As it seems, the U.S. will not lose its ranking anytime soon. The U.S. military spending is predicted to increase steadily until 2033, and estimates suggest that defense spending will exceed one trillion U.S. dollars by 2029.
The United States is also the world’s third largest army in terms of manpower, with about 1.4 million active military personnel in 2022. The United States military consists of different service branches, including the Army, Navy, Airforce, Marine Corps, and Space Force. The Army, which is the oldest branch of the U.S military, is also the service branch with the most personnel. In 2021, there were 482,416 active members in the U.S. Army. California is home to the most active duty members within the U.S., with 157,639 stationed personnel in 2021. As of 2022, the majority of U.S. active-duty military personnel around the world were stationed in the United States and its territories, with a total of 1.18 million. There were significantly less personnel deployed in other parts of the world, with 84,093 in East Asia and 67,393 in Europe.
Demographic breakdownAs of 2019, the vast majority of military personnel in active duty do not hold a college degree. As of 2021, 888,300 active members held a high school diploma, GED, or some college compared with 194,844 members holding a Bachelor’s degree. When observing the breakdown of race among the U.S. military, it appears relatively diverse compared to the population of the country as a whole. As of 2021, 920,264 active duty personnel were white, making up roughly 66 percent of the total number of personnel. The share of white active duty personnel is about 10 percent less than the share of white people making up the U.S. population. In the same year there were 230,055 Black or African American personnel, making up roughly 16 percent of the total number of U.S. DoD active duty personnel.
In the last few years there has been more diversity among enlisted women than men. As of 2019, 54 percent of active-duty enlisted women were white, whereas nearly 70 percent of enlisted men were white. Additionally, about 29 percent of enlisted women were black, compared to 17 percent of enlisted men who were black. While gender diversity within the military has increased, there remains stark differences between the occupational roles that men and women fill. In 2019, 25 percent of all active-duty enlisted women held administrative positions, a significantly greater share than among enlisted men.
Public opinionAccording to a 2022 survey, 64 percent of respondents in the U.S. said they had either a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the military. Confidence levels have been steadily decreasing in the last years, with 82 percent reported in 2009. Despite steadily decreasing, the share of respondents reporting confidence in the military is still higher than in 1975, when only 58 percent of Americans showed confidence in the military.
Although general confidence in the U.S. military appears to be decreasing, those who consider the U.S. as the primary global military power has been fluctuating in recent years. As of 2022, 51 percent believed the United States to be the number one military power in the world, whereas 47 percent of respondents said that the U.S. was only one of several global military powers. The year 2010 saw a peak in those who considered the U.S. as a superior military power, with 64 percent of respondents having claimed the United States to be the number one military power in the world.