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United States Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

United States Armed Forces (aka US Military): US Army (USA), US Navy (USN; includes US Marine Corps or USMC), US Air Force (USAF), US Space Force (USSF); US Coast Guard (USCG); National Guard (Army National Guard and Air National Guard) (2024)

note 1: the US Coast Guard is administered in peacetime by the Department of Homeland Security, but in wartime reports to the Department of the Navy

note 2:
the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are reserve components of their services and operate in part under state authority; the US military also maintains reserve forces for each branch

note 3: US law enforcement personnel include those of federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, the 50 states, special jurisdictions, local sheriff’s offices, and municipal, county, regional, and tribal police departments

note 4: the US has state defense forces (SDFs), which are military units that operate under the sole authority of state governments; SDFs are authorized by state and federal law and are under the command of the governor of each state; as of 2023, more than 20 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico had SDFs, which typically have emergency management and homeland security missions; most are organized as ground units, but air and naval units also exist

Military expenditures

3.2% of GDP (2023 est.)
3.3% of GDP (2022)
3.5% of GDP (2021)
3.6% of GDP (2020)
3.5% of GDP (2019)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 1.39 million active-duty personnel (475,000 Army; 345,000 Navy; 335,000 Air Force (includes about 8,000 Space Force); 180,000 Marine Corps; 40,000 Coast Guard); 335,000 Army National Guard; 105,000 Air National Guard (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the US military's inventory is comprised almost entirely of domestically produced weapons systems (some assembled with foreign components) along with a smaller mix of imported equipment from a variety of Western countries such as Germany and the UK; the US defense industry is capable of designing, developing, maintaining, and producing the full spectrum of weapons systems; the US is the world's leading arms exporter (2024)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for voluntary service for men and women; no conscription (currently inactive, but males aged 18-25 must register with Selective Service in case conscription is reinstated in the future); maximum enlistment age 34 (Army), 42 (Air Force/Space Force), 39 (Navy), 28 (Marines), 31 (Coast Guard); 8-year service obligation, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active duty (Navy), 4 years active duty (Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Space Force) (2023)

note 1: the US military has been all-volunteer since 1973, but an act of Congress can reinstate the draft in case of a national emergency

note 2:
all military occupations and positions open to women; in 2021, women comprised over 17% of the total US active duty military personnel; a small number of American women were involved in combat during the Revolutionary (1775-1783), Mexican (1846-1848), and Civil (1861-1865) Wars, but they had to disguise themselves as men and enlist under aliases; the first official US military organization for women was the US Army Nurse Corps, established in 1901; during World War I, the US Navy and Marine Corps allowed women to enlist; nearly 350,000 women served in the US military during World War II; the 1991 Gulf War was the first war where women served with men in integrated units within a war zone; in 2015, women were allowed to serve in direct combat roles

note 3: non-citizens living permanently and legally in the US may join as enlisted personnel; must have permission to work in the US, a high school diploma, and speak, read, and write English fluently; minimum age of 17 with parental consent or 18 without; maximum age 29-39, depending on the service; under the US Nationality Act, honorable service in the military may qualify individuals to obtain expedited citizenship; under the Compact of Free Association, citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands may volunteer; under the Jay Treaty, signed in 1794 between Great Britain and the US, and corresponding legislation, Native Americans/First Nations born in Canada are entitled to freely enter the US and join the US military

Military deployments

5,000 Africa; 1,700 Australia; 250 Diego Garcia; 150 Canada; 650 Cuba (Guantanamo Bay); 290 Egypt (MFO); approximately 85-100,000 Europe; 150 Greenland; 6,200 Guam; 370 Honduras; 55,000 Japan; approximately 15,000 Middle East; 125 Philippines; 28,000 South Korea; 200 Singapore; 100 Thailand (2023)

note: US military rotational policies affect deployment sizes, and the numbers given may fluctuate; the US deploys ground and air units to select countries for 6-12 month rotational assignments on a continuous basis; in South Korea, for example, the US regularly rotates combat brigades (approximately 3,000 personnel) for 9 months at a time; contingencies also affect US troop deployments; in 2019-2020, the US deployed more than 15,000 additional military personnel to the Middle East for an extended period of time and has sent more than 30,000 reinforcements to Europe in response to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022; in addition, some overseas US naval bases, such as the headquarters of US Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT) in Manama, Bahrain, are frequented by the crews of US ships on 6-9 month deployments; a US carrier strike group with an air wing and supporting ships typically includes over 6,000 personnel

Military - note

the US is a member of NATO and was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949

the US military's primary missions are to deter potential enemies, provide for the defense of provide for the defense of the US, the Territories, Commonwealths and possessions, and any areas occupied by the US, and to protect US national interests; it has worldwide responsibilities; the separate services operate jointly under 11 regional- or functionally-based joint service "combatant" commands: Africa Command; Central Command, Cyber Command, European Command, Indo-Pacific Command, Northern Command, Southern Command, Space Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command, and Transportation Command

Congress officially created the US military in September 1789; the US Army was established in June 1775 as the Continental Army; after the declaration of independence in July 1776, the Continental Army and the militia in the service of Congress became known collectively as the Army of the United States; when Congress ordered the Continental Army to disband in 1784, it retained a small number of personnel that would form the nucleus of the 1st American Regiment for national service formed later that year; both the US Navy and the US Marines were also established in 1775, but the Navy fell into disuse after the Revolutionary War, and was reestablished by Congress in 1794; the first US military unit devoted exclusively to aviation began operations in 1913 as part of the US Army; the Army Air Corps (AAC) was the US military service dedicated to aerial warfare between 1926 and 1941; the AAC became the US Army Air Forces in 1941 and remained as a combat arm of the Army until the establishment of the US Air Force in 1947 (2024)

NOTE: The information regarding United States on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of United States 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about United States 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.