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Amongst the various branches of the US Armed Forces, the Air Force has the most laid back image (sometimes gently chided as "The Chair Force" by the other branches), owing to the relatively egalitarian way the enlisted and commissioned ranks interact: most of the front-line combat in the Air Force is done by the officers (the USAF requires that all pilots be at least Second Lieutenants), an inverse of how it is done on the ground, and that operation of the larger aircraft often involves close cooperation amongst a small mixed crew of officers and enlisted men.
The United States Coast Guard is officially part of the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime.
The armed forces of the United States of America are generally regarded as being altogether the most powerful military force on the planet.
The second-largest military in the world in terms of active personnel, with two million active and reserve personnel, the US also has the second largest existing stock of active nuclear weapons.
In addition to the National Guard, there are 27 active State Defense Forces which serve as separate state militias.
They operate with the Governor as their commander-in-chief.
The USAF is also one of the few air forces in the world with truly stealth aircraft.
(No, they haven't sent up a pilot to punch out a Cosmonaut, yet.) In fact, with the Air Force taking responsibility for defense of computer networks as well as assets in space, its mission has been partially re-branded as "preserving the freedom of access and commerce," in the air, space, and cyberspace.
Recently, they signed an agreement with the Navy that briefly allowed a limited number of Coast Guardsmen to serve with the SEALs. Like each service's individual and organized reservists, the National Guard is made up of ordinary citizens (including veterans of active-duty Air Force and Army service) who, after having completed intensive basic and advanced training, serve one weekend a month plus two weeks a year — hence the nickname "weekend warriors" (also used for reservists).
The National Guard is a reserve made up of each state's organized militia, and includes both Army (Army National Guard) and Air Force (Air National Guard) units that can be mobilized by their respective state governments or "federalized" by the U. As troops of their respective state governments, they're primarily employed in peacetime for the suppression of civil disorder (the Army is legally barred from doing this) and assistance in handling natural disasters, but are relied upon by the Army and the Air Force both as combat forces and support elements in time of war.
The United States Army is not to be confused with the Army of the United States.