As protests continue across the United States, the National Guard has been activated in 23 states to support local law enforcement. 17,000 members had been deployed as of Monday morning according to a CNN report, a three-fold increase in just over a day and roughly the same number as active-duty troops serving in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Approximately 45,000 members of the National Guard have already been deployed across the country in response to the coronavirus outbreak, bringing the total number activated to 66,700.
In a statement, Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said that “the hardest mission we do is responding in times of civil unrest” and that “Guard personnel assigned to these missions are trained, equipped and prepared to assist law enforcement authorities and first responders.” As the following map shows, the National Guard has been activated in nearly half of U.S. states and D.C. with the list including Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
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That said, many servicemen and women do not endure grueling training and risking their lives purely out of patriotism for their country. A career in the military is sometimes the best option economically, raising concerns that those from more disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to end up in the firing lines of a foreign continent.
Nevertheless, the military might of the United States is unquestionable. The U.S. Army has the largest number of active personnel, followed by the Navy and Air Force. Despite numbering over 1.36 million in 2018, the U.S. military is outnumbered heavily by China. Where the United States truly dominates is in regards to military spending. This amounted to 2,072 dollars per capita in 2019. There appears no decrease in spending on the horizon with forecasted outlays set to reach 771 billion U.S. dollars in 20292026.
Be it pure coincidence or the repeated promises to “Make America Great Again” during his presidential campaign, the share of American’s who believed the United States was the number one military in the world increased following the election of Donald J. Trump to Commander in Chief. However, this number had decreased as of February 2018.
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