Talk:United States Armed Forces

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Former good article nominee United States Armed Forces was a History good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 70,502,691 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 2,056,762 (2000 est.)

Where did this come from? I doubt that only 2.85% of the 15-49 population is fit for military service. Somewhere on the order of 80 - 90% would be more like it. When I have seen stats like these used, it is in order to give an idea of what the nation could conceivably be capable of, if worse came to worse. Possibly this is meant as a guide to how many could be diverted from the civilian economy without causing serius problems? Dobbs 14:53 Sep 26, 2002 (UTC)

Originally it came from the CIA factbook but I don't know how they derive the numbers. They do seem odd, don't they? --rmhermen
Found it. World Factbook lists fit for military service as N/A. Reaching military age annually is 2,039,414 (2001 est.) - that's what it is, I'll change it. Dobbs 15:51 Sep 26, 2002 (UTC)

Move to Armed Forces of the United States, Part II[edit]

Actually, I believe that "Armed Forces of the United States" is the official collective term for all the branches. - Servicemember —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thisisweaksauce (talkcontribs) 22:28, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Please see discussion above. We need official proof. Buckshot06(prof) 16:12, 4 July 2009 (UTC)


Can non-citizens become officers in the US military?-- (talk) 16:51, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

No.Prussian725 (talk) 14:11, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Intro to US Armed Forces[edit]

This line:

"...Even so, the Founding Fathers were suspicious of a permanent military force and not until the outbreak of World War II did a peacetime army become officially established.[5]..."

Probably doesn't need to be in the intro. It is dubious to begin with, and the link goes to a page wherein one has to register and/or pay to access, and the topic doesn't seem to be anywhere near what this subject is about.

The U.S. DID have a peacetime army established prior to WWII. Jefferson, in 1802, had 3300 in his peacetime Army according to Richard Kohn in Eagle and Sword asks why a military was established so quickly after the birth of the nation and Congress stating they didn't want a peacetime army. Lastly, the book, The Peacetime Army, 1900-1941, by Marvin Fletcher, details a peacetime army that was established prior to WWII.

I think that the author might have been referring to a LARGE standing army. But, as for a peacetime army in general- one had long been established. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I agree, the wording of the sentence is not factual. Additionally, the reference that is cited does not support the claim. It needs to be removed and rewritten. -Signaleer (talk) 05:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

A full-time Federal Army has existed since June 14th, 1775. Often it was very small, but there has never been a point where some form of Continental/ Confederation/ Federal Army as an armed force did not exist since that date.

The portion about the Secretary of Defense being the President's second-in-command needs to change. The ONLY civilian in the entire military chain of command is the President. The President is the ONLY civilian who may give orders and exercise the functions and prerogatives of command. The SecDef, service secretaries and other civilian officials exercise authority in the name of the President but may not issue lawfully binding orders or exercise the functions of command on their own authority. The military chain of command flows from the President to the theater commanders: NorthCom, CentCom, SouthCom, etc. Even the Joint Chiefs of Staff are not in the chain of command. They are the President's Chiefs of Staff, his assistants, though they CAN give lawful orders based on the fact that they also hold military rank. If the President dies the next link in teh chain of command is the theater commanders. Until a new POTUS is sworn in, or a new Continuity Coordinator in the case of a major disaster where several links in the succession are wiped out, there IS no commander-in-chief and no one who fills that role in the interim. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:49, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

The President is the ONLY civilian who may give orders and exercise the functions and prerogatives of command. The SecDef, service secretaries and other civilian officials exercise authority in the name of the President but may not issue lawfully binding orders or exercise the functions of command on their own authority.
Wrong, this is misconception and a confusion of several concepts. The authority of all executive branch officials are derived from the authority vested in either the President, the Congress, or both by the Constitution. Those general authorities can be delegated by either law or by other means. The Secretary of Defense can act by his own (as provided in 10 USC 113 "authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense") or through an implied delegation from the President. Either way, he/she remains responsible for all actions to the President. The Supreme Court has taken the view in U.S. v. Eliason (1834);
The secretary of war is the regular constitutional organ of the president, for the administration of the military establishment of the nation; and rules and orders publicly promulged through him must be received as the acts of the executive, and as such, be binding upon all within the sphere of his legal and constitutional authority. Such regulations cannot be questioned or denied, because they may be thought unwise or mistaken.
The head of an executive department can execute all responsibilities of the President within his/her area of responsibility as if the President did it himself/herself (and is such in the eyes of the law). The general presumtion of the courts is that the head of an executive department acts with the approval of the President, but that's clearly not for a subordinate, particulary not in the armed forces, to question.
As for the chain of command down to the Combatant Commanders and the roles of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, their respective wikipedia articles explains that fairly well. RicJac (talk) 15:08, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Armed forces or Armed Forces?[edit]

The article is internally inconsistent on the capitalization. Which is it? Dabomb87 (talk) 03:56, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

It is the latter. Both letters are to be capitalized. Any inconsistencies are unintentional. If you can, please fix them wherever possible. Illegitimate Barrister (talk) 11:16, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

National Guard[edit]

The "Army National Guard of the United States" and the "Air National Guard of the United States" are listed as regular entries in the section re "Order of Precedence" but nowhere else in the article. Should they at least be mentioned in the section re "Organization"? The Coast Guard units are (1) specifically mentioned in the "Org" section and (2) are given a special reference but not listed as regular entries in the "Order of Precedence" section. Eagle4000 (talk) 04:15, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

  • I forgot to add the edit summary to my above entry. Eagle4000 (talk) 14:08, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Citation now restricted?[edit]

One of the citations (#5), is now behind a pay-to-view restriction, and there's no (free) way to view the source for the claim. What's to be done in this case? If it is required that anyone who wants to verify needs to pay to see the information, what's to stop me from citing a bunch of things and generating money from the wikipedia community of fact-checkers? Or is this how I'm to finance my lavish lifestyle? :D
Moisés Naím. "Megaplayers Vs. Micropowers". ( ) Retrieved 18 December 2007.
~ender 2009-09-09 10:48:AM MST


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

I say we change armed forces to caps because they are proper nouns.username 1 (talk) 05:50, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

It is a proper, compound noun. :)Prussian725 (talk) 14:14, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
So how the heck did the article end up at United States Military??? There has been no discussion on this, much less a consensus for moving it. - BilCat (talk) 16:32, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Can we remove all mention of the Coast Guard from this article as it is a non-military armed force? Hcobb (talk) 16:41, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Per the USCG website,:
The legal basis for the Coast Guard is Title 14 of the United States Code, which states: "The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times."
So yes, the USCG is a military armed force. - BilCat (talk) 18:48, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, that makes the USCG part of the armed forces. Except in very informal usage, "military" and "armed forces" are not synonymous. Robert A.West (Talk) 18:28, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
USC calls it a "military force", which makes it a military force. Alos, noting in [Merriam-Webster's says anything about "military" being informal usage for armed forces; both shades of the definition are fully legitimate. You may not accept the definition, but it does exist in formal usage, at least in the US. - BilCat (talk) 18:36, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
USC? I assume you are speaking of the United States Code, but outside of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (where euphony probably won out over precision), the United States Code tends to use "armed forces" rather than "military." Webster's has always avoided stylistic advice. My (American) style books and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language all recommend using "military" to mean the Army and National Guard and using "armed forces" in contexts where the naval forces are included. Robert A.West (Talk) 19:23, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was it appears to have been renamed to United States armed forces. @harej 14:10, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

United States MilitaryUnited States military—Or to what name? Anthony Appleyard (talk) 22:20, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

  • Capitolising Armed Forces is an agreeable compromise for now.username 1 (talk)
  • Strong oppose moving to any form involving the word "military" The navy is not part of the military for the same reason that a sailor is not a soldier, but it is an armed force. The title is correct as it stands. Robert A.West (Talk) 18:29, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
    Well, that's not what our navy article says. It starts with "A navy' is the branch of a nation's military forces..." Jafeluv (talk) 12:24, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
    • Don't you know better than to cite Wikipedia as a source? <grin> Seriously, thank you for pointing out that our article on "navy" is in need of editing: using the term "military" to include naval forces is sloppy at best (in a scholarly work -- what people use in informal conversation is a different matter). I see no reason to change from a more precise title to a less precise one and every reason to avoid so doing. Robert A.West (Talk) 17:11, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
      • Touché. Let's see some non-Wikipedia sources then: the Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines "military" as "the armed forces of a country".[1] The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary's definition is "1) military persons; especially army officers; 2) armed forces".[2] Cambridge Dictionary Online has "the armed forces".[3] I don't think any of those definitions support your statement that the navy is an armed force but not part of the military. Jafeluv (talk) 13:18, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
While I agree that the dictionary definition of military does include the term armed forces, however since this is pertaining to the military of the United States, we have to take into considation if the U.S. federal governement chooses to use the term military for their armed forces which they clearly choose not to, and have written to that effect into law. 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(4) states, [t]he term "armed forces" means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Nowhere in the entire United States Code of law does it use the term military to define those branches. We associate the word, military to these branches as a de facto term.Neovu79 (talk) 22:53, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll have to ask around at work tomorrow and see how many of the corpsmen I work with know they're not in the military (I work at a US Naval hospital). Ooh, this is fun! Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 12:27, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Wait a sec, if sailors are not in the military, what about Marines? Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 12:29, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
The logical conclusion of this argument seems to be that military means Army, to the exclusion of all other "armed forces" (i.e. airmen, sailors and marines). Yet common sense and reliable sources tell us that soldiers are only one subset of members of the military. Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 02:32, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
I too work for our military in the Department of the Nay. Notice that I did use the term military to describe where I work. ;-) Now I'm not totally sure why or goverment chooses to use the term "armed forces" instead of "military" because I do consider them one in the same. I tend to go with whatever the United States Code states unless the actual federal entity names itself as something else which in this case, the DOD has not clearly defined. It's possible that they choose that wording to sound less threatening, who really knows. :-) Neovu79 (talk) 15:42, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
More likely it was because the people making the choice had a classical education. "Military" comes from "miles" (soldier), which is distinct from "nauta" (sailor). Back when I worked for the Department of the Navy, I would have been torn a new one if I called a warship a "boat", said "sir" to a master chief, or insulted the United States Navy by referring to it as part of the "military". Robert A.West (Talk) 20:16, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
And yet sailors in the US Navy are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the term military in common usage is understood to include naval forces as well as ground troops. I couldn't speak to what may have been the preferred usage within the Navy in years past, but the word military does have some traction even within official circles. Perhaps the more important question, however, is how WP:Reliable sources (not all of which are official sources) use the terms military and armed forces. While it is useful to have an understanding of etymology, someone with a classical education likely recognizes that etymology does not dictate usage. As borne out in my previously posted search matrix, the term "United States military" is far more widely used than "United States armed forces" in published sources (without regard for capitalization). Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 02:13, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Remember, the armed forces are not the only services that are subject to the UCMJ; all seven of the Uniformed services of the United States can be subjected to the UCMJ, especially the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps yet the commissioned corps itself is not part of the military unless the President makes them so which he as yet to do. :-) While I agree that "military" is more commonly used, I believe "armed forces" is the term that the federal government wants us to use, the media uses the term military to help make it easier for John and Jane Doe understand. This is a good opportunity to teach the political way of thinking. :-) Neovu79 (talk) 05:13, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Touché. Should we use "armed forces" because the US government wants us to, even though published sources use "United States military" three times as often as they use both terms "United States armed forces" and "armed forces of the United States" combined? I'm not talking about web hits, I mean published sources (see the above linked search matrix). It is by far the common term in published sources. I'm less inclined to follow whatever Washington says we should call it when there is a clear cut WP:COMMONNAME to the contrary. But that's just my thought. Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 09:02, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
  • This debate shows the confusion and disagreement that can arise from the multiple meanings of various words.
1. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) has two entries for "military", first as an adjective and then as a noun. The noun entry appears above (in a prior comment). The adjective entry has six definitions: "1 a : of or relating to soldiers, arms, or war b : of or relating to armed forces; esp : of or relating to ground or sometimes ground and air forces as opposed to naval forces 2 a : performed or made by armed forces b : supported by armed force 3 : of or relating to the army".
2. Similar confusion can be seen in the article on Chief of the General Staff, which starts, as follows: "The Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is a post in many armed forces (militaries), the head of the military staff." Under See also, it lists: Chief of the Defence Staff, Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Air Staff, Chief of the Naval Staff, Chief of staff.
Like the word "military", the word "general" itself has several meanings. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) has two entries for "general". The adjective entry has eight definitions, of which the first is: "involving, applicable to, or affecting the whole". The noun entry has five definitions, of which one is "GENERAL OFFICER". The entry for "general officer" is: "any of the officers in the army, air force, or marine corps above colonel".
A. Russia. Chief of the General Staff (Russia) shows that Russia follows the adjective definition of "general", as it says: "The Chief of the General Staff (...) is the chief of staff of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation."
B. United Kingdom. Chief of staff #In the United Kingdom shows that the U.K. follows the traditional, noun-based connotation of "general staff", i.e., referring only to the army:
Chief of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom) - the professional head of the British Armed Forces. .... The professional service heads are as follows:
Chief of the Naval Staff, more commonly called the First Sea Lord
Chief of the General Staff, formerly the Chief of the Imperial General Staff
Chief of the Air Staff
C. France. Chief of staff#In France shows that France avoids the problem by not using "general staff":
Chief of the Defence Staff (French: Chef d'État-Major des Armées, CEMA)
Chief of Staff of the French Air Force (French: Chef d'État-Major de l'Armée de l'Air, CEMAA)
Chief of Staff of the French Army (French: Chef d'État-Major de l'Armée de Terre, CEMAT)
Chief of Staff of the French Navy (French: Chef d'État-Major de la Marine, CEMM)
3. The article on Military gives an etymology of the word "military". The article starts, as follows: "A military is an organization authorized by its nation to use force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country (or by attacking other countries) by combating actual or perceived threats. As an adjective the term "military" is also used to refer to any property or aspect of a military. Militaries often function as societies within societies, by having their own military communities, economies, education, medicine and other aspects of a functioning civilian society."
In the article's section on "Etymology and definitions", it says: "The first recorded use of military in English, spelled militarie, was in 1585. [fn deleted] It comes from the Latin militaris (from Latin miles meaning "soldier") but is of uncertain etymology, one suggestion being derived from *mil-it- - going in a body or mass. [fn deleted] The word is now identified as denoting someone that is skilled in use of weapons, or engaged in military service or in warfare. [fn's deleted]
"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. [fn's deleted] In general it refers to the physicality of armed forces, their personnel, equipment, and physical area which they occupy.
"As an adjective military originally applied only to soldiers and soldiering, but it soon broadened to apply to land forces in general and anything to do with their profession. [fn deleted] The names of both the Royal Military Academy (1741) and United States Military Academy (1802) reflect this. However, at about the time of Napoleonic wars "military" begun to be applied to armed forces as a whole [fn deleted] and in the 21st century expressions like "military service", "military intelligence" and "military history" reflect this broader meaning. As such, it now connotes any activity performed by the military personnel."
4. On a related point, from 1798 to 1949, the U.S. had both a War Department (Army and Army Air Corps/Forces) and a Navy Department (Navy and Marines). The article on War Department says:
"The United States Department of War, also called the War Office, was the cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the US Army. It was also responsible for naval affairs until the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, and for land-based air forces until the creation of the Department of the Air Force in 1947.
"The War Department existed from 1789 until September 18, 1947, when it was renamed as the Department of the Army, and became part of the new, joint National Military Establishment (NME). Shortly thereafter, in 1949, the NME was renamed the Department of Defense, which the Department of the Army is part of today."
In the article's section on "The seal of the department", it says: "The date "MDCCLXXVIII" and the designation "War Office" are indicative of the origin of the seal. The date (1778) refers to the year of its adoption. The term "War Office" used during the Revolution, and for many years afterward, was associated with the Headquarters of the Army."
Eagle4000 (talk) 19:25, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - I would support moving to United States military, per Wilhelm Meis. My second choice would be to leave it where it is. Jonathunder (talk) 22:24, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Lacks Consistency[edit]

This article lacks consistency. There are several numbers for budget, several numbers for active personnel and several numbers for reserve personnel and that is just the beginning. I would love to update these numbers, but in the past, when I have, someone comes along and changes these edits. I provide specific citations directly from the military, so I don't know why the revision.

As a side note, I think this article needs to be completely rewritten. Rick Evans (talk) 20:59, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

Lead Section Too Long!!![edit]

The lead section of the article should be three paragraphs maximum and yet there are close to seven paragraphs. Is it necessary to go into every minute detail which is a reguritation and redundancy of what should be in the other sections within the entire article? The lead section neeeds to be trimmed. Keep it basic and to the point and then provide details in other sections. --Yoganate79 (talk) 01:25, 21 October 2009 (UTC)


I just added a vehicles section which is incomplete. There also needs to be a weapons subsection.username 1 (talk) 22:01, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Not needed, as these shpuld already be covered in the respective service articles, and on thier list pages. - BilCat (talk) 18:03, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
I've removed these sections again. The US has far too many vehicles and equipemnt to even attempt a brief list here. The edits of the IPs show that we won't be able to keep the lists small either. It's better to not have them at all. - BilCat (talk) 18:07, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Though i disagree that there was any problem with the last list here is a list format that i am sure we could agree upon. username 1 (talk) 20:48, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Type Quantity Vehicles used
Attack Helicopters 920 AH-64 Apache, AH-1
Cargo Helicopters 840 CH-46 Sea Knight, CH-47 Chinook, CH-53 Sea Stallion
Training Helicopters 330 TH-57 Sea Ranger, TH-67 Creek
Utility Helicopters 2330 UH-1 Iroquois, UH-60 Black Hawk
No list is needed at all - they are all covered elsewhere. - BilCat (talk) 20:54, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we need more tables in this articles, but I think it needs a brief description of the capabilities of the United States Armed Services. I'm talking no more than three short paragraphs that goes over some of its most important/widely used/popular equipment.Rick Evans (talk) 23:48, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

The US military has fewer personnel than China. The US military has significantly more materiel than China. This article misses the major point of US military dominance, her materiel advantage. Table or paragraph doesn't matter, and we shouldn't list different types of helicopters. But a top-level list of aircraft, warships, supply ships, fighting vehicles, supply vehicles, ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads would add a lot to this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:02, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Which branch is REALLY the oldest?[edit]

Technically, the army wasnt really an organized force as the date shows for its start, just like the Navy as well. The Army at that time was really a group of militia known as minutemen. So, i wonder why does it say it was really an organized force back then? Just like the navy, there techniaclly wasnt an organized force, unlike the marines. The marines were actually created as a branch of the military by the continental congress and should be recognized as the oldest branch of the military. The army really wasn't an actual force until Washington came into office and turned it into one. Just like the army, the Navy also wasn't really an organized branch. The navy simply was a group of private ship owners who helped to fight for independence but could not really be considered as an organized Navy as the date so suggests. All I ask is that the issue is adressed and that there is an explanation as to why they would have those particular dates which conclude that they believe they are an older branch than the suspected Marines. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:50, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

  • I'm sorry to say, but every point you have made above is completely false. Read the articles on these services and you will learn why their origins are dated as they are. --LP talk 04:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • LP is correct. The Second Continental Congress was the predecessor of the United States Congress. They, just like our current Congress, have the power to raise a federal armed force. It just so happens that they augmented their forces from state militia. It is no different from our current goverment calling up state National Guard for federal active duty. The National Guard is our current day militia force. Neovu79 (talk) 05:41, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • The Merchant Marines are older than the Minute Men, the militia.

The Merchant Marine is not an armed force.

The National Guard is a portion of a state's militia which the state has agreed to make available as a reserve of the Army in return for Federal equipment, pay and training for it's members. States MAY have organized units of militia which are NOT part of the National Guard, and NOT available for call up by the Federal Government. The very first colonists organized militias, both British colonies on the east coast and Spanish colonists on the west and gulf coasts. The first Continental Army units, were militia units called into national service. Therefore the oldest component of the US Army is the National Guard, and the oldest of the current Federal armed forces is the US Army. Both predate the birth of the United States itself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:34, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

If we're talking proper U.S. federal establishment (not the colonials and continentals), then most of the branches were established in the 1780s and 1790s, in their current, proper form. The U.S. Army in its present form was established in 1784, discounting the Continental Army. The U.S. Navy in its current form was created in 1794 by a congressional act, the USMC, in 1798, in its present form. The USCG proper was established in 1915 by merging the RCS and LSS. Strangely, although most branches declare the establishment of the continental forces to be their "founding", the USAF is an exception. It does not claim the establishment of the USAAF/USAAC as their founding. So, disregarding the colonial and continental forces, then the U.S. Army is the oldest service. Indeed, when the U.S. military's flags are displayed, the army's flag is displayed first.

Establishment dates (discounting Continental/Colonial lineage):

  • Army - 1784
  • USN - 1794
  • USMC - 1798
  • USCG - 1915
  • USAF - 1947

Hope this helps. Illegitimate Barrister 09:40, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

@Illegitimate Barrister: Beg to differ about the establishment date of the United States Coast Guard. A "System of Cutters" was established by the United States Congress and signed into law by President George Washington on 4 August 1790 that eventually evolved into what was referred to as the "Revenue Marine", which in turn informally was called the "Revenue Cutter Service" by the 1860s. According to the article on the United States Life-Saving Service it was not established until 1848, and was always a smaller agency than the USRCS. In fact, officers of the USRCS supervised and inspected each USLSS installation. During the reign of Sumner Kimball in the Department of Treasury, he was responsible for the operation of both agencies and they were more or less merged in everything but name only. He would have merged them, but lacked congressional approval. On 28 January 1915, the two agencies were merged by law, but nothing changed in the operation the "System of Cutters" that Alexander Hamilton envisioned. USRCS officers still retained their commissions and dates of rank. USRCS cutters were unchanged except in terminology, USCGC vs. USRC. If any changes were made, it was to absorb the USLSS personnel into the USRCS operation, a process that did not occur immediately. In short, this retired U.S. Coast Guard chief petty officer will always believe that the founding of the U.S. Coast Guard dates to 4 August 1790 and I will also make the observation that you are going to find it extremely difficult to convince ANY MARINE that the United States Marine Corps wasn't founded on 10 November 1775. Cuprum17 (talk) 18:10, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Indeed. I was just speaking hypothetically about the dates, exploring what the dates would be if we discounted the original dates from the Revolutionary War/Federalist Era. Of course, everybody knows the USMC was founded in a bar in Philly in November 1775. Regards, Illegitimate Barrister 18:24, 10 February 2015 (UTC)


Please rename to: United States Armed Forces instead of United States armed forces, as the irregular capitalization is incorrect.

Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

That all depends on what the meaning of the term is. The United States Senate Committee on Armed Services is a proper noun, but armed forces is a collective noun. Hcobb (talk) 15:16, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Other types of forces, other than armed ones?[edit]

The article title seems odd in that there do not appear to be any types of forces, other than armed ones.

  • Would "United States forces" be any less descriptive?
  • Is there such a thing as the "United States unarmed forces"?

DMahalko (talk) 02:28, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Semi-jokingly...the Dream Team comes to mind as a US force. I don't think the title is all that odd. Armed forces are a specific thing. This article is about the United States version of that thing. Maybe 'United States military organizations' or something along those lines could fit, but it looks like 'armed forces' is pretty common looking through List of militaries by country. --OnoremDil 02:45, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(5)
(4) The term “armed forces” means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
(5) The term “uniformed services” means—
(A) the armed forces;
(B) the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and
(C) the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service.
So NOAA and The Public Health Service can be considered the 'unarmed' forces Reyals (talk) 04:33, 29 December 2010 (UTC)


I think this article lacks a section on hazing that occurs in the military. It is an unpleasant subject, but needs to be discussed, as it is a part of military history. I would like to contribute. Kaitlyn confer (talk) 14:52, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

A subject like this should be placed in the Military history of the United States article, not this page. Neovu79 (talk) 01:09, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Crimes committed[edit]

I think there should be a section regarding a variety of serious crimes the US armed forces have committed abroad in order to reflect a world view and neutrality. Or at least a wiki link should be added somewhere in the article. Some other wikis of this article have done that[4][5].--Trananh1980 (talk) 12:04, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Like Hazing above, crimes should go/could go into the military history article (not that I'm endorsing such a section). The section could be a rather long one, given 200+ years of military history. But then what would be notable? Private Eddie Slovik would be one such example, but where would the list end? Also, would we also have articles on crimes committed by diplomatic personnel, non-military government employees, NGO volunteers, tourists abroad or stateside, business people, etc.? (Hardly. Crime as a subject and military jurisprudence as a subject cover the issues involved, namely that you have crime of one sort or another occurring all over the world.) Actually we can find these things in categories, so selecting US military personnel as a separate article or section would be a POV "poke-in-the-eye" for the military. (Also, just because one edition of WP does something (incorrectly) does not justify another edition of doing the same incorrect thing.) --S. Rich (talk) 18:03, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with you. It should be a separate section because it might be too long. And in other editions of wiki, I ve seen them move the section to a separate article. Thank you for your reply!--Trananh1980 (talk) 22:28, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with having a new section for American military crimes or alleged crimes.All army articles on wikipedia should have one.I will make up a draft and post it here when complete so it can be debated.I am also going to do one for the British and IDF at the moment and hope other will do the same for other armies.It provides balance as well which is good for wikipedia and the people who read it. Owain the 1st (talk) 10:19, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
It should be noted that as of this date that there is no identical entry in the Al-Quaeda article relating alleged war crimes committed by them. I question the NPOV of your entry. You did not allow for much time for discussion of your proposed draft on this change as you stated you would do in your post above. I'm just curious as to what the rush is if it was to be just a draft. Of course you are free to edit the article as you wish when you wish, but I have remve the Bolding that you have used in the article as it is used no where else in the article under like circumstances and detracts from the NPOV of the article.Cuprum17 (talk) 18:55, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
I did not put in the bolding as I just copied the piece from the start of the US war crmies section.I have no problem with it being removed.If you want to add a section to the Al Qaeda page then go a head, I have no problem with that either.Would they class what they do as war crimes? Or just terrorism? I suppose in the Iraq war they would be war crimes. Sorry for the short notice but I think the article should have a link to its own history of alleged crimes and crimes they have committed.Owain the 1st (talk) 19:01, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
What is the difference between war crimes and terrorism? One can't excuse either one. Cuprum17 (talk) 19:08, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Well one is a war crime and can be brought up in the ICC and the other is a criminal offence dealt with in a court of law in the country involved I believe. Owain the 1st (talk) 19:42, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Criticism section and tag[edit]

I have tagged that section with {{Criticism section}} as it is, in my opinion, a breach of the neutral point of view policy. It is undue weight to have this in a separate section. Any crimes committed should be integrated into the history article so that they are part of the longer narrative of the history of the armed forces. Woody (talk) 20:49, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Concur, can be integrated. Marcus Qwertyus 21:28, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
I have no problem with it being integrated but that will cover a lot of stuff plus a link to the US war crimes page.We can integrate the one on the British Army page as well.Owain the 1st (talk) 11:13, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Agree with Woody. I will also point out that the user who added the section seems to have done so in violation of WP:POINT, per Talk:Israel Defense Forces ([6]). I believe that the section should be removed on those grounds pending further discussion. —Ynhockey (Talk) 20:33, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

I think that you people are simply trying to hide the fact that the US military has commited war crimes, by removing the section and placing it into a very long military history article which has a lower probability of being viewed. The entire point of having a neutral point of view is by presenting both opinions of an issue or entity to the reader. What some of you are clearly trying to do is sweep a serious set of issues that are very important to what the U.S. armed forces were and are, under the rug. I am neither pro nor anti-military but I beleive you are making a big mistake by removing that section and not developing it further ( atleast say, 2-3 paragraphs, before offering a link to a more detailed article). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 11 June 2011 (UTC)
To have a neutral point of view is to not put one view above another in terms of importance or placement. If we have a separate section that is purely negative about the US armed forces then it is not neutral as it is putting that view higher in importance than a neutral or positive one. Woody (talk) 16:32, 11 June 2011 (UTC)


I know this has been discussed before, but I really believe that the name of this article should be the "United States Armed Forces". Here are my reasons:

I recommend this page be moved to United States Armed Forces as soon as possible. Nations United (talk) 22:14, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was almost unanimous decision to move. Nations United (talk) 05:59, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

United States armed forcesUnited States Armed Forces—As stated above, the first sentence and title in the infobox both have armed forces capitalized. Furthermore, there is a very reliable source that shows that it is capitalized. Here is the source. --Nations United (talk) 04:20, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Neutral This is a WP:MOS question. The US Navy Style Guide is not one mentioned in WP:MOS, but does give credence. At the same time 10 USC §101(a)(4) (now cited in the article) uses the term "armed forces" in a non-proper noun context when defining the terms used in the law establishing the military forces of the United States. I'll ponder some more and adjust my view in light of others comments. --S. Rich (talk) 07:04, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Support as per linked military website. Themeparkgc  Talk  09:16, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Support While we don't follow the US military style guides for many items, such as capitalizing "soldiers", "sailors", etc., following this particular one does have merit. Both forms are used in US DOD websites, sometimes in the same texts/articles. - BilCat (talk) 10:25, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Support If you check the entries on Wikipedia for almost any other countries armed forces, the name of the article capitalizes the words Armed Forces in the title of the article.British Armed Forces, French Armed Forces, Norwegian Armed Forces, Cuban Armed Forces, German Armed Forces, Mexican Armed Forces, Nigerian Armed Forces, Russian Armed Forces. The list goes on. Cuprum17 (talk) 13:55, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment Many English users capitalize many weird things, especially in formal or legal settings, to confer special status. Look at the Constitution, all sorts of random stuff is capitalized. This article should match those of the other articles, with less weight given to sources which wish to confer this special status; on Wikipedia these armed forces have no special status. Int21h (talk) 07:51, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
    • The Constitution was written over 200 years ago, when capitalization rules were still evolving. Emphatic capitalization is widely frowned upon these days. Powers T 20:01, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. For consistency. Marcus Qwertyus 12:55, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. While I agree that Wiki does not always follow military grammatical form in writing articles, I will always respect how the military uses grammarization even though I don't always tend to agree with it. In this instance, since the article is focused on the military, I support the change. Neovu79 (talk) 23:45, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Why are the sucide rates even important?[edit]

Do we have an article on service people rather than their employers that this would fit in better with? Hcobb (talk) 22:12, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Information for those considering enlistment?[edit]

I think many wikipedia users would visit this or a related page if they are interested in joining the US military but want to do some research about this career option first. There is information about the various branches and their career tracks, as well as about early training, pay and benefits. But there is much less about the working conditions, type of work enlistees are likely to be doing, longer-term training and development, impact on post-service careers, or data on the most common experiences and assessments of those experiences from veterans. I'm not sure my comments are about objectivity as much as about approaching this topic more from the angle of a career choice that is often made by people with very limited information (e.g., 18 year-olds). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:33, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Job titles and military rank use lower case[edit]

Job titles and military rank are common names and written in lower case per the MoS. This includes 'president', 'general', and 'secretary of defense' when they don't occur before a person's name. Formal names of offices such as 'President of the United States' or 'United States Secretary of Defense' are proper names and capitalized per MoS. I have attempted to edit the article to comply to the best of my understanding of the MoS and the intent in the article. It's likely I have made some mistakes but I contend that in general my edits are in accord with the MoS. Those changes were reverted with a comment to the effect that I don't understand the MoS. I'd like to discuss that here. Jojalozzo 05:04, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

As Job titles and military rank say, when the term is used as a proper noun then caps is appropriate, if as a common noun then lowercase. For example "secretary of homeland security" - looking on Google News, the first 100 results show 97 are capitalised. If the MOS doesn't reflect this then the MOS needs to be corrected. It looks to me like every single item you've changed is being used as a proper noun, so they all need to be caps. Are there any you want to say are being used as common nouns? XLerate (talk) 07:28, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Military rank when not followed by a person's name alone should be lower case. ("Military ranks follow the same capitalization guidelines as (titles." "Offices, positions, and job titles such as president, king, emperor, pope, bishop, abbot, executive director are common nouns and therefore should be in lower case when used generically: 'Mitterrand was the French president' or 'There were many presidents at the meeting.' They start with a capital letter only when followed by a person's name...")
  • commander-in-chief (when used alone, described as "rank" not "office", common noun)
  • admiral of the navy (when used alone, described as "rank" not "office", common noun)
  • fleet admiral (when used alone, described as "rank" not "office", common noun)
  • general of the army (when used alone, described as "rank" not "office", common noun)
  • general of the armies (when used alone, described as "rank" not "office", common noun)
  • generals of the army (when used alone, described as "rank" not "office", common noun)
Names of units are lower case except when the complete formal name is used. ("Formal names of military units, including armies, navies, air forces, fleets, regiments, battalions, companies, corps, and so forth are proper nouns and should be capitalized. However, the words for types of military unit (army, navy, fleet, company, etc.) do not require capitalization if they do not appear in a proper name. Thus, the American army, but the United States Army.")
  • army, navy, marine corps, air force, coast guard (informal names of units, common names)
Job titles that should be lower case when not followed by a person's name. "Offices, positions, and job titles such as president, king, emperor, pope, bishop, abbot, executive director are common nouns and therefore should be in lower case when used generically: 'Mitterrand was the French president' or 'There were many presidents at the meeting.' They start with a capital letter only when followed by a person's name...":
  • president (when used alone, job title, common noun)
  • secretary of defense (when used alone, job title, common noun)
  • secretary of homeland security (when used alone, job title, common noun)
  • national security advisor (when used alone, job title, common noun)
Common noun (not a military term):
  • cabinet
The MoS is clear on all these points and uses most of them as actual examples. Changing it is not an issue to discuss here. Jojalozzo 14:31, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Discussion is warranted. XLerate is quite correct. Each instance was usage as a proper noun, not generic. The very examples given -- secretary of homeland security etc. -- refer to proper nouns. Click and see. --S. Rich (talk) 14:45, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
When referring to the formal correct name of an office, i.e. "United States Secretary of Homeland Security", proper noun, yes. When referring to a job title, "secretary of homeland security", common noun. Reference to other articles to determine application of guidelines here is not helpful since they may also be wrong. For example I don't see how "Secretaries of Homeland Security" is a proper noun. Jojalozzo 15:22, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
There is only one formal correct name for these various offices, e.g., "United States Secretary of Defense" because that is how the offices are designated in the law. Capitalization of "Secretary" as a proper noun is correct because that is the title held. He (or she someday) is in charge of the "Department of Defense" and not of the "department of defense". By your logic we would say "secretary of defense", but that would be vague. Suppose we said "secretaries of the Department of Defense" or "secretaries of the department of defense"? Sounds like we are referring to clerical workers. Capitalization clarifies and is proper. --S. Rich (talk) 16:16, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
"Secretary" is a job title, common name, only capitalized when it comes before a person's name per MOS. The MoS considers "secretary of defense" a common name unless it's before a person's name. "Secretaries" in "secretaries of defense" is a common noun per the MoS. "Secretary" by itself is definitely considered a common noun like "president" when it doesn't come before a person's name. As you say, we can capitalize "United States Secretary of Defense" because it's the formal name of the office not a job title but "secretary (or secretaries) of the department of defense" is not capitalized because it refers to a job title, like "attorneys general". I understand you think its improper but it's house style. Jojalozzo 20:16, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

That's incorrect, job title doesn't automatically mean common noun, and the MoS says when a proper noun then capitalise. The MoS doesn't say "secretary of defense" is a common noun, by your logic we would write "Louis XVI was king of France", which is contradicted by the example there. As above "Secretary of Homeland Security" is always a proper noun so should always be capitalised, like King of France etc. I think the MOS guidelines maybe misleading you, it doesn't overrule standard grammar or spelling rules, it doesn't say everything is common nouns, but capitalise where appropriate. Just because certain words like secretary can be used as a common noun doesn't mean they are being used as a common noun in every instance. XLerate (talk) 01:21, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

I think you are confusing the name of an office with a job title. Job titles are automatically common nouns per the MoS: "Offices, positions, and job titles such as president, king, emperor, pope, bishop, abbot, executive director are common nouns ... The correct formal name of an office can be treated as a proper noun". "King of France" is the formal name of an office and "king" is a job title. "United States Secretary of Defense" is the formal name of the office and "secretary of defense" or just "secretary" is the job title. I understand that you do not like it but it is the house style. Jojalozzo 02:15, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
"Secretary of Defense" is a job title, an office and in this context a proper noun - it is a unique entity, the article isn't referring to the position for any other country or as a group. Same as "Secretary of Homeland Security", capitalised around 97% of the time in mainstream news sources. Whether you want to call it an office or job title is secondary to whether it is used as a common noun or proper noun. House style doesn't decide what are proper and what are common nouns, it's not some magic way to circumvent normal grammar rules. XLerate (talk) 02:42, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
You make a very valid point Joja. I do have a question though, what do when we have something that is unique of its own? For example, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, is both a rank, a job title, and a formal name of office. Neovu79 (talk) 03:05, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Many cases are like that, and we should in general not worry too much about capitalization, since quite often both are logically correct. Thus the King of France (title) is definitely the king of France (description). Most post titles, can be made unique by extension - third commis chef at the Ritz Savoy Grill, for example, and hence arguably proper. I would say, "If in doubt go lower case" - Wikipedia has a very "down" style. Rich Farmbrough, 13:17, 25 October 2011 (UTC).
The approach I lean towards when there is a job title (or rank - they are equivalent according to the MoS) as well as a name of an office is to be clear which we are referring to using "title", "rank", or "office" before the term (with the guidelines-specified style for the term), e.g. "The office of Master Chief Petty Officer [note this isn't the formal name but I'm assuming we've already introduced that previously and are using shorthand now] is was created by Congress in ... The rank of master chief petty officer is superior to all other noncommissioned officers in the navy." One advantage of this approach is it offers a compromise that allows us to comply with the MoS: keeping the page title in caps with the first sentence clearly referring to the official name of the office (to satisfy those invested in the upper case form) and using lower case when rank is discussed (to satisfy those invested in maintaining house style). The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy article is currently problematic in that the lead sentence says it's about rank and not the office (or post) and then acknowledges the distinction (rank and post) in the second sentence but it's still muddled. Jojalozzo 16:21, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Job titles and ranks are not equivalent in the military. Each servicemember holds a certain rank, from Private to General. (How does this read if we say "not private to general"?) Corporal Sonofagun might have the job title "Squad Leader/squad leader", and then get promoted to sergeant. S/he retains the job title.
In some, but rare, cases the rank and job title are exactly equivalent -- the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy is an example. But that person does not hold an office. E.g., there is no "Office of the Chief Petty Officer of the Navy". Not because that person is a non-commissioned officer, but because there are no "offices" that uniformed servicemembers sit in.
More accurately, there are civilian "Offices" like the Office of the Secretary of Defense that are set up by statute. Another example: the "Office of the Secretary of the Army" is set up by statute [7]. The civilian official who occupies it is the highest authority in the Army. The highest ranking Army officer is the Chief of Staff, who reports to the Secretary of the Army. Another factor: each commissioned officer actually holds an office or position. They receive their commission from the President. (NCOs do not.)
Well technically the highest ranking Army officer is the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, the Chief of Staff of the Army is the highest ranking Army officer in the Department of the Army. XD Neovu79 (talk) 02:24, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Technically, technically that is incorrect. Dempsey has a date of rank of 8 December 2008, Odierno has a DOR of 16 September 08, thus Dempsey is senior by time in grade. In fact there are a number of 4 stars that out-rank both the COS & CJCS.--S. Rich (talk) 16:51, 27 October 2011 (UTC) I stand corrected!--S. Rich (talk) 21:27, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
S. Rich, I think we may have misunderstood each other. While Odierno is senior to Dempsey in time-in-rank, Dempsey's position of office as chairman supercedes Odierno position as chief of staff while they are on active duty. The law states 10 U.S.C. § 152(c), "(t)he Chairman, while so serving, holds the grade of general or, in the case of an officer of the Navy, admiral and outranks all other officers of the armed forces," which includes Odierno. However, if and when they do retire, I believe you are right. Their DOR will take precedence over whatever former position they may have held. Neovu79 (talk) 21:18, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
What does all this mean? The Manual of Style cannot be used to explain these nuances. Who can? Subject matter experts.--S. Rich (talk) 00:17, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant job titles and rank are equivalent with respect the Manual of Style - both written in lower case. Jojalozzo 03:48, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Are we confusing ranks, job titles, titles, offices, and positions? (When it comes to military parlance it sure looks like it.) E.g., the MOS says take the military rank "Brigadier General Smith" and treat it as if brigadier general is a job title for purposes of capitalization. (That, as a rule, is fair enough.) But BG Smith does not hold the "job title" of brigadier general -- s/he holds the 'rank of brigadier general. And s/he hold the position of "Deputy Commander, XXth Infantry Division". In that case the "job title" is deputy commander. But his/her "title" is not deputy commander (or Deputy Commander). Indeed, s/he does hold the "title" of brigadier general -- s/he is appointed to the "rank" of brigadier general. Also s/he does not hold the "office" of deputy commander.
The actual confusion arises because the MOS talks about the "titles of people", but mixes the apples and oranges of the people and the offices/positions they are working in. (The MOS needs tweaking.) This article is discussing the various offices within the institution and not so much about the "job titles" of particular people.
Well, after all my babble, here is the solution -- when the statute (Title 10} uses a term and capitalizes it at a proper noun, then we should too.--S. Rich (talk) 16:09, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Those are excellent points concerning the nuanced semantics of MoS and military terminology. I would be better able to work with that if we could clarify and get it structured a bit more.
Regarding your "solution", I prefer fixing the MoS or complying with it, not circumventing it. Jojalozzo 17:35, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Here is an interesting and enlightening discussion from the MOS Talk Archives: [8]. IOW, our discussion is reinventing the wheel! --S. Rich (talk) 16:22, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Interesting and pertinent but just two comments is unsatisfying and inconclusive. I'd say that rather than reinventing, we're pursuing the issue in more depth. Jojalozzo 17:35, 26 October 2011 (UTC)


I think it would be appropriate to include the mission, or the role of the armed forces. From, DOD's mission is "to deter war and to protect the security of our country." That is what justifies the very existence armed forces within the US; it is the source of their funding and budget. I can't overstate the importance of needing to incorporate that into the article, into the intro, and probably into the first paragraph. -- (talk) 04:19, 28 November 2011 (UTC)


Sorry, but in my opinion there need to be a critisism-section! Particularly because at the present time there are a lot of very critical voices concerning the military. Furthermore, please add the original doctrine of the armed forces as an "ultima ratio". Thank you =) --111Alleskönner (talk) 00:02, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Uh, didn't see all the sections above concerning this theme =) Nevertheless, I think that it has to be added in this article and not only in "history". --111Alleskönner (talk) 00:07, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
The theme of this section would be that the United States should not have armed forces? Or would it be more along the lines of specific abuses that are already covered in different articles? Hcobb (talk) 02:26, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
No, not that they shouldn't have them, but that's what I ment: to mention some war crimes the US armed forces pursued in their history as well as the fact that originally the doctrin was to have only a small army to defense thereselfes and not to intervent into foreign affars, or abroad missions (war was the "ultima ratio" - that's very important for the article!) --111Alleskönner (talk) 15:44, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I must admit, I found the lack of a criticism section very strange. I dropped by to add the recent news that has hit the airwaves regarding one troop suicide per day in 2012. There is nowhere in the article to post this information, unless a new section is created.petrarchan47Tc 19:43, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── A criticism section would be impossible to manage and only lead to WP:UNDUE, WP:SOAP, and WP:RGW. Too big, too small, too aggressive, not aggressive enough, too macho, too PC, too expensive, not enough spent, etc., on-and-on, never ending. Completely unencyclopedic. No way.--S. Rich (talk) 20:47, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

What Wikipedia guideline would support the lack of criticism section? From what I have seen, criticisms are a part of Wikipedia articles. This article might have a bias problem since there is nowhere to put information that isn't positive/neutral. For instance, where would one place the news about suicide rates? petrarchan47Tc 00:00, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
This article is in violation of WP:Criticism
"Wikipedia's neutral point of view (POV) policy requires that all viewpoints of any topic be represented fairly, proportionately, and without bias. Negative criticism of a topic is acceptable material, and should be included in this encyclopedia" petrarchan47Tc 00:07, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
There are ways to integrate criticisms other than to have a section dedicated to it. What do the editors think of these options? petrarchan47Tc 00:43, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
As you have an interest in the suicide topic, I suggest you look at suicide and write up a section in that article focusing on the armed forces. Then you can add it to the "See also" section in this article.
But I ask you, how does the fact that suicides are a problem in society (and the military) become a criticism of the armed forces? Only one of the 3 stories you posted discusses the rate of suicide in the military and that article says it is the rate for the Army is comparable to the civilian rate. Again, if this is the case, how does the number of suicides become a criticism of the military? Because the stories simply give us sensational numbers (one suicide a day!) suggests to me that the news articles, when they simply give us raw numbers, are pushing the stories without intelligent analysis.
Other articles have critical aspects about the military. See, for example, Military budget of the United States (which already has a hatnote). My point above remains the same. Incorporating a criticism section here can only lead to problems.--S. Rich (talk) 01:12, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
"Suicides are now the second most common cause of death in the US military" where would a reasonable person expect to find this information on Wikipedia? I am not going to argue the validity, it is a major news story right now, and since "US troops" redirects here, I thought this would be the article for it. You are right, a controversy section might not be the answer, I am asking where this news should be added to this or a more appropriate article. I think the recommendation to add it to the suicide article is good, but it should be mentioned in an article about troops as well, as it's specifically about them. That is why Panetta addressed the problem: "Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Congress on Wednesday that he has directed all military branches "to immediately look at that situation and determine what's behind it, what's causing it and what can we do to make sure it doesn't happen."
From the NYT times: "The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday."petrarchan47Tc 01:58, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Refocusing on whether there should be a criticism section, I submit that such a section would not be good. Consider, how would it help the article reach Featured Article status? I've listed (above) the various results that such a section would invite: soapbox, righting great wrongs, etc.. In this regard, it would be extremely unstable and long (criteria 1.e & 4.) The very fact that this (suicide) is a current news issue demonstrates that the topic is subject to change from day to day. Accordingly, such a discussion would be outside of the overall context of the article. And, again, how can the fact that suicides occur be a criticism of the military? Military personnel know and face the loss of their comrades directly.
Adding a personal note, I have lost 6 people from my units -- a subordinate of mine from suicide (after I retired) and 4 others, that I knew personally, from enemy action. I can tell you that the concern expressed by the command at all levels demonstrates that military people are seeking to resolve the problem. I suspect that those who wish to wave the bloody shirt of suicide in the military do so because they want to criticize the military, and not to improve Wikipedia. --S. Rich (talk) 06:32, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Or, you could consider that some editors just want to update pages to reflect the latest news. We aren't here to judge whether the news is valid, if it's well sourced, etc., there should be no problem. Wikipedia is different from print encyclopedias in that it is up-to-the-minute current. And if, later on down the road, it turns out that this story was irrelevant to the article it can be removed or moved elsewhere. I am sure there are many who share your views that a criticism section is more than inconvenient, but it's Wikipedia's views that are to be considered, not our own. What does Wikipedia say about criticism? That it is equally as valid as the positive or neutral aspects of a subject. This place is all about facts, not spin.petrarchan47Tc 21:38, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Please consider WP:ISNOT, specifically WP:NOT#JOURNALISM and WP:INDISCRIMINATE. I am not opposed to presenting facts, but cherrypicking facts for collection in a criticism section -- that relies on the hot-topic, hot-button issues being spun by politicians and other self-interested advocates -- is not not encyclopedic. The Armed Forces of the United States is but an instrument of national power, along with economic power, diplomatic power, and informational power. This article should provide an elementary understanding of the US military as one of those instruments. Getting bogged down or side-tracked with a criticism section won't help any reader.--S. Rich (talk) 00:14, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
What article would you see this information best fitting? I have already said maybe a criticism section isn't the best idea for this article. But there needs to be room for news that is other-than-positive. Otherwise you can see the bias problem, I am sure. This is far from cherry picking. This is news that people have been talking about and that has made a big splash in the media for the past few months. To decide that the news is spin by politicians is beyond the scope of Wikipedia editors. We're here to update articles with reliable sources. The response at this page is alarming, truthfully.petrarchan47Tc 04:36, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

I must say I feel there is too much editorial opinions on this article. I think we need to stick to facts.Rick Evans (talk) 23:52, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Shouldn't we mention war crimes the military has committed? It probably has committed some. Danotto94 (talk) 20:15, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Can you give a single reliable source that says the US Military has committed war crimes not that an individual within the military has committed warcrimes, but that the US military has committed warcrimes? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:12, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
There is already this article, United States war crimes. -- GB fan 10:25, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

potential resource[edit]

The Pentagon Pivots to Asia Author: Jonathan Masters, Associate Staff Writer Council of Foreign Relations January 6, 2012 (talk) 14:13, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

potential resource[edit]

Why Panetta's Pentagon Cuts Are Easier Than You Think; Put the Pentagon Under New Management by Lawrence J. Korb January 4, 2012 Foreign Affairs (talk) 16:36, 8 January 2012 (UTC)


Lean, Green Fighting Machine; The U.S. military no longer wants to trade blood for oil by Edward Humes, from Sierra Utne Reader January-February 2012, page 8 to 11 in print. (talk) 21:59, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Editing Infobox Template[edit]

In "Template:Infobox national military", there's no entry under leadership for a senior enlisted adviser. Currently Marine Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia serves as the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman <>. I'm new at this ... is there a way to include a line for this role? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Editc (talkcontribs) 20:32, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Suicides among U.S. troops averaging one a day in 2012[edit]

Where would the editors of this page see fit to add these new findings?

petrarchan47Tc 19:39, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

"One suicide is one too many"
Some of this information is already in the encyclopedia, scattered around.
All of these sections are primarily about prevention. We could probably write more about the known facts and statistics, and about scholarly studies of soldier suicides. I think there is enough material to make a dedicated article about it. Binksternet (talk) 03:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
As mentioned above, one (and only one) article cited mentioned the rate of suicide for the military, and it said the rate was comparable to civilian rates. With this in mind, how does a "one a day" suicide occurrence stand out as notable or significant? If it is notable, it is so because few (if any) other social groups actually set up programs to monitor suicides within their members, let alone set up programs to prevent it. Above all else, I hope I do not see this "one a day" fact showing up in a criticism section. Thank you, Binksternet, for your suggestions -- particularly for the Battle Buddy and Suicide Prevention links!--S. Rich (talk) 03:38, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
There is considerable study devoted to the topic of post-traumatic stress in soldiers, enough to establish that US soldiers have a higher per capita suicide rate than the general US population. Scholarly work has been done by Thomas L. Murtaugh, Ph.D., the Project Officer, National Center for PTSD, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, the author of On Killing, and by Rachel MacNair who wrote Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing after intensive research of the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. Certainly, the rate of soldier suicides is widely reported to be up 80% compared to before the Iraq war, so there is a significant change in recent years within the soldier population. I would not trivialize this material. Binksternet (talk) 04:19, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
This material is not being trivialized -- certainly not within the military.--S. Rich (talk) 05:45, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Then let's figure out where to present this material; which article. Are reservist suicides up? Are USAF and USMC suicides up? I have read that USN suicides have not changed significantly. If two or more services are seeing higher suicides, then this article here is the appropriate venue. Binksternet (talk) 15:53, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've requested Project Death members to comment. Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Death#Discussion_re_suicide_in_US_military --S. Rich (talk) 16:44, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

This does not seem to be the right article at the right time. The year 2012 is not over, there is no interpretation as to what the rise means, no comparison with civilian rates, and there is only a "slight rise" in suicide rates of the Army, Navy, and Marines. Only the Air Force is described as having a "spike" (in the USA Today article). Seems a little premature to put it in an encyclopedia article, and including the material would seem to run counter to the WP:NOTNEWS policy. Boneyard90 (talk) 22:28, 2 July 2012 (UTC)


The USA military is usually described as the second largest, after Communist China. However the US military includes many civilians, giving a total of 2 million in all, plus reserves. The PLA is 2.3 million, plus reserves. "Time Magazine writer Mark Thompson has suggested that with the Global War on Terrorism, the reserves deployed as a single force with the active branches and America no longer has a strategic reserve", to quote from the article. If the 500,000 or so reserves are added the US military is larger than the active PLA. Would that be a fair comment. Any suggestions? (talk) 23:17, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Such conjecture is not appropriate for the article. There needs to be a high-quality source saying the US military is bigger, not a guesstimate. Binksternet (talk) 23:47, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Please update the number of active, paramilitary, and reserve personnel as soon as possible. Thanks. (Chipperdude15) (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:14, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

UPDATE PERSONNEL FIGURES NOW — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:08, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree the description of the US military as being second largest is misleading. However, that can be easily resolved with the adjective "active" added. e.g. "the second largest active military". It is the seventh largest military inlcuding reserve components. List_of_countries_by_number_of_active_troops Bristus (talk) 15:26, 20 April 2015 (UTC)


FY2010 is the latest data? Really, it's FY2013. •Jim62sch•dissera! 21:49, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Actually, Fiscal Year 2013 doesn't begin until 1 October 2012 and ends 30 September 2013, so it isn't as bad as it looks. There are probably more recent figures, but apparently you don't have time to research and post them and neither do I. Someone will find the time sooner or later. I don't imagine the figures change all that much from year to year and the world will not come to an end if it doesn't get done right away. Cuprum17 (talk) 23:47, 23 September 2012 (UTC)


It seems that Dank4Days was able to keep his text on the main page. I can't see it in the markup, but it's definitely there on the page, directly prior to the History section, in bold. I'd like some admin to see this, and find out what's wrong. I can't find Dank4Days in the markup. Turiyag (talk) 05:10, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

I'll review it. In the meantime, I suggest you look at the tutorial.--S. Rich (talk) 05:51, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Male – Female vs. Female – Male sequencing (BRD)[edit]

There has been a bit of edit sparring over the sequencing of "Female – Male" vs "Male – Female" population numbers listed in United States Armed_Forces#Personnel in each service. Justification asked for why we should put one in before the other. Take a look at the RS provided, which has a "Male – Female – Total" sequence. See: [9]. With this in mind, what is the justification for reversing the sequence which we see in the RS? – S. Rich (talk) 05:27, 9 September 2013 (UTC) (PS: To be clear, I was not the IP involved in the sparing. My personal preference, though, is to use the Male – Female sequence we see in the RS. 06:06, 9 September 2013 (UTC))

Presumably that it's sexist. The English language is what it is however and only in specific contexts does it go female then male. (talk) 17:22, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Also note that there was a notice that said to not change the order of precedence and to see the talk page as to why. The notice pre-dated the inclusion of specific male numbers. [10]. I'll restore the notice as the talk page discussion that led to it is presumably in the archives. (talk) 17:27, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

This article has been protected from editing for three days to try to generate talk page discussion of the disputed content. Please follow the WP:BRD guideline. You may also wish to consider dispute resolution (WP:DR). Mark Arsten (talk) 18:35, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment I was waiting for someone to start the discussion after the page was protected, but apparently no one has. I think that it should be male first, then female, which is the current version. Men outnumber women in the military by a large margin. Plus men have been serving longer and in a far greater capacity. JOJ Hutton 21:57, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Concur. It's just more intuitive that way. - BilCat (talk) 22:12, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
That's rich. (talk) 17:11, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
The topic has been discussed and I'm satisfied with your explanation for the edit, so I'm withdrawing my objection. What's "rich" about that? NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 19:13, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Concur - It should be Male first to agree with the reference. Changing it would be Original Research. Respectfully, Tiyang (talk) 05:26, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Use of nuclear weapons?[edit]

A post to the lede mentioned usage of nuclear weapons against another nation. I think the topic is well covered in various other articles. This article has overall coverage of the US armed forces and details about particular events in military history, while significant themselves, are not appropriate. – S. Rich (talk) 17:15, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Okay, since this is a content dispute and its a pretty straightforward disagreement about whether due weight applies, we might as well ask for other opinions. Do you support or oppose adding this sentence? Pass a Method talk 17:30, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Support as proposer. Pass a Method talk 17:30, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
Oppose – We already have 5 military history articles Military history of the United States, Military history of the United States during World War II, Pacific War, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and History of nuclear weapons. The WP:TOPIC is an overall one about the organization. – S. Rich (talk) 17:53, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment - This article currently focuses unduly on personnel. I think sections on bases, weaponry and other assets would be useful additions to round it out. Regarding the particular sentence, it seems undue for the lead or the introduction in general. Jojalozzo 18:10, 8 November 2013 (UTC)


>> US eases uniforms for religious observance(Lihaas (talk) 13:29, 23 January 2014 (UTC)).

process of desegregation in the Armed Forces[edit]

There should imo be sth. in "History" about that. I am no native speaker ... Dwight D. Eisenhower#Civil rights says:

While President Truman had begun the process of desegregating the Armed Forces in 1948, actual implementation had been slow. Eisenhower made clear his stance in his first State of the Union address in February 1953, saying "I propose to use whatever authority exists in the office of the President to end segregation in the District of Columbia, including the Federal Government, and any segregation in the Armed Forces".[1] When he encountered opposition from the services, he used government control of military spending to force the change through, stating "Wherever Federal Funds are expended ..., I do not see how any American can justify ... a discrimination in the expenditure of those funds".[2]

When Robert B. Anderson, Eisenhower's first Secretary of the Navy argued that the Navy must recognize the "customs and usages prevailing in certain geographic areas of our country which the Navy had no part in creating", Eisenhower overruled him: "We have not taken and we shall not take a single backward step. There must be no second class citizens in this country."[3]

The administration declared racial discrimination a national security issue, as Communists around the world used the racial discrimination and history of violence in the U.S. as a point of propaganda attack.[4] The day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education, that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Eisenhower told District of Columbia officials to make Washington a model for the rest of the country in integrating black and white public school children.[5][6] He proposed to Congress the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 and signed those acts into law. The 1957 act for the first time established a permanent civil rights office inside the Justice Department and a Civil Rights Commission to hear testimony about abuses of voting rights. Although both acts were much weaker than subsequent civil rights legislation, they constituted the first significant civil rights acts since 1875.[7]

Pros or Cons to put some info into the article ? --Neun-x (talk) 08:34, 23 February 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ State of the Union Address, February 2, 1953, Public Papers, 1953 30–31.
  2. ^ "Eisenhower Press Conference, March 19, 1953". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ Byrnes to DDE, August 27, 1953, Eisenhower Library"
  4. ^ Dudziak, Mary L. (2002), Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy
  5. ^ Eisenhower 1963, p. 230
  6. ^ Parmet 1972, pp. 438–439
  7. ^ Mayer, Michael S. (1989). "The Eisenhower Administration and the Civil Rights Act of 1957". Congress & the Presidency 16 (2): 137–154. doi:10.1080/07343468909507929. 

however this claim has been questioned[edit]

Nick3111997, you seem to be intent on adding "however this claim has been questioned" to the statement "As such, it is widely accepted that U.S. Armed Forces is the most powerful military in the world." This is based on one source[11], an opinion piece of a retired USAF LtCol and history professor. I have read through the opinion piece and I do not believe it supports the statement. In his opinion piece William J. Astore says:

This says that he agrees that the US Armed Forces is indeed the most powerful military in the world. What he is questioning is if the US Armed Forces today is "the finest military force ever." No where in the opinion piece does he ever question if the U.S. Armed Forces is the most powerful military in the world." GB fan 11:55, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Now we need to take a look at the definitions of powerful: "Having great power or strength" and "Having control and influence over people and events". It is true that the US Military qualifies for both, but saying they are the most powerful doesn't make sense. We need to look to the fact that part of being powerful would also be how good your military staff are at accomplishing what they need to do. There hasn't really been any conflict where the US has fought mostly on it's own and won since the Pacific War nearly 70 years ago. I think it would be best if the article was changed so that it said "as such it is widely accepted that the US is one of the most powerful militaries in the world." This version makes more sense, it isn't such a brazen statement and it fits the idea of supplying neutral information that Wikipedia does so well normally.

Nick3111997 (talk) 16:01, 6 September 2014 (UTC)Nick3111997

These arguments are stated as your own opinion, not based on sources. We need to have sources that back up any claims whether we think they're correct or not. Jojalozzo 18:29, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Don't really understand what you think needs a source; it is hard fact that the last major war the US fought on it's own and won was the Pacific War. Look at the definitions of power: "the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality," and "the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events," so my point on staff capability makes perfect sense. My information is backed up perfectly and I personally think that the only reason nobody wants to make the change is out of some unprofessional dominance issues. I'm not bashing the US military, I just don't think the article as it currently stands is very professional or neutral. Nick3111997 (talk) 18:11, 7 September 2014 (UTC)Nick3111997

IN or OF[edit]

Can you say with certainty that the number used is of only those who were at the time the statistic was developed were IN the US or were some of those people included in the statistic not in the country at the time but included in the base group from which to get the statistic. That is the difference between IN and OF. It is easier to prove OF than is it to prove IN. (talk) 02:19, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Clear violation of the NPOV.[edit]

I have noticed that the phrase "As such, it is widely accepted that the U.S. Armed Forces are the most powerful military forces in the world," keeps finding its way onto the page even though it is in clear violation of the NPOV. I hope we can all agree to remove something that violates the rules. The source clearly doesn't back up the claim and even though I have proven my point prior and tried a more subtle approach immature people feel the need to keep editing it back onto the page.

Nick3111997 (talk) 21:22, 17 October 2014 (UTC)Nick3111997

Obviously it isn't as "clear" as you think, or you'd have more users agreeing with you. And calling those who disagree with you "immature people" can be taken as a Personal attack, so stop it. - BilCat (talk) 21:31, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Well then, prove it isn't clear; you aren't exactly proving why it isn't. It's quite clear than the only reason that phrase keeps finding it's way into the article is due to unprofessional dominance issues. Why people aren't agreeing with me? Probably because they are overly nationalistic Americans. The article as it stands is unprofessional, disrespectful and brazen. You can look at the discussion I had above when it got to the point where I outmatched everyone so they all left and nobody replied anymore. I have distinctly proven citing the definition of powerful that that phrase is incorrect as it stands.

Nick3111997 (talk) 21:42, 17 October 2014 (UTC)Nick3111997

The reason no one replied was that you just continued to repeat your own unsourced opinions, as was pointed out to you. That hasn't changed, as you're still doing it. - BilCat (talk) 22:06, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
That source has no place in the article; it clearly fails WP:RS, and even WP:CIRCULAR. However, I'd be open to some other variation, maybe different wording, maybe a different source. bobrayner (talk) 17:48, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Who is Counting?[edit]

Do we want to address an issue of counting? In the section on Commissioned Officers, it starts off with "There are five common ways to receive a commission...", yet it then lists seven bulleted points. Just wondering. WesT (talk) 15:04, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

I have rewritten it, as that sentence was unsourced. I removed the fact about 5 common ways of getting a commission. -- GB fan 23:58, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Excellent fix. Thanks! WesT (talk) 20:29, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

SIPRI report on arms exports[edit]

I've gone through SIPRI's report and website and it's still not clear to me how it calculates arms exports. I'm guessing SIPRI is using dollar values to compute its "volume" of arms exports, which conveniently makes the U.S. look bad. The U.S. exports high-priced weapons systems, such as Aegis-equipped destroyers and Apache gunships, to its allies, but in terms of actual volume, meaning number of bullets to number of bullets, I seriously doubt the U.S. ranks anywhere near the top. And it's cheap bullets, made by countries like Russia and China, in the hands of sociopaths in Third World trouble spots that are doing most of the maiming and killing in the world today. Who supplied the arms in the world's most recent genocides (Cambodia, Rwanda, North Korean famine, ongoing Iraqi civil war)? It's mostly cheap, ubiquitous Soviet-era crap. Please strike the SIPRI data from the article until its method of determining "volume" can be elucidated. If SIPRI is using dollar value, then update the entry to say that the U.S. exports the highest dollar amount of weapons in the world. Then the intelligent reader can surmise that maybe the U.S. is simply exporting $40,000 velvet-covered toilet seats and not necessarily the world's majority of land mines, NATO rounds, and other items used in Third World mayhem. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:19, 23 August 2015 (UTC)