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File: US Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations.
It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services. The modern army has its roots in the Continental Army which was formed on 14 June 1775, before the establishment of the United States, to meet the demands of the American Revolutionary War. The Congress of the Confederation officially created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 after the end of the Revolutionary War to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The army considers itself to be descended from the Continental Army and thus dates its inception from the origins of that force.
The primary mission of the army is "to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders." The army is a military service within the Department of the Army, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The army is headed by the Secretary of the Army, and the top military officer in the department is the Chief of Staff of the Army. The highest ranking army officer is currently the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During fiscal year 2010, the Regular Army reported a strength of 561,979 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) reported 362,015 and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) reported 205,281 putting the combined component strength total at 1,129,275 soldiers.
The Continental Army was created on 14 June 1775 by the Continental Congress as a unified army for the states to fight Great Britain, with George Washington appointed as its commander. The army was initially led by men who had served in the British Army or colonial militias and who brought much of British military heritage with them. As the Revolutionary War progressed, French aid, resources, and military thinking influenced the new army. Prussian assistance and instructors, such as Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, also had a strong influence.
George Washington used the Fabian strategy and hit-and-run tactics, hitting where the enemy was weakest, to wear down the British forces and their Hessian mercenary allies. Washington led victories against the British at Trenton and Princeton, and then turned south. With a decisive victory at Yorktown, and the help of the French, the Spanish and the Dutch, the Continental Army prevailed against the British, and with the Treaty of Paris, the independence of the United States was acknowledged.
After the war, though, the Continental Army was quickly disbanded as part of the American distrust of standing armies, and irregular state militias became the new nation's sole ground army, with the exception of a regiment to guard the Western Frontier and one battery of artillery guarding West Point's arsenal. However, because of continuing conflict with Native Americans, it was soon realized that it was necessary to field a trained standing army. The first of these, the Legion of the United States, was established in 1791 and disbanded in 1796.