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What Are All The Branches of The Military? – 6 Branches

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell


Generally, we know the military as a unified force that protects our country. But, in reality, there are many different military factions. Have you ever wondered about the different parts of the military? What about “What are all the branches of the military?”

Previously, there were five branches. But in 2019, a new branch was established. So, there are now six branches. The names of the branches of the military are:

  • Army
  • Marine Corps
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Space Force
  • Coast Guard

Continue reading to find more detailed information!

US Military Branches


Aside from knowing how many branches of the military are there, you can find detailed information on each branch of the military below. So, read on!

As said earlier, the list of military branches includes the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard.

The branches of the US military can be divided into types: land, maritime land, maritime, air, space, and security, search-rescue, and law enforcement.

The Essentials of Different Branches of the Military

1. Army


This is the land service branch of the military. The Army is also the oldest branch and the most senior one in order of precedence.

The Army was founded in 1775 as the Continental Army. After the Revolutionary War, it officially became the US Army in 1784. Today, it is a part of the Department of the Army, which is within the Department of Defense.

The Army preserves peace and security and supply defense, supports national policies, enforces national objectives, and surpasses countries that threaten the US’s peace and security.

The Army is made up of three components: the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. These are further divided into branches and functional areas.

Branches of the Army encompass officers, warrant officers, and enlisted members, and functional areas are reclassified officers from a former branch.

There are also Army commands and service component commands, as follows:

2. Marine Corps


This is the maritime land service branch. It was formed in 1775 as the Continental Marines, and officially established later in 1794. The Marine Corps is under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy.

Primarily, it defends naval bases and other operations to support naval campaigns, develops equipment, tactics, and techniques for amphibious landing forces to use with the Army and the Air Force.

There are four key subdivisions in the Marine Corps, as follows:

Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC)

Here, there are the following personnel:

  • The Commandant of the Marine Corps
  • The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
  • The Director of Marine Corps Staff
  • The Deputy Commandants
  • The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

The Operating Forces

Within the operating forces are three categories:

  • Marine Corps Forces (MARFOR): Support combatant commands, the Fleet Marine Forces, etc
    • Forces Command (MARFORCOM)
    • Pacific Command (MARFORPAC)
  • Security Forces: That guard naval installations that are deemed high-risk
  • Security Guard Detachments at US embassies

The Supporting Establishment

Here, there are the following commands/components:

  • The Combat Development Command
  • The Logistics Command
  • The Systems Command
  • The Recruiting Command
  • The Installations Command
  • The Marine Band & The Marine Drum
  • The Bugle Corps

3. Navy

This is the maritime service branch. In terms of personnel, it is the third-largest branch of the military. It started as the Continental Navy in 1775 but was officially founded as the US Navy in 1794.

Alongside the Marine Corps, the Navy is a part of the Department of the Navy. It prepares naval forces for potential wars, and maintains, as well as continues to develop naval equipment, tactics, and techniques.

The Navy comprises of nine components, as follows:

  • The Fleet Forces Command
    • The l Sealift Command
    • The Naval Expeditionary Combat Command
    • The Navy Cyber Forces
  • The Pacific Fleet
  • The Naval Forces Central Command
  • The Naval Forces Europe
  • The Naval Network Warfare Command
  • The Navy Reserve
  • The Naval Special Warfare Command
  • The Operational Test & Evaluation Force
  • The Military Sealift Command

They also have seven active fleets, numbered one through seven. Each fleet is headed by a vice admiral, except for theFourth Fleet, which is headed by a rear admiral. These fleets are further grouped under:

  • The Fleet Forces Command
  • The Pacific Fleet
  • The Naval Forces Europe-Africa
  • The Naval Forces Central Command

To support the fleets, the Navy operates a network of shore establishments. Notable establishments are:

  • The Naval Education & Training Command
  • The Naval Meteorology & Oceanography Command
  • The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command
  • The Naval Facilities Engineering Command
  • The Naval Supply Systems Command
  • The Naval Air Systems Command
  • The Naval Sea Systems Command
  • The Naval Academy
  • The Naval Safety Center
  • The Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center
  • The United States Naval Observatory

4. Air Force


This is the air service branch. It was originally a part of the Army in 1907, but officially established as the US Air Force in 1947. It is under the Department of the Air Force.

The Air Force’s key mission is to guard the air and provide air support to any branch in need. In doing so, it is heavily invested in equipment, tactics, and technique. It also has a large emphasis on IRS, which is an abbreviation for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

It has nine major commands, as follows:

Under these commands are three direct reporting units:

  • The Air Force District of Washington
  • The Air force Operational Test & Evaluation Center
  • The Air Force Academy

Like the Army, it has three components: the active-duty force, the Reserve, and the National Guard.

Unlike the other service branches, it has an aircraft inventory, which houses over 5,217 aircraft as of June 2021. Its aircraft are categorized into the following:

  • Attack aircraft
  • Bombers
  • Transport aircraft
  • Special electronic aircraft
  • Fighter aircraft
  • Search-rescue aircraft
  • Tankers
  • Multi-mission aircraft
  • Observation aircraft
  • Reconnaissance aircraft
  • Trainer aircraft
  • Utility aircraft
  • VIP aircraft
  • Weather reconnaissance aircraft

5. Space Force

This is the space service branch. It is the only independent space force in the world. The Space Force was founded in 2019. Alongside the Air Force, it is under the Department of the Air Force.

There are about 8,4000 personnel and 77 spacecraft that make up this branch. Its major systems (to name a few) are:

  • The Space Fence
  • The Global Positioning System
  • The Missile Warning System
  • The Space Surveillance Network
  • The Satellite Control Network

Although the force as a whole was just recently developed, space programs in the military started all the way back in 1945 under the Army and Air Force.

The Space Force is organized into three commands: field commands, garrisons or deltas, and squadrons.

  • Field Commands: Headed by a lieutenant general or major general; perform specific missions

Space Operations Command:

It has two commands: the Space Operations Command and the Space Operations Command West where the former is focused on space, cyber, and intelligence operations and combat support, while the latter is focused on space warfighting operations.

  • There are 8 deltas, numbered two to nine
  • There are 2 garrisons: the Peterson-Schriever and the Buckley, both providing mission as well as medical support

Space Systems Command:

To acquire, engineer, research, develop, and launch activities.

  • There are two launch deltas: the 30 (for Western Range) and the 45 (for Eastern Range)
  • There are 10 other corps and units

Space Training & Readiness Command:

There are 5 deltas, numbered 1, 10, 11, 12, and 13

  • Garrisons / Deltas: Arranged base on a specific function, like operations or training
  • Squadrons: Headed by a lieutenant colonel; concentrate on certain tactics

The Space Force does not have a Reserve, but a Space National Guard is underway.

As of right now, it is operating across six main bases, seven small stations, and one international air base (in Greenland).

The names of the bases are:

  • The Buckley Space Force Base
  • The Los Angeles Air Force Base (Not yet renamed)
  • The Patrick Space Force Base
  • The Peterson Space Force Base
  • The Schriever Space Force Base
  • The Vandenberg Space Force Base

The names of the stations are:

  • The Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • The cape Cod Space Force Station
  • The Cavalier Space Force Station
  • The Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station
  • The Clear Space Force Station
  • The Kaena Point Space Force Station
  • The New Boston Space Force Station

6. Coast Guard

This is the maritime security, search-rescue, and law enforcement service branch — best understood as a security and humanitarian service branch. It was established in 1799 as the revenue Marine, and officially founded as the US Coast Guard in 1915.

It is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and the Department of Navy in wartime.

The Coast Guard is the second-smaller in terms of personnel, but its organization is not far behind. It is currently divided into nine districts, as follows:

  • District 1: In Atlantic; responsible for New England states, eastern New York, and northern New Jersey. Its office is in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • District 5: Also in Atlantic; responsible for Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, and Virgina. Its office is in Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • District 7: Again in the Atlantic; responsible for South Carolina, Georgia, estern Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Its office is in Miami, Florida.
  • District 8: In the Atlantic as well; responsible for the Western Rivers and the Mexico Gulf. Its office is in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • District 9: In Atlantic too; responsible for the Great Lakes. Its office is in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • District 13: In the Pacific; responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Its office is in Seattle, Washing.
  • District 14: Also in the Pacific; responsible for Hawaii and other Pacific territories. Its office is in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • District 17: In the Pacific again; responsible for Alaska. Its office is in Juneau, Alaska.

Similar to the Navy, the Coast Guard has supportive shore establishments. Examples include:

  • The Coast Guard Stations
  • The Coast Guard Air Stations
  • The Coast Guard Stations Yard

They also have training centers and a military college.

Part of the Coast Guard is the Coast Guard Reserve and Coast Guard Auxiliary.

  • The Reserve was established in 194q. Reservists serve in the Port Security Units and in combatant commands (DoD) when deployed.
  • The Auxiliary is a civilian volunteer service. It was founded in 1939. Most of Auxiliarists duties are related to boating safety.


Now, you are armed with all the essentials of every branch of the military. Hopefully, you can remember what you have read and put it to good use someday. If you liked this article on what are all the branches of the military, please leave a comment and share it with others!

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