- United States Army
the permanent or regular military land force of the United States, under the authority of the Department of Defense since 1947. Abbr.: USA
* * *Major branch of the U.S. military forces, charged with preserving peace and security and defending the nation.The first regular U.S. fighting force, the Continental Army, was organized by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, to supplement local militias in the American Revolution. It was placed under the control of a five-member civilian board, and U.S. military forces have remained in civilian control ever since. The U.S. Constitution named the president as commander in chief, and in 1789 the civilian Department of War was established to administer the armed forces. The Continental Army was officially disbanded in 1783, and a small regular army was established. Thereafter, the army's size increased during times of crisis, swelled by conscription, and decreased during peacetime. The Department of the Army is organized as a military section of the Department of Defense and is headed by the Secretary of the Army. The Army Staff gives advice and assistance to the secretary and administers civil functions, including the civil-works program of the Corps of Engineers. The army also administers the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In 2000 there were about 400,000 soldiers on active duty.
* * *