Difference Between Military and Army

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

difference between military and army

The military and army share the same roles in our society. They secure the nation’s safety by protecting the country in every land, air, and sea conflict.

As an ordinary citizen, you may have used and interchanged military and army. But they are not the same.

What is the difference between military and army? Simply put, the military is the main branch, and the army is one of the sub-branches of the military.

Though they do not have the same meanings, they have similarities in their functions. To understand more about those two terms – keep on reading.

Here’s a summary of the military and army differences:

Army Military
Meaning An army is a land force of the U.S. military. The military known as the Armed Forces as a whole is a a structured organization that is mainly built for combat around the world.
Areas   The Army is one of the military’s branches.

It includes Active Duty and Reserves, which consist of the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

Military branches include:

  • The Army
  • Marine Corps
  • The Navy
  • The Air Force
  • The Coast Guard,
  • The Space Force
Population The army only has one division, so it has fewer troops than the military. Military forces have more employees since they are divided into numerous branches and units.
  • Private Sergeant
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Sergeant First Class
  • Master Sergeant
  • Sergeant Major


  • Captain, Lieutenant
  • Airman Basic
  • Seaman Recruit
  • Specialist 1
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant
  • Warrant Officer 1


U.S. Military and Army Overview

1. The U.S. military


The U.S. military’s history started with colonial militias. They are troops that are sent for emergencies or local defense, and also the soldiers who defend Native Americans from invaders.

However, as the Revolutionary War progressed, the need for more soldiers to defend the nation grew.

Instead of using militias, the government decided to create new military forces to defend the country, including the Continental Army and eventually the Marines and Navy.

Presently, the U.S.:

  1. The U.S.Presently, the military is headed by the President, Joe Biden. He also serves as the commander-in-chief.
  2. U.S. military branches: Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, and a recently added branch in 2019 was Space Force.

2. The U.S. Army


The Continental Army was the initial name of the round force branch of the military that later became known as the U.S. Army.

The Continental Army, which was founded on June 14, 1775, was the first recognized combat force throughout the American Civil War and served as the predecessor of the U.S. Military. GEN Randy A. George; and Sergeant Major of the Army SMA Michael R. Weimer.

Is Army and Military the Same Thing?


No. The Army and the Military serve different functions. The term “military” is used in a broader context to describe every aspect of the armed forces.

Meanwhile, the Army is a particular military branch and serves as a ground force. To discuss further, here are more details on the difference between army and military.

1. About the U.S. military

Mission The U.S. military mission is to supply the armed forces required to avoid conflict and guarantee the security of the country.
Population Aproximately 3.4 million service members and civilian employees
Headquarters Pentagon, Arlington Country, Virginia, United States
  • Army: Basic Combat Training
  • Navy: Navy Bootcamp
  • Marine Corps: Marine Corps Recruit Training
  • Air Force: Air Force Basic Military Training
  • Coast Guard: Coast Guard Basic Training
  • Space Force: Basic Military Training


Branches of the military
  • The Army
  • Navy
  • Marine Corps
  • Space Force
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • Reserve components: Air National Guard and Army National Guard


Military Bases United States

  • Aviation Training Center Coast Guard Base
  • Fort Greely Army Base s
  • USCG Juneau Coast Guard Base
  • Camp Navajo Army BaseLittle Rock Air Force Base
  • Camp Pendleton
  • Fort Hunter Liggett Army Base
  • MCLB Barstow Marine Corps Base
  • Fort Carson Army Base
  • NAS Panama City Navy Base NS Pearl Harbor Navy Base
  • Bellows Air Force Station Base
  • Simmons Army Airfield
  • Camp Swift Army Base
  • Navy Base Kitsap Navy Base
  • Naval Research Laboratory Navy Base
  • Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico


  • Belgium: Kleine Brogel Air Base
  • Cuba:  Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
  • Djibouti: Camp Lemonnier
  • Germany: Ramstein Air Base
  • Greece: Souda Bay Naval Base
  • Honduras: Soto Cano Air Base
  • Hungary: Pápa Air Base
  • Italy: Naval Support Activity Naples
  • Japan: United States Forces Japan
  • Poland: Łask Air Base
  • Qatar: Al Udeid Air Base
  • Singapore: Changi Naval Base
  • Spain: Morón Air Base
  • United Arab Emirates: Al Dhafra Air Base
  • United Kingdom: RAF Alconbury
Ranks Army

  • Private
  • Private First Class
  • Warrant Officer 1
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2
  • Second Lieutenant
  • First Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major


  • Seaman
  • Petty Officer Third Class
  • Chief Petty Officer
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2
  • Chief Warrant Officer 3
  • Ensign
  • Lieutenant Commander
  • Captain
  • Fleet Admiral

Marine Corps

  • Private
  • Private First Class
  • Corporal
  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • Sergeant Major Of The Marine Corps
  • Second Lieutenant
  • First Lieutenant
  • Major
  • Lieutenant General
  • General

Air Force

  • Airman Basic
  • Airman First Class
  • Senior Airman
  • Technical Sergeant
  • Master Sergeant
  • Command Chief Master Sergeant
  • Chief Master Sergeant Of The Air Force
  • Colonel
  • General
  • General of the Air Force

Coast Guard

  • Seaman Recruit
  • Seaman Apprentice
  • Seaman
  • Petty Officer Third Class
  • Chief Petty Officer
  • Master Chief Petty Officer Of The Coast Guard
  • Lieutenant Junior Grade
  • Captain
  • Rear Admiral Lower Half
  • Admiral

Space Force

  • Specialist 1
  • Specialist 2
  • Specialist 3
  • Specialist 4
  • Sergeant
  • Technical Sergeant
  • Master Sergeant
  • Chief Master Sergeant
  • Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force
  • Chief Master Sergeant Of The Space Force

2. The Army

Mission The U.S. Army’s mission is to be ready, swift, and steadfast in their ground control across every type of warfare to successfully deploy, battle, and defeat our country’s battles.


  • Active Duty Personnel: 452,689
  • Army National Guard Personnel: 337,525
  • Army Reserve Personnel: 184,358
  • Uniformed Personnel:953,676
  • Civilian Personnel: 330,000
  • Crewed Aircraft: 4,406
Training Basic Combat Training:

  • Phase One – Red Phase: Learning the Army basics
  • Phase Two – White Phase: Leaning to fire weapons
  • Phase Three – Blue Phase: Culmination
Ranks Enlisted Ranks

  • Private
  • Private First Class
  • Specialist
  • Corporal
  • Sergeant
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Sergeant First Class
  • Master Sergeant
  • First Sergeant
  • Sergeant Major
  • Command Sergeant Major
  • Sergeant Major of the Army

Warrant Officer Ranks

  • Warrant Officer 1
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2
  • Chief Warrant Officer 3
  • Chief Warrant Officer 4
  • Chief Warrant Officer 5

Officer Ranks

  • Second Lieutenant
  • First Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Colonel
  • Brigadier General
  • Major General
  • Lieutenant General
  • General
  • General of the Army
Military units
  • Team: consists of 4 soldiers, a noncommissioned officer, and three junior enlisted soldiers.
  • Squad: Commanded by a Staff Sergeant, consists of 4 to 10 soldiers.
  • Platoon: Commanded by a Lieutenant, includes 36 troops.
  • Company or troops: Commanded by a Captain, comprises 200 troops.
  • Brigade: Commanded by a Colonel, has around 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers.
  • Division: Commanded by a Major General, consists of 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers.
  • Corps: Commanded by Lieutenant General, comprises 45,000 troops and 2 to 3 divisions.
  • Field-Army: Commanded by a General, includes more than 4 divisions, and around 90,000 troops.
  • Army Group:  Commanded by a General, 4 or 5 field armies, approximately 400,000 and 1,000,000 troops.
  • Army Region: Commanded by a General, 3 or more field armies, and 1 million to 3 million soldiers.


By now, you have understood the difference between military and army. They are both related terms, but as an organization, they function differently.

The military vs army functions in society are distinct. The military comprises six branches and other components that work together to safeguard and develop the nation.

Conversely, the Army is a branch of the armed forces stationed on the ground, ready to protect the country in land wars.

Hopefully, reading the article helped you better understand what the terms “military” and “army” represent.

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