The commanding officer or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer, commanding general, is the officer in command of a military unit. The commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, is given wide latitude to run the unit as they see fit, within the bounds of military law. In this respect, commanding officers have significant responsibilities and powers. In some countries, commanding officers may be of any commissioned rank. There are more officers than command positions available, time spent in command is a key aspect of promotion, so the role of commanding officer is valued; the commanding officer is assisted by an executive officer or second-in-command, who handles personnel and day-to-day matters, a senior enlisted advisor. Larger units may have staff officers responsible for various responsibilities. In the British Army, Royal Marines, many other Commonwealth military and paramilitary organisations, the commanding officer of a unit is appointed, thus the office of CO is an appointment.
The appointment of commanding officer is exclusive to commanders of major units. It is customary for a commanding officer to hold the rank of lieutenant colonel, they are referred to within the unit as "the colonel" or the CO. "The colonel" may refer to the holder of an honorary appointment of a senior officer who oversees the non-operational affairs of a regiment. However, the rank of the appointment holder and the holder's appointment are separate; that is, not all lieutenant colonels are COs, although most COs are lieutenant colonels, not a requirement of the appointment. Sub-units and minor units and formations do not have a commanding officer; the officer in command of such a unit holds the appointment of "officer commanding". Higher formations have a general officer commanding. Area commands have a commander-in-chief; the OC of a sub-unit or minor unit is today customarily a major, although again the rank of the appointment holder and the holder's appointment are separate and independent of each other.
In some cases, independent units smaller than a sub-unit will have an OC appointed. In these cases, the officer commanding can be a captain or a lieutenant. Appointments such as CO and OC may have specific powers associated with them. For example, they may have statutory powers to promote soldiers or to deal with certain disciplinary offences and award certain punishments; the CO of a unit may have the power to sentence an offender to 28 days' detention, whereas the OC of a sub-unit may have the power to sentence an offender to 3 days' restriction of privileges. Commanders of units smaller than sub-units are not specific appointments and officers or NCOs who fill those positions are referred to as the commander or leader. In the Royal Air Force, the title of commanding officer is reserved for station commanders or commanders of independent units, including flying squadrons; as with the British Army, the post of a commander of a lesser unit such as an administrative wing, squadron or flight is referred to as the officer commanding.
In the Royal Navy and many others, commanding officer is the official title of the commander of any ship, unit or installation. However, they are referred to as "the captain" no matter what their actual rank, or informally as "skipper" or "boss". In the United States, the status of commanding officer is duly applied to all commissioned officers who hold lawful command over a military unit, ship, or installation; the commanding officer of a company a captain, is referred to as the company commander. The commanding officer of a battalion, is a lieutenant colonel; the commanding officer of a brigade, a colonel, is the brigade commander. At the division level and higher, the commanding officer is referred to as the commanding general, as these officers hold general officer rank. Although holding a leadership position in the same sense as commanders, the individual in charge of a platoon, the smallest unit of soldiers led by a commissioned officer a second lieutenant, is referred to as the platoon leader, not the platoon commander.
This officer does have command of the soldiers under him but does not have many of the command responsibilities inherent to higher echelons. For example, a platoon leader cannot issue non-judicial punishment. Non-commissioned officers may be said to have charge of certain smaller military units, they cannot, hold command as they lack the requisite authority granted by the head of state to do so. Those wielding "command" of individual vehicles are called vehicle commanders; this distinction in title applies to officers who are aircraft commanders, as well as officers and enlisted soldiers who are tank and armored vehicle commanders. While these officers and NCOs have tactical and operational command (including full authority and accountability – in the case
Unified combatant command
A unified combatant command is a United States Department of Defense command, composed of forces from at least two Military Departments and has a broad and continuing mission. These commands are established to provide effective command and control of U. S. military forces, regardless of branch of service, in peace and war. They are organized either on a geographical basis or on a functional basis, such as special operations, power projection, or transport. UCCs are "joint" commands with specific badges denoting their affiliation; the creation and organization of the unified combatant commands is mandated in Title 10, U. S. Code Sections 161–168; the Unified Command Plan establishes the missions, command responsibilities, geographic areas of responsibility of the unified combatant commands. As of May 2018, there are ten unified combatant commands. Six have regional responsibilities, four have functional responsibilities; each time the Unified Command Plan is updated, the organization of the combatant commands is reviewed for military efficiency and efficacy, as well as alignment with national policy.
Each unified command is led by a combatant commander, a four-star general or admiral. CCDRs exercise combatant command, a specific type of nontransferable command authority over assigned forces, regardless of branch of service, vested only in the CCDRs by federal law in 10 U. S. C. § 164. The chain of command for operational purposes goes from the President through the Secretary of Defense to the combatant commanders. Three geographic combatant commands have their headquarters located outside their geographic area of responsibility; the current system of unified commands in the U. S. military emerged during World War II with the establishment of geographic theaters of operation composed of forces from multiple service branches that reported to a single commander, supported by a joint staff. A unified command structure existed to coordinate British and U. S. military forces operating under the Combined Chiefs of Staff, composed of the British Chiefs of Staff Committee and the U. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In the European Theater, Allied military forces fell under the command of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. After SHAEF was dissolved at the end of the war, the American forces were unified under a single command, the US Forces, European Theater, commanded by General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower. Unified commands in the Pacific Theater proved more difficult to organize as neither General of the Army Douglas MacArthur nor Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was willing to become subordinate to the other; the Joint Chiefs of Staff continued to advocate in favor of establishing permanent unified commands, President Harry S. Truman approved the first plan on 14 December 1946. Known as the "Outline Command Plan," it would become the first in a series of Unified Command Plans; the original "Outline Command Plan" of 1946 established seven unified commands: Far East Command, Pacific Command, Alaskan Command, Northeast Command, the U. S. Atlantic Fleet, Caribbean Command, European Command.
However, on 5 August 1947, the CNO recommended instead that CINCLANTFLT be established as a unified commander under the broader title of Commander in Chief, Atlantic. The Army and Air Force objected, CINCLANTFLT was activated as a unified command on 1 November 1947. A few days the CNO renewed his suggestion for the establishment of a unified Atlantic Command; this time his colleagues withdrew their objections, on 1 December 1947, the U. S. Atlantic Command was created under the Commander in Atlantic. Under the original plan, each of the unified commands operated with one of the service chiefs serving as an executive agent representing the Joint Chiefs of Staff; this arrangement was formalized on 21 April 1948 as part of a policy paper titled the "Function of the Armed Forces and the Joint Chiefs of Staff". The responsibilities of the unified commands were further expanded on 7 September 1948 when the commanders' authority was extended to include the coordination of the administrative and logistical functions in addition to their combat responsibilities.
Far East Command and U. S. Northeast Command were disestablished under the Unified Command Plan of 1956–57. A 1958 "reorganization in National Command Authority relations with the joint commands" with a "direct channel" to unified commands such as Continental Air Defense Command was effected after President Dwight Eisenhower expressed concern about nuclear command and control. CONAD itself was disestablished in 1975. Although not part of the original plan, the Joint Chiefs of Staff created specified commands that had broad and continuing missions but were composed of forces from only one service. Examples include the U. S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean and the U. S. Air Force's Strategic Air Command. Like the unified commands, the specified commands reported directly to the JCS instead of their respective service chiefs; these commands have not existed since the Strategic Air Command was disestablished in 1992. The relevant section of federal law, remains unchanged, the President retains the power to establish a new specified command.
The Goldwater–Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 clarified and codified responsibilities that commanders-in-chief undertook, which were first given legal status in 1947. After that act, CINCs reported directly to the United States Secretary of Defense, through him to the President of the United St
United States Strategic Command
United States Strategic Command is one of ten unified commands in the United States Department of Defense. Headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, USSTRATCOM is responsible for strategic deterrence, global strike, operating the Defense Department's Global Information Grid, it provides a host of capabilities to support the other combatant commands, including strategic warning. This dynamic command gives national leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to respond to those threats rapidly. USSTRATCOM employs tailored nuclear, space, global strike, joint electronic warfare, missile defense, intelligence capabilities to deter aggression, decisively respond if deterrence fails, assure allies, shape adversary behavior, defeat terror, define the force of the future. Strategic Deterrence Decisive Response A Combat-Ready Force Embrace strategic deterrence, consisting of innovative joint fighting forces integrated and synchronized in multiple domains to ensure national security.
Ensure that we can and will provide a decisive response to aggression, against any threat, when called upon by national leadership. Anticipate and meet tactical and strategic demands through our campaign plan, our operational plans, capability development. Develop the next generation of professionals and capabilities in order to prevail in future conflicts. J1 - Manpower & Personnel: Develops and administers command manpower and personnel policies, human resources, personnel assignment programs. J2 - Intelligence: Responsible for delivering all-source intelligence while enabling the execution of assigned strategic deterrence and cyberspace operations. Directs all intelligence-related support for the Commander and ensures unity of intelligence effort across the Command. J3 - Global Operations: Coordinates the planning and operation of DoD strategic assets and combines all current operations and global command and control operations. Subdivisions within J3 include Combat and Information Operations, Current Operations and Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations.
J4 - Logistics: The Logistics Directorate plans and executes joint logistics functions, provides capability-based readiness assessments and facilities management in support of U. S. Strategic Command's global mission. J5 - Plans and Policy: Responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of national security policy as it applies to the command and the execution of its mission. Develops future plans and strategy across all mission areas as outlined in the Unified Command Plan. J6 - C4 Systems: Coordinates, facilitates and assesses systems and communications requirements. J7 - Joint Exercises and Assessments: Manages the USSTRATCOM Commander's Joint Exercises and Assessments programs in order to ensure readiness to perform the Command missions. Provides modeling and simulation support for exercises and training events to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Combatant Commands, other Major Commands. Manages the Joint Lessons Learned Program. Augments the battle staff during a crisis. J8 - Capability and Resource Integration: Conducts force management and analysis to include integrating, coordinating and advocating USSTRATCOM future concepts, mission capability needs, weapons system development, support for emerging technologies, command and control architecture across the mission areas.
Responsible for all command requirement processes, ensures appropriate decision support tools and assessment processes are in place to enhance operational capabilities. J10 - Joint Reserve Directorate: The Joint Reserve Directorate advises CDRUSSTRATCOM and staff on matters related to the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps Reserve personnel assigned to USSTRATCOM; the J10 coordinates Reserve funding requests with the applicable service. U. S. Strategic Command's day-to-day planning and execution for the primary mission areas is done by the following USSTRATCOM components: Joint Force Air Component Commander, Barksdale AFB, LA – Conducts kinetic and non-kinetic effects planning and execution. JFACC manages global force air activities to assure allies and to deter and dissuade actions detrimental to the United States and its global interests. Joint Forces Maritime Component Commander, Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, VA - to conduct operations in the maritime envrionment for strategic deterrence.
It is commanded by US Fleet Forces Command. Joint Force Space Component Commander, Peterson AFB, CO – JFSCC directs assigned and attached USSTRATCOM space forces providing tailored, responsive and global space effects in support of national objectives. JFSCC executes operational command and control of space forces through the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB. JFCC - Integrated Missile Defense Schriever AFB, CO – JFCC-IMD is monitoring for any missile activity or threat against the United States and its allies. In the event of an attack, IMD coordinates the necessary actions to counter the threat; when directed provides alternate missile defense execution support. Joint Warfare Analysis Center Dahlgren, VA – The Joint Warfare Analysis Center provides combatant commands, Joint Staff, other customers with precise technical solutions in order to carry out the national security and military strategies of the
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the leader and chief executive officer of the United States Department of Defense, the executive department of the Armed Forces of the U. S; the Secretary of Defense's position of command and authority over the U. S. military is second only to that of the Congress, respectively. This position corresponds to what is known as a Defense Minister in many other countries; the Secretary of Defense is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is by custom a member of the Cabinet and by law a member of the National Security Council. Secretary of Defense is a statutory office, the general provision in 10 U. S. C. § 113 provides that the Secretary of Defense has "authority and control over the Department of Defense", is further designated by the same statute as "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense". To ensure civilian control of the military, no one may be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years of serving as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force.
Subject only to the orders of the President, the Secretary of Defense is in the chain of command and exercises command and control, for both operational and administrative purposes, over all Department of Defense forces — the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force — as well as the U. S. Coast Guard when its control is transferred to the Department of Defense. Only the Secretary of Defense can authorize the transfer of operational control of forces between the three Military Departments and the 10 Combatant Commands; because the Office of Secretary of Defense is vested with legal powers which exceed those of any commissioned officer, is second only to the President in the military hierarchy, its incumbent has sometimes unofficially been referred to as a de facto "deputy commander-in-chief". The Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury are regarded as heading the four most important departments. Since January 1, 2019, the Secretary of Defense has been Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan, serving in an acting capacity.
His predecessor, Jim Mattis, resigned on December 20, 2018, effective February 2019, after failing to persuade President Donald Trump to reconsider a decision to withdraw U. S. troops from Syria. A few days Trump announced that Mattis would leave at the end of December. An Army and Marine Corps were established in 1775, in concurrence with the American Revolution; the War Department, headed by the Secretary of War, was created by Act of Congress in 1789 and was responsible for both the Army and Navy until the founding of a separate Department of the Navy in 1798. Based on the experiences of World War II, proposals were soon made on how to more manage the large combined military establishment; the Army favored centralization while the Navy had institutional preferences for decentralization and the status quo. The resulting National Security Act of 1947 was a compromise between these divergent viewpoints; the Act split the Department of War into the Department of the Army and Department of the Navy and established the National Military Establishment, presided over by the Secretary of Defense.
The Act separated the Army Air Forces from the Army to become its own branch of service, the United States Air Force. At first, each of the service secretaries maintained cabinet status; the first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, who in his previous capacity as Secretary of the Navy had opposed creation of the new position, found it difficult to exercise authority over the other branches with the limited powers his office had at the time. To address this and other problems, the National Security Act was amended in 1949 to further consolidate the national defense structure in order to reduce interservice rivalry, directly subordinate the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to the Secretary of Defense in the chain of command, rename the National Military Establishment as the Department of Defense, making it one Executive Department; the position of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two position in the department, was created at this time. The general trend since 1949 has been to further centralize management in the Department of Defense, elevating the status and authorities of civilian OSD appointees and defense-wide organizations at the expense of the military departments and the services within them.
The last major revision of the statutory framework concerning the position was done in the Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. In particular, it elevated the status of joint service for commissioned officers, making it in practice a requirement before appointments to general officer and flag officer grades could be made; the Secretary of Defense, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is by federal law the head of the Department of Defense, "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to Department of Defense", has "authority and control over the Department of Defense". Because the Constitution vests all military a
The Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of October 4, 1986 Pub. L. 99–433, made the most sweeping changes to the United States Department of Defense since the department was established in the National Security Act of 1947 by reworking the command structure of the United States military. It increased the powers of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and implemented some of the suggestions from the Packard Commission, commissioned by President Reagan in 1985. Among other changes, Goldwater–Nichols streamlined the military chain of command, which now runs from the president through the secretary of defense directly to combatant commanders, bypassing the service chiefs; the service chiefs were assigned to an advisory role to the president and the secretary of defense as well as given the responsibility for training and equipping personnel for the unified combatant commands. Named after Senator Barry Goldwater and Representative William Flynt "Bill" Nichols, the bill passed the House of Representatives, 383–27, the Senate, 95–0.
It was signed into law by President Reagan on October 1, 1986. Admiral William J. Crowe was the first chairman to serve under this new legislation; the Goldwater–Nichols Act was an attempt to fix problems caused by inter-service rivalry, which had emerged during the Vietnam War, contributed to the catastrophic failure of the Iranian hostage rescue mission in 1980, which were still evident in the invasion of Grenada in 1983. Such problems existed as well in World War II, during which two independent lines of command flowed from the president, one through the secretary of the navy to naval forces, the other through the secretary of war to land and air forces. In 1947, the military restructuring placed all military forces, including the newly independent Air Force, under a single civilian secretary of defense. However, the United States military was still organized along lines of command that reported to their respective service chiefs; these service chiefs in turn made up the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff elected a chairman to communicate with the civilian government. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs in turn reported to the secretary of defense, the civilian head of the military. Both the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretary of defense reported to the president of the United States who holds the position of commander-in-chief of all U. S. Armed Forces; this system led to counter-productive inter-service rivalry. Peacetime activities were tailored for each service in isolation. Additionally, wartime activities of each service were planned and evaluated independently; these practices resulted in division of effort and an inability to profit from economies of scale, inhibited the development of modern warfare doctrine. The formulation of the AirLand Battle doctrine in the late 1970s and early 1980s laid bare the difficulty of coordinating efforts among various service branches. AirLand Battle attempted to synthesize all of the capabilities of the service arms of the military into a single doctrine.
The system envisioned ground, naval and space based systems acting in concert to attack and defeat an opponent in depth. The structure of the armed forces blocked realization of this ideal; the U. S. invasion of Grenada in 1983 further exposed the problems with the military command structure. Although the United States forces prevailed, its leaders expressed major concerns over both the inability of the different service branches to coordinate and communicate with each other, the consequences of a lack of coordination if faced with a more threatening foe; the Goldwater–Nichols Act brought sweeping changes to the way the U. S. military forces were organized. The first successful test of Goldwater–Nichols was the 1989 United States invasion of Panama, where it functioned as planned, allowing the U. S. commander, Army General Maxwell Reid Thurman, to exercise full control over Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy assets without having to negotiate with the individual services. Under the Goldwater–Nichols Act, military advice was centralized in the chairman of the Joint Chiefs as opposed to the service chiefs.
The chairman was designated as the principal military adviser to the president of the United States, National Security Council and secretary of defense. The Act established the position of vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and simplified the chain of command. Additionally, the Act states that the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cannot be representatives from the same service branch, it increased the ability of the chairman to direct overall strategy, but provided greater command authority to "unified" and "specified" field commanders. According to the Act, the chairman may not exercise military command over the Joint Chiefs of Staff or any of the armed forces. Section 162 of the Act prescribes that "unless otherwise directed by the President, the chain of command to a unified or specified combatant command runs— "from the President to the Secretary of Defense," and "from the Secretary of Defense to the commander of the combatant command". Goldwater–Nichols changed the way the services interact.
The services themselves "organize and equip" forces for use by the combatant commanders, the service chiefs no longer exercise any operational control over their forces. Rather than reporting to a service chief operationally, the service component forces support the commander responsible for a speci
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the U. S. federal government, after the President of the United States, ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The Vice President is an officer in the legislative branch, as President of the Senate. In this capacity, the Vice President presides over Senate deliberations, but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote; the Vice President presides over joint sessions of Congress. The Vice President is indirectly elected together with the President to a four-year term of office by the people of the United States through the Electoral College. Section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, ratified in 1967, created a mechanism for intra-term vice presidential succession, establishing that vice presidential vacancies will be filled by the president and confirmed by both houses of Congress. Whenever a vice president had succeeded to the presidency or had died or resigned from office, the vice presidency remained vacant until the next presidential and vice presidential terms began.
The Vice President is a statutory member of the National Security Council, the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. The Office of the Vice President organises the vice president's official functions; the role of the vice presidency has changed since the office was created during the 1787 constitutional Convention. Over the past 100 years, the vice presidency has evolved into a position of domestic and foreign policy political power, is now seen as an integral part of a president's administration; as the Vice President's role within the executive branch has expanded, his role within the legislative branch has contracted. The Constitution does not expressly assign the vice presidency to any one branch, causing a dispute among scholars about which branch of government the office belongs to: 1) the executive branch; the modern view of the vice president as an officer of the executive branch is due in large part to the assignment of executive authority to the vice president by either the president or Congress.
Mike Pence of Indiana is the current Vice President of the United States. He assumed office on January 20, 2017. No mention of an office of vice president was made at the 1787 Constitutional Convention until near the end, when an 11-member committee on "Leftover Business" proposed a method of electing the chief executive. Delegates had considered the selection of the Senate's presiding officer, deciding that, "The Senate shall choose its own President," and had agreed that this official would be designated the executive's immediate successor, they had considered the mode of election of the executive but had not reached consensus. This all changed on September 4, when the committee recommended that the nation's chief executive be elected by an Electoral College, with each state having a number of presidential electors equal to the sum of that state's allocation of representatives and senators; the proposed presidential election process called for each state to choose members of the electoral college, who would use their discretion to select the candidates they individually viewed as best qualified.
Recognizing that loyalty to one's individual state outweighed loyalty to the new federation, the Constitution's framers assumed that individual electors would be inclined to choose a candidate from their own state over one from another. So they created the office of vice president and required that electors vote for two candidates, requiring that at least one of their votes must be for a candidate from outside the elector's state, believing that this second vote could be cast for a candidate of national character. Additionally, to guard against the possibility that some electors might strategically throw away their second vote in order to bolster their favorite son's chance of winning, it was specified that the first runner-up presidential candidate would become vice president. Creating this new office imposed a political cost on strategically discarded electoral votes, incentivizing electors to make their choices for president without resort to electoral gamesmanship and to cast their second ballot accordingly.
The resultant method of electing the president and vice president, spelled out in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, allocated to each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of its Senate and House of Representatives membership. Each elector was allowed to vote for two people for president, but could not differentiate between their first and second choice for the presidency; the person receiving the greatest number of votes would be president, while the individual who received the next largest number of votes became vice president. If there were a tie for first or for second place, or if no one won a majority of votes, the president and vice president would be selected by means of contingent elections protocols stated in the clause; the emergence of political parties and nationally coordinated election campaigns during the 1790s soon frustrated this original plan. In the election of 1796, Federalist John Adams won the presidency, but his bitter rival, Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson came second and became vice president.
Thus, the president and vice president were from opposing parties.
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti