During a crisis meeting in Paris, the US proved successful in building an international coalition to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 24 countries have pledged to support the US in countering the “global threat” posed by the group, which was recently highlighted once again when Australian police foiled a plot to behead a random member of the public.
Support is also mounting at home – 53 percent of Americans are firmly behind Obama’s plans for military action, according to the Pew Research Center. The president is also enjoying a rare display of bipartisan support – 64 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats support the military effort against ISIS.
Events are escalating in Iraq with US fighter aircraft striking ISIS forces south-west of Baghdad earlier this week. US warplanes have attacked ISIS positions, primarily in northern Iraq, 174 times. French President Francois Hollande has just confirmed that France has launched its first air attacks against ISIS targets in Iraq.
Statistics and facts about the Armed Forces of the United States
The United States is infamous world over for the massive size of its military and the equally massive budget necessary to maintain it. In 2013, the United States spent 640 billion U.S. dollarson its military, far outspending fellow world powers China and Russia, among others. China, however, trumps the U.S. when it comes to pure manpower. 2012 records show the Chinese military had 2.25 million active members of its military, compared to the 1.63 million active American servicemen. The U.S. Armed Forces consists of five service branches, namely the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy.
The United States military has been increasingly active in the Middle East in the last 25 years. As of 2008, the U.S. was spending of 142 billion U.S. dollars on military operations in Iraq, while also spending another 44 billion on operations in Afghanistan. The U.S. has since withdrawn troops from Iraq, significantly lowering overall military spending in the Middle East, though spending in Afghanistan is now twice that of 2008.
Recent records of gender distribution in the military put the total number of active duty male officers at nearly 200, 000, versus just under 40, 000 female officers. Of all military branches, the Marine Corps has the lowest share of female officers. The Marine Corps became a topic of conversation recently for considering adjustments to its physical fitness standards in order to be more inclusive to women, as the majority of female applicants are unable to complete the mandatory number of chin-ups required for entry into the corps. There are many critics of this idea, with some saying it will demoralize equality among the troops and erode the high standards for which the Marine Corps prides itself.
Picture: U.S. Army, USMC, USN, USAF, USCG .
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