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The United States Armed Forces (USAF or Armed Forces) are the military forces of the United States. The Armed Forces include six distinct forces:

• Army

• Navy

• Air Force

• Marine Corps

• Coast Guard

• Space Force

The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and works with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to formulate U.S. military policy.

In Texas, as in all states, the United States Armed Forces operate under federal law and are composed of six branches: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force. The President serves as the Commander in Chief and oversees these forces in conjunction with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the Coast Guard, except in times of war when it may be transferred to the DoD. Military policy and operations are federally managed, and state law does not typically affect the governance of the Armed Forces. However, Texas may have state-specific support systems and benefits for military personnel and veterans, as well as state laws that complement federal military laws, such as those concerning employment protections for service members and support for military families.

Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

10 U.S. Code § 101 - Definitions
This section provides definitions for terms used in Title 10, which governs the Armed Forces.

Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of armed forces in the U.S. federal law. Section 101 includes definitions for key terms such as 'Department of Defense', 'armed forces', 'combatant command', and others. It defines the 'armed forces' as the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, and Coast Guard when it is operating under the Navy during a war or national emergency declared by Congress or the President. This section is foundational for understanding the legal framework that governs the U.S. military.

10 U.S. Code § 113 - Secretary of Defense
This statute outlines the responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense, who is the principal defense policy advisor to the President.

Under this section, the Secretary of Defense has authority, direction, and control over the Department of Defense, which is the principal agency responsible for the military forces. The Secretary is responsible for the creation of policies relating to the Armed Forces, and is the principal defense policy advisor to the President. This statute establishes the Secretary's role in overseeing the military departments and the defense agencies, and in ensuring the effective execution of the President's military policies.

10 U.S. Code § 162 - Combatant commands: assigned forces; chain of command
This statute defines the structure of command within the U.S. military, including the chain of command from the President to the combatant commands.

Section 162 of Title 10 U.S. Code establishes the chain of command within the United States military. The President, through the Secretary of Defense, shall assign all forces under the Department of Defense to unified and specified combatant commands to perform military missions. The President, with advice from the Secretary of Defense, designates the chain of command for these commands and may also establish a different chain of command if necessary for the functions of combatant commands. This statute is crucial for understanding how military operations are directed and how orders are issued within the Armed Forces.

14 U.S. Code § 1 - Establishment of Coast Guard
This statute establishes the Coast Guard as a unique branch of the military with law enforcement and maritime regulatory functions.

The Coast Guard, established in 14 U.S. Code § 1, is a military service and a branch of the armed forces at all times. However, it operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy by the President or Congress during a war or when the President deems it necessary. The Coast Guard is responsible for a variety of maritime duties, including enforcing federal laws on the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, promoting safety of life at sea, and performing other duties as the President may prescribe.

10 U.S. Code § 9081 - United States Space Force
This statute establishes the Space Force as the newest branch of the Armed Forces, under the Department of the Air Force.

The United States Space Force, as established by 10 U.S. Code § 9081, is a military service branch within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense. The Space Force is organized, trained, and equipped to provide freedom of operation for the United States in, from, and to space, and prompt and sustained space operations. Its creation reflects the growing importance of space to national security and the need for a dedicated military service to protect U.S. interests in space.