In broad usage, the terms "armed forces" and "military" are often treated as synonymous, although in technical usage a distinction is sometimes made in which a country's armed forces may include both its military and other paramilitary forces. Armed force is the use of armed forces to achieve political objectives. There are various forms of irregular military forces, not belonging to a recognized state; though they share many attributes with regular military forces, they are less often referred to as simply "military".
Law prohibits applicants in Category V from enlisting. In addition, there are constraints placed on Category IV recruits; recruits in Category IV must be high school diploma graduates but cannot be denied enlistment solely on this criteria if the recruit is needed to satisfy established strength requirements. Furthermore, the law constrains the percentage of accessions who can fall between Categories IV-V (currently, the limit is 20% of all persons originally enlisted in a given armed force in a given fiscal year).
Each year, many high school and postsecondary students take the free Armed Services Vocational Aptitude battery (ASVAB). The ASVAB is the most widely used multiple-aptitude test battery in the world. It consists of eight tests that measure your skills and abilities in the following areas: General Science; Arithmetic Reasoning; World Knowledge; Paragraph Comprehension; Mathematics Knowledge; Electronics Information; Auto and Shop Information; Mechanical Comprehension.
As in most militaries, members of the U.S. Armed Forces hold a rank, either that of officer, warrant officer or enlisted, to determine seniority and eligibility for promotion. Those who have served are known as veterans. Rank names may be different between services, but they are matched to each other by their corresponding paygrade. Officers who hold the same rank or paygrade are distinguished by their date of rank to determine seniority, while officers who serve in certain positions of office of importance set by law, outrank all other officers in active duty of the same rank and paygrade, regardless of their date of rank. In 2012, it was reported that only one in four persons in the United States of the proper age meet the moral, academic and physical standards for military service.
The Auto and Shop Information section of the ASVAB test measures your knowledge of automobile technology and basic repairs. The shop questions are about basic wood and metals. For example, you will encounter questions such as “Shock absorbers on a car connect the axle to the: wheel, chassis, drive shaft, or exhaust pipe?” You may be asked what sanding blocks are used for, followed by the following choices: preventing high spots and ridges on sanded surfaces, preventing dirt from collecting on the sandpaper, stretching the length of sandpaper, or prolonging the use of the sandpaper. The CAT-ASVAB test has two parts: the first part covering automotive material asks 11 questions in 7 minutes; the 11 shop information questions are allotted 6 minutes. The paper-and-pencil version asks 25 questions in 11 minutes.
In exchange for a service commitment, the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program provides you with money for college while you're in school. You must take one military science course along with your other college courses and, upon graduation, enter the service as a commissioned officer. (There is no military commitment for the first year in ROTC, allowing you to pursue ROTC on a trial basis to see if ROTC is for you.) Full ROTC scholarships pay for almost all tuition, fees and books charges for four years of college. ROTC scholarships also come in one, two and three-year lengths. For more information, call 1-800-USA-ROTC (Army), 1-800-USA-NAVY (Navy), 1-866-423-7682 (Air Force) and 1-800-MARINES (Marines).
The ASVAB is a series of timed aptitude tests that are used to classify selected candidates into appropriate job roles as well as ultimately decide the eligibility of candidates for US military service. In other words, perform poorly on this test and you could severely limit your opportunities in the military or even prevent yourself from serving.
As a general rule of thumb, anything over an 85 on the ASVAB will qualify you for nearly any position in the armed forces. But there are slight breakdowns within each score. For example, in order to qualify for Surveillance and Communications (SC) in the Army, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, Auto & Shop and Mechanical Comprehension all require high marks. Though scoring an 85 or above would guarantee you scored in a high enough percentile to qualify for SC.
After a candidate has completed the ASVAB they must wait one calendar month before retaking the exam. An additional calendar month must pass before retesting a second time. Six calendar months must pass before retaking the test a third time. The scores received from the ASVAB may be used for enlistment for up to two years from the initial test date.
Using the right ASVAB study guide is an important factor in determining how well you will do on the exam. Each branch of the U.S. Military requires you take an ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) exam. Your scores on the ASVAB determine not only your entrance into the military, but also your job, advancement opportunities, and potential salary. The ASVAB exam consists of questions in ten different areas, but in general, the exam is measuring your aptitude in four key areas: Math, Verbal, Science and Technical, and Spatial. To efficiently prepare for your ASVAB exam, check out our recommended study guides, our free practice exams, our ASVAB flash cards, and our ASVAB study tips.
Once the ASVAB is over, participants are given a score. This score is used by recruiters to determine which branch of the military would be a good fit for a given test-taker. The most important score for the ASVAB for military purposes is the AFQT score. The AFQT score looks at results from the following sections: Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Math Knowledge (MK), and multiplies the Verbal Composite (VE) score by two. This is because the Verbal Composite Score is composed of both the Word Knowledge and the Paragraph Comprehension scores. Each branch of the military requires a different minimum AFQT score for its members. For the army and marines, this number is 31, for the navy 35, the air force 36, and the coast guard 45. Therefore, this test is a crucial part of any military career, and can determine potential jobs and advancement opportunities. Along with advancement opportunities come higher salaries and greater benefits, which makes the ASVAB an essential element for prospective military service personnel at any level.
Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester became the first woman to receive the Silver Star, the third-highest U.S. decoration for valor, for direct participation in combat. In Afghanistan, Monica Lin Brown was presented the Silver Star for shielding wounded soldiers with her body. In March 2012, the U.S. military had two women, Ann E. Dunwoody and Janet C. Wolfenbarger, with the rank of four-star general. In 2016, Air Force General Lori Robinson became the first female officer to command a major Unified Combatant Command (USNORTHCOM) in the history of the United States Armed Forces.