As the speed of technological advances accelerated in civilian applications, so too warfare became more industralised. The newly invented machine gun and repeating rifle redefined firepower on the battlefield, and, in part, explains the high casualty rates of the American Civil War. The next breakthrough was the conversion of artillery parks from the muzzle loading guns, to the quicker loading breech loading guns with recoiling barrel that allowed quicker aimed fire and use of a shield. The widespread introduction of low smoke (smokeless) propellant powders since the 1880s also allowed for a great improvement of artillery ranges.
The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief, who is responsible for all final decisions. The Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD) has control over the military and each branch - except the Coast Guard, which is under the Dept. of Homeland Security. With over 2 million civilian and military employees, the DoD is the world's largest "company."
For almost a century, the U.S. military has been a pioneer in the field of using aptitude tests to evaluate an individual’s potential for service. The organization also uses the test to determine aptitude for various military occupational specialties (MOS). The use of aptitude tests began during World War I. While the group-administered Army Alpha test measured verbal and numerical ability as well as general knowledge, the Army Beta test was used to evaluate illiterate, unschooled and non-English speaking volunteers and draftees. The Army and Navy General Classifications Tests replaced the Alpha and Beta tests as a means to measure cognitive ability during World War II. The results of these tests, as well as additional classification exams, were used to assign recruits to a particular MOS.
The General Science section of the test covers earth, space, and physical and life sciences. Because science is such a vast and dynamic topic, focus your study on basic principles. This gives you a good foundation to work through any question that is asked of you. Typical questions may include: “Why is air less dense than water?” or “How do you convert Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit?” The CAT-ASVAB test asks 16 questions in 8 minutes, while the pencil-and-paper version asks 25 questions in 11 minutes.
Military law introduces offences not recognised by civilian courts, such as absence without leave (AWOL), desertion, political acts, malingering, behaving disrespectfully, and disobedience (see, for example, Offences against military law in the United Kingdom). Penalties range from a summary reprimand to imprisonment for several years following a court martial. Certain fundamental rights are also restricted or suspended, including the freedom of association (e.g. union organizing) and freedom of speech (speaking to the media). Military personnel in some countries have a right of conscientious objection if they believe an order is immoral or unlawful, or cannot in good conscience carry it out.
The ASVAB test is administered to potential military recruits to help determine which branch of service and which military jobs they will be best suited for. It is not a test of intelligence and is administered only in English. The test consists of nine subjects: General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Electronics Information, Auto and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, and Assembling Objects.
Military strategy is the management of forces in wars and military campaigns by a commander-in-chief, employing large military forces, either national and allied as a whole, or the component elements of armies, navies and air forces; such as army groups, naval fleets, and large numbers of aircraft. Military strategy is a long-term projection of belligerents' policy, with a broad view of outcome implications, including outside the concerns of military command. Military strategy is more concerned with the supply of war and planning, than management of field forces and combat between them. The scope of strategic military planning can span weeks, but is more often months or even years.
High school and postsecondary students can also take the ASVAB test as part of the Department of Defense’s Career Exploration Program. This paper-and-pencil version of the test is the same as the paper-and-pencil enlistment version but excludes the Assembling Objects section. It is intended to help those students considering a career in the military to discover their strengths in both military and civilian jobs. If the student scores high enough in the AFQT section of the test, he may use the score to enlist within the two-year expiration window.
In the 2000s, women can serve on U.S. combat ships, including in command roles. They are permitted to serve on submarines. Women can fly military aircraft and make up 2% of all pilots in the U.S. Military. In 2003, Major Kim Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for landing her combat damaged A-10 Thunderbolt II with no hydraulic control and only one functional engine after being struck by hostile fire over Baghdad.