The Silver Star Medal, unofficially the Silver Star, is the United States Armed Forces's third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat. The Silver Star Medal is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States; the Silver Star Medal is the successor award to the "Citation Star", established by an Act of Congress on July 9, 1918, during World War I. On July 19, 1932, the Secretary of War approved the conversion of the "Citation Star" to the SSM with the original "Citation Star" incorporated into the center of the medal. Authorization for the Silver Star Medal was placed into law by an Act of Congress for the U. S. Navy on August 7, 1942, an Act of Congress for the U. S. Army on December 15, 1942; the current statutory authorization for the medal is Title 10 of the United States Code, 10 U. S. C. § 3746 for the U. S. Army, 10 U. S. C. § 8746 for the U. S. Air Force, 10 U. S. C. § 6244 for the U. S. Navy; the U. S. Army and Air Force award the medal as the "Silver Star".
The U. S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard continue to award the medal as the "Silver Star Medal". Since 21 December 2016, the Department of Defense refers to the decoration as the Silver Star Medal; the Silver Star Medal is awarded for gallantry, so long as the action does not justify the award of one of the next higher valor awards: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or the Air Force Cross. The gallantry displayed must have taken place while in action against an enemy of the United States, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party; the Silver Star Medal is awarded for singular acts of valor or heroism over a brief period, such as one or two days of a battle. Air Force pilots and combat systems officers and Navy/Marine Corps naval aviators and flight officers flying fighter aircraft, are considered eligible to receive the Silver Star upon becoming an ace, which entails the pilot and, in multi-seat fighters, the weapons system officer or radar intercept officer and risking his life multiple times under combat conditions and emerging victorious.
However, during the Vietnam War, the last conflict to produce U. S. fighter aces: an Air Force pilot and two navigators/weapon systems officers, a naval aviator and a naval flight officer/radar intercept officer who had achieved this distinction, were awarded the Air Force Cross and Navy Cross in addition to SSMs awarded for earlier aerial kills. Unit award equivalentAir Force – Gallant Unit Citation Army – Valorous Unit Award Coast Guard – Coast Guard Unit Commendation Navy-Marine Corps – Navy Unit Commendation The Silver Star Medal is a gold five-pointed star, 1 1⁄2 inches in circumscribing diameter with a laurel wreath encircling rays from the center and a 3⁄16 inch diameter silver star superimposed in the center; the pendant is suspended from a rectangular shaped metal loop with rounded corners. The reverse has the inscription FOR GALLANTRY IN ACTION; the ribbon is 1 3⁄8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 7⁄32 inch Old Glory red. Ribbon devicesSecond and subsequent awards of the Silver Star Medal are denoted by bronze or silver oak leaf clusters in the Army and Air Force and by gold or silver 5⁄16 inch stars in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard.
The Department of Defense does not keep extensive records for the Silver Star Medal. Independent groups estimate that between 100,000 and 150,000 SSMs have been awarded since the decoration was established. Colonel David Hackworth, awarded ten SSMs while serving in the Army during the Korean War and Vietnam War, is to be the person awarded the most SSMs. Three Army nurses that served in World War I were cited in 1919 and 1920 with Citation Stars for gallantry in attending to the wounded while under artillery fire in July 1918. In 2007, it was discovered; the three nurses were awarded the Silver Star Medal posthumously: Jane Rignel – Mobile Hospital No. 2, 42nd Division, for gallantry in "giving aid to the wounded under heavy fire" in France on July 15, 1918 Linnie Leckrone – Shock Team No. 134, Field Hospital No. 127, 32nd Division, for gallantry while "attending to the wounded during an artilley bombardment" in France on July 29, 1918 Irene Robar – Shock Team No. 134, Field Hospital No. 127, 32nd Division, for gallantry while "attending to the wounded during an artillery bombardment" in France on July 29, 1918An unknown number of servicewomen received the award in World War II.
Four Army nurses serving in Italy during the war—First Lieutenant Mary Roberts, Second Lieutenant Elaine Roe, Second Lieutenant Rita Virginia Rourke, Second Lieutenant Ellen Ainsworth —became the first women recipients of the Silver Star, all cited for their bravery in evacuating the 33rd Field Hospital at Anzio on February 10, 1944. That same year, Corporal Magdalena Leones, a Filipino American, received the medal for clandestine activities on Luzon; the next known servicewomen to receive the Silver Star is Army National Guard Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester in 2005, for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq and Army
United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps referred to as the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, is the federal uniformed service of the U. S. Public Health Service, is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. Along with the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is one of two uniformed services that consist only of commissioned officers and has no enlisted or warrant officer ranks, although warrant officers have been authorized for use within the service. Officers of the PHS are classified as noncombatants, unless directed to serve as and part of the armed forces by the President or detailed to a service branch of the armed forces. Members of the commissioned corps wear the same uniforms as the United States Navy, or the United States Coast Guard, with special PHS Commissioned Corps insignia, hold ranks equivalent to officers of the U. S. Navy and U. S. Coast Guard. Officers of the commissioned corps receive their commissions through the PHS Commissioned Corps's direct commissioning program.
As with its parent division, the Public Health Service, the commissioned corps is under the direction of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The commissioned corps is led by the Surgeon General; the Surgeon General reports directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Health. The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps had its beginnings with the creation of the Marine Hospital Fund in 1798, reorganized in 1871 as the Marine Hospital Service; the Marine Hospital Service was charged with the care and maintenance of merchant sailors, but as the country grew, so did the ever-expanding mission of the service. The Marine Hospital Service soon began taking on new expanding health roles that included such health initiatives that protected the commerce and health of America. One such role was quarantine. John Maynard Woodworth, a famous surgeon of the Union Army who served under General William Tecumseh Sherman, was appointed in 1871 as the Supervising Surgeon.
Woodworth's title was changed to "Supervising Surgeon General," which became the Surgeon General of the United States. Woodworth is credited with the formal creation of the Commissioned Corps. Woodworth organized the Marine Hospital Service medical personnel along Army military structure in 1889 to facilitate a mobile force of health professionals that could be moved for the needs of the service and country, he established appointment standards and designed the Marine Hospital Service herald of a fouled anchor and caduceus. That year of 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed an Act into law that formally established the modern Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. At first open only to physicians, over the course of the twentieth century, the Corps expanded to 11 careers in a wide range of specialties to include veterinarians, engineers, nurses, environmental health specialists, scientists and other allied health professionals. Today, the commissioned corps is under the United States Public Health Service, a major agency now of the U.
S. Department of Health and Human Services, established by Congress in 1979-1980, it was established in 1953 as the U. S. Department of Health and Welfare, is still led by the Surgeon General; the commissioned corps allocates officers to all seven uniformed services depending on the health or medical needs of the other uniformed services. The commissioned corps was featured in the 1950 motion picture Panic in the Streets, in which Richard Widmark portrayed a Public Health Service physician tracking down a bubonic plague victim; the stated mission of the Commissioned Corps of the U. S. Public Health Service is "Protecting and advancing the health and safety of the Nation" in accordance with the commissioned corps's four Core Values: Leadership, Excellence and Service. Officers execute the mission of the commissioned corps in the following ways: Help provide healthcare and related services to medically underserved populations: to American Indians, Alaska Natives, to other population groups with special needs.
Plus, the commissioned corps provides officers to other uniformed services the United States Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps. Commissioned corps officers may be detailed to other federal agencies including the Department of Defense, TRICARE, Department of Justice, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior. Commissioned corps officers may develop individual memoranda of understanding with other o
The Achievement Medal is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces. The Achievement Medal was first proposed as a means to recognize the contributions of junior officers and enlisted personnel who were not eligible to receive the higher Commendation Medal or the Meritorious Service Medal; each military service issues its own version of the Achievement Medal, with a fifth version authorized by the U. S. Department of Defense for joint military activity; the Achievement Medal is awarded for outstanding achievement or meritorious service not of a nature that would otherwise warrant awarding the Commendation Medal. Award authority rests with local commanders, granting a broad discretion of when and for what action the Achievement Medal may be awarded; the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, is the United States Navy and U. S. Marine Corps' version of the Achievement Medal; the U. S. Navy was the first branch of the U. S. Armed Forces to award such a medal, doing so in 1961, when it was dubbed the “Secretary of the Navy Commendation for Achievement Medal”.
This title was shortened in 1967 to the "Navy Achievement Medal". On 19 August 1994, to recognize those of the United States Marine Corps who had received the Navy Achievement Medal, the name of the decoration was changed to the "Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal"; the award is referred to in shorthand speech as a "NAM". From its inception in the early 1960s to 2002, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal could not be approved by the commanding officers of ships, aviation squadron, or shore activities who held the rank of Commander. Awards for crewmembers had to be submitted to the Commodore or Air Wing Commander or the first appropriate O-6 in the chain of command for approval, who signed the award and returned it; this led to a lower awarding rate when compared to similar size units in the Army or Air Force awarding their own achievement medals considering that those services did not establish their respective achievement medals until the 1980s. Since 2002 the commanding officers of aviation squadrons and ships have had the authority to award NAMs without submission to higher authority.
For the Army, battalion commanders (or the first O-5 in a soldier's chain of command for the Army Achievement Medal. The United States Coast Guard created its own Achievement Medal in 1967. S. Army and U. S. Air Force issued their own versions of the award with the Army Achievement Medal in 1981 and Air Force Achievement Medal in 1980. Effective 11 September 2001, the Army Achievement Medal may be awarded in a combat area. Since this change over sixty thousand Army Achievement Medals have been awarded in theaters of operations such as Iraq and Afghanistan; the Joint Service Achievement Medal was created in 1983. This award was considered a Department of Defense decoration senior to the service department Achievement Medals; the following devices may be authorized to be worn on the following achievement medals suspension ribbon and service ribbon: All Achievement Medals, "C" device, which signifies meritorious performance "under combat conditions", after January 2016 Army Achievement Medal, for additional awards - oak leaf clusters Air Force Achievement Medal, for additional awards - oak leaf clusters Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, for additional awards - 5/16 inch stars Coast Guard Achievement Medal, for additional awards - 5/16 inch stars Joint Service Achievement Medal, for additional awards - oak leaf clusters Coast Guard Achievement Medal - Operational Distinguishing Device Coast Guard Achievement Medal - Combat Distinguishing Device The following ribbon devices were authorized in the past but have now been discontinued: Air Force Achievement Medal - "V" Device, until December 2016 Army Achievement Medal - "V" Device, until December 2016 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal - Combat Distinguishing Device, until December 2016 Awards and decorations of the United States government Awards and decorations of the United States military Awards and decorations of the United States Coast Guard Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Citation Examples HRC Joint Awards FAQ
A service ribbon, medal ribbon, or ribbon bar is a small ribbon, mounted on a small metal bar equipped with an attaching device, issued for wear in place of a medal when it is not appropriate to wear the actual medal. Each country's government has its own rules on what ribbons can be worn in what circumstances and in which order; this is defined in an official document and is called "the order of precedence" or "the order of wearing." In some countries, some awards are "ribbon only," having no associated medal. According to the Defense Logistics Agency, the U. S. military's standard size for a ribbon bar is 1 3/8 in wide, 3/8 inches tall, with a thickness of 0.8mm. The service ribbon for a specific medal is identical to the suspension ribbon on the medal. For example, the suspension and service ribbon for the U. S. government's Purple Heart medal is purple with a white vertical stripe at each end. However, there are some military awards that do not have a suspension ribbon, but have an authorized ribbon and unit award emblem.
The Soviet Order of Victory is a badge, worn on the military parade uniform. However, a ribbon bar representing the Order of Victory was worn on a military field uniform. Ribbon bars come in a variety of colors. In the case of the U. S. military, it maintains a specific list of colors used on its ribbons, based on the Pantone Matching System and Federal Standard 595 color systems: There is a variety of constructions of service ribbons. In some countries, service ribbons are mounted on a "pin backing", which can be pushed through the fabric of a uniform and secured, with fasteners, on the inside edge; these ribbons can be individually secured and lined up, or they can be all mounted on to a single fastener. After the Second World War, it was common for all ribbons to be mounted on a single metal bar and worn in a manner similar to a brooch. Other methods of wearing have included physically sewing each service ribbon onto the uniform garments. "Orders of wearing" define which ribbons may be worn on which types of uniform in which positions under which circumstances.
For example, miniature medals on dinner dress, full medals on parade dress, ribbons on dress shirts, but no decorations on combat dress and working clothing. Some countries maintain a standard practice of wearing full service ribbons on combat utility clothing. Others prohibit this; these regulations are similar to the regulations regarding display of rank insignia and regulations regarding saluting of more senior ranks. The reasoning for such regulations is to prevent these displays from enabling opposing forces to identify persons of higher rank and therefore aid them in choosing targets which will have a larger impact on the battlefield. In times of war, it is not uncommon for commanders and other high value individuals to wear no markings on their uniforms and wear clothing and insignia of a lower ranking soldier. Service medals and ribbons are worn in rows on the left side of the chest. In certain commemorative and/ or memorial circumstances, a relative may wear the medals or ribbons of a dead relative on the right side of the chest.
Medals and ribbons not mentioned in the "Order of wear" are generally worn on the right side of the chest. Sequencing of the ribbons depends on each country's regulations. In the United States, for example, those with the highest status—typically awarded for heroism or distinguished service—are placed at the top of the display, while foreign decorations are last in the bottom rows; when medals are worn, ribbons with no corresponding medals are worn on the right side. The study and collection of ribbons, among other military decorations, is known as phaleristics. Keith Payne, VC, OAMHis Excellency General The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC Sir Hans Jesper Helsø former General and Chief of Defence. Ecuadorian General of the Army Paco Moncayo Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel Admiral of the Fleet Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma In the U. S. military, the different services have different methods of wearing ribbon bars. In the U. S. Navy, they are worn in rows of three with no spacing between rows.
For U. S. Navy members who have three or more ribbons, they can elect to wear only their three highest-ranked ones instead of all of them. In the U. S. Marine Corps, they can be worn with optional staggering. In the U. S. Army staggered with spacing in between rows. A U. S. serviceman's complete ribbon display is referred to colloquially as a "ribbon rack" or "rack" for short. Field Marshal S. H. F. J. Manekshaw Phaleristics Order List of military decorations List of prizes and awards Awards and decorations of the United States military Danish service ribbons
NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, known informally as the NOAA Corps, is one of seven federal uniformed services of the United States, operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a scientific agency overseen by the Department of Commerce. The NOAA Corps is made up of scientifically and technically trained officers and is the smallest of the U. S. uniformed services. It is one of only two––the other being the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps––that consists only of commissioned officers, with no enlisted or warrant officer ranks; the NOAA Corps was established in 1970, though its origins in its predecessor organizations date back to 22 May 1917. It is the successor to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps and the United States Environmental Science Services Administration Commissioned Officer Corps; the NOAA Corps is the smallest of the seven uniformed services of the United States Government.
It has over 300 commissioned officers. The NOAA Corps today provides a cadre of professionals trained in engineering, earth sciences, meteorology, fisheries science, other related disciplines. NOAA Corps officers operate NOAA ships, fly NOAA aircraft, manage research projects, conduct diving operations, serve in staff positions throughout NOAA, as well as in positions in the United States Merchant Marine, United States Department of Defense, the United States Coast Guard, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States Department of State. Like its predecessors, the Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps and the ESSA Corps, the NOAA Corps provides a ready source of technically skilled officers which can be incorporated into the U. S. Armed Forces in time of war, in peacetime supports defense requirements in addition to its purely non-military scientific projects. While civilian personnel could perform many of its functions, the advantage of the NOAA Corps as a commissioned service is the quick response time of its personnel, which NOAA can shift among projects and to various places around the world as the need arises more and more than it could by reassigning or hiring civilian personnel to meet new or changing requirements.
The NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps traces its roots to the United States Geodetic Survey. The Coast and Geodetic Survey's predecessor, the United States Survey of the Coast – renamed the United States Coast Survey in 1836 – was founded in 1807 under President Thomas Jefferson; until the American Civil War, the Coast Survey was manned by civilian personnel working with United States Army and United States Navy officers. During the Civil War, Army officers were withdrawn from Coast Survey duty, never to return, while all but two Navy officers were withdrawn from Coast Survey service for the duration of the war. Since most men of the Survey had Union sympathies, most stayed on with the Survey rather than resigning to serve the Confederate States of America. S. Navy and Union Army, these Coast Surveyors are the professional ancestors of today's NOAA Corps; those Coast Surveyors supporting the Union Army were given assimilated military rank while attached to a specific command, but those supporting the U.
S. Navy operated as civilians and ran the risk of being executed as spies if captured by the Confederates while working in support of Union forces. After the war, U. S. Navy officers returned to duty with the Coast Survey, given authority over geodetic activities in the interior of the United States in 1871, was subsequently renamed the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1878. With the outbreak of the Spanish–American War in April 1898, the Navy again withdrew all of its officers from Coast and Geodetic Survey assignments, they returned after the war ended in August 1898, but the system of U. S. Navy officers and men crewing the Survey's ships that had prevailed for most of the 19th century came to an end when the appropriation law––approved on June 6, 1900––provided for "all necessary employees to man and equip the vessels," instead of Navy personnel; the law took effect on July 1, 1900. From July 1900, the Coast and Geodetic Survey continued as an civilian-manned organization until after the United States entered World War I in April 1917.
To avoid the dangers that Coast Survey personnel had faced during the Civil War of being executed as spies if captured by the enemy, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps was established on 22 May 1917, giving Coast and Geodetic Survey officers a commissioned status so that under the laws of war, they could not be executed as spies if they were captured while serving as surveyors on a battlefield during World War I. The creation of the Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps ensured that in wartime a set of officers with technical skills in surveying could be assimilated into the United States armed forces so that their skills could be employed in military and naval work essential to the war effort. Before World War I ended in November 1918, over half of all Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps officers had served in the U. S. Army, U. S. Navy, or United States Marine Corps, performing duty as artillery orienteering officers, as minelaying officers in the North Sea, as navigators aboard troop transports, as intelligence officers, as officers on the staff of American Expedit
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U. S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches, it has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force. The U. S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, established during the American Revolutionary War and was disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter.
The U. S. Navy played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers, it played the central role in the World War II defeat of Imperial Japan. The US Navy emerged from World War II as the most powerful navy in the world; the 21st century U. S. Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in strength in such areas as the Western Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, it is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward deployments during peacetime and respond to regional crises, making it a frequent actor in U. S. foreign and military policy. The Navy is administratively managed by the Department of the Navy, headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy; the Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations is the most senior naval officer serving in the Department of the Navy.
The mission of the Navy is to maintain and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. The U. S. Navy is a seaborne branch of the military of the United States; the Navy's three primary areas of responsibility: The preparation of naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war. The maintenance of naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy; the development of aircraft, tactics, technique and equipment of naval combat and service elements. U. S. Navy training manuals state that the mission of the U. S. Armed Forces is "to be prepared to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations in support of the national interest." As part of that establishment, the U. S. Navy's functions comprise sea control, power projection and nuclear deterrence, in addition to "sealift" duties, it follows as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, with it, everything honorable and glorious.
Naval power... is the natural defense of the United States The Navy was rooted in the colonial seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors and shipbuilders. In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own Massachusetts Naval Militia; the rationale for establishing a national navy was debated in the Second Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, make it easier to seek out support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy the world's preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned the ocean-going schooner USS Hannah to interdict British merchant ships and reported the captures to the Congress. On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchant ships. S. Navy; the Continental Navy achieved mixed results.
In August 1785, after the Revolutionary War had drawn to a close, Congress had sold Alliance, the last ship remaining in the Continental Navy due to a lack of funds to maintain the ship or support a navy. In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, authorized the Navy to celebrate its birthday on 13 October to honor the establishment of the Continental Navy in 1775; the United States was without a navy for nearly a decade, a state of affairs that exposed U. S. maritime merchant ships to a series of attacks by the Barbary pirates. The sole armed maritime presence between 1790 and the launching of the U. S. Navy's first warships in 1797 was the U. S. Revenue-Marine, the primary predecessor of the U. S. Coast Guard. Although the USRCS conducted operations against the pirates, their depredations far outstripped its abilities and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 that established a permanent standing navy on 27 March 1794; the Naval Act ordered the construction and manning of six frigates and, by October 1797, the first three were brought into service: USS United States, USS Constellation, USS Constitution.
Due to his strong posture on having a strong standing Navy during this period, John Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy". In 1798–99 the Navy was involved in an undeclared Quasi-War with France. From 18
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, Air Force, 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 and Department of Homeland Security, 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. 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, it was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, 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, requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U. S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service. On February 22, 2019, however, a federal judge ruled that registering only males for Selective Service is unconstitutional.
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 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, 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; the history of the U. S. Armed Forces dates to 14 June 1775, with the creation of the Continental Army before the Declaration of Independence marked the establishment of the United States; the Continental Navy, established on 13 October 1775, Continental Marines, established on 10 November 1775, were created in close succession by the Second Continental Congress in order to defend the new nation against the British Empire in the American Revolutionary War.
These forces demobilized in 1784. The Congress of the Confederation created the current United States Army on 3 June 1784; the United States Congress created the current United States Navy on 27 March 1794 and the current United States Marine Corps on 11 July 1798. All three services trace their origins to their respective Continental predecessors; the 1787 adoption of the Constitution gave the Congress the power to "raise and support armies", to "provide and maintain a navy" and to "make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces", as well as the power to declare war. The President is the U. S. Armed Forces' commander-in-chief; the United States Coast Guard traces its origin to the founding of the Revenue Cutter Service on 4 August 1790 which merged with the United States Life-Saving Service on 28 January 1915 to establish the Coast Guard. The United States Air Force was established as an independent service on 18 September 1947. S. Signal Corps, formed 1 August 1907 and was part of the Army Air Forces before becoming an independent service as per the National Security Act of 1947.
The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps was considered to be a branch of the United States Armed Forces from 29 July 1945 until its status as such was revoked on 3 July 1952. On March 1st, 2019, the Department of Defense sent a proposal to Congress that would establish the United States Space Force as an independent military service within the Department of the Air Force. If approved, this would become the sixth military service branch to be created. Command over the U. S. Armed Forces is established in the Constitution; the sole power of command is vested in the President by Article II as Commander-in-Chief. The Constitution presumes the existence of "executive Departments" headed by "principal officers", whose appointment mechanism is provided for in the Appointments Clause; this allowance in the Constitution formed the basis for creation of the Department of Defense in 1947 by the National Security Act. The DoD is headed by the Secretary of Defense, a civilian and member of the Cabinet.
The Defense Secretary is second in the U. S. Armed Forces chain of command, with the exception of the Coast Guard, under the Secretary of Homeland Security, is just below the President and serves as the