The Military, in a general sense, refers to the standing armed forces of a country, that are directed by the national government and are tasked with that nation's defense. "Militaries" are generally divided into different branches of a specific type of service, including (in alphabetical order) an air force (specifically for Aircraft- or Space-based operations), an army (for land operations), or a navy (for operations at sea).
Examples of Military Forces
Here listed are several examples of current Military forces.
Armed Forces of Canada
The three traditional services (Navy, Army, and Air Force) were merged in Canada into a single service known as the Canadian Forces on 1 February 1968. Despite an attempt to meld the three services into one, institutional friction prevented this theoretical ideal from becoming a reality. In the mid 1980s, the services began to extend their individuality once more, most notably by the adoption of distinctive uniforms (the Distinctive Environmental Uniform, or DEU). The services are represented today by Air Command, Land Force Command, and Maritime Command, though the terms "navy", "army" and "air force" are used colloquially and are gaining favour. The previous official titles had been Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
For the State of Israel, melding has continued to work. There is a single defense force; the sea service is commanded by a major general, not a rear admiral. Israel's officer rank structure is unusually flat; the IDF Chief of Staff is the single lieutenant general, although the fully mobilized IDF is one of the most powerful militaries in the world.
Armed Forces of the United States of America
The Armed Forces of the United States of America are an all-volunteer professional force, and are divided into several branches and departments based on the capabilities they bring to the battle. These branches - also called "services" - include:
- The United States Air Force
- The United States Army
- The United States Navy
- The United States Coast Guard (uniformed service, but part of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the Department of Defense, other than under full national mobilization
- The United States Marine Corps
Actual combat operations almost invariably involve multiple services, and the operational chain of command does not run through the services, but from the National Command Authority to regional and functional Unified Combatant Commands. United States Special Operations Command is multiservice, but, given the need for low-intensity and covert operations, special operations has effectively become an independent service.
Armed Forces of the United Kingdom
(commonly known as the British Armed Forces)
Professionalism and motivation
Military culture includes the ability to look at another soldier's uniform and see much about them, in the various insignia of military rank, badges indicating skills and specialties, and awards (e.g., the U.S. Pyramid of Honor). Napoleon said "A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."
Professional military organizations have extensive education systems, and teaching and mentoring is a requirement of leadership.
In grand strategy, military force is only one of the means of exerting national will. Many nations, therefore, look at a broader concept of security forces, including the military with military special operations forces; some or all police, especially paramilitary police; intelligence services that have clandestine human-source intelligence and covert action capabilities, and other field forces from medical to economic development.
Some organizations do not have a primary military mission but overlap military functions, such as the United States Coast Guard.
Paramilitary police are by no means restricted to developing countries; Italy's Carabinieri are considered elite worldwide. Nevertheless, paramilitary forces are especially common when insurgency is present, as in the Afghan Security Forces or Iraqi Security Forces.
Even the analytical intelligence organization often is considered a part of the broadly defined military, due to the assistance it provides to combat forces. Intelligence (information gathering) is, at present, under CZ: Military Workgroup.