigation systems.
The Coast Guard, like the Marine Corps, is a small, tightly knit service. If you like law enforcement, assuring security, a peace-time mission, and working as a member of a small elite team, the Coast Guard may be for you.
The Marine Corps is known as the U.S. rapid-reaction force. They are trained to fight by sea and land, and usually are the first “boots on the ground.” Marines are known as the world’s fiercest warriors.
Of all the branches, none are as proud as the Marines. Marines are a highly exclusive, highly motivated bunch. Those who become Marines do so because they want to, not because of benefits or other reasons. If you like the idea of performing missions on land and sea (and even in the air), if you place values and honor above yourself, enjoy mental and physical challenges, and would be excited to be among the first “on the scene,” you may be Marine material.
The Navy accomplishes its missions primarily by sea, but also by air and land. It secures and protects the oceans around the world to create peace and stability, making the seas safe for travel and trade.
The Navy is primarily focused on sea missions. The Navy provides some of the highest job satisfaction of all the services. Many different types of jobs are available in the Navy. Tradition, brotherhood and pride are well very much a part of being a sailor. If you enjoy challenges by sea, land, and/or air, enjoy traveling the world, but are also searching for mental challenge and great job training, the Navy may be right for you.
This article reprinted from Military.com, the largest military and veteran membership organization.