Understanding Military Skillsets: Part I

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Understanding the Military

Many civilians are mystified when it comes to the military, with knowledge limited to what they’ve seen in the movies or read in the news. And when it comes to hiring veteran talent, recruiters often struggle to understand how military skillsets translate into the civilian workplace.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to provide some basic information to help you better understand the military. Hopefully, it will provide insight to help you better connect with veteran candidates.

In this article, we’ll start with the branches of service -- what they are, and what’s the difference between them.

Why are there different branches of the military?

Each branch of the military is dedicated to a certain and specific role and has a unique mission and one universal mission of peace and security within the U.S. The Army National Guards and Air National Guards also perform their own distinct purposes.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT BRANCHES OF THE MILITARY?

Traditionally, there are five branches of military, and each has a specific function:

  • Army: The Army is the main ground force for the United States and the Army has two distinct and equally important parts– the active duty component and the Army reserve forces (United States Army Reserve and Army National Guard). In the civilian world, the Army and the Army National Guard produces skillsets such as leadership, administration, human resources, specialized maintenance, and technical skills.

  • Navy: Navy and Navy Reserve forces are tasked with deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. In the civilian world, you’ll find many Navy veterans have maintenance, technical, logistics, and leadership skills.

  • Air Force: The mission of the Air Force is to “fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace.” In the civilian world, Air Force veterans bring very technical, highly specialized skillsets. The Air National Guard is also a part of the United States Air Force as a separate reserve component.

  • Marine Corps: As the premier United States force in readiness, the Marine corps specialize in land, sea, and air operations and are usually the first in and last out. In the civilian world, the Marine corps bring leadership skills, work ethic, esprit de corps, and some technical skills.

  • Coast Guard: The Coast Guard is responsible for maritime safety, security, and stewardship. Coast Guard missions are defined by law and Coast Guard missions are divided into homeland security missions and non-homeland security missions. In the civilian world, the Coast Guard brings technical, maintenance, and leadership skills.

What are the 6 military branches?

The Space Force was signed into law December 2019 and is the newest and sixth branch of the military that falls under the Department of the Air Force. The Space Force is still in development stages and decisions such as uniforms, basing and recruitment have not been made yet.

What are the 8 military branches?

The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps are considered commissioned uniform officer corps, although these two branches do not fall within the United States Armed Forces. The Army/Army National Guard, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Space Force, make up the Armed Forces of the United States and fall within the Department of Defense.

There are 1.4 million activity duty personnel serving in the military today, with over 212,000 transitioning out of the military forces annually, representing a wide variety of skillsets. And that doesn’t count the 21 million veterans who are already out there in the civilian world.

Next topic: What’s an MOS?

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