Military

A military or an armed force is a professional organization formally authorized by a sovereign state to use lethal or deadly force and weapons to support the interests of the state. It typically consists of branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force, and in certain countries, Marines and a Coast Guard. The task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and of its citizens, and as the prosecution of war against other states. The military may also have additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within a society, including, the promotion of a political agenda, protecting corporate economic interests, internal population control, construction, emergency services, social ceremonies, and guarding important areas. The military may also function as a discrete subculture within a larger civil society, through the development of separate infrastructures, which may include housing, schools, utilities, logistics, health and medical, law, food production, finance and banking.

In broad usage, the terms "armed forces" and "military" are often treated as synonymous, although in technical usage a distinction is sometimes made in which a country's armed forces may include both its military and other paramilitary forces. Armed force is the use of armed forces to achieve political objectives. There are various forms of irregular military forces, not belonging to a recognized state; though they share many attributes with regular military forces, they are less often referred as simply "military".

Countries by soldier count
Countries by number of active soldiers (2009)

The profession of soldiering as part of a military is older than recorded history itself.[1] Some of the most enduring images of classical antiquity portray the power and feats of its military leaders. The Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC was one of the defining points of Pharaoh Ramses II's reign, and his monuments commemorate it in bas-relief. A thousand years later, the first emperor of unified China, Qin Shi Huang, was so determined to impress the gods with his military might that he had himself buried with an army of terracotta soldiers.[2] The Romans paid considerable attention to military matters, leaving to posterity many treatises and writings on the subject, as well as a large number of lavishly carved triumphal arches and victory columns.

Etymology and definitions

GuardKandahar
Soldiers from the Canadian Grenadier Guards in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan
Soldados do exército argentino 2016
Soldiers of the Argentine Army in formation
Issue: Possibly cognate with Thousand, cf. Latin and Romance language root word "mil-")

The first recorded use of the word military in English, spelled militarie, was in 1585.[3] It comes from the Latin militaris (from Latin miles, meaning "soldier") through French, but is of uncertain etymology, one suggestion being derived from *mil-it- – going in a body or mass.[4][5] The word is now identified as denoting someone that is skilled in use of weapons, or engaged in military service, or in warfare.[6][7]

As a noun, the military usually refers generally to a country's armed forces, or sometimes, more specifically, to the senior officers who command them.[6][7] In general, it refers to the physicality of armed forces, their personnel, equipment, and the physical area which they occupy.

As an adjective, military originally referred only to soldiers and soldiering, but it soon broadened to apply to land forces in general, and anything to do with their profession.[3] The names of both the Royal Military Academy (1741) and United States Military Academy (1802) reflect this. However, at about the time of the Napoleonic Wars, 'military' began to be used in reference to armed forces as a whole,[3] and in the 21st century expressions like 'military service', 'military intelligence', and 'military history' encompass naval and air force aspects. As such, it now connotes any activity performed by armed force personnel.

History

Military history is often considered to be the history of all conflicts, not just the history of the state militaries. It differs somewhat from the history of war, with military history focusing on the people and institutions of war-making, while the history of war focuses on the evolution of war itself in the face of changing technology, governments, and geography.

Military history has a number of facets. One main facet is to learn from past accomplishments and mistakes, so as to more effectively wage war in the future. Another is to create a sense of military tradition, which is used to create cohesive military forces. Still, another may be to learn to prevent wars more effectively. Human knowledge about the military is largely based on both recorded and oral history of military conflicts (war), their participating armies and navies and, more recently, air forces.

There are two types of military history, although almost all texts have elements of both: descriptive history, that serves to chronicle conflicts without offering any statements about the causes, nature of conduct, the ending, and effects of a conflict; and analytical history, that seeks to offer statements about the causes, nature, ending, and aftermath of conflicts – as a means of deriving knowledge and understanding of conflicts as a whole, and prevent repetition of mistakes in future, to suggest better concepts or methods in employing forces, or to advocate the need for new technology.

Organization

GCCMAP
An example of military command; a map of the United States' Unified Combatant Command's area of responsibility.

Personnel and units

CF-18A launches LGB Eglin AFB 2006
CF-18 Hornet drops a laser-guided bomb

Despite the growing importance of military technology, military activity depends above all on people. For example, in 2000 the British Army declared: "Man is still the first weapon of war."[8]

Rank and role

The military organization is characterized by a strict hierarchy divided by military rank, with ranks normally grouped (in descending order of authority) as officers (e.g. Colonel), non-commissioned officers (e.g. Sergeant), and personnel at the lowest rank (e.g. Private Soldier). While senior officers make strategic decisions, subordinated military personnel (soldiers, sailors, marines, or airmen) fulfil them. Although rank titles vary by military branch and country, the rank hierarchy is common to all state armed forces worldwide.

In addition to their rank, personnel occupy one of many trade roles, which are often grouped according to the nature of the role's military task on combat operations: combat roles (e.g. infantry), combat support roles (e.g. combat engineers), and combat service support roles (e.g. logistical support).

Recruitment

Personnel may be recruited or conscripted, depending on the system chosen by the state. Most military personnel are males; the minority proportion of female personnel varies internationally (approximately 3% in India,[9] 10% in the UK,[10] 13% in Sweden,[11] 16% in the US,[12] and 27% in South Africa[13]). While two-thirds of states now recruit or conscript only adults, as of 2017 50 states still relied partly on children under the age of 18 (usually aged 16 or 17) to staff their armed forces.[14]

Whereas recruits who join as officers tend to be upwardly-mobile,[15][16] most enlisted personnel have a childhood background of relative socio-economic deprivation.[17][18][19] For example, after the US suspended conscription in 1973, "the military disproportionately attracted African American men, men from lower-status socioeconomic backgrounds, men who had been in nonacademic high school programs, and men whose high school grades tended to be low".[15]

Obligations

The obligations of military employment are many. Full-time military employment normally requires a minimum period of service of several years; between two and six years is typical of armed forces in Australia, the UK and the US, for example, depending on role, branch, and rank.[20][21][22] Some armed forces allow a short discharge window, normally during training, when recruits may leave the armed force as of right.[23] Alternatively, part-time military employment, known as reserve service, allows a recruit to maintain a civilian job while training under military discipline at weekends; he or she may be called out to deploy on operations to supplement the full-time personnel complement. After leaving the armed forces, recruits may remain liable for compulsory return to full-time military employment in order to train or deploy on operations.[23][22]

Military law introduces offences not recognised by civilian courts, such as absence without leave (AWOL), desertion, political acts, malingering, behaving disrespectfully, and disobedience (see, for example, Offences against military law in the United Kingdom).[24] Penalties range from a summary reprimand to imprisonment for several years following a court martial.[24] Certain fundamental rights are also restricted or suspended, including the freedom of association (e.g. union organizing) and freedom of speech (speaking to the media).[24] Military personnel in some countries have a right of conscientious objection if they believe an order is immoral or unlawful, or cannot in good conscience carry it out.

Personnel may be posted to bases in their home country or overseas, according to operational need, and may be deployed from those bases on exercises or operations anywhere in the world. During peacetime, when military personnel are generally stationed in garrisons or other permanent military facilities, they mostly conduct administrative tasks, training and education activities, technology maintenance, and recruitment.

Training

Initial training conditions recruits for the demands of military life, including preparedness to injure and kill other people, and to face mortal danger without fleeing. It is a physically and psychologically intensive process which resocializes recruits for the unique nature of military demands. For example:

  • Individuality is suppressed (e.g. by shaving the head of new recruits, issuing uniforms, denying privacy, and prohibiting the use of first names);[25][26]
  • Daily routine is tightly controlled (e.g. recruits must make their beds, polish boots, and stack their clothes in a certain way, and mistakes are punished);[27][26]
  • Continuous stressors deplete psychological resistance to the demands of their instructors (e.g. depriving recruits of sleep, food, or shelter, shouting insults and giving orders intended to humiliate);[28][26][27] and
  • Frequent punishments serve to condition group conformity and discourage poor performance.[26]
  • The disciplined drill instructor is presented as a role model of the ideal soldier.[29]

Intelligence

The next requirement comes as a fairly basic need for the military to identify possible threats it may be called upon to face. For this purpose, some of the commanding forces and other military, as well as often civilian personnel participate in identification of these threats. This is at once an organisation, a system and a process collectively called military intelligence (MI).

The difficulty in using military intelligence concepts and military intelligence methods is in the nature of the secrecy of the information they seek, and the clandestine nature that intelligence operatives work in obtaining what may be plans for a conflict escalation, initiation of combat, or an invasion.

An important part of the military intelligence role is the military analysis performed to assess military capability of potential future aggressors, and provide combat modelling that helps to understand factors on which comparison of forces can be made. This helps to quantify and qualify such statements as: "China and India maintain the largest armed forces in the World" or that "the U.S. Military is considered to be the world's strongest".[30]

Simple guerrilla organization
Guerrilla structure

Although some groups engaged in combat, such as militants or resistance movements, refer to themselves using military terminology, notably 'Army' or 'Front', none have had the structure of a national military to justify the reference, and usually have had to rely on support of outside national militaries. They also use these terms to conceal from the MI their true capabilities, and to impress potential ideological recruits.

Having military intelligence representatives participate in the execution of the national defence policy is important, because it becomes the first respondent and commentator on the policy expected strategic goal, compared to the realities of identified threats. When the intelligence reporting is compared to the policy, it becomes possible for the national leadership to consider allocating resources over and above the officers and their subordinates military pay, and the expense of maintaining military facilities and military support services for them.

Economics

Map of countries by military expenditure as percentage of GDP
Map of military expenditures as a percentage of GDP by country, 2015.[31]
2007 top 10 countries by military expenditure MER
Military spending in 2007, in USD, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
2014 militrary expenditures absolute
Military expenditure of 2014 in USD

Defense economics is the financial and monetary efforts made to resource and sustain militaries, and to finance military operations, including war.

The process of allocating resources is conducted by determining a military budget, which is administered by a military finance organisation within the military. Military procurement is then authorised to purchase or contract provision of goods and services to the military, whether in peacetime at a permanent base, or in a combat zone from local population.

Capability development

Capability development, which is often referred to as the military 'strength', is arguably one of the most complex activities known to humanity; because it requires determining: strategic, operational, and tactical capability requirements to counter the identified threats; strategic, operational, and tactical doctrines by which the acquired capabilities will be used; identifying concepts, methods, and systems involved in executing the doctrines; creating design specifications for the manufacturers who would produce these in adequate quantity and quality for their use in combat; purchase the concepts, methods, and systems; create a forces structure that would use the concepts, methods, and systems most effectively and efficiently; integrate these concepts, methods, and systems into the force structure by providing military education, training, and practice that preferably resembles combat environment of intended use; create military logistics systems to allow continued and uninterrupted performance of military organisations under combat conditions, including provision of health services to the personnel, and maintenance for the equipment; the services to assist recovery of wounded personnel, and repair of damaged equipment; and finally, post-conflict demobilisation, and disposal of war stocks surplus to peacetime requirements.

Development of military doctrine is perhaps the more important of all capability development activities, because it determines how military forces were, and are used in conflicts, the concepts and methods used by the command to employ appropriately military skilled, armed and equipped personnel in achievement of the tangible goals and objectives of the war, campaign, battle, engagement, action or a duel.[32] The line between strategy and tactics is not easily blurred, although deciding which is being discussed had sometimes been a matter of personal judgement by some commentators, and military historians. The use of forces at the level of organisation between strategic and tactical is called operational mobility.

There have been attempts to produce a military strength index: this is an example taken from a Credit Suisse report in September 2015.[33] The factors under consideration for that military strength indicator and their total weights were: number of active personnel in the armed forces (5%), tanks (10%), attack helicopters (15%), aircraft (20%), aircraft carriers (25%), and submarines (25%). It was practically impossible to make an estimation of the actual training of the armed forces. [34] These were the results:

Military strength indicator
Overall
ranking
Country Final military
strength score
Active
personnel
('000)
Tanks Aircraft Attack
helicopters
Aircraft
carriers
Submarines
1  United States 0.94 0.90 0.86 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.95
2  Russia 0.80 0.81 0.95 0.90 0.90 0.52 0.86
3  China 0.79 0.95 0.90 0.86 0.86 0.52 0.90
4  India 0.76 0.86 0.81 0.81 0.19 0.76 0.86
5  Japan 0.73 0.39 0.38 0.76 0.81 0.76 0.81
6  France 0.61 0.33 0.24 0.67 0.43 0.90 0.57
7  South Korea 0.52 0.76 0.57 0.71 0.71 0.05 0.67
8  Italy 0.52 0.52 0.33 0.38 0.57 0.76 0.43
9  United Kingdom 0.50 0.19 0.14 0.52 0.67 0.52 0.57
10  Turkey 0.47 0.57 0.67 0.57 0.57 0.05 0.67
11  Pakistan 0.41 0.71 0.62 0.48 0.48 0.05 0.52
12  Egypt 0.34 0.62 0.76 0.62 0.38 0.05 0.14
13  Taiwan 0.32 0.43 0.52 0.43 0.76 0.05 0.14
14  Israel 0.32 0.24 0.71 0.33 0.48 0.05 0.33
15  Australia 0.30 0.05 0.05 0.10 0.24 0.52 0.43
16  Thailand 0.28 0.48 0.43 0.24 0.14 0.52 0.05
17  Poland 0.23 0.14 0.48 0.19 0.29 0.05 0.33
18  Germany 0.19 0.29 0.19 0.29 0.33 0.05 0.14
19  Indonesia 0.12 0.67 0.29 0.05 0.10 0.05 0.10
20  Canada 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.14 0.05 0.05 0.14
The six elements considered along with their weights are: Active personnel (5%), tanks (10%), attack helicopters (15%),
aircraft (20%), aircraft carriers (25%), submarines (25%).
Source: Figure 56, Page 41, Credit Suisse September 2015[33]

Science

Because most of the concepts and methods used by the military, and many of its systems are not found in commercial branches, much of the material is researched, designed, developed, and offered for inclusion in arsenals by military science organisations within the overall structure of the military. Military scientists are therefore found to interact with all Arms and Services of the armed forces, and at all levels of the military hierarchy of command.

Although concerned with research into military psychology, and particularly combat stress, and how it affect troop morale, often the bulk of military science activities is directed at military intelligence technology, military communications, and improving military capability through research. The design, development, and prototyping of weapons, military support equipment, and military technology in general, is also an area in which lots of effort is invested – it includes everything from global communication networks and aircraft carriers to paint and food.

Logistics

C-1Transport aircraft02
The Kawasaki C-1 is a tactical military transport of the Japan Air Self-Defence Force

Possessing military capability is not sufficient if this capability cannot be deployed for, and employed in combat operations. To achieve this, military logistics are used for the logistics management and logistics planning of the forces military supply chain management, the consumables, and capital equipment of the troops.

Although mostly concerned with the military transport, as a means of delivery using different modes of transport; from military trucks, to container ships operating from permanent military base, it also involves creating field supply dumps at the rear of the combat zone, and even forward supply points in specific unit's Tactical Area of Responsibility.

These supply points are also used to provide military engineering services, such as the recovery of defective and derelict vehicles and weapons, maintenance of weapons in the field, the repair and field modification of weapons and equipment; and in peacetime, the life-extension programmes undertaken to allow continued use of equipment. One of the most important role of logistics is the supply of munitions as a primary type of consumable, their storage, and disposal.

Operations

While capability development is about enabling the military to perform its functions and roles in executing the defence policy, how personnel and their equipment are used in engaging the enemy, winning battles, successfully concluding campaigns, and eventually the war – is the responsibility of military operations. Military operations oversees the policy interpretation into military plans, allocation of capability to specific strategic, operational and tactical goals and objectives, change in posture of the armed forces, the interaction of Combat Arms, Combat Support Arms, and Combat Support Services during combat operations, defining of military missions and tasks during the conduct of combat, management of military prisoners and military civil affairs, and the military occupation of enemy territory, seizure of captured equipment, and maintenance of civil order in the territory under its responsibility. Throughout the combat operations process, and during the lulls in combat, combat military intelligence provides reporting on the status of plan completion, and its correlation with desired, expected and achieved satisfaction of policy fulfilment.

Performance assessment

The last requirement of the military is for military performance assessment, and learning from it. These two functions are performed by military historians and military theorists who seek to identify failures and success of the armed force, and integrate corrections into the military reform, with the aim of producing an improved force capable of performing adequately, should there be a national defence policy review.

In combat

The primary reason for the existence of the military is to engage in combat, should it be required to do so by the national defence policy, and to win. This represents an organisational goal of any military, and the primary focus for military thought through military history. How victory is achieved, and what shape it assumes, is studied by most, if not all, military groups on three levels.

Strategic victory

Mahratta pirates attacking the sloop 'Aurora', of the Bombay Marine, 1812; end of the action RMG BHC1085.tiff
The Maratha Navy, which is considered to be the foundation of the modern Indian Navy, often employed land and sea coordination tactics when attacking, which won them many battles against the Mughals and Portuguese

Military strategy is the management of forces in wars and military campaigns by a commander-in-chief, employing large military forces, either national and allied as a whole, or the component elements of armies, navies and air forces; such as army groups, naval fleets, and large numbers of aircraft. Military strategy is a long-term projection of belligerents' policy, with a broad view of outcome implications, including outside the concerns of military command. Military strategy is more concerned with the supply of war and planning, than management of field forces and combat between them. The scope of strategic military planning can span weeks, but is more often months or even years.[32]

Crowd of Dutch civilians celebrating the liberation of Utrecht by the Canadian Army
Dutch civilians celebrating the arrival of the I Canadian Corps in Utrecht as the Canadian Army liberates the Netherlands from Nazi occupation

Operational victory

Operational mobility is, within warfare and military doctrine, the level of command which coordinates the minute details of tactics with the overarching goals of strategy. A common synonym is operational art.

The operational level is at a scale bigger than one where line of sight and the time of day are important, and smaller than the strategic level, where production and politics are considerations. Formations are of the operational level if they are able to conduct operations on their own, and are of sufficient size to be directly handled or have a significant impact at the strategic level. This concept was pioneered by the German army prior to and during the Second World War. At this level, planning and duration of activities takes from one week to a month, and are executed by Field Armies and Army Corps and their naval and air equivalents.[32]

Tactical victory

Military tactics concerns itself with the methods for engaging and defeating the enemy in direct combat. Military tactics are usually used by units over hours or days, and are focused on the specific, close proximity tasks and objectives of squadrons, companies, battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions, and their naval and air force equivalents.[32]

One of the oldest military publications is The Art of War, by the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu.[35] Written in the 6th century BCE, the 13-chapter book is intended as military instruction, and not as military theory, but has had a huge influence on Asian military doctrine, and from the late 19th century, on European and United States military planning. It has even been used to formulate business tactics, and can even be applied in social and political areas.

Macedonian battle formation-en
Battle formation and tactics of Macedon[36]

The Classical Greeks and the Romans wrote prolifically on military campaigning. Among the best-known Roman works are Julius Caesar's commentaries on the Gallic Wars, and the Roman Civil war – written about 50 BC.

Two major works on tactics come from the late Roman period: Taktike Theoria by Aelianus Tacticus, and De Re Militari ('On military matters') by Vegetius. Taktike Theoria examined Greek military tactics, and was most influential in the Byzantine world and during the Golden Age of Islam.

De Re Militari formed the basis of European military tactics until the late 17th century. Perhaps its most enduring maxim is Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum (let he who desires peace prepare for war).

Due to the changing nature of combat with the introduction of artillery in the European Middle Ages, and infantry firearms in the Renaissance, attempts were made to define and identify those strategies, grand tactics, and tactics that would produce a victory more often than that achieved by the Romans in praying to the gods before the battle.

Later this became known as military science, and later still, would adopt the scientific method approach to the conduct of military operations under the influence of the Industrial Revolution thinking. In his seminal book On War, the Prussian Major-General and leading expert on modern military strategy, Carl von Clausewitz defined military strategy as 'the employment of battles to gain the end of war'.[37] According to Clausewitz:

strategy forms the plan of the War, and to this end it links together the series of acts which are to lead to the final decision, that is to say, it makes the plans for the separate campaigns and regulates the combats to be fought in each.[38]

Hence, Clausewitz placed political aims above military goals, ensuring civilian control of the military. Military strategy was one of a triumvirate of 'arts' or 'sciences' that governed the conduct of warfare, the others being: military tactics, the execution of plans and manoeuvring of forces in battle, and maintenance of an army.

The meaning of military tactics has changed over time; from the deployment and manoeuvring of entire land armies on the fields of ancient battles, and galley fleets; to modern use of small unit ambushes, encirclements, bombardment attacks, frontal assaults, air assaults, hit-and-run tactics used mainly by guerrilla forces, and, in some cases, suicide attacks on land and at sea. Evolution of aerial warfare introduced its own air combat tactics. Often, military deception, in the form of military camouflage or misdirection using decoys, is used to confuse the enemy as a tactic.

A major development in infantry tactics came with the increased use of trench warfare in the 19th and 20th centuries. This was mainly employed in World War I in the Gallipoli campaign, and the Western Front. Trench warfare often turned to a stalemate, only broken by a large loss of life, because, in order to attack an enemy entrenchment, soldiers had to run through an exposed 'no man's land' under heavy fire from their opposing entrenched enemy.

Technology

Arrow-head Olynthus BM GR1912.4-19.4
Arrow-head. Bronze, 4th century BC. From Olynthus, Chalcidice.

As with any occupation, since the ancient times, the military has been distinguished from other members of the society by their tools, the military weapons, and military equipment used in combat. When Stone Age humans first took a sliver of flint to tip the spear, it was the first example of applying technology to improve the weapon.

Since then, the advances made by human societies, and that of weapons, has been irretrievably linked. Stone weapons gave way to Bronze Age weapons, and later, the Iron Age weapons. With each technological change, was realised some tangible increase in military capability, such as through greater effectiveness of a sharper edge in defeating leather armour, or improved density of materials used in manufacture of weapons.

On land, the first really significant technological advance in warfare was the development of the ranged weapons, and notably, the sling. The next significant advance came with the domestication of the horses and mastering of equestrianism.

Caballero Armadura 4 Alcazar Segovia 2010
Mounted armoured knight. Armour and cavalry dominated the battlefield, until the invention of firearms.

Arguably, the greatest invention that affected not just the military, but all society, after adoption of fire, was the wheel, and its use in the construction of the chariot. There were no advances in military technology, until, from the mechanical arm action of a slinger, the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Persians, Chinese, etc., development the siege engines. The bow was manufactured in increasingly larger and more powerful versions, to increase both the weapon range, and armour penetration performance. These developed into the powerful composite and recurve bows, and crossbows of Ancient China. These proved particularly useful during the rise of cavalry, as horsemen encased in ever-more sophisticated armour came to dominate the battlefield.

Somewhat earlier, in medieval China, gunpowder had been invented, and was increasingly used by the military in combat. The use of gunpowder in the early vase-like mortars in Europe, and advanced versions of the long bow and cross bow, which all had armour-piercing arrowheads, that put an end to the dominance of the armoured knight. After the long bow, which required great skill and strength to use, the next most significant technological advance was the musket, which could be used effectively, with little training. In time, the successors to muskets and cannon, in the form of rifles and artillery, would become core battlefield technology.

As the speed of technological advances accelerated in civilian applications, so too warfare became more industralised. The newly invented machine gun and repeating rifle redefined firepower on the battlefield, and, in part, explains the high casualty rates of the American Civil War. The next breakthrough was the conversion of artillery parks from the muzzle loading guns, to the quicker loading breech loading guns with recoiling barrel that allowed quicker aimed fire and use of a shield. The widespread introduction of low smoke (smokeless) propellant powders since the 1880s also allowed for a great improvement of artillery ranges.

The development of breech loading had the greatest effect on naval warfare, for the first time since the Middle Ages, altering the way weapons are mounted on warships, and therefore naval tactics, now divorced from the reliance on sails with the invention of the internal combustion. A further advance in military naval technology was the design of the submarine, and its weapon, the torpedo.

Main battle tanks, and other heavy equipment such as armoured fighting vehicles, military aircraft, and ships, are characteristic to organised military forces.

During World War I, the need to break the deadlock of trench warfare saw the rapid development of many new technologies, particularly tanks. Military aviation was extensively used, and bombers became decisive in many battles of World War II, which marked the most frantic period of weapons development in history. Many new designs, and concepts were used in combat, and all existing technologies of warfare were improved between 1939 and 1945.

During the war, significant advances were made in military communications through increased use of radio, military intelligence through use of the radar, and in military medicine through use of penicillin, while in the air, the guided missile, jet aircraft, and helicopters were seen for the first time. Perhaps the most infamous of all military technologies was the creation of the atomic bomb, although the exact effects of its radiation were unknown until the early 1950s. Far greater use of military vehicles had finally eliminated the cavalry from the military force structure.

USAF F-15C fires AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-7 Sparrow medium range air-to-air missile from an F-15 Eagle

After World War II, with the onset of the Cold War, the constant technological development of new weapons was institutionalised, as participants engaged in a constant 'arms race' in capability development. This constant state of weapons development continues into the present, and remains a constant drain on national resources, which some blame on the military-industrial complex.

The most significant technological developments that influenced combat have been the guided missiles, which can be used by all branches of the armed services. More recently, information technology, and its use in surveillance, including space-based reconnaissance systems, have played an increasing role in military operations.

The impact of information warfare that focuses on attacking command communication systems, and military databases, has been coupled with the new development in military technology, has been the use of robotic systems in intelligence combat, both in hardware and software applications.

Recently, there has also been a particular focus towards the use of renewable fuels for running military vehicles on. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable fuels can be produced in any country, creating a strategic advantage. The US military has already committed itself to have 50% of its energy consumption come from alternative sources.[39]

As part of society

For much of military history, the armed forces were considered to be for use by the heads of their societies, until recently, the crowned heads of states. In a democracy or other political system run in the public interest, it is a public force.

The relationship between the military and the society it serves is a complicated and ever-evolving one. Much depends on the nature of the society itself, and whether it sees the military as important, as for example in time of threat or war, or a burdensome expense typified by defence cuts in time of peace.

One difficult matter in the relation between military and society is control and transparency. In some countries, limited information on military operations and budgeting is accessible for the public. However transparency in the military sector is crucial to fight corruption. This showed the Government Defence Anti-corruption Index Transparency International UK published in 2013.[40]

Militaries often function as societies within societies, by having their own military communities, economies, education, medicine, and other aspects of a functioning civilian society. Although a 'military' is not limited to nations in of itself as many private military companies (or PMC's) can be used or 'hired' by organisations and figures as security, escort, or other means of protection; where police, agencies, or militaries are absent or not trusted.

Ideology and ethics

Militarist ideology is the society's social attitude of being best served, or being a beneficiary of a government, or guided by concepts embodied in the military culture, doctrine, system, or leaders.

Either because of the cultural memory, national history, or the potentiality of a military threat, the militarist argument asserts that a civilian population is dependent upon, and thereby subservient to the needs and goals of its military for continued independence. Militarism is sometimes contrasted with the concepts of comprehensive national power, soft power and hard power.

Most nations have separate military laws which regulate conduct in war and during peacetime. An early exponent was Hugo Grotius, whose On the Law of War and Peace (1625) had a major impact of the humanitarian approach to warfare development. His theme was echoed by Gustavus Adolphus.

Ethics of warfare have developed since 1945, to create constraints on the military treatment of prisoners and civilians, primarily by the Geneva Conventions; but rarely apply to use of the military forces as internal security troops during times of political conflict that results in popular protests and incitement to popular uprising.

International protocols restrict the use, or have even created international bans on some types of weapons, notably weapons of mass destruction (WMD). International conventions define what constitutes a war crime, and provides for war crimes prosecution. Individual countries also have elaborate codes of military justice, an example being the United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice that can lead to court martial for military personnel found guilty of war crimes.

Military actions are sometimes argued to be justified by furthering a humanitarian cause, such as disaster relief operations, or in defence of refugees. The term military humanism is used to refer to such actions.

Stereotypes

A military brat is a colloquial term for a child with at least one parent who served as an active duty member (vice reserve) in the armed forces. Children of armed forces members may move around to different military bases or international postings, which gives them a childhood differing from the norm. Unlike common usage of the term brat, when it is used in this context, it is not necessarily a derogatory term.

In the media

Soldiers and armies have been prominent in popular culture since the beginnings of recorded history. In addition to the countless images of military leaders in heroic poses from antiquity, they have been an enduring source of inspiration in war literature. Not all of this has been entirely complementary, and the military have been lampooned or ridiculed as often as they have been idolised. The classical Greek writer Aristophanes, devoted an entire comedy, Lysistrata, to a strike organised by military wives, where they withhold sex from their husbands to prevent them from going to war.

In Medieval Europe, tales of knighthood and chivalry, the officer class of the period captured the popular imagination. Writers and poets like Taliesin, Chrétien de Troyes and Thomas Malory wrote tales of derring-do, featuring Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Galahad. Even in the 21st century, books and films about the Arthurian legend and the Holy Grail continue to appear.

A century or so later, in the hands of writers such as Jean Froissart, Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare, the fictional knight Tirant lo Blanch, and the real-life condottieri John Hawkwood would be juxtaposed against the fantastical Don Quixote, and the carousing Sir John Falstaff. In just one play, Henry V, Shakespeare provides a whole range of military characters, from cool-headed and clear-sighted generals, to captains, and common soldiery.

Statue-Augustus

Emperor Augustus Caesar in a martial pose (1st century)

La Fuite de Pompée

The Flight of Pompey after Pharsalus, by Jean Fouquet

Jean Froissart, Chroniques, 154v, 12148 btv1b8438605hf336, crop

Medieval view: Richard II of England meets rebels

Firenze.Duomo.Hawkwood

Sir John Hawkwood (fresco in the Duomo, Florence)

Eduard von Grützner Falstaff mit Handschuhen

Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff by Eduard von Grützner

Prince Rupert - 1st English Civil War

'The Cruel Practices of Prince Rupert' (1643)

The rapid growth of movable type in the late 16th century and early 17th century saw an upsurge in private publication. Political pamphlets became popular, often lampooning military leaders for political purposes. A pamphlet directed against Prince Rupert of the Rhine is a typical example. During the 19th century, irreverence towards authority was at its height, and for every elegant military gentleman painted by the master-portraitists of the European courts, for example, Gainsborough, Goya, and Reynolds, there are the sometimes affectionate and sometimes savage caricatures of Rowland and Hogarth.

This continued in the 19th century, with publications like Punch in the British Empire and Le Père Duchesne in France, poking fun at the military establishment. This extended to media other print also. An enduring example is the Major-General's Song from the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera, The Pirates of Penzance, where a senior army officer is satirised for his enormous fund of irrelevant knowledge.

Sir Joshua Reynolds 008

Colonel John Hayes St Leger (detail) by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Thomas Rowlandson (12)

Rowlandson often satirised the military

Pirates of penzance restoration

'A modern major general' (The Pirates of Penzance)

The increasing importance of cinema in the early 20th century provided a new platform for depictions of military subjects. During the First World War, although heavily censored, newsreels enabled those at home to see for themselves a heavily sanitised version of life at the front line. About the same time, both pro-war and anti-war films came to the silver screen. One of the first films on military aviation, Hell's Angels, broke all box office records on its release in 1929. Soon, war films of all types were showing throughout the world, notably those of Charlie Chaplin who actively promoted war bonds and voluntary enlistment.

The First World War was also responsible for a new kind of military depiction, through poetry. Hitherto, poetry had been used mostly to glorify or sanctify war. The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, with its galloping hoofbeat rhythm, is a prime late Victorian example of this, though Rudyard Kipling had written a scathing reply, The Last of the Light Brigade, criticising the poverty in which many Light Brigade veterans found themselves in old age. Instead, the new wave of poetry, from the war poets, was written from the point of view of the disenchanted trench soldier.

Leading war poets included Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, John McCrae, Rupert Brooke, Isaac Rosenberg, and David Jones. A similar movement occurred in literature, producing a slew of novels on both sides of the Atlantic, including notably: All Quiet on the Western Front, and Johnny Got His Gun. The 1963 English stage musical Oh, What a Lovely War! provided a satirical take on World War I, which was released in a cinematic version directed by Richard Attenborough in 1969.

The propaganda war that accompanied World War II invariably depicted the enemy in unflattering terms. Examples of this exist not only in posters, but also in the films of Leni Riefenstahl and Sergei Eisenstein.

Alongside this, World War II also inspired films as varied as The Dam Busters, 633 Squadron, Bridge on the River Kwai, The Longest Day, Catch-22, Saving Private Ryan, and The Sea Shall Not Have Them. The next major event, the Korean War inspired a long-running television series M*A*S*H. With the Vietnam War, the tide of balance turned, and its films, notably Apocalypse Now, Good Morning, Vietnam, Go Tell the Spartans, Born on the Fourth of July, and We Were Soldiers, have tended to contain critical messages.

There is even a nursery rhyme about war, The Grand Old Duke of York, ridiculing a general for his inability to command any further than marching his men up and down a hill. The huge number of songs focusing on war include And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda and Universal Soldier.

See also

Armed forces of the world

References

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External links

24-hour clock

The 24-hour clock is the convention of time keeping in which the day runs from midnight to midnight and is divided into 24 hours, indicated by the hours passed since midnight, from 0 to 23. This system is the most commonly used time notation in the world today, and is used by international standard ISO 8601.A limited number of countries, particularly English-speaking, use the 12-hour clock, or a mixture of the 24- and 12-hour time systems. In countries where the 12-hour clock is still dominant, some professions prefer to use the 24-hour clock. For example, in the practice of medicine the 24-hour clock is generally used in documentation of care as it prevents any ambiguity as to when events occurred in a patient's medical history. In the United States and a handful of other countries, it is popularly referred to as military time.

Conscription

Conscription, sometimes called the draft, is the compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names. The modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful military. Most European nations later copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–8 years on active duty and then transfer to the reserve force.

Conscription is controversial for a range of reasons, including conscientious objection to military engagements on religious or philosophical grounds; political objection, for example to service for a disliked government or unpopular war; and ideological objection, for example, to a perceived violation of individual rights. Those conscripted may evade service, sometimes by leaving the country, and seeking asylum in another country. Some selection systems accommodate these attitudes by providing alternative service outside combat-operations roles or even outside the military, such as 'Siviilipalvelus' (alternative civil service) in Finland, Zivildienst (compulsory community service) in Austria and Switzerland. Many post-Soviet countries conscript male soldiers not only for armed forces but also for paramilitary organizations which are dedicated to police-like domestic only service (Internal Troops) or non-combat rescue duties (Civil defence troops) – none of which is considered alternative to the military conscription.

As of the early 21st century, many states no longer conscript soldiers, relying instead upon professional militaries with volunteers enlisted to meet the demand for troops. The ability to rely on such an arrangement, however, presupposes some degree of predictability with regard to both war-fighting requirements and the scope of hostilities. Many states that have abolished conscription therefore still reserve the power to resume it during wartime or times of crisis. States involved in wars or interstate rivalries are most likely to implement conscription, whereas democracies are less likely than autocracies to implement conscription. Former British colonies are less likely to have conscription, as they are influenced by British anticonscription norms that can be traced back to the English Civil War.

Coup d'état

A coup d'état ( (listen); French: [ku deta]), also known as a putsch (), a golpe, or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.

Indian Armed Forces

The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India. It consists of three professional uniformed services: the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force. Additionally, the Indian Armed Forces are supported by the Indian Coast Guard and paramilitary organisations (Assam Rifles, and Special Frontier Force) and various inter-service commands and institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command, the Andaman and Nicobar Command and the Integrated Defence Staff. The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Armed Forces are under the management of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Government of India. With strength of over 1.4 million active personnel, it is the world's 2nd largest military force and has the world's largest volunteer army. It is important to note that the Central Armed Police Forces, which are commonly and incorrectly referred to as 'Paramilitary Forces', are headed by officers from the Indian Police Service and are under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, not the Ministry of Defence.

The Indian armed forces have been engaged in a number of major military operations, including: the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1947, 1965 and 1971, the Portuguese-Indian War, the Sino-Indian War, the 1967 Chola incident, the 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish, the Kargil War, and the Siachen conflict among others. India honours its armed forces and military personnel annually on Armed Forces Flag Day, 7 December. Since 1962, the IAF has maintained close military relations with Russia, including cooperative development of programmes such as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA). Armed with the nuclear triad, the Indian armed forces are steadily undergoing modernisation, with investments in areas such as futuristic soldier systems and missile defence systems.The Department of Defence Production of the Ministry of Defence is responsible for the indigenous production of equipment used by the Indian Armed Forces. It comprises the 41 Indian Ordnance Factories under the control of the Ordnance Factories Board, and eight Defence PSUs namely: HAL, BEL, BEML, BDL, MDL, GSL, GRSE and Midhani. India was the largest importer of defence equipment in 2014 with Russia, Israel, France and the United States being the top foreign suppliers of military equipment. The Government of India has launched a Make in India initiative to indigenise manufacturing and reduce dependence on imports, including defence imports and procurement.

Israel Defense Forces

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF; Hebrew: צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל‬ Tsva ha-Hagana le-Yisra'el, lit. "The Army of Defense for Israel"; Arabic: جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي‎), commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal (צה״ל‬), are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force, and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Defense Minister of Israel; Lieutenant General (Rav Aluf) Gadi Eizenkot has served as Chief of Staff since 2015.

An order from Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion on 26 May 1948 officially set up the Israel Defense Forces as a conscript army formed out of the paramilitary group Haganah, incorporating the militant groups Irgun and Lehi. The IDF served as Israel's armed forces in all the country's major military operations—including the 1948 War of Independence, 1951–1956 Retribution operations, 1956 Sinai War, 1964–1967 War over Water, 1967 Six-Day War, 1967–1970 War of Attrition, 1968 Battle of Karameh, 1973 Operation Spring of Youth, 1973 Yom Kippur War, 1976 Operation Entebbe, 1978 Operation Litani, 1982 Lebanon War, 1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict, 1987–1993 First Intifada, 2000–2005 Second Intifada, 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, 2006 Lebanon War, 2008–2009 Operation Cast Lead, 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, and 2014 Operation Protective Edge. According to GlobalSecurity.org, the number of wars and border conflicts in which the IDF has been involved in its short history makes it one of the most battle-trained armed forces in the world. While originally the IDF operated on three fronts—against Lebanon and Syria in the north, Jordan and Iraq in the east, and Egypt in the south—after the 1979 Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty, it has concentrated its activities in southern Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, including the First and the Second Intifada.

The Israel Defense Forces is somewhat unique in its inclusion of mandatory conscription of women and its structure, which emphasizes close relations between the army, navy, and air force. Since its founding, the IDF has been specifically designed to match Israel's unique security situation. The IDF is one of Israeli society's most prominent institutions, influencing the country's economy, culture and political scene. In 1965, the Israel Defense Forces was awarded the Israel Prize for its contribution to education. The IDF uses several technologies developed in Israel, many of them made specifically to match the IDF's needs, such as the Merkava main battle tank, Achzarit armoured personnel carrier, high tech weapons systems, the Iron Dome missile defense system, Trophy active protection system for vehicles, and the Galil and Tavor assault rifles. The Uzi submachine gun was invented in Israel and used by the IDF until December 2003, ending a service that began in 1954. Since 1967, the IDF has had close military relations with the United States, including development cooperation, such as on the F-15I jet, THEL laser defense system, and the Arrow missile defense system.

The Israel Defense Forces are believed to have had an operational nuclear weapons capability since 1967, possibly possessing between 80 and 400 nuclear weapons, with delivery systems forming a nuclear triad, of plane launched-missiles, Jericho III intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine launched cruise missiles.

Martial law

Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normal civilian functions of government, especially in response to a temporary emergency such as invasion or major disaster, or in an occupied territory.Martial law can be used by governments to enforce their rule over the public, as seen in multiple countries listed below. Such incidents may occur after a coup d'état (Thailand in 2006 and 2014, and Egypt in 2013); when threatened by popular protest (China, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, 2009's Iranian Green Movement that led to the takeover by Revolutionary Guards); to suppress political opposition (Poland in 1981); or to stabilize insurrections or perceived insurrections (Canada, The October Crisis of 1970). Martial law may be declared in cases of major natural disasters; however, most countries use a different legal construct, such as a state of emergency.

Martial law has also been imposed during conflicts, and in cases of occupations, where the absence of any other civil government provides for an unstable population. Examples of this form of military rule include post World War II reconstruction in Germany and Japan, the recovery and reconstruction of the former Confederate States of America during Reconstruction Era in the United States of America following the American Civil War, and German occupation of northern France between 1871 and 1873 after the Treaty of Frankfurt ended the Franco-Prussian War.

Typically, the imposition of martial law accompanies curfews; the suspension of civil law, civil rights, and habeas corpus; and the application or extension of military law or military justice to civilians. Civilians defying martial law may be subjected to military tribunal (court-martial).

Military rank

Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces, police, intelligence agencies or other institutions organized along military lines. Military ranks and the military rank system define among others dominance, authority, as well as roles and responsibility in a military hierarchy. The military rank system incorporates the principles of exercising power and authority, and the military chain of command – the succession of commanders superior to subordinates through which command is exercised – constructs an important component for organized collective action.Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms. Ranking systems have been known for most of military history to be advantageous for military operations, in particular with regards to logistics, command, and coordination; as time went on and military operations became larger and more complex, military ranks increased and ranking systems themselves became more complex.

Within modern armed forces, the use of ranks is almost universal. Socialist states have sometimes abolished ranks (e.g., the Soviet Red Army 1918–1935, the Chinese People's Liberation Army 1965–1988, and the Albanian Army 1966–1991), but they had to re-establish them after encountering operational difficulties of command and control.

NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO ; French: Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord; OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29. The most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members. An additional 21 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total. Members have committed to reach or maintain defense spending of at least 2% of GDP by 2024.

NATO phonetic alphabet

The NATO phonetic alphabet, officially denoted as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, and also commonly known as the ICAO phonetic alphabet, and in a variation also known officially as the ITU phonetic alphabet and figure code, is the most widely used radiotelephone spelling alphabet. Although often called "phonetic alphabets", spelling alphabets are unrelated to phonetic transcription systems such as the International Phonetic Alphabet. Instead, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) alphabet assigned codewords acrophonically to the letters of the English alphabet, so that critical combinations of letters and numbers are most likely to be pronounced and understood by those who exchange voice messages by radio or telephone, regardless of language differences or the quality of the communication channel.The 26 code words in the NATO phonetic alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.Strict adherence to the prescribed spelling words is required in order to avoid the problems of confusion that the spelling alphabet is designed to overcome. As noted in a 1955 NATO memo:

It is known that [the ICAO spelling alphabet] has been prepared only after the most exhaustive tests on a scientific basis by several nations. One of the firmest conclusions reached was that it was not practical to make an isolated change to clear confusion between one pair of letters. To change one word involves reconsideration of the whole alphabet to ensure that the change proposed to clear one confusion does not itself introduce others.

The same memo notes a potential confusion between ZERO and SIERRA is overcome when following the procedures in ACP 125, which specify the use of the procedure word FIGURES in many instances in which digits need to be read.

Officer (armed forces)

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

In its broadest sense, the term "officer" refers to non-commissioned officers and warrant officers. However, when used without further detail, the term almost always refers to commissioned officers, the more senior portion of a force who derive their authority from a commission from the head of state.

Pakistan Army

The Pakistan Army (Urdu: پاک فوج‬‎ Pak Fauj; Reporting name: PA) is the principle land warfare uniformed service branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces. It came into its modern existence from the British Indian Army that ceased to exist following the partition of British India that resulted in the parliamentary act that established the independence of Pakistan from the United Kingdom on 14 August of 1947. According to the estimation provided by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in 2017, the Pakistan Army has approximately 500,000 active duty personnel, supported by the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. In Pakistan, the age of military enlistment is 17–23 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age 18 according to its nation's constitution.The primary objective and its constitutional mission is to ensure the national security and national unity of Pakistan by defending it against external aggression or threat of war, and internal threat by maintaining peace and security within its land borders by requisitioning it by the federal government to cope with internal threats. During the events of national calamities and emergency, it conducts humanitarian rescue operations at home as well as participating in the peacekeeping missions mandated by the United Nations, most notably playing a major role in rescuing the trapped U.S. soldiers in Somalia in 1993 and Bosnian War in 1992–95.The Pakistan Army, which is a major component of the national power alongside with the Pakistan's Navy, Air Force, and Marines, is a volunteer force which has been involved with four wars on its borders with neighboring India and several border skirmishes on its porous border with Afghanistan. Since 1960s, the elements of the army has been repeatedly deployed to act as military advisory in the Arab states during the events of Arab–Israeli wars, aided the UN-based coalition in the first Gulf War. Other notable military operations in the theater of War on Terror in the 21st century included: Zarb-e-Azb, Black Thunderstorm, and Rah-e-Nijat.In violation of its constitutional mandate, it has overthrown elected governments overreaching its constitutional mandate protected by the Constitution to "act in aid of civilian federal government when called upon to do so", the army has been involved in enforcing martial law against the elected governments in claiming to restore law and order in the country by dismissing the legislative branch, the Parliament, four times in past decades, and has wider commercial, foreign, and political interests in the country, facing allegations of acting as state within a state.The Pakistan Army has a regimental system but is operationally and geographically divided into command zones, with basic field of being the corps. The Constitution establishes the role of President of Pakistan to be the civilian Commander-in-Chief. The Pakistan Army is commanded by the Chief of Army Staff, by statute a four-star rank general, who is senior member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is appointed by the Prime Minister and confirmed by the President of Pakistan. The Pakistan Army is currently under the command of General Qamar Javed Bajwa appointed on 29 November 2016.

Paramilitary

A paramilitary is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but which is formally not part of a government's armed forces.

People's Liberation Army

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and its founding and ruling political party, the Communist Party of China (CPC). The PLA consists of five professional service branches: the Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force. Units around the country are assigned to one of five Theater commands by geographical location. The PLA is the world's largest military force and constitutes the second largest defence budget in the world. It is one of the fastest modernising military power in the world and has been termed as a potential military superpower, with significant regional defense and rising global power projection capabilities. China is also the third largest arms exporter in the world.

The PLA is under the command of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the CPC. It is legally obliged to follow the principle of civilian control of the military, although in practical terms this principle has been implemented in such a way as to ensure the PLA is under the absolute control of the Communist Party of China. Its commander in chief is the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (usually the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China). The Ministry of National Defense, which operates under the State Council, does not exercise any authority over the PLA and is far less powerful than the CMC.

Military service is compulsory by law; however, compulsory military service in China has never been enforced due to large numbers of military and paramilitary personnel. In times of national emergency, the People's Armed Police and the People's Liberation Army militia act as a reserve and support element for the PLAGF.

Purple Heart

The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members – the only earlier award being the obsolete Fidelity Medallion. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York.

United States Armed Forces

The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.From the time of its inception, the U.S. Armed Forces played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged as a result of victory in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. Even so, the founders of the United States were suspicious of a permanent military force. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, continuing to serve as the armed forces of the United States, although a number of its officers resigned to join the military of the Confederate States. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the Cold War's onset, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the Secretary of Defense; and created the Department of the Air Force and the National Security Council. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest militaries in terms of the number of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers. Although conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1973, but the Selective Service System retains the power to conscript males, and requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service.As of 2017, the U.S. spends about US$610 billion annually to fund its military forces and Overseas Contingency Operations. Put together, the U.S. constitutes roughly 40 percent of the world's military expenditures. The U.S. Armed Forces has significant capabilities in both defense and power projection due to its large budget, resulting in advanced and powerful technologies which enables a widespread deployment of the force around the world, including around 800 military bases outside the United States. The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest air force, the U.S. Navy is the world's largest navy by tonnage, and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps combined are the world's second largest air arm. In terms of size, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force.

United States Department of Defense

The Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD, or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government concerned directly with national security and the United States Armed Forces. The department is the largest employer in the world, with nearly 1.3 million active duty servicemen and women as of 2016. Adding to its employees are over 826,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists from the four services, and over 732,000 civilians bringing the total to over 2.8 million employees. Headquartered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., the DoD's stated mission is to provide "the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security".The Department of Defense is headed by the Secretary of Defense, a cabinet-level head who reports directly to the President of the United States. Beneath the Department of Defense are three subordinate military departments: the United States Department of the Army, the United States Department of the Navy, and the United States Department of the Air Force. In addition, four national intelligence services are subordinate to the Department of Defense: the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Other Defense Agencies include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Defense Health Agency (DHA), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Defense Security Service (DSS), and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), all of which are under the command of the Secretary of Defense. Additionally, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) provides acquisition insight that matters, by delivering actionable acquisition intelligence from factory floor to the warfighter. Military operations are managed by ten regional or functional Unified combatant commands. The Department of Defense also operates several joint services schools, including the National Defense University (NDU) and the National War College (NWC).

United States Military Academy

The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, Army West Point, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year federal service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort that sits on strategic high ground overlooking the Hudson River with a scenic view, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. It is one of the four U.S. military service academies, and one of the five U.S. service academies.

The Academy traces its roots to 1801, when President Thomas Jefferson directed, shortly after his inauguration, that plans be set in motion to establish the United States Military Academy at West Point. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus's Norman-style buildings are constructed from gray and black granite. The campus is a popular tourist destination, with a visitor center and the oldest museum in the United States Army.

Candidates for admission must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a member of Congress or Delegate/Resident Commissioner in the case of Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. Other nomination sources include the President and Vice President of the United States. Students are officers-in-training and are referred to as "cadets" or collectively as the "United States Corps of Cadets" (USCC). Tuition for cadets is fully funded by the Army in exchange for an active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,300 cadets enter the Academy each July, with about 1,000 cadets graduating.

The academic program grants a bachelor of science degree with a curriculum that grades cadets' performance upon a broad academic program, military leadership performance, and mandatory participation in competitive athletics. Cadets are required to adhere to the Cadet Honor Code, which states that "a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." The academy bases a cadet's leadership experience as a development of all three pillars of performance: academics, physical, and military.

Most graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. Foreign cadets are commissioned into the armies of their home countries. Since 1959, cadets have also been eligible for an interservice commission, a commission in one of the other armed services, provided they meet that service's eligibility standards. Most years, a very small number of cadets do this.

The academy's traditions have influenced other institutions because of its age and unique mission. It was the first American college to have an accredited civil-engineering program and the first to have class rings, and its technical curriculum was a model for later engineering schools. West Point's student body has a unique rank structure and lexicon. All cadets reside on campus and dine together en masse on weekdays for breakfast and lunch. The academy fields fifteen men's and nine women's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports teams. Cadets compete in one sport every fall, winter, and spring season at the intramural, club, or intercollegiate level. Its football team was a national power in the early and mid-20th century, winning three national championships. Its alumni and students are collectively referred to as "The Long Gray Line" and its ranks include two Presidents of the United States (as well as the President of the Confederate States of America), presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, numerous famous generals, and seventy-six Medal of Honor recipients.

War

War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant suffering and casualties.

The scholarly study of war is sometimes called polemology ( POL-ə-MOL-ə-jee), from the Greek polemos, meaning "war", and -logy, meaning "the study of".

While some scholars see war as a universal and ancestral aspect of human nature, others argue it is a result of specific socio-cultural or ecological circumstances.

Wehrmacht

The Wehrmacht (German pronunciation: [ˈveːɐ̯maxt] (listen), lit. defence force) was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe (air force). The designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the previously used term Reichswehr, and was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted.After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler's most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern offensively-capable armed force. Fulfilling the Nazi regime's long-term goals of regaining lost territory as well as gaining new territory and dominating its neighbors. This required the reinstatement of conscription, and massive investment and spending on the armaments industry.The Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany's politico-military power. In the early part of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht employed combined arms tactics (close cover air-support, tanks, and infantry) to devastating effect in what became known as a Blitzkrieg (lightning war). It's campaigns in France (1940), the Soviet Union (1941), and North Africa (1941/42) are regarded as acts of boldness. At the same time, the far-flung advances strained the Wehrmacht's capacity to the breaking point, culminating in the first major defeat in the Battle of Moscow (1941); by late 1942, Germany was losing the initiative in all theatres. The operational art was no match to the war-making abilities of the Allied coalition, making the Wehrmacht's weaknesses in strategy, doctrine, and logistics readily apparent.Closely cooperating with the SS and the Einsatzgruppen, the German armed forces committed numerous war crimes and atrocities, despite later denials and promotion of the myth of the clean Wehrmacht. The majority of the war crimes were committed in the Soviet Union, Poland, Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy, as part the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, the Holocaust and Nazi security warfare.

During the war about 18 million men served in the Wehrmacht. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, German forces (consisting of the Wehrmacht, the Waffen-SS, the Volkssturm and foreign collaborateur units) had lost approximately 11,300,000 men, about half of whom were missing or killed during the war. Only a few of the Wehrmacht's upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions. The majority of the three million Wehrmacht soldiers who invaded the USSR participated in committing war crimes.

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