In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. There are three general categories of military people: active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve & guard forces (usually work a civilian job, but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). And of course there are the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present.
But you're here to learn more about the military. There is much to learn! The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief, who is responsible for all final decisions. The Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD) has control over the military and each branch - except the Coast Guard, which is under the Dept. of Homeland Security. With over 2 million civilian and military employees, the DoD is the world's largest "company.” Each branch of the military has a unique mission within the overall mission of U.S. security and peace.
Qualified non-prior service applicants who enlist for six years in the Army Reserve are eligible for up to $20,000 in enlistment bonuses. The GI Bill – available to all who have served & been honorably discharged or with a service-connected disability provides substantial financial education & career benefits.