History of Our Military

The Department of Defense is America's oldest and largest government agency, tracing its roots back to pre-Revolutionary times. The Department's mission is to provide military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country. With over 1.4 million men and women on active duty, 718,000 civilian personnel, and another 1.1 million serving in the National Guard and Reserve forces, the Department is the nation's largest employer.

For more than forty years, the Department of Defense has accomplished its mission through an all-volunteer force. Through the years, the men and women of the Armed Forces have helped win the Cold War, stood against aggression in the Persian Gulf, kept peace in the Balkans, and put their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan in the years since 9/11. They choose to serve our country because they believe in a cause that is bigger than themselves, and they are committed to serving our Nation.

As our military rebalances, adapts, and evolves, as it has done continually over the years, America's all-volunteer force will continue to make our military the strongest, most capable, and most respected fighting force in the history of the world.