With Duckie’s permission, this is a general intro to a series of RED posts with more specific focus. We respect and pray for our military, but how much do we actually know about the history and missions of the various branches of the American military? Some of the Founders of America were afraid of a “standing” or permanently existing army. So how did we wind up with one? Following this intro, we’ll take a look at each branch of our military separately. I’m including links for those who want to be more thorough than we can be here in one post.
The following paragraphs until the next section are from America’s Library
Congress Officially Created the U.S. Military September 29, 1789
In its very first session, the United States Congress had a lot of decisions to make. One important topic the first representatives and senators needed to address was establishing the U.S. military. There already was a colonial army–the Continental Army–that had fought the British in the American Revolution and won under General George Washington. But this army was not the official army of the United States.
Finally, on September 29, 1789, the last day of its first session, the U.S. Congress passed an act to establish the United States military. However, this happened only after President Washington reminded them, twice!
Washington wrote a letter on August 7, 1789, to remind the Senate and the House of Representatives to create provisions for the U.S. military. He told them he didn’t need to argue for an issue on which the “honor, safety and well being of our Country so evidently and essentially depend: But it may not be amiss to observe that I am particularly anxious it should receive an early attention as circumstances will admit.” The Secretary of War, Henry Knox, read this aloud to the members of Congress, but they did not immediately act upon it.
Three days later, on August 10, Washington again urged Congress to address the issue. Finally, on September 29, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the bill that established the armed forces of the United States of America. This probably meant very little change to the men already serving, but it meant a lot to George Washington. Over time, the United States Navy, Marines, and Air Force would join the ground troops.
The United States Military branches exist to defend the United States against all enemies and to provide combat capabilities anywhere in the world in support of United States security objectives.
While it’s sometimes hard to tell (the Army has aircraft and ships, and the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have ground forces), each branch has specific missions.
The Army exists to serve the American people, defend the Nation, protect vital national interests, and fulfill national military responsibilities. The Army makes up the nation’s largest and most extensive military ground capabilities. Currently, approximately 499,000 active duty Army troops are backed up by 700,000 National Guard and Army reservists. The Army is responsible to provide necessary forces and capabilities in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies of the United States.
The Army’s mission is codified by federal law:
Preserve the peace and security and provide for the defense of the United States, the Commonwealths and possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States
Support the national policies
Implement the national objectives
Overcome any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States
Air Force mission
The mission statement of the United States Air Force is “fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace.” Like the other branches, the official mission of the USAF has been established by federal law.
Title 10, Section 8062 of the U.S. Code defines the mission of the USAF as follows:
To preserve the peace and security and provide for the defense of the United States, the Territories, Commonwealths, and possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States
To support national policy
To implement national objectives
To overcome any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States
The mission of the United States Navy is to protect and defend the right of the United States and its allies to move freely on the oceans and to protect the country against her enemies. Federal law defines the mission of the United States Navy as follows:
To prepare the naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war
To maintain naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, and all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy.
To develop aircraft, weapons, tactics, technique, organization, and equipment of naval combat and service elements
Marine Corps mission
The United States Marine Corps serves as the amphibious forces of the United States. Its mission is detailed in Title 10, Section 5063 of the United States Code (USC):
The seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and other land operations to support naval campaigns
The development of tactics, technique, and equipment used by amphibious landing forces
Such other duties as the President may direct
Coast Guard mission
The Coast Guard is the only U.S. military service not organized under the Department of Defense. Instead, the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security. Even so, the Coast Guard is one of the official branches of the U.S. Military. Title 10, section 101(a)(4) of the U.S.C. says, “The term ‘armed forces’ means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.” Additionally, Title 14, Section 1 states, “The Coast Guard as established 28 January 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times.”
Remember: In time of war, the President can direct all, or part of, the Coast Guard under the service of the Navy. ( << This was in the text exactly as you see it here. I did not add it – lawngren)
The U.S. Coast Guard is the only U.S. Military branch that routinely engages in civilian law enforcement during peacetime. Section 2 of 14 U.S.C authorizes the Coast Guard to enforce federal law.
The Coast Guard statutory missions as defined by law are divided into homeland security missions and nonhomeland security missions. Nonhomeland security missions are
Search and rescue
Aids to navigation
Living marine resources (fisheries law enforcement)
Marine environmental protection
Homeland security missions of the Coast Guard are:
Ports, waterways, and coastal security (PWCS)
Drug interdiction and migrant interdiction
Other law enforcement
One organization we probably all know which has an excellent reputation for giving encouragement and assistance to active duty members of the military: