The projected active duty end strength in the armed forces for fiscal year 2017 was 1,281,900 servicemembers,[6] with an additional 801,200 people in the seven reserve components.[6] It is an all-volunteer military, but conscription through the Selective Service System can be enacted at the President's request and Congress' approval. All males ages 18 through 25 who are living in the United States are required to register with the Selective Service for a potential future draft.

On 3 December 2015, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that all military combat jobs would become available to women.[40] This gave women access to the roughly 10% of military jobs which were previously closed off due to their combat nature.[41] The decision gave military services until January 2016 to seek exceptions to the rule if they believe that certain jobs, such as machine gunners, should be restricted to men only.[42] These restrictions were due in part to prior studies which stated that mixed gender units are less capable in combat.[43] Physical requirements for all jobs remained unchanged, though.[43] Many women believe this will allow for them to improve their positions in the military, since most high-ranking officers start in combat positions. Since women are now available to work in any position in the military, female entry into the draft has been proposed.[44]

Your success on ASVAB test day depends not only on how many hours you put into preparing, but also on whether you prepared the right way. It’s good to check along the way to see whether your studying is paying off. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking ASVAB practice tests to evaluate your progress. Practice tests are useful because they show exactly where you need to improve. Every time you take a ASVAB practice test, pay special attention to these three groups of questions:
Extra back-to-basics practice that has helped thousands of recruits to qualify for the armed forces. Thousands of military recruits need extra help to pass the ASVAB, or Armed Forces Test and here’s where they can find it! ARCO’s ASVAB Basics offers intensive practice in reading, vocabulary, and mathematics the subjects covered in the four ASVAB subtests that determine whether a recruit qualifies for enlistment. Now updated, it features: * Full-length ASVAB subtests for practice * Drills to improve basic academic skills * Complete explanatory answers.
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.[45] In March 2012, the U.S. military had two women, Ann E. Dunwoody and Janet C. Wolfenbarger, with the rank of four-star general.[46][47] 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.[48]
Battlefield commission: under certain conditions, enlisted personnel who have skills that separate them from their peers can become officers by direct commissioning of a commander so authorized to grant them. This type of commission is rarely granted and is reserved only for the most exceptional enlisted personnel; it is done on an ad hoc basis, typically only in wartime. No direct battlefield commissions have been awarded since the Vietnam War. The Navy and Air Force do not employ this commissioning path.
The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) is used by all of the Services to determine if an applicant is eligible for the military. Four of the ASVAB subtests are combined to form the AFQT. It measures general cognitive ability and is composed of verbal and mathematics subtests. AFQT scores are grouped into categories for reporting purposes. The table below shows the AFQT categories and the percentile score ranges corresponding to the categories. Applicants that score in AFQT category IIIA or higher may qualify for enlistment incentives.
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