Military Branches

Every day, many thousands devote themselves to protecting freedoms, maintaining peace, providing relief and supporting policy around the globe. For many young Americans, the benefits of serving can be tremendous: training, honor, education, travel, pay and self-discovery.

However, military service is not for everyone. It requires self-discipline, intense physical work and time away from family and friends while protecting America and its citizens at home and abroad. For some, these commitments impose too great a burden. 


Young people need support as they consider their life path.


This site aims to help them and their families understand service options and benefits so they can make informed choices. Above all, know that each decision – to serve our country or not to serve – is personal, vital and honorable.

The U.S. Military consists of five active-duty Services and their respective


Guard and Reserve units. All branches are equal parts of the United States Uniformed Services, headed by the President as Commander-in-Chief. The Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DOD). The Coast Guard reports to the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime and to the DOD (by way of the Navy) during wartime.

Reserve and National Guard units perform as active-duty service members on a part-time basis. These troops train close to home, deploying when needed to aid in international conflict or domestic disaster relief