Some members of the military are deployed to other countries or regions to defend U.S. national interests.
Members of the U.S. military service train for and perform a variety of tasks in order to maintain the U.S. national defense. Service members work in occupations specific to the military, such as fighter pilots or infantrymen. Many other members work in occupations that are equivalent to civilian occupations, such as nurses, doctors, and lawyers. Members serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or in the Reserve components of these branches, and in the Air National Guard and Army National Guard. (The Coast Guard, which is included in this profile, is part of the Department of Homeland Security.)
The military distinguishes between enlisted and officer careers. Enlisted personnel make up about 83 percent of the Armed Forces and carry out military operations. The remaining 17 percent are officers—leaders who manage both activities and enlisted personnel.
Enlisted personnel typically do the following:
Participate in, or support, combat and other operations, such as humanitarian or disaster relief
Operate, maintain, and repair equipment
Perform technical and support activities
Supervise junior enlisted personnel
Officers typically do the following:
Plan, organize, and lead troops and activities in operations
Manage enlisted personnel
Operate and command aircraft, ships, or armored vehicles
Provide military personnel with professional services in medical, legal, engineering, and other fields