We are all aware that the military serves in the name of our country and for the wellbeing of our lives. We are also familiar with the idea that soldiers fight for our freedom.
However, most of us do not know the specifics of how our armed forces actually do this. Thus, the question that arises here is “How does the military protect our freedom?”
Join us in exploring this topic in detail. We will take you through the roles of each of the branches in the military: the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
Table of Contents
The Role(s) of the Military
The military has five main branches: the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Each of the branches has distinct missions, as follows:
1. The Army
The Army is the land service branch of the United States military. As of 2021, it has 485,000 regular personnel, 336,000 national guard personnel, and 189,500 reserve personnel, totaling 1,010,500 uniformed personnel.
The Army is responsible for preserving peace and security—providing the necessary defense for the U.S, Commonwealths, and possessions or other areas occupied by the U.S.
Furthermore, the Army supports national policies, implements national objectives, and overcomes any aggressive acts from nations that threaten the U.S’s peace and security.
These mission statements can be found in Section 7062 of Title 10, U.S. Code.
The Army does this with 5 core competencies.
(1) Prompt and sustained land combat
(2) Combined arms operations, including maneuver and wide-area security
(3) Armored/mechanized operations, airborne/air assault operations, special operations
(4) Set and sustain joint forces
(5) Integrated national, multinational, and joint land power
Within the army, there are elite units and groups, such as the Special Forces and Army Rangers, who engage in specialized training for advanced combat situations, should they arise.
The Army has domestic bases as well as stations beyond the United States. In detail, there are permanent installations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
2. The Air Force
The Air Force is the air service branch of the U.S military. It has 329,614 active airmen, 69,056 reserve airmen, 107,414 air national guard airmen, and 172,875 civilian personnel—making it the second-largest service branch.
Primarily, the Air Force carries out independent air operations and provides air support for land and/or naval troops. More specifically, the Air Force is responsible for
- Prompt and sustained air operations, both offensive and defensive
- Prepared air forces for the prosecution of war and the expansion of peacetime components to satisfy war needs
The Air Force’s core missions include:
1. Global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
Also known as global integrated ISR, this is the syncing of various assets across the world to carry out operations. It specifically includes collecting, processing, analyzing, and disseminating information for military decision-makers.
2. Air superiority
This is the degree of dominance in an air battle that allows for the conduct of operations at a time and place without prohibitive interference by opposing forces.
It includes offensive counter-air (OCA) and defensive counter-air (DCA). The former involves attack operations, escort, sweep, as well as the destruction of enemy air forces, while the latter are all defensive measures to identify, intervene, negate, or destroy enemy forces.
3. Rapid global mobility
Somewhat self-explanatory, this is the movement of military components globally. In detail, it refers to timely augmentation, deployment, employment, and sustainment for the success of strategic, operational, or tactical goals. This can include airlifting, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, etc.
4. Command and control
This refers to a designated commander exercising authority and direction over assigned forces in accomplishing a mission.
There is a strategic level, operational level, and tactical level of command and control. Personnel, equipment, facilities, communications, and procedures are used to plan, direct, coordinate, and control both forces and operations.
5. Global strike
This refers to attacks, which include precision attacks and strategic attacks. In addition, there are air interdiction, close air support, and nuclear deterrence missions.
These core missions all work towards ensuring global vigilance, reach, and power.
To supplement what the airmen do, the Air Force has an extensive aircraft inventory, which includes attack aircraft, bombers, transport aircraft, special electronic aircraft, fighter aircraft, search and rescue aircraft, tankers, multipurpose aircraft, observation aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, trainer aircraft, utility aircraft, VIP transport aircraft, etc.
The Navy is the maritime or seaborne service branch of the U.S military. It has roughly 336,978 active duty personnel, 101,583 ready reserve personnel alongside over 3,700 operational aircraft and 290 deployable combat vessels.
The Navy is in charge of preparing naval forces for wartime, maintaining naval aviation, air transport, air techniques, and air weapons for the Navy’s operations and activities, as well as developing aircraft, tactics, techniques, weapons, and equipment for naval combat and service.
Like the other branches, the Navy has 5 primary functions, which are sealift, sea control, power projection, maritime security, and deterrence.
Most of the Navy’s bases are within the United States, but there are a few facilities abroad as well.
4. The Marine Corps
The Marine Corps is the marine land service branch of the U.S military. Its main task is to carry out expeditionary and amphibious operations. The 3 key areas of responsibility for the Marine Corps are
(1) Defense or seizure of advanced naval bases as well as other land operations
(2) Development of equipment, techniques, and tactics to be used in amphibious landing forces, the Army and Air Force
(3) Duties delegated by the President of the Department of Defense (DoD)
These are also stated in the 10 U.S.C, and previously, under the National Security Act of 1947.
The Marine Corps also has its special operations, which reside under the command of the Marine Raider Support Group, Mariner Raider Regiment, Marine Raider Training Center—collectively known as the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.
Examples of these special units are the Air Naval Gunfire, Liaison Companies, Marine Division Reconnaissance Battalions Special Reactions Teams, Maritime Special Purpose Force, to name a few.
5. The Coast Guard
The Coast Guard is the multi-mission—maritime security, search and rescue, and law enforcement—service branch of the U.S military.
It has some 40,992 active duty personnel, 7,000 reserve personnel, and 8,577 civilian personnel. It is also informally referred to as the “Coasties” or “The Guards”.
There are 3 basic roles: maritime safety, maritime security, and maritime stewardship. These are divided into 11 sub-statutory missions, which can be classified as either homeland security missions or non-homeland security missions.
In detail, the former includes ice operations, living marine resources, marine environmental protection, marine safety, navigation aids, and search and rescue.
On the other hand, the latter includes defense readiness, migrant interdiction, drug interdiction, maritime law enforcement, and ports, waterways, and coastal security.
The Coast Guard operates the National Response Center (NRC) and the National Maritime Center (NMC).
So, what does this tell us about soldiers fighting for our freedom? As mentioned briefly earlier, the military protects our freedom from fear and freedom from control. This is done thanks to the collective effort from all the above-mentioned branches.
The military is established to protect a nation and its people.
Now that you have the complete answer to “How does the military protect our freedom?” you can better understand and deeply appreciate what soldiers do for you. The next time you pass a veteran or active duty service personnel, be sure to thank them.
Hopefully, you have found the information you need from this article. If there is anything else you want to share regarding this topic, let us know in the comments below. We are excited to hear your thoughts!