The U.S. Armed Forces
About the The U.S. Armed Forces Lesson
This lesson introduces students to the history of the Armed Forces of the United States.
• To be able to list the different branches of the Armed Forces.
• To be able to describe how the Armed Forces began.
• To be able to list the highest ranks in the Armed Forces.
The United States Armed Forces is the unification of the military forces of the United States. The US military was originally formed by the second Continental Congress. The US military created to defend the nation against British forces during the Revolutionary War.
In 1775, the Army, the Marine Corps, and the Navy were commissioned. The Revenue Cutter Service was formed in 1790. In 1915, the Revenue Cutter Service joined with the United States Life-Saving Service and became known as the Coast Guard.
The United States Air Force was originally called the United States Army Air Corps and was formed in 1926. It became an independent service in 1947.
Generally-speaking, when someone today refers to the US Armed Forces, they mean the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. The Marine Corp is actually a division of the Navy. The President of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the military.
The US has one of the largest militaries in the world. Together, the US military has nearly three million personnel. Roughly half of the personnel serve in the reserves. Each year, the military receives about $711 billion in funding.
Except for the Coast Guard, all branches of the military are part of the Department of Defense, which falls under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security. During times of war, the Coast Guard can be placed under the authority of the Department of Defense instead.