Uniformed services of the United States





The United States of America has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10, and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 33 and Title 42 of the United States Code.

Uniformed services


Uniformed services of the United States

The seven uniformed services are, in order of precedence by ceremonial formation:

  1. United States Army
  2. United States Marine Corps
  3. United States Navy
  4. United States Air Force
  5. United States Coast Guard
  6. United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  7. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps
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    Each of the uniformed services is administratively headed by a federal executive department and its corresponding civilian Cabinet leader.

    Federal executive departments


    Uniformed services of the United States

    United States Department of Defense (DOD)

    • United States Army (USA): 14 June 1775
    • United States Marine Corps (USMC): 10 November 1775
    • United States Navy (USN): 13 October 1775
    • United States Air Force (USAF): 18 September 1947

    Note: The order of precedence within the U.S. Department of Defense is set by DOD Directive 1005.8 and is not dependent on the date of creation by the U.S. Congress.

    United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

    • United States Coast Guard (USCG): 4 August 1790

    Note: The U.S. Coast Guard was a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation from 1967 to 2002. Prior to 1967, it was a part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

    United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

    • United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC): 4 January 1889

    United States Department of Commerce (DOC)

    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps): 22 May 1917

    Statutory definition



    The seven uniformed services are defined by 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(5):

    The five uniformed services that make up the United States Armed Forces are defined in the previous clause 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(4):

    The term "armed forces" means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

    Armed forces



    Five of the uniformed services make up the U.S. Armed Forces, four of which are within the U.S. Department of Defense. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security and has both military and law enforcement duties. Title 14 states that the Coast Guard is part of the military at all times, making it the only branch of the military outside the Department of Defense. During a declared state of war, however, the President or Congress may direct that the Coast Guard operate as part of the Navy. The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, along with the NOAA Commissioned Corps, operate under military rules with the exception of the applicability of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to which they are subject only when militarized by executive order or while detailed to any component of the armed forces.

    Reserve components of the United States Armed Forces are all members of the military. The National Guard is a reserve military force composed of state National Guard militia units, which operate under Title 32 and under state authority. The National Guard was first formed in the Colony of Virginia in 1607 and is the oldest uniformed military force founded in the New World. The National Guard can be mobilized by the President to operate under Federal authority through Title 10. When acting under federal direction, the National Guard of the United States is managed by the National Guard Bureau, which is a joint activity under the Department of Defense, with a general in the Army or Air Force as its top leader. The National Guard of the United States serves as a reserve component for both the Army and the Air Force and can be called up for federal active duty in times of war or national emergencies.

    Noncombatant uniformed services



    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps (NOAA Corps) is a uniformed branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is under the Department of Commerce.
    • United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) is the uniformed personnel system of the United States Public Health Service, which is under the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Commissioned officers of NOAA and PHS wear uniforms that are derived from U.S. Navy uniforms, except that the commissioning devices, buttons, and insignia reflect their specific service. Uniformed officers of NOAA and PHS are paid on the same scale as members of the armed services with respective rank and time-in-grade. Additionally, PHS Officers are covered by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act and the Service Members Civil Relief Act (formerly the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act). Furthermore, all seven Uniformed Services are subject to the provisions of 10 USC 1408, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA).

    Both noncombatant uniformed services (PHS & NOAA) consist of commissioned officers only and have no warrant ranks or enlisted ranks. Commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can be militarized by the President of the United States. Statutory authorization to militarize the Public Health Service is under Title 42 U.S.C. (Based on rank, commissioned officers of the Public Health Service (USPHS) and NOAA can be classified as Category III, IV, and V under the Geneva Convention). The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (a predecessor to NOAA) originally began commissioning its officers so that if captured while engaged in battlefield surveying, they would be protected under the Law of Armed Conflictâ€"that is, they could not be tried or executed as spies. The Public Health Service (PHS) traces its origins to a system of marine hospitals created "for the relief of sick and disabled seamen" by the U.S. Congress in 1798; it adopted a military model of organization in 1871.

    See also



    • State Defense Forces
    • Direct commission officer
    • United States Maritime Service

    References





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