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Military

Organized body primarily tasked with preparing for and conducting war

Top 10 Military related articles

NATO military ceremony, Pabrade, Lithuania in November 2014

A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an army, navy, air force, space force, marines, or coast guard. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats.

In broad usage, the terms armed forces and military are often treated as synonymous, although in technical usage a distinction is sometimes made in which a country's armed forces may include both its military and other paramilitary forces. There are various forms of irregular military forces, not belonging to a recognized state; though they share many attributes with regular military forces, they are less often referred to as simply military.

Countries by number of active soldiers (2009)

A nation's military may function as a discrete social subculture, with dedicated infrastructure such as military housing, schools, utilities, logistics, hospitals, legal services, food production, finance, and banking services. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies and national honour guards.[1]

The profession of soldiering as part of a military is older than recorded history itself.[2] Some of the most enduring images of classical antiquity portray the power and feats of its military leaders. The Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC was one of the defining points of Pharaoh Ramses II's reign, and his monuments commemorate it in bas-relief. A thousand years later, the first emperor of unified China, Qin Shi Huang, was so determined to impress the gods with his military might that he had himself buried with an army of terracotta soldiers.[3] The Romans paid considerable attention to military matters, leaving to posterity many treatises and writings on the subject, as well as many lavishly carved triumphal arches and victory columns.

Military Intro articles: 200

Etymology and definitions

Depiction of ancient Egyptian military formation

The first recorded use of the word military in English, spelled militarie, was in 1582.[4] It comes from the Latin militaris (from Latin miles, meaning "soldier") through French, but is of uncertain etymology, one suggestion being derived from *mil-it- – going in a body or mass.[5][6]

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.[4][7] In general, it refers to the physicality of armed forces, their personnel, equipment, and the physical area which they occupy.

As an adjective, military originally referred only to soldiers and soldiering, but it soon broadened to apply to land forces in general, and anything to do with their profession.[4] The names of both the Royal Military Academy (1741) and United States Military Academy (1802) reflect this. However, at about the time of the Napoleonic Wars, 'military' began to be used in reference to armed forces as a whole, such as 'military service', 'military intelligence', and 'military history'. As such, it now connotes any activity performed by armed force personnel.[4]

Military Etymology and definitions articles: 3

History

An Ancient Greek warrior demonstrates the effectiveness of contemporary physical training regimes. Riace Bronzes, c.450 BC

Military history is often considered to be the history of all conflicts, not just the history of the state militaries. It differs somewhat from the history of war, with military history focusing on the people and institutions of war-making, while the history of war focuses on the evolution of war itself in the face of changing technology, governments, and geography.

Military history has a number of facets. One main facet is to learn from past accomplishments and mistakes, so as to more effectively wage war in the future. Another is to create a sense of military tradition, which is used to create cohesive military forces. Still, another may be to learn to prevent wars more effectively. Human knowledge about the military is largely based on both recorded and oral history of military conflicts (war), their participating armies and navies and, more recently, air forces.[8]

Military History articles: 3

Organization

An example of military command; a map of the United States' Unified Combatant Command's area of responsibility.

Personnel and units

Despite the growing importance of military technology, military activity depends above all on people. For example, in 2000 the British Army declared: "Man is still the first weapon of war."[9]

Rank and role

The military organization is characterized by a strict command hierarchy divided by military rank, with ranks normally grouped (in descending order of authority) as officers (e.g. Colonel), non-commissioned officers (e.g. Sergeant), and personnel at the lowest rank (e.g. Private Soldier). While senior officers make strategic decisions, subordinated military personnel (soldiers, sailors, marines, or airmen) fulfil them. Although rank titles vary by military branch and country, the rank hierarchy is common to all state armed forces worldwide.

In addition to their rank, personnel occupy one of many trade roles, which are often grouped according to the nature of the role's military tasks on combat operations: combat roles (e.g. infantry), combat support roles (e.g. combat engineers), and combat service support roles (e.g. logistical support).

Recruitment

Personnel may be recruited or conscripted, depending on the system chosen by the state. Most military personnel are males; the minority proportion of female personnel varies internationally (approximately 3% in India,[10] 10% in the UK,[11] 13% in Sweden,[12] 16% in the US,[13] and 27% in South Africa[14]). While two-thirds of states now recruit or conscript only adults, as of 2017 50 states still relied partly on children under the age of 18 (usually aged 16 or 17) to staff their armed forces.[15]

Whereas recruits who join as officers tend to be upwardly-mobile,[16][17] most enlisted personnel have a childhood background of relative socio-economic deprivation.[18][19][20] For example, after the US suspended conscription in 1973, "the military disproportionately attracted African American men, men from lower-status socioeconomic backgrounds, men who had been in nonacademic high school programs, and men whose high school grades tended to be low".[16] However, a study released in 2020 on the socio-economic backgrounds of U.S. Armed Forces personnel suggests that they are at parity or slightly higher than the civilian population with respect to socio-economic indicators such as parental income, parental wealth and cognitive abilities. The study found that technological, tactical, operational and doctrinal changes have led to a change in the demand for personnel. Furthermore, the study suggests that the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups are less likely to meet the requirements of the modern U.S. military.[21]

Obligations

The obligations of military employment are many. Full-time military employment normally requires a minimum period of service of several years; between two and six years is typical of armed forces in Australia, the UK and the US, for example, depending on role, branch, and rank.[22][23][24] Some armed forces allow a short discharge window, normally during training, when recruits may leave the armed force as of right.[25] Alternatively, part-time military employment, known as reserve service, allows a recruit to maintain a civilian job while training under military discipline at weekends; he or she may be called out to deploy on operations to supplement the full-time personnel complement. After leaving the armed forces, recruits may remain liable for compulsory return to full-time military employment in order to train or deploy on operations.[25][24]

Military law introduces offences not recognised by civilian courts, such as absence without leave (AWOL), desertion, political acts, malingering, behaving disrespectfully, and disobedience (see, for example, offences against military law in the United Kingdom).[26] Penalties range from a summary reprimand to imprisonment for several years following a court martial.[26] Certain fundamental rights are also restricted or suspended, including the freedom of association (e.g. union organizing) and freedom of speech (speaking to the media).[26] Military personnel in some countries have a right of conscientious objection if they believe an order is immoral or unlawful, or cannot in good conscience carry it out.

Personnel may be posted to bases in their home country or overseas, according to operational need, and may be deployed from those bases on exercises or operations anywhere in the world. During peacetime, when military personnel are generally stationed in garrisons or other permanent military facilities, they mostly conduct administrative tasks, training and education activities, technology maintenance, and recruitment.

Training

Finnish and American soldiers train together in arctic conditions in Lapland, Finland, as part of Cold Weather Basic Operation Course, January 6–16, 2015

Initial training conditions recruits for the demands of military life, including preparedness to injure and kill other people, and to face mortal danger without fleeing. It is a physically and psychologically intensive process which resocializes recruits for the unique nature of military demands. For example:

  • Individuality is suppressed (e.g. by shaving the head of new recruits, issuing uniforms, denying privacy, and prohibiting the use of first names);[27][28]
  • Daily routine is tightly controlled (e.g. recruits must make their beds, polish boots, and stack their clothes in a certain way, and mistakes are punished);[29][28]
  • Continuous stressors deplete psychological resistance to the demands of their instructors (e.g. depriving recruits of sleep, food, or shelter, shouting insults and giving orders intended to humiliate)[30][28][29]
  • Frequent punishments serve to condition group conformity and discourage poor performance;[28]
  • The disciplined drill instructor is presented as a role model of the ideal soldier.[31]

Intelligence

The next requirement comes as a fairly basic need for the military to identify possible threats it may be called upon to face. For this purpose, some of the commanding forces and other military, as well as often civilian personnel participate in identification of these threats. This is at once an organization, a system and a process collectively called military intelligence (MI).

The difficulty in using military intelligence concepts and military intelligence methods is in the nature of the secrecy of the information they seek, and the clandestine nature that intelligence operatives work in obtaining what may be plans for a conflict escalation, initiation of combat, or an invasion.

An important part of the military intelligence role is the military analysis performed to assess military capability of potential future aggressors, and provide combat modelling that helps to understand factors on which comparison of forces can be made. This helps to quantify and qualify such statements as: "China and India maintain the largest armed forces in the World" or that "the U.S. Military is considered to be the world's strongest".[32]

Guerrilla structure

Although some groups engaged in combat, such as militants or resistance movements, refer to themselves using military terminology, notably 'Army' or 'Front', none have had the structure of a national military to justify the reference, and usually have had to rely on support of outside national militaries. They also use these terms to conceal from the MI their true capabilities, and to impress potential ideological recruits.

Having military intelligence representatives participate in the execution of the national defence policy is important, because it becomes the first respondent and commentator on the policy expected strategic goal, compared to the realities of identified threats. When the intelligence reporting is compared to the policy, it becomes possible for the national leadership to consider allocating resources over and above the officers and their subordinates military pay, and the expense of maintaining military facilities and military support services for them.

Economics

Map of military expenditures as a percentage of GDP by country, 2017.[33]
A pie chart showing global military expenditures by country for 2018, in US$ billions, according to SIPRI
Military expenditure of 2014 in USD

Defense economics is the financial and monetary efforts made to resource and sustain militaries, and to finance military operations, including war.

The process of allocating resources is conducted by determining a military budget, which is administered by a military finance organization within the military. Military procurement is then authorized to purchase or contract provision of goods and services to the military, whether in peacetime at a permanent base, or in a combat zone from local population.

Capability development

Capability development, which is often referred to as the military 'strength', is arguably one of the most complex activities known to humanity; because it requires determining: strategic, operational, and tactical capability requirements to counter the identified threats; strategic, operational, and tactical doctrines by which the acquired capabilities will be used; identifying concepts, methods, and systems involved in executing the doctrines; creating design specifications for the manufacturers who would produce these in adequate quantity and quality for their use in combat; purchase the concepts, methods, and systems; create a forces structure that would use the concepts, methods, and systems most effectively and efficiently; integrate these concepts, methods, and systems into the force structure by providing military education, training, and practice that preferably resembles combat environment of intended use; create military logistics systems to allow continued and uninterrupted performance of military organizations under combat conditions, including provision of health services to the personnel, and maintenance for the equipment; the services to assist recovery of wounded personnel, and repair of damaged equipment; and finally, post-conflict demobilization, and disposal of war stocks surplus to peacetime requirements.

Development of military doctrine is perhaps the more important of all capability development activities, because it determines how military forces were, and are used in conflicts, the concepts and methods used by the command to employ appropriately military skilled, armed and equipped personnel in achievement of the tangible goals and objectives of the war, campaign, battle, engagement, action or a duel.[34] The line between strategy and tactics is not easily blurred, although deciding which is being discussed had sometimes been a matter of personal judgement by some commentators, and military historians. The use of forces at the level of organization between strategic and tactical is called operational mobility.

Science

Because most of the concepts and methods used by the military, and many of its systems are not found in commercial branches, much of the material is researched, designed, developed, and offered for inclusion in arsenals by military science organizations within the overall structure of the military. Military scientists are therefore found to interact with all Arms and Services of the armed forces, and at all levels of the military hierarchy of command.

Although concerned with research into military psychology, particularly combat stress and how it affect troop morale, often the bulk of military science activities is directed at military intelligence technology, military communications, and improving military capability through research. The design, development, and prototyping of weapons, military support equipment, and military technology in general, is also an area in which much effort is invested – it includes everything from global communication networks and aircraft carriers to paint and food.

Logistics

The Kawasaki C-1 is a tactical military transport of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force

Possessing military capability is not sufficient if this capability cannot be deployed for, and employed in combat operations. To achieve this, military logistics are used for the logistics management and logistics planning of the forces military supply chain management, the consumables, and capital equipment of the troops.

Although mostly concerned with the military transport, as a means of delivery using different modes of transport; from military trucks, to container ships operating from permanent military base, it also involves creating field supply dumps at the rear of the combat zone, and even forward supply points in specific unit's Tactical Area of Responsibility.

These supply points are also used to provide military engineering services, such as the recovery of defective and derelict vehicles and weapons, maintenance of weapons in the field, the repair and field modification of weapons and equipment; and in peacetime, the life-extension programmes undertaken to allow continued use of equipment. One of the most important role of logistics is the supply of munitions as a primary type of consumable, their storage, and disposal.

Military Organization articles: 67