Armed forces


Armed forces

Warfare
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Military history

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The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary forces are included in a nation's armed forces. Armed force is the use of armed forces to achieve political objectives.

The study of the use of armed forces is called military science. Broadly speaking, this involves considering offense and defense at three "levels": strategy, operational art, and tactics. All three levels study the application of the use of force in order to achieve a desired objective.

Organization

In most countries the armed forces are divided into basic Armed services

Benefits and costs

Map of the military expenditures as a percentage of GDP by country, CIA figures.
Military spending in 2007, in USD, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The obvious benefit to a country in maintaining armed forces is in providing protection from foreign threats and from internal conflict. In recent decades armed forces personnel have also been used as emergency civil support roles in post-disaster situations. On the other hand, they may also harm a society by engaging in counter-productive (or merely unsuccessful) warfare. Expenditure on science and technology to develop weapons and systems sometimes produces side benefits, although some claim that greater benefits could come from targeting the money directly.[who?]

See also

Armed forces of the world

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