After enlistment, new recruits undergo basic training (also known as "boot camp" in the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard), followed by schooling in their primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), rating and Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) at any of the numerous training facilities around the United States. Each branch conducts basic training differently. The Marine Corps send all non-infantry MOS's to an infantry skills course known as Marine Combat Training prior to their technical schools. Air Force Basic Military Training graduates attend Technical Training and are awarded their Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) at the apprentice (3) skill level. All Army recruits undergo Basic Combat Training (BCT), followed by Advanced Individual Training (AIT), with the exceptions of cavalry scouts, infantry, armor, combat engineers and military police recruits who go to One Station Unit Training (OSUT), which combines BCT and AIT. The Navy sends its recruits to Recruit Training and then to "A" schools to earn a rating. The Coast Guard's recruits attend basic training and follow with an "A" school to earn a rating.
The ASVAB is one of the most widely used aptitude tests in the world. The intent of the ASVAB test battery is to assess a candidate's potential for future success in the U.S. Military. Because of the nature of the test, the ASVAB can also be used to give a candidate valuable information about both military and civilian career choices that they may be suited for.
By military department, $146.9 billion was allocated for the Department of the Army, $168.8 billion for the Department of the Navy, $161.8 billion for the Department of the Air Force and $102.8 billion for DoD-wide spending. By function, $138.6 billion was requested for personnel, $244.4 billion for operations and maintenance, $118.9 billion for procurement, $69.0 billion for research and development, $1.3 billion for revolving and management funds, $6.9 billion for military construction and $1.3 billion for family housing.
The history of the U.S. Armed Forces dates to 14 June 1775, with the creation of the Continental Army, even before the Declaration of Independence marked the establishment of the United States. The Continental Navy, established on 13 October 1775, and Continental Marines, established on 10 November 1775, were created in close succession by the Second Continental Congress in order to defend the new nation against the British Empire in the American Revolutionary War.
Each service has a uniformed head who is considered the highest-ranking officer within their respective service, with the exception of the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the chief of the National Guard Bureau. They are responsible for ensuring personnel readiness, policy, planning and training and equipping their respective military services for the combatant commanders to utilize. They also serve as senior military advisors to the President, the Secretary of Defense, their respective service secretaries, as well as other councils they may be called to serve on. They are as follows:
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."
Each branch of the military sets an AFQT score requirement for applicants. The lowest qualifying score is 31, which is needed to join the Army. Higher scores are required for other branches of the military. For example, the Coast Guard only considers applicants with a score of 40 or more. Prospective recruits who have a GED rather than a high school diploma will, in most cases, need to score at least 50 on the AFQT.
The ASVAB site goes on to explain that “after the final ability estimate is computed, it is converted to a standard score on the ASVAB score scale that has been statistically linked to the ability estimate through a process called equating. Equating studies are conducted for every paper and pencil ASVAB form to ensure that scores have the same meaning regardless of which test form the examinee receives.”
The AFQT score is a percentile ranking between 1 and 99 that shows where your score is placed in relation to others. For example, if you score a 54 on the AFQT, this means that you scored as well as or better than 54% of other recruits. If you are not satisfied with your score and wish to retake the test to improve your chances at getting selected, you must wait a month before taking it again. You can retake the test as many times as you want, but after 3 attempts the waiting period jumps to 6 months.
The percentages of FY 1999 active duty NPS accessions in each AFQT category are shown in Table 2.8. The percentage of recruits in Categories I and II was approximately the same as their civilian counterparts (males - 39 versus 39 percent; females - 34 versus 33 percent). Category III accessions greatly exceeded civilian proportions (males - 61 versus 30 percent; females - 66 versus 37 percent), while the percentage of recruits in Category IV was much lower than in the civilian population (males - 1 percent versus 20 percent; females - less than 1 percent versus 22 percent). The low percentage of Category IV recruits is, in part, a result of DoD limits of 4 percent Category IV recruits, with even lower Service limits. Ten percent of civilian males and 9 percent of civilian females scored in Category V; DoD allows no Category V recruits.
A good score on the ASVAB is different than a minimum required score. Each of the military branches will have their own minimum required scores (see below). In practice, however, each branch will be more selective in their recruiting. A score of 50 on the ASVAB implies that you scored as well or better than 50% of comparable test-takers. Since ASVAB scores are used for many purposes (e.g., enlistment eligibility, military job placements, and career exploration), it is important that you score well on the ASVAB. A score of 60 or better should be your minimum target.
You are tested in four critical areas — Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge (see below) — these scores count towards your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. The AFQT score determines whether you’re qualified to enlist in the U.S. military. Your scores in the other areas of the ASVAB determine how qualified you are for certain military specialties. Score high, and your chances of getting the specialty/job you want increase. The better score you get, the better chance you have of pursuing the specialty or field that you desire.
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.