The United States Armed Forces maintains five service branches: U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard. The Commander-in-Chief is President Barack Obama, the Secretary of Defense is Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is Admiral Michael Mullen.
There are more than 1.47 million active personnel and another 1.45 million reserve personnel.
In the U.S. Army, there are 362,015 soldiers in the Army National Guard and 205,281 soldiers in the U.S. Army Reserve. The Army’s Commanders are Secretary, the Honorable John M. McHugh; Chief of Staff, General Martin Dempsey; Vice Chief of Staff, General Peter W. Chiarelli and Sergeant Major, Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler.
The U.S. Army maintains both a regular army commandment and a Special Forces regiment, which involves Delta Force, the Green Berets and the Rangers.
The U.S. Army, whose motto is “This We’ll Defend,” has been engaged in many battles, wars and conflicts since its foundation in 1775, including the War of 1812, the Philippine-American War, World I & II, Somali Civil War, Kosovo War and the most recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There are 13 Enlisted U.S. Army ranks (ranked from highest to lowest):
- Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) – senior advisor to the Army Chief of Staff
- Command Sergeant Major (CSM)
- Sergeant Major (SGM)
- First Sergeant (1SG)
- Master Sergeant (MSG)
- Sergeant First Class (SFC)
- Staff Sergeant (SSG)
- Sergeant (SGT)
- Corporal (CPL)
- Specialist (SPC)
- Private First Class (PFC)
- Private 2 (PV2)
- Private (PVT) – lowest rank in the military; someone who starts Basic Combat Training (BCT)
There are six Officers in the U.S. Army ranks (ranked from highest to lowest):
- Colonel (COL) – the commanding officer of units that contain between 300 and 1,000 soldiers
- Lieutenant Colonel (LTC)
- Major (MAJ)
- Captain (CPT)
- First Lieutenant (1LT)
- Second Lieutenant (2LT) – entry-level rank for Commissioned Officers
There are five Warrant Officers in the U.S. Army Ranks (ranked from highest to lowest). Warrant Officers are individuals who are experts in the technical field and train and advise others, while also manages and operates Army equipment and systems.
- Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5) – “master-level” expert in both technical and tactical fields
- Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4)
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3)
- Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2)
- Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) – appointed by Secretary of Army