The Army is that branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. Historically, the Army was formed before the Republic, in 1775, to meet the demands of the American Revolutionary War.

Table of contents
1 Components of the U.S. Army
2 Structure of the U.S. Army
3 Rank Structure
4 Leadership
5 Major Commands of the United States Army
6 Formations of the United States Army
7 External link

Components of the U.S. Army

The U.S. Army has three components:

All three components have taken part in every war of the United States from World War I onward. The use of the Army Reserve and National Guard increased after the Vietnam War. Reserve and Guard units took part in the Gulf War, peacekeeping in Kosovo, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Structure of the U.S. Army

The U.S. Army is structured roughly:

  1. army group - when required
  2. field army
  3. corps
  4. division
  5. brigade or group: Most American Army divisions are organized in three or more brigades. (See also regiment for cavalry units.)
  6. battalion or squadron: Infantry and artillery units are organized into battalions. Cavalry or armor units are formed into squadrons. A battalion-sized unit is commanded by a lieutenant colonel.
  7. company (military unit) or battery or troop: Artillery units are formed into batteries. Cavalry units are formed into troops. A company-sized unit is usually led by a captain.
  8. platoon
  9. squad or section
  10. crew or fire team

The Army is organized by function. Combat forces include Infantry, Armor, Cavalry, and Special Operations Forces. Combat support troops include Artillery, Army Aviation, combat engineers, Army Logistics, Army Medical Corps, Army Transportation, Army Ordnance, Adjutant General's Corps, Signal Corps, and the Judge Advocate Generals Corps.

Rank Structure

The Officer Corps provides leadership and managerial functions, and is composed of

There are several sources of commissioned officers:
  • The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York commissions its graduates as second lieutenants in the Regular Army. Graduates of other military academies of the United States may elect to be commissioned in the Army
  • Enlisted men who successfully pass Officer Candidate Schools (OCS)
  • College graduates who underwent Army Reserve Officer Training Corps courses at a four-year university
  • Lawyers, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, and chaplains may be directly commissioned into their respective corps

Officers receive a "Commission" assigning them to the Officer Corps by act of Congress. Commissioned officers are assigned to a branch of service until they reach the rank of Brigadier General, where it is assumed that they are competent to command soldiers of all branches.

Once commissioned, an officer attends several levels of professional education, starting with branch qualification in their respective branch and concluding in Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Professional education is required for promotion at certain grades.

The Warrant Officer is a single track specialty officer. Initially appointed an officer by the Secretary of the Army, he/she is commissioned upon promotion to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2). The warrant officer is managed as a company grade officer, but receives limited field grade privilege upon promotion to Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4).

The primary source for Warrant Officers is the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

The Non-Commissioned Officer Corps (or NCO Corps) is the first line of leadership for the Enlisted members of the Army, and includes the ranks of

  • Corporal (CPL; pay grade E-4) (two stripes up),
  • Sergeant (SGT; pay grade E-5)(three stripes up),
  • Staff Sergeant (SSG; pay grade E-6)(three stripes up and one down),
  • Sergeant First Class (SFC; pay grade E-7) and Platoon Sergeant (PSG; pay grade E-7) (three stripes up and two down),
  • Master Sergeant (MSG; pay grade E-8) (three stripes up and three down),
  • First Sergeant (1SG; pay grade E-9) (which holds the same enlisted pay grade as Master Sergeant, but which carries extra administrative duties - three stripes up and three down with a lozenge in the center),
  • Sergeant Major (SGM; pay grade E-9) (three stripes up and three down with a star in the center),
  • Command Sergeant Major (three stripes up and three down with a wreathed star in the center)
  • and Sergeant Major of the Army (of whom there is only one, and who advises the Chief of Staff of the Army on matters relating to Enlisted personnel - three stripes up and three down with a centered eagle accompanied with two stars).

Training for Non-Commissioned Officers takes place at any of the various NCO training centers around the world.

It should be noted here that it is the outstanding quality of the Non-Commissioned Officer ranks which has largely built the excellent reputation of the United States Army. Until relatively recent history, most countries depended upon their officer corps to micromanage strategy, tactics and virtually every other aspect of military operations. With the development of the NCO Corps, the United States Army took a giant step toward utilizing the skills, intelligence, adaptability and independence of its citizens during times of conflict. The confidence and esteem in which the Officer Corps holds the NCOs which serve in the United States Army is based upon hard-won combat experience. This experience has repeatedly shown that rank is no indicator of leadership ability, and that leaders will emerge during times of hardship and conflict.

Enlisted ranks are

  • Private (PV1; pay grade E-1) (no rank insignia),
  • Private Enlisted Grade 2 (PV2; pay grade E-2) (one chevron pointing up),
  • Private First Class (PFC; pay grade E-4) (one stripe up and a curved stripe (a rocker below),
  • and Specialist (SPC; pay grade E-4) (which is the same Enlisted Grade as Corporal, but which requires technical leadership skills, as opposed to the combat leadership skills required of corporal -a dark green patch with an eagle centered). A Specialist ranks below a corporal in terms of chain of command.

Training for enlisted soldiers usually consists of Basic Training, and Advanced Individual Training in their primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) at any of the numerous MOS training facilities around the world.

All members of the Army must take an oath upon being sworn in as members, swearing (or affirming) to "protect the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic." This emphasis on the defense of the United States Constitution illustrates the concern of the framers that the military be subordinate to legitimate civilian authority. The civilian executive is the Secretary of the Army, formerly the Secretary of War, at the founding of the Republic.


The professional head of the United States Army is the Army Chief of Staff. This position is filled by a four star general who sits on the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. As with the other members of that committee, the Army Chief of Staff is not in the direct chain of command. His function is administrative and policy making. The current Army Chief of Staff is General Peter Schoomaker.

The most senior Army generals who are directly in the chain of command are those who head up the regional joint commands around the world. An example is General John Abazaid, CINCCENTCOM, the Commander-in-Chief Central Command. Three star positions in the Army include some deputy commanders-in-chief of the regional commands, heads of the army sections of those commands, and the general officers commanding of corps.

Major Commands of the United States Army

Major Commands of the US Army
Major Command and CommandersLocation of Headquarters
Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM)-Major General Keith B. Alexander Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Criminal Investigation Command (CID)-Major General Donald J. Ryder Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Corps of Engineers (USACE)-Lieutenant General Robert B. FlowersWashington, D.C.
Medical Command (MEDCOM)-Lieutenant General James B. Peake Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Army Materiel Command (AMC)-General Paul J. Kern Alexandria, Virginia
Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC)-Leiutenant General Larry R. Jordan Fort Monroe, Virginia
Forces Command (FORSCOM)-General Larry R. Ellis Fort McPherson, Georgia
US Army South (ARSO)-Major General Alfred A. ValenzuelaFort Sam Houston, Texas
Special Operations Command (ARSOC)-Lieutenant General Philip R. Kesinger Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC)-Major General Ann E. Dunwoody Fort Eustis, Alexandria, Virginia
Space & Missile Defense Command (SMDC)-Lieutenant General Joseph M. Consumano, Jr.Arlington, Virginia
8th US Army (EUSA)-Lieutenant General Charles C. CampbellYongsan Army Garrison, Seoul
Army Pacific Command (ARPAC)-Lieutenant General James L. CampbellFort Shafter, Hawaii
US Army Europe, 7th Army (AREUR)-General B. B. BellCampbell Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany
Army Central Command (ARCENT)-Lieutenant General David D. McKiernanFort McPherson, Georgia
Arny Reserve Command (ARC)-Lieutenant General James R. Helmly Fort McPherson, Georgia
Army National Guard (ARNG)-Lieutenant General Roger G. Schultz Washington, D.C.

Formations of the United States Army

First Army "First In Deed" (Reserve)

78th "Lightning" Division, Edison, NJ (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2nd Brigade (Training Support)
3rd Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)
5th Brigade "We Dare" (Training Support)

85th "Custer" Division (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2nd Brigade (Training Support)
3rd Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)

87th Division "Golden Acorn", Birmingham, AL (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2nd Brigade (Training Support)
3rd Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)
5th Brigade (Training Support)

Army Units
4th Cavalry Brigade (Training Support)
157th Infantry Brigade (Training Support)
188th Infantry Brigade (Training Support)
205th Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Light)

Third Army: Army Central Command (ARCENT)

Army Prepositioned Stock (APS-3)
Army Prepositioned Stock (APS-5)

Fifth Army (Reserve)

7th Infantry Division "Bayonets", Carson, CO (Light)
39th Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate)
41st Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate)
45th Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate)

75th Division, Houston, TX (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2nd Brigade (Training Support)
3rd Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)

91st Division, Houston, TX (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2nd Brigade (Training Support)
3rd Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)

Army Units
5th Armored Brigade (Training Support)
120th Infantry Brigade (Training Support)
166th Aviation Brigade (Training Support)
191st Infantry Brigade (Training Support)

Seventh Army: United States Army Europe

V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany
1st Infantry Division ("The Big Red One")
1st Armored Divsion-- Wiesbaden, Germany

Eighth Army: Korea

2nd Infantry Division ("Indian Head" Division)
25th Infantry Division (Light) ("Tropic Lightning")

I Corps, Fort Lewis, Washington ("America's Corps")
3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Light)
1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light)

III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas
1st Cavalry Division
4th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
--III Corps U.S. Army National Guard
7th Infantry Division (Light) ("Bayonet" Division)
XVIII Airborne Corps
3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized} ("Rock of the Marne")
3rd Brigade ("Sledgehammer").

10th Mountain Division (Light}
1st Brigade
2nd Brigade
27th Brigade (Orions)-- New York National Guard
82nd Airborne Division
82nd Aviation Brigade

325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
2nd Battalion 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
3rd Battalion 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
1st Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
3rd Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment

505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
1st Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
2nd Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
3rd Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) (Screaming Eagles)-- Fort Campbell, Kentucky

XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery
18th Field Artillery Brigadet

2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment

16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne)

18th Aviation Brigade (Airborne)

20th Engineer Brigade (Combat)(Airborne)

35th Signal Brigade (Airborne)

108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade

229th Aviation Regiment (Attack)
1-229th Attack Helicopter Battalion

3-229th Attack Helicopter Regiment

525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Airborne)

See also:

External link