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Military Affairs
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The U.S. Military

What is the military? In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. There are three general categories of military people: active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve & guard forces (usually work a civilian job, but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). And of course there are the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present.

Exactly who is in charge?

The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief, who is responsible for all final decisions. The Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD) has control over the military and each branch - except the Coast Guard, which is under the Dept. of Homeland Security.

With over 2 million civilian and military employees, the DoD is the world's largest "company."

Each branch of the military has a unique mission within the overall mission of U.S. security and peace. Here they are in a nutshell:

Air Force and Air Force Reserve:
The nation's source of air and space power. The primary mission of the USAF is to fly planes, helicopters, and satellites.

Air National Guard:
The Air National Guard as we know it today is a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force.

Army and Army Reserve:
The dominant land power. The Army generally moves in to an area, secures it, and instills order and values before it leaves. It also guards U.S. installations and properties throughout the world.

Army National Guard:
The Army National Guard is an elite group of warriors who dedicate a portion of their time to serving their nation. Each state has its own Guard, as required by the Constitution; in fact, it is the only branch of the military whose existence is actually required by the Constitution.

Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve:
The Coast Guard's mission is primarily with domestic waterways. The Coast Guard does rescues, law enforcement, drug prevention, and clears waterways.

Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve:
The Marine Corps is known as the U.S.' rapid-reaction force. They are trained to fight by sea and land, and usually are the first "boots on the ground." Marines are known as the world's fiercest warriors.

Navy and Navy Reserve:
The Navy accomplishes its missions primarily by sea, but also by air and land. It secures and protects the oceans around the world to create peace and stability, making the seas safe for travel and trade.

The U.S. operates in over 100 countries, including the U.K., Germany, Italy, Bahrain, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Japan just to name a few.

Journal of Mental Health Counseling

Introduction: Helping Military Personnel and Recent Veterans Manage Stress, Vol 31, Num 2, Apr 2009, Pages 95-100

A Comparative Review of the U.S. Military and Civilian Suicide Behavior: Implications for OEF/OIF Suicide Prevention Efforts, Vol 31, Num 2, Apr 2009, Pages 101-118

Managing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Active-Duty Military Personnel in Primary Care Settings, Vol 31, Num 2, Apr 2009, Pages 119-137

Combat Stress Reactions During Military Deployments: Evaluation on the Effectiveness of Combat Stress Control Treatment, Vol 31, Num 2, Apr 2009, Pages 137-148

Understanding Suicidal Behavior in the Military: An Evaluation of Joiner's Interpersonal-psychological Theory of Suicidal Behavior in Two Case Studies of Active Duty Post-Deployers, Vol 31, Num 1, Jan 2009, Pages 60-75

A Qualitative Study of Potential Suicide Risk Factors in Returning Combat Veterans, Vol 30, Num 3, Jul 2008, Pages 211-225

The Advocate

Vocation Counseling Benefits Veterans - Let's Make It Stronger, May 2014

Things Have Taken a Turn for the Surreal at the VA, Jul/Aug 2014

Tap VA Resources to Treat Members of the Military, March 2014

Two Military Related Programs Offer Opportunities to Clinical Mental Health Counselors, Oct 2011

Movies on War and Soldiers Who Survive It, Oct 2010

Military Families: How to Help Them Maintain Continuity and Cohesiveness Between Deployment Cycles, Jul/Aug 2010

The Time is Ripe for Serving America's Soldiers, Dec 2009

Meditation Helps Marines Improve Mental Performance under Stress of War, Mar 2013

AMHCA Urges More Professional Hires to Serve Military and Vets, Feb 2013


Military Culture Training Program Series

(1.5 CEs for each webinar; Members: $29; Non-members: $39; more information)

Military Culture 101

March, 27, 3:00-4:30 PM, Eastern (12:00-1:30 PM, Pacific)

The Effects of Deployment and Living Overseas

April 24, 2015, 3:00-4:30 PM, Eastern (12:00-1:30 PM Pacific)

Impact on Family Members

May 15, 2015, 3:00-4:30 PM, Eastern (12:00-1:30 PM, Pacific)

The Landmines of Treating Combat PTSD

June 5, 2015, 3:00-4:30 PM, Eastern (12:00-1:30 PM, Pacific)


    Suicide Prevention in Military Personnel

    more information

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