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A military or military force (n., from Latin militarius, miles "soldier") has seen many different incarnations throughout time. Early armies may have been just men with sharpened sticks and rocks, through time they have included advancements such as men mounted on horses, men wielding swords and other metallic weapons, the bow and arrow, seige weapons, to the advance of the musket which form the roots of the armed force of most nations we know today. In modern times people use vehicles and guns.

While military can refer to any armed force, it generally refers to a permanent, professional force of soldiers or guerrillas—trained exclusively for the purpose of warfare and should be distinguished from a sanctioned militia or a levy, which are temporary forces— citizen soldiers with less training, who may be 'called up' as a reserve force, when a nation mobilizes for total war, or to defend against invasion. The term military is often used to mean an army.

The doctrine that asserts the primacy of a military within a society is called militarism.


Meaning of the word

As an adjective, "military" is a descriptive property of things related to soldiers and warfare. It also refers to such context dependent terms such as military reserves which may indicate an actual unit deployable on command or the general sense, of a Nation States reserve troops available to or eligible for duty in its armed forces.

In formal British English, "military" as an adjective refers more particularly to matters relating to an army (land forces), as opposed to the naval and air force matters of the other two services.

In American English, "military" as an adjective is more widely used for regulations pertaining to and between all the armed forces like military procurement, military transport, military justice, military strength and military force.

Military procurement

Military procurement refers to common regulations and requirements for a ship or a detached unit to requisistion and draw on a base's facilies (housing, pay, and rations for detached personnel), supplies (most commonly food stocks or materials, and vehicles) by the service running a primary base; e.g. Army units detached to or staging through an air base, a vessel calling at a port near an army or air base, an army unit drawing supplies from a naval base.

Military transport

Military transport would pertain to an equipment trans-shipped via a sister service, or an individual detached for a technical school operated by a sister service, or the travel orders and authorization of such an individual to procede via a sister services vehicles, as well as the drawing (loan of) transportation assets (staff cars, Hum-Vees, military trucks) operating from the primary base command.

Military Justice

Military Justice, as in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Most nations have a separate code of law which regulates both certain activities allowed only in war, as well as provides a code of law applicable only to a soldier in war (or 'in uniform' during in peacetime).

The statutory laws set down by the United States Congress to apply to the individual conduct within any military force of the United States— these are the specific articles under which a soldier or sailor would be tried for infractions ranging from minor (Late Return, petty theft; ) to severe (Rape, Murder); this code is usually referred to by the acronym UCMJ.

Military strength

Military strength is a term that describes a quantification or reference to a nation's standing military forces or the capacity for fulfillment of that military's role. For example, the military strength of a given country could be interpreted as the number of individuals in its armed forces, the destructive potential of its arsenal, or both. For example, while China and India maintain the largest armed forces in the world, the US Military is considered to be the world's strongest.

Military Force

Military Force is a term that might refer to a particular unit, a regiment or gunboat deployed in a particular locale, or as an aggregate of such forces (e.g. "In the Gulf War the United States Central Command controled military forces (units) of each of the five military services of the United States.").

Military history

Main article: Military history

Military history is often considered to be the history of all conflicts, not just the history of proper 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 purposes. One main purpose 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 tradition which is used to create cohesive military forces. Still another may be to learn to prevent wars more effectively.

Military reserve

Main article: Military reserve

Military reserve refers to specific trained pre-organized forces operating as an on call basis from the main military force.

In the United States, the Reserves forces such as the qunit mission profile (e.g. Many 'Military Police' trained regular reserve units and ' National Guard units' were mobilized during the Iraq war, as were units specializing in supply, transport, engineering, et al.) These various volunteer manned units are always 'on call' and refered to as the ready reserves but might be augmented by the Inactive Reserves in time of dire emergency or total war under the United States model— the inactive reserve is composed of all former serving members of any of the US Armed Forces of military age. Individuls in this class are former members of the regular and ready reserve forces, that have opted to discontinue service in any of those organized bodys; in general, the inactive reserves are not an organized force, but a resource of trained manpower that can be mobilized similar to calling up a levy but in theory with the training of a militia. Individuals in the inactive reserves with specialized talents are from time to time also recalled into service, albeit rarely, one exception being the ongoing current need for Military Police and Quartermasters in Iraq.

Military science

Main article: Military science

Military science concerns itself with the study and of the diverse technical, psychological, and practical phenomena that encompass the events that make up warfare, especially armed combat. It strives to be an all-encompassing scientific system that if properly employed, will greatly enhance the practitioner's ability to prevail in an armed conflict with any adversary. To this end, it is unconcerned whether that adversary is an opposing military force, guerrillas or other irregulars, or even knows of or utilizes military science in return.

Specific militaries

See also Category:Militaries.

Military Alliances

See also


Major books for understanding the role of the military, and the civilian leadership of the military.

  1. Why the Allies Won (WWII} by Richard Overy ISBN 0-393-03925-0
    1. Many books about WWII, and other wars, focus on the military battles and campaigns. This one focuses on support roles that gave the Allies the edge when the Axis seemed to be ahead in so many senses.
    2. There was a structure of Scientific Management in the USA, unheard of in the Axis Powers.
    3. Russia relocated their industry far from the front.
    4. Axis nations military, particularly in Japan, had an adversarial relationship that was more important to them than the best interests of their nations.
    5. Allied interception of coded radio signals, and strict secrecy of what they learned from this.
    6. Allied sophisticated deception.
      1. Misleading Germany about the Normandy invasion.
      2. Commando raids were exceptionally successful, such as in figuring out how German Radar functioned, so as to get the correct dimensions for Chaff to Spoof it, but they were trumpeted as failures so as not to tip off German Military Intelligence about the purpose of the raids.
    7. In Nazi Germany no reputable Aryan wanted to have anything to do with science that had been invented by a Jew. This is one reason why Hitler never developed the Atomic Bomb.
  2. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Pentagon by "Jeff Cateau" and Michael Levin. An entertaining explanation of the U.S. military and how it is run.
  3. Get Yamamoto by Burke Davis, Published by Random House in 1969. During WW II, the USA intercepted top secret communications about a tour of forward bases to be conducted by Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Navy. This led to a successful mission to intercept his flight and kill him, the theory being that the Japanese would be handicapped without his leadership.


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