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Brushing Up on Military Missions

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Brushing Up on Military Missions

The United States Military branches exist to defend the United States against all enemies and to provide combat capabilities anywhere in the world in support of United States security objectives.

While it’s sometimes hard to tell (the Army has aircraft and ships, and the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have ground forces), each branch has specific missions.

Army mission

The Army exists to serve the American people, defend the Nation, protect vital national interests, and fulfill national military responsibilities. The Army makes up the nation’s largest and most extensive military ground capabilities. Currently, approximately 499,000 active duty Army troops are backed up by 700,000 National Guard and Army reservists. The Army is responsible to provide necessary forces and capabilities in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies of the United States.

The Army’s mission is codified by federal law:

  • Preserve the peace and security and provide for the defense of the United States, the Commonwealths and possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States
  • Support the national policies
  • Implement the national objectives
  • Overcome any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States

Air Force mission

The mission statement of the United States Air Force is "fly, fight, and win inair, space, and cyberspace."

Like the other branches, the official mission of the USAF has been established by federal law.

Title 10, Section 8062 of the U.S. Code defines the mission of the USAF as follows:

  • To preserve the peace and security and provide for the defense of the United States, the Territories, Commonwealths, and possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States
  • To support national policy
  • To implement national objectives
  • To overcome any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States

Navy mission

The mission of the United States Navy is to protect and defend the right of the United States and its allies to move freely on the oceans and to protect the country against her enemies.

Federal law defines the mission of the United States Navy as follows:

  • To prepare the naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war
  • To maintain naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, and all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy.
  • To develop aircraft, weapons, tactics, technique, organization, and equipment of naval combat and service elements

Marine Corps mission

The United States Marine Corps serves as the amphibious forces of the United States. Its mission is detailed in Title 10, Section 5063 of the UnitedStates Code (USC):

  • The seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and other land operations to support naval campaigns
  • The development of tactics, technique, and equipment used by amphibious landing forces
  • Such other duties as the President may direct\

Coast Guard mission

The Coast Guard is the only U.S. military service not organized under the Department of Defense. Instead, the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security.

Even so, the Coast Guard is one of the official branches of the U.S. Military. Title 10, section 101(a)(4) of the U.S.C. says, "The term ‘armed forces’ means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard." Additionally, Title 14, Section 1 states, "The Coast Guard as established 28 January 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times."

Remember: In time of war, the President can direct all, or part of, the Coast Guard under the service of the Navy.

Military history

Sir Francis Bacon once said, "History makes men wise." The Uniform Services certainly subscribe to this idea. In basic training, you study the history of your branch and take a written test about famous military events and famous military people who have come before you. In order to graduate from basic training, you need to pass this test, and if you want a shot at honor graduate or distinguished graduate, you need to score very well on this test.

The U.S. Coast Guard is the only U.S. Military branch that routinely engages in civilian law enforcement during peacetime. Section 2 of 14 U.S.C authorizesthe Coast Guard to enforce federal law.

The Coast Guard statutory missions as defined by law are divided into homeland security missions and nonhomeland security missions. Nonhomeland security missions are

  • Marine safety
  • Search and rescue
  • Aids to navigation
  • Living marine resources (fisheries law enforcement)
  • Marine environmental protection
  • Ice operations

Homeland security missions are

  • Ports, waterways, and coastal security (PWCS)
  • Drug interdiction
  • Migrant interdiction
  • Defense readiness
  • Other law enforcement

From Basic Training for Dummies, copyright © 2011 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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