A presentation on the U.S. Armed Forces,Military Rank Structure, Military ConflictChronology, and National SecurityAcronymsUnited States Armed ForcesDecoded
United States Armed ForcesActive ComponentsArmy CoastGuardMarineCorpsDepartment of Defense (DOD) Department ofHomelandSecurity (DHS)Air Force Navy
Air Force• Summary: The Air Force’s primary mission is to protect the United States,engage enemy aircraft, and attack enemy infrastructure/ground forces. TheUnited States Air Force has bases strategically located across the US and theworld.• Founded: July 26, 1947 (The National Security Act of 1947 created theDepartment of the Air Force).• History: The United States Air Force first started off as an Aeronautical Divisionwithin the U.S. Army Signals corps. During World War I, the Air Service wascreated to help coordinate the tactical air units. After the war, the UnitedStates Army Air Corps was created by the Air Corps Act of 1926. ThroughoutWorld War II, the Air Corps remained in the Army . Following the WWII, aseparate Air Force military branch was created. For a more detailed overviewsee the Air Force History Overview page.• U.S. Air Force Webpage
Army• Summary: The United States Army’s mission is to sustain a viable fightingforce for combat on land. The Army is the US’s largest land force andpredates American sovereignty.• Founded: June 14, 1775• History: The Army has been involved in every major war since theRevolutionary War. Over the years, the Army has evolved over time toinclude new technologies and strategies—from muskets to modern machineguns and from horses to tanks and armored troop transports. For a moredetailed history check out the U.S. Army Center of Military History.• U.S. Army Webpage
Navy• Summary: The Department of the Navy’s mission is to maintain a naval forceto protect the nation and maintain freedom on the high seas. The majority ofnaval personnel serve on ships.• Founded: October 13, 1775• History: The modern Navy ‘s predecessor was the Continental Navy formedduring the Revolutionary War. The Continental Navy was disbanded after thewar, and the Department of the Navy was eventually established in 1798.The Navy has maintained an active force and has been deployed around theworld in support of United States Military campaigns and relief efforts. For amore extensive overview see the Naval History and Heritage Command page.• Navy Webpage
Marine Corps• Summary: The Marine Corps’ mission is to maintain troops capable offighting on land and sea. The Marine Corps were typically amongst the firstunits involved in US military conflicts.• Founded: November 10, 1775• History: The Continental Congress created the Marine Corps during theRevolutionary War. The Marines were created to form a force capable offighting on land and on sea. The total force increased significantly duringWorld War I, World War II, and Vietnam eras. Following Vietnam, the MarineCorps total force was significantly reduced . Recently, the Marines havedeployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism, Operation Iraqi Freedom,and Operation Enduring Freedom. For more a more detailed history see theUnited States Marine Corps History Division’s webpage.• United States Marine Corps Web page
Coast Guard• Summary: The Coast Guard is a part of the Department of HomelandSecurity. The Coast Guard’s mission is a combination of law enforcement (e.g.,drug interdiction), enforcement of tariffs, military operations (e.g., navalsupport), assisting marine vessels (e.g., maintaining light buoys ), and rescueoperations.• Founded: 1789• History: The modern coast guard was originally several different governmentagencies that were incorporated over time. Since the passage of the U.S.Constitution, the Coast Guard has supported war time operations. For a moredetailed history check out the Coast Guard’s A Historical Overview page.• United States Coast Guard Webpage
National Guard & Reserve ComponentsReserve ComponentsNational Guard
Brief Military History Chronology:Major United States Conflicts• Revolutionary War (1775-1783 ) (Early Revolution Overview / WinningIndependence)• War of 1812 (1812-1814) (Overview)• The Mexican War (1846-1848) (Overview)• Civil War (1861-1865 ) (Overview)• Spanish-American War (1898 ) (Overview)• World War I (1917-1918 ) (Overview)• World War II (1941- 1945) (Overview)• Korean War (1950-1953) (Overview)• Vietnam War (1955-1975 ) (Overview)• Persian Gulf War (1990-1991 ) (Overview)• Bosnia-Herzegovina (Operations Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard, and Joint Forge) (1995-2004) (Overview)• Operation Enduring Freedom (2001- ) (Overview)• Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003- ) (Overview)
• Dexter Filkins, The Forever War (analyzing US recent conflicts and Islamicfundamentalism)• Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers (providing philosophical insight into service andguidelines for command)• Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (a classic WWII novel)• Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5 (a fictional account of the WWII Dresden bombingcampaign).• Tim O’Brien, The Things they Carried (short stories tied to the Vietnam War)• Geoffrey Parker, The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare (a history of westernconflicts).• Sun Tzu, Art of War (classic military strategy text)For an extensive list of military book recommendations, check out the Military ProfessionalReading Lists website.Recommended Military Books:
Recent Conflicts: Newsfeeds, Analysis,and Documentaries• Military News Feed. The Military News Feed tracks a wide range of military newsinternet sources.• Military Channel (Youtube channel)• Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: The Independent Resource onGlobal Security
The National DefenseAcronym Game• The Armed Forces and GovernmentAgencies love acronyms.• Within these organizations, severalwriters love to play acronym game (i.e.,dropping acronyms without definingthe terms).• The following resources can help youdecode military acronyms:• DOD Dictionary of Military Terms• Aviator Slang, US Army Slang,Sailor Speak (Warning-these siteshave language that may beoffensive).
Military Educationand Research Tools• Vicki Tate, Gov Docs: Spies, Intelligence, and Cryptography, University of SouthAlabama Libguide. An excellent research guide for individuals interested inintelligence operations and methodology. There are links to several primarysource documents, including those from the CIA and DIA.• Pritzker Military Library Webpage. A great resource for teachers and militaryresearchers. The Pritzker library also maintains a digital archive of warphotography and posters.• United States Military Academy History Libguides. West Point librariansmaintain several great research guides on military history.• United States Naval Academy History Libguide. This Libguide contains severallinks to great primary resources, many of them freely available online likeprevious editions of Foreign Relations of the United States (1861-1960).