As of 31 December 2010, U.S. Armed Forces troops were stationed in 150 countries; the number of non-contingent deployments per country ranges from 1 in Suriname to over 50,000 in Germany. Some of the largest deployments are: 103,700 in Afghanistan, 52,440 in Germany (see list), 35,688 in Japan (USFJ), 28,500 in South Korea (USFK), 9,660 in Italy and 9,015 in the United Kingdom. These numbers change frequently due to the regular recall and deployment of units.
The United States Coast Guard traces its origin to the founding of the Revenue Cutter Service on 4 August 1790 which merged with the United States Life-Saving Service on 28 January 1915 to establish the Coast Guard. The United States Air Force was established as an independent service on 18 September 1947; it traces its origin to the formation of the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps, which was formed 1 August 1907 and was part of the Army Air Forces before becoming an independent service as per the National Security Act of 1947.
In addition to the MGIB, there may be additional funds available from the College Fund and Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) "kicker". If you are receiving Tuition Assistance (TA) from your branch of service, you may be eligible to use MGIB to supplement or "top up" your tuition assistance. Benefits end 10 years from the date of your last discharge or release from active duty. You may be able to transfer your MGIB entitlement to basic educational assistance to one or more of your dependents, including your spouse and/or children. To apply, file VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. For more information, call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or visit the GI Bill Education Benefits web site.
Personnel may be recruited or conscripted, depending on the system chosen by the state. Most military personnel are males; the minority proportion of female personnel varyies internationally (approximately 3% in India, 10% in the UK, 13% in Sweden, 16% in the US, and 27% in South Africa). While two-thirds of states now recruit or conscript only adults, as of 2017 50 states still relied partly on children under the age of 18 (usually aged 16 or 17) to staff their armed forces.
Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), Auto & Shop Information (AS), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC). These subtests focus on basic knowledge of science, math, writing and vocabulary, an understanding of structural development and mechanics, auto function and repair, and a knowledge of electric currents, electronic systems, and circuits. These are all skills and knowledge that are necessary for different sectors of military service. Scores in each subtest are based on the student’s ability to answer the questions correctly and to complete the test in time to answer as many of the questions as possible.
You’ll find a great practice test and lots of other information about the ASVAB at the Department of Defense's ASVAB Career Exploration Program site (ASVABprogram.com). Since your test scores can have an impact on your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)—and whether or not you can attend certain special schools (like Airborne school, Sniper school and many others)—we recommend you make the most of these additional resources.
You often hear people say something like, "I got a 70 on the ASVAB." What they are talking about is the ASVAB AFQT score or Armed Forces Qualification Test Score. Many people think the AFQT score is the overall ASVAB score, but that's not correct. In fact, the AFQT score is derived from only four of the nine ASVAB subtests: Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Word Knowledge (WK), Mathematics Knowlege (MK), and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR).
The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest militaries in terms of the number of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers. Although conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1972, but the Selective Service System retains the power to conscript males, and requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service.
The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) derives from the more comprehensive, 10-subtest Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Scores on the four ASVAB math and verbal subtests are used to calculate an AFQT score, which determines whether an individual is generally qualified to enlist. Performance on all 10 ASVAB subtests, meanwhile, ascertains an enlistee's qualifications for specialized work within the military and possible incentives for enlistment.
High school students can take the test in their sophomore, junior, or senior years, although scores from sophomore tests can’t be used for enlistment purposes. There is no charge to sit for the exam, and the results will have no impact on your high school academic record or your college application. This is a risk-free way to better evaluate your opportunities for the future after high school graduation.
The best way to answer questions in this section is to read each paragraph twice before you answer. First, read it quickly to get the main idea. Next, read it again, paying more attention to the details that relate to the main point. Then, read all of the questions and refer back to the paragraph to help you choose the best answer. If you take this approach, you will be more relaxed and efficient, and less likely to get thrown off the track by being nervous.
The AFQT has been used in non-military settings as a proxy measure of intelligence, for example, in Herrnstein & Murray's book The Bell Curve. Because of the test's significance both inside and outside military settings, it is important to examine what the test measures, i.e. to evaluate the construct validity of the AFQT. Kaufman's 2010 review stated that David Marks (2010) scanned the literature for datasets containing test estimates for populations or groups taking both the AFQT and tests of literacy. One study on nine groups of soldiers differing in job and reading ability found a correlation of .96 between the AFQT and reading achievement (Sticht, Caylor, Kern, & Fox, 1972). Another study showed significant improvements among Black and Hispanic populations in their AFQT scores between 1980 and 1992 while Whites only showed a slight decrement (Kilburn, Hanser, & Klerman, 1998). Another study obtained reading scores for 17-year olds for those same ethnic groups and dates (Campbell et al., 2000) and found a correlation of .997 between reading scores and AFQT scores. This nearly perfect correlation was based on six pairs of data points from six independent population samples evaluated by two separate groups of investigators. According to Marks, "On the basis of the studies summarized here, there can be little doubt that the Armed Forces Qualifications Test is a measure of literacy." However, it is important to note that AFQT has been shown to correlate more highly with classic IQ tests than they do with one another, and that the "crystallized" intelligence measured by AFQT is measured very similarly by Wechsler, in particular.
Again, the ASVAB is a wide-ranging exam covering many different areas. The designers of ASVAB practice tests, at least the high quality ones, know this and have spent time researching past tests to come up with practice tests that feature questions covering areas commonly tested for on the real exam. Thus, taking practice tests is a great way to focus on the material that matters most and avoid wasting your time studying content that likely won’t be on the test.
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:
Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Mathematics Knowledge (MK). Scores on the AFQT are used to determine your eligibility for enlistment in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps. The other six test scores on the ASVAB tests are used to determine the best job for you in the military as your grades will demonstrate knowledge, skill, and interest in certain subjects and tasks.
The scores from the other tests are used to determine what type of specialty you might be best suited for. These "composite" scores (also known as line scores, MOS scores, or aptitude area scores) are calculated by adding together combinations of the different sub test standard scores. These composite scores are then used to determine which different military jobs (aka Military Occupational Specialties or MOS) may be the best fit for you. Each branch of the military will have their own approach to these composite scores.
If you're looking for more information on the ASVAB, we've also written extensive articles about the test to help you feel confident on test day. Read through these informational ASVAB resources at any time to learn more about the purpose of the ASVAB, important concepts related to ASVAB qualification requirements, passing scores, registration process, test-taking strategies and much more.
Again, would you rather go into the ASVAB unsure of what to expect and not knowing if you studied the right things or would you prefer to have taken similar tests covering content commonly tested for on the real thing? Taking practice tests is a great way to build your knowledge, your confidence and your ASVAB familiarity so that you feel relaxed and confident on test day.
If you are interested in using your test scores for military service, you will receive an Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. This score is calculated using the scores from the Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Mathematics Knowledge (MK) portions of the exam. AFQT scores are expressed as percentile scores in order to better compare results among all potential military recruits.
AFQT scores are the primary measure of recruit potential. Figure 2.7 indicates the percentage of NPS recruits who scored at or above the 50th percentile (Categories I–IIIA) since FY 1973. Numerical data are in Appendix D, Table D-12. The drop in Category I–IIIA recruits after FY 1976 was due primarily to the miscalibration of the ASVAB.  In FY 1976, when new versions of the ASVAB were introduced, an error in calibrating the score scales made the new versions "easier" than the old versions (i.e., applicants received test scores higher than their actual ability). In FY 1980, an independent study of the calibration was made and the test was correctly calibrated. Then, Congress added legal provisions stipulating that no more than 20 percent of accessions could be in Category IV and that such accessions had to be high school diploma graduates.  However, as previously stated, Defense Planning Guidance decreases this limit even further, allowing no more than 4 percent of recruits to come from Category IV.
Additionally, many ASVAB practice tests have a section explaining the answer choices. It can be tempting to read the explanation and think that you now have a good understanding of the concept. However, an explanation likely only covers part of the question’s broader context. Even if the explanation makes sense, go back and investigate every concept related to the question until you’re positive you have a thorough understanding.
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.