Why is the Military Important to Society? The military serves as a defense against threats, but this multifaceted organization benefits a country beyond this.
In a nutshell, any society must have a functional military for three main reasons:
- To maintain peace and provide defense
- To maintain influence and strategic alliances
- To maintain access to global commerce
Continue reading to discover why military strength is vital to a thriving society.
Table of Contents
Military and Its Main Role and Functions
The main purpose of the military is to protect our country from internal threats and external armed threats on land (Army), water (Navy and Coast Guards), air (Air Force), and even space (Space Force).
As a whole, the contributions of each branch of the US military go beyond peacekeeping.
In times of crisis, such as the September 11 attacks, hurricanes (Katrina, Harvey & Ian), California wildfires, and other similar non-financial disasters, all military branches unite and offer suppfort in saving their citizens, providing assistance, and restoring peace.
Role of the Military in Society
How does the military impact society, you ask? The answer is directly connected to its roles in a particular country.
The US military prioritizes these six roles:
1. Protecting Our Freedom
As US citizens, we can only do so much to protect our freedom. The government’s military might have to do the rest by engaging in combat and aiming to win.
The “threat” the military protects its citizens from may vary significantly. From invasion by another country to terrorism by armed groups either internally or externally, the military has to eliminate these threats using policies, and operations they were trained to do.
Because of the never-ending threats a country could face, military capabilities are continuously funded and developed. This way, when a threat occurs, the government is prepared with systems in place that each military branch must follow.
2. Providing Humanitarian Assistance
You can feel the importance of military when there are humanitarian crises, such as wars, and environmental disasters like typhoons, droughts, volcanic eruptions, massive oil spills, nuclear explosions, wildfires, and more.
Whenever a crisis occurs, the daily lives of the affected city, state, or country get disrupted as well. One of the US military’s roles is to provide humanitarian assistance during these difficult times.
These could include:
- Providing food, water, shelter, and medical assistance
- Rescue and evacuation assistance during floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis, and other environmental disasters
- Assisting farmers with agricultural crisis
- Helping refugees and vulnerable children
- Delivering the needs of a particular country (for example, using military aircraft to air-drop commodities to typhoon-struck people or sending COVID-19 vaccines to other countries)
Militaries of a particular country don’t provide humanitarian aid for just its citizens. They also extend this assistance to other countries in calamities, such as the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia.
3. Conducting Scientific Research & Development
All societies cannot build impressive militaries overnight. Even US military power was molded through decades of trial-and-error, R&D, and experience.
In America, the military branches conduct continuous research and development for aspects of their operations because military technology, weaponry, and communications ideally should be kept in-house.
Militaries do buy from commercial companies and even other countries.
However, armies with the capability of researching, designing, and using aircraft, combat paint, weapons, and other equipment exclusively for day-to-day operations have an advantage over other countries without this kind of military.
Militaries equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and systems are able to deter other countries from attacking, combat internal threats, and take pre-emptive strikes against enemies.
4. Maintaining Global Political Power and International Ties
One of the reasons a country builds its military organization as well-oiled as possible is to showcase a degree of authority and command respect from other countries.
This level of international influence isn’t just for show. A strong military is a strong indication that a country can join other major world powers as a global leader.
Today, countries that have strong influence include the United States, Germany, Japan, China, Russia, France, South Korea, India, United Arab Emirates, and the UK.
All global leaders are known to have strong military organizations. They also enjoy these benefits:
- Build and maintain allies – Having allies is essential to growing a nation’s economic ties. International allies also back their partners when it comes to diplomatic issues requiring a vote, or even going into war.
- Keep an authoritative voice on issues – International diplomacy is vital to keeping peace and protecting any country’s values and land without the use of violence or engaging in war.
- Promote economic stability with uninterrupted trade – Forming alliances helps countries economically. For instance, the US Navy has access to many of its allied countries’ waters and transports food, fuel, firepower, and other cargo with their permission.
Lastly, countries with strong armies are not the easiest targets. Add the number of allies to the mix, and a particular nation becomes an intimidating force.
5. Preserving Peace
The leaders of countries are aware of the significance of a powerfully built military. They spend heavily on increasing their military capabilities on a yearly basis.
With strong armies equipped with up-to-date equipment and vehicles, countries could continuously defend their citizens and sovereignty from existing (and would-be) enemies.
The US military, for instance, has ships assigned to allies’ international waters as a way to deter other foreign powers from trying to attack or claim allies’ lands. The US is able to do this because it has collected over 290 ships ready for battle anytime and can afford to lend some to its allies.
Global leaders can have a bigger influence on diplomatic issues, and they use their voices to prevent war and maintain peace as well.
6. Conserving National Identity
The military and a country’s national identity are often intertwined because militaries are organizations with values, traditions, and cultures taught, developed, and preserved by every military service member, from their training to the rest of their lives.
Military service members develop a deeper sense of nationalism while on the job. Others gain this immediately upon enlisting, since the army serves as a means for them to move up in society.
The institutions do not consider race, gender, or social class when promoting soldiers to higher-ranking officers as well.
A country with a strong military is also a country that can support and employ more people interested in serving the country.
Defense against internal and external threats is already a significant answer to the question, “Why is the military important to society?”
But if you look closely at the mission of every military branch, you’ll understand that having a solid military organization extends beyond self-defense and war capabilities.
Countries that prioritize military modernization also secure their national identity, improve their standing as a global leader, gain more allies, provide humanitarian aid, and preserve peace.
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