United States Military

The United States is a sovereign nation located in North America and is known for its strong military and defense. The US Armed Forces is the military branch of the country and consists of five branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The total active personnel stands at around 1.3 million with an additional reserve force of around 860,000 personnel. The US has a strong defense budget compared to its GDP as it spends about 3.2% of its GDP on defense. The country imports weapons from countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Israel. The US also has strong ties with other countries in the region such as Canada which allows them to cooperate militarily when needed. As a result of this strong military presence in the region US has become an important regional player in security issues and is able to maintain peace and stability within North America effectively. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of United States.


Military development in the world is dominated by the United States. In order to utilize its military force effectively and in view of the rapid development in the military command area, cooperation between the various branches of defense has increased. This is founded, among other things. on lessons learned from the Kuwait War 1990–91. The leadership also makes demands on the cooperative nations’ defense forces, e.g. Swedish associations that are part of (UN) NATO/US-led operations.

The experience of prolonged fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, is that conventional military strategy is not enough. To quickly win military victories on the battlefield must be able to be followed up. This requires a new focus on the ability of the army and naval associations mainly, and this focus is introduced during ongoing operations. It means increased ability to deal with long unconventional warfare, combating terrorism, support for reconstruction and the creation of stability.

After the end of the Cold War, the defense was organized as a so-called global peripheral defense in collaboration with allies, mainly countries in Europe as well as Japan and South Korea. In several of these countries, the United States has bases for aviation and naval combat forces as well as intelligence services. In addition, Germany, South Korea and Japan have extensive ground and naval forces. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US defense focused on being able to manage two regional conflicts simultaneously. The doctrine is called “advanced presence” and means, among other things. increased focus on defense against ballistic missiles, increased strategic and tactical mobility, restriction of stationing abroad, differentiation of readiness and armor restrictions.

United States Army

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Three principled decisions indicated that the Cold War was in a different phase. The Berlin Brigade left the city in 1995. In 1996, the US-Japan security agreement was renewed with promises of a far-reaching US military presence, and in 1997 a decision was made to expand NATO eastward and to invite the Russian Federation to join a new Euro-Asian Partnership Council. The latter means that the Russian Federation has a far-reaching influence with participation in the Partnership Council’s ministerial council as well as ambassador and liaison officers, but no veto rights. The task of the old NATO was, according to its first Secretary General HL Ismay, “to keep the Russians out, the Americans inside and the Germans down.” In the new NATO, it is necessary to “hold the Russians in,” ie. they will be involved in European security work.

During the 1990s, the civil war in the Balkan Peninsula broke out with extensive UN-sanctioned efforts by unions, not least from the United States; a maximum of 26,000 people participated in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR) and Kosovo (KFOR).

On September 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon occurred. This changed the conditions for national defense against attacks by other states. It was clear that non-national forces have a significant ability to carry out terrorist acts. This development affects both individual states and the world community and not least the UN. The UN Charter has not entirely foreseen this form of large-scale violence by non-national forces.

In 2002, the United States adopted a new security policy strategy aimed at preventing attacks on the United States and establishing and retaining an international coalition of states aimed at waging war on terrorism. This has led to the change of the US base strategy. Bases in less important areas are being downgraded, and new ones are being built in an arc from northern Africa across the Middle East to the Far East. Bases in Central Europe are being moved east to Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

The 2003 war actions in Iraq were carried out at a very high pace and in such a way that the defender’s ability was paralyzed at an early stage. The material destruction was considerably less than during the Kuwaiti war, despite the fact that the capital Baghdad was occupied by ground combat allies. This new strategy is called by the United States for EBO (Effects Based Operations).

In the fall of 2003, the United States had 146,000 men in Iraq, and by 2008 the strength had increased to 165,000 men. In November 2008, two key agreements were signed between Iraq and the United States, which means that the US is reducing its presence, while Iraqi army and police forces are taking over responsibility for the country’s security. In June 2009, the United States withdrew from cities and villages, and in December 2009, the United States left all conflicting tasks and transitioned to support, education and counseling. By August 2010, US forces had dropped to 50,000 men. By December 2011, US military forces should have left the country.

In the autumn of 2003, the United States had 8,300 men in Afghanistan, and in 2008 the force had increased to 23,300. In 2009, US President Barack Obama took office. A comprehensive review was thus made of the existing strategy, and a new direction was decided in Afghanistan. This is aimed at protecting the population, strengthening domestic institutions and removing heavier army and air force platforms. One wants to win the “long war against violent extremist movements”.

The effort in Afghanistan was increased to just under 68,000 men in late summer 2009. In December, the decision was made to increase the effort by another 30,000 men in 2010 with a focus on counseling and assistance and at the same time aiming to reduce the presence of combatants from 2011. At The Kabul Conference in July 2010, led by the UN, emphasized NATO and ISAF countries that the transfer of security responsibilities is not bound by a timetable, but the purpose is for Afghan security forces to have full responsibility in 2014.

The US military force is based on strategic nuclear weapons and consists of airborne, submarine-based and ground-based systems supported by five worldwide warning and information gathering systems. In 2003, there were approximately 6,000 nuclear warheads, which were scheduled to be reduced in 2007 to the START 2 agreement level of 3,500. In this context, an agreement was concluded with the Russian Federation both on adjustment of deployment of missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic as well as on follow-up of the strategic disarmament START 1, which otherwise would have expired in December 2009.

Dressings that can be quickly deployed all over the earth are prepared from advanced bases, groups of aircraft carriers and navy wound dressings. The United States is the only nation that has the logistical capacity to provide extensive operations with air and sea transportation. The military strategic management is located in the US (Nebraska), otherwise the management is decentralized to a number of all-round staffs responsible for the following areas (management position in brackets): Europe (Belgium) with the Atlantic (Virginia), Pacific (Hawaii), the central area including the Gulf of Persia (Bahrain), Central and South America (Florida), and Northern Command (Colorado).

The defense (2010) comprises about 1,580,000 men recruited, with 865,000 men in reserve. The armed forces have been increased to 662,000 men and reorganized into three types of brigade units: heavy brigades, infantry brigades and so-called Stryker brigades. In total, 36 brigades will be organized together with the National Guard’s 28 brigades. In Afghanistan (NATO/ISAF), the army has 34,800 men and in Operation Enduring Freedom 31,200 men, in Iraq 50,000 men (decommissioned), in Germany 38,000 men and in South Korea 17,000 men.

The fleet (335,000 men) with just under 300 battleships, including 11 aircraft carriers and 71 strategic submarines, is distributed with two fleets in the Pacific, one in the Indian Ocean/Persian Gulf, one in the Atlantic and one in the Mediterranean.

The Navy (204,000 men) has a division in Japan, a division divided with a brigade in Iraq, a division in Afghanistan and a reserve division in the United States. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that USA stands for United States.

The Air Force comprises 334,000 men with 2,650 modern combat aircraft based in the Pacific region. In Japan, there are 12,500 men out of the Air Force, in South Korea 8,000 men, in Germany 14,500 men, in Italy 4,000 men and in the United Kingdom 8,500 men.

Of the US total defense spending budget (2010), about 10% goes to combat irregular armed units, 50% to traditional conflicts and 40% is future-oriented. Defense spending has fallen by 35% in real terms since 1985. In 2006, they amounted to 4.0% of GDP, with 2008 reaching 4.8% of GDP.

The United States participates in most of the UN peacekeeping operations.

The President of the United States is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Under the National Security Act, the Army, Navy and Air Force in 1947 were placed under a Joint Secretary of Defense (Secretary of Defense). The three branches of defense have their own ministries, led by ministers, who are subject to the Minister of Defense. The highest organ of defense issues is the defense council (National Security Council). US President is the chairman of the council, which also consists of the vice president, ministers with special ties to defense issues and chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff (Joint Chiefs of Staff).

The Defense Mobilization Board (Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization) is an advisory body for the President of the United States on issues of civil defense, military mobilization, and war preparation for civil society. The defense chief’s committee consists of the chairman, who is appointed by the president of the United States, the defense chiefs, and the commander of the Marine Corps (US Marines). The task of the chief scholar is to be a military advisory body for the president and the defense minister and to lead the strategic planning. In the United States, military service is volunteer-based. The United States is a member of NATO.

In 2018, according to IISS figures, total force figures were 1,359,450 active personnel, in addition to a reserve of 845,600 personnel.

Nuclear weapons

The president alone is responsible for triggering the use of nuclear weapons. This applies whether these weapons are strategic or tactical. The strategic nuclear weapons forces can be divided into offensive and defensive forces. In 2018, the offensive naval forces mainly consisted of 14 Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarines capable of firing Trident II D – 5 ballistic missiles. Air Force Global Strike Command had in 2018 about 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles of the types Minuteman III, and in addition tactical nuclear weapons in the form of cruise missiles and free-falling bombs for use of aircraft. As of April 2019, the United States had about 3,800 nuclear warheads. Disarmament of nuclear weapons takes place in accordance with the New START agreement.

The defensive nuclear forces are operative under the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD, North American Aerospace Defense Command), a joint US-Canadian organization with headquarters in Colorado. The force includes interceptor fighters and early air warning (AEW) aircraft. NORAD also has several other warning systems that include both satellites and complicated ground stations.


The Department of the Army is headed by the Secretary of the Army, who is the head of the Chief of Staff Army. The Defense Department’s administration and administration is primarily handled by the Ministry of the Army, while the purely military issues fall under the Chief of the Army, who is at the same time the Chief Minister of the Army.

In 2018, the Army had a total force of 476 200 active personnel. In war or crisis, the regular Army Reserve of 188,800 personnel can be summoned and the Army National Guard of 335,200 reservists. In addition to forces in the continental United States, the army and forces in Europe, the Pacific, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean/Latin America. The army has its own aircraft, helicopters and landings to ensure tactical mobility.

In 2018 included Army heavier materials 2,386 tanks category M1 Abrams (in addition about 3500 edition), 1745 reconnaissance vehicles, 2,931 armored cars (in addition about 2000 edition), and 10,547 armored personnel carriers (in addition about 8000 edition).

The army also had 116 amphibious warships, of which eight were landings of 4200 tons and 70 smaller landings.

The Army aircraft included 156 light transport aircraft, eight ELINT aircraft and four training aircraft. Helicopters included 714 Apache combat helicopters, 2822 transport helicopters, 249 rescue helicopters, and about 50 training helicopters. The army also had 388 medium and heavy drones.

Air Force

The United States Air Force (USAF) became an independent defense branch in 1947. The Department of the Air Force is headed by the Secretary of the Air Force, who is the head of the Chief of Staff Air Force. The Air Force is divided into commands by function and geographical location. In addition to forces in the continental United States, the Air Force has forces in Europe (USAFE), the Pacific (PACAF), Alaska and the Middle East.

The Air Force had a personnel strength of 325,900. Aircraft included 264 fighter jets (including 105 F-15 Eagle and 159 F-22 Raptor), 922 fighter aircraft (of which 557 F-16, 211 F-15E Strike Eagle and 154 F-35A Lightning II), 141 attack aircraft of type A-10C Thunderbolt II, 139 bombers (of which 61 B1-B Lancer, 20 B-2A Spirit and 58 B-52H Stratofortress), 215 tankers (of which 156 KC-135 Stratotanker and 59 KC-10 Extender), 31 AWACS aircraft, 22 ELINT aircraft, 41 reconnaissance aircraft, 14 EK aircraft, 331 transport aircraft, 1127 training aircraft, and 19 other aircraft. Helicopters included 62 light transport helicopters and 74 rescue helicopters. The Air Force also had 244 heavy drones, including 200 combat drones.

In reserve, the Air National Guard comes with a staff of 107 450 reservists, 157 fighters (137 F-15 Eagle and 20 F-22 Raptor), 336 fighter aircraft (F-16), 86 attack aircraft (A-10 Thunderbolt II), 172 tankers, 218 transport aircraft, 18 helicopters, 35 heavy drones, and 37 other aircraft. In addition, the Air Force Reserve Command with a staff of 68,700 reservists, 230 aircraft and 16 helicopters, and the Civil Reserve Air Fleets which include civilian cargo and passenger aircraft.

Navy and Marine Corps

The Department of the Navy is headed by the Secretary of the Navy, who is the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commander of the Marine Corps, both of whom are military advisers to the Navy.

The Navy

In 2018, the naval personnel had 329,850 active personnel, plus a reserve of 100,950. The fleet included 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (10 of the Nimitz class and one of the Gerald R. Ford class), 32 amphibious warships, of which nine were eight Wasp-class and one of America class), 11 dock landing ship, and 12 landing ships docked), two command ship Blue Ridge-class, 22 cruisers Ticonderoga-class, 65 destroyers of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, 13 frigates, 61 patrol boats, 11 minesweepers, 245 landings, and 14 logistics and auxiliary vessels.

In addition, the 14 strategic submarines mentioned above come with offensive nuclear weapons, and 53 attack submarines. The Navy also has a significant number of vessels in reserve.

The Navy has its own air forces; in 2018, these included 736 fighter aircraft, mainly Hornet and Super Hornet types, 140 anti-submarine aircraft, 131 EK aircraft, 80 AEW & C aircraft, 60 transport aircraft, nine ELINT aircraft, three tankers, 582 training aircraft, 670 helicopters, and 76 medium and heavy aircraft drones.

Marine Corps

Personnel strength of marine corps was in 2018 at 185,400 personnel active in addition a reserve of 38 350. For heavier materials, Marine Corps 447 M1 Abrams tanks, 448 reconnaissance carriages of a LAV 25 and 3629 armored personnel carrier, which 1200 amphibious central AAV- 7.

The Marine Corps Air Force included 443 fighter aircraft (251 Hornet, 126 Harrier II and 66 F-35 Lightning II), nine EK aircraft, 45 tankers, 20 transport aircraft, three training aircraft, 306 MV-22 Osprey aircraft, 177 Cobra fighter helicopters, 286 transport helicopters, four rescue helicopters and 80 light drones.


The US Coast Guard belongs in peace under the Department of Transport, but goes to war as part of the Navy. In 2018, the Coast Guard had a personnel force of about 42,100 (of which 8500 civilians), 160 patrol boats, 78 logistics and relief vessels, 54 aircraft and 146 rescue helicopters.

Operations abroad

In 2018, the United States took part in NATO operations in Afghanistan (Operations Resolute Support) with 8475 personnel and in Serbia (KFOR) with 685 personnel.

In addition, the United States participated in UN operations in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) with eight personnel, the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) with three personnel, in Libya (UNSMIL) with an observer, in Mali (MINUSMA) with 24 personnel, in the Middle East (UNTSO) with two observers, and in South Sudan (UNMISS) with seven personnel.

The US also had forces in Iraq consisting of 5,000 personnel, combat helicopters and drones (Operation Inherent Resolve), and 14,000 personnel in Kuwait.