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Research Papers on the Armed Forces

Paper Masters writes research papers on the Armed Forces and any aspect of their military services. Famous army battles, Navy sea ships, Air Force flying aces, Marine secret missions or the services of the Coast Guard for homeland security - all topics that our writers would be pleased to write on for a custom paper on the armed forces.

Armed forces refer to any government-sponsored organization committed to the defense of a nation. These forces are also referred to as the military, but in some countries there exist paramilitary organizations as well. In the United States, the armed forces consist of:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Marines
  • Coast Guard

U.S. Armed Forces

Armed Forces

The United States armed forces date back to the Revolutionary War and the creation of the Continental Army in 1775 by the Congress. Both the Navy and the Marine Corps were also created in 1775, while the Air Force was created out of the US Army Air Corps following the Second World War. The United States has the largest armed forces in the world, and the largest defense budget as well. In 2010, this was $533.8 billion dollars. The United States armed forces are all headed by civilian control, as top generals report to Secretaries of each branch, and ultimately, the President.

Nineteen countries around the world have no armed forces or no standing army at all, including Iceland, Haiti, Liechtenstein and Panama. Many other countries have compulsory military service for all citizens. Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and Turkey limit service to one year. Cuba, Israel, Vietnam and other nations have longer conscriptions, as much as two years. The United States armed forces are entirely volunteer services.

Sample Research Paper Topic on the Armed Forces

In 1988 the United States would pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, pledging $2.8 billion to support counter narcotic efforts across the globe. Through this bill stiffer consequences would be put in place for drug felonies and other crimes which related to drug trafficking operations. The most substantial course of action introduced through this bill would be the implementation of the U.S. armed forces in counter narcotic exercises. For the first time, the U.S. military would be authorized to participate in law enforcement operations. Within a year the U.S. invasion of Panama would exhibit this new policy on an international level. It was apparent that the War on Drugs was heading in the wrong direction. The cocaine problems found in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru publicized the lack of improvement to reduce the amount of illicit cocaine entering the United States. A failure to reduce coca cultivation throughout the Andean region had created an excess of cocaine supplies, making cocaine more suitably priced on the streets of the United States. Under President Bush's National Security Directive 18, this concern threatened the security of the nation and called upon the Department of Defense to become the lead agency in monitoring U.S. counter narcotic efforts at home and abroad.

Within the armed forces, mixed emotions would begin to surface. Missions at home to secure the border and interdict drugs on the high seas was one thing, but participating in the training of foreign nations to help support their own counter narcotic programs was another. Similar circumstances led to the implementation of U.S. forces in Vietnam during the 1960s, and many high ranking officials feared a U.S. presence would lead to history repeating itself. War between U.S. armed forces and the paramilitary supported campesino threatened democracy and a nation's sovereignty; a cry heard throughout the region by its peasant workers. Secondly, the militarization of the War on Drugs would lead to unjustifiable human rights abuses against the innocent people of the region. Corruption found in each nation's military decreased the likelihood that a U.S. presence would lead to beneficial results. In fact, the United States’ recent experiences in the Andean region had already developed Anti-American sentiments. The invasion of Panama and the capture of Manuel Noriega led to the implementation of the United States’ Southern Command within the country to eliminate the flow of drugs being smuggled in and out of the region. A U.S. physical presence increased Anti-Americanism and was seen as an overstepping by the U.S. in civil concerns which did not warrant their existence.

Militarizing the War on Drugs led to substantial problems between the United States and the countries of South America. The Andean Strategy would place increased interest on military resolutions rather than economic stability that could provide security to the peasant farmers who relied upon coca production for their continued existence. Peruvian ambassador Cesar Atala stood before Congress during the Cartagena Summit to suggest alternative measures; including the purchasing of coca which could then be destroyed at a lower cost than the current interdiction and eradication programs which were costing the U.S. substantial money. A call for extensive crop substitution programs would be a reoccurring theme during this summit. A multilateral agreement between Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and the United States to address the demand, consumption, and sources of cocaine would transpire, though the demand for and supply of cocaine would never be greatly affected.

The militarization of the War on Drugs was unsuccessful due to multiple aspects of the U.S. campaign. As a democratic nation, the United States failed to address narcotics and terrorism as separate issues. Doing so would have likely led to operations which helped to secure political stability throughout the region prior to addressing cocaine and opium production that was occurring. While a majority of South American decision makers understood this concept, a need for economic assistance led to the cooperation of Andean nations with the policies desired by the United States. Secondly, militarizing counter narcotic efforts led to extensive corruption throughout the militaries of the region. High ranking officers would become involved in the drug business themselves and proved to be unproductive in counter narcotic operations which were supported by U.S. troops on the ground. Eradication efforts through aerial spraying would only increase Anti-American sentiments and push the campesino population towards guerrilla operations which supported the peasants’ need to harvest coca. U.S. armed forces would only increase corruption and the guerrilla organizations which threatened the stability of each nation.

A more productive approach to militarizing the War on Drugs would have been to minimize the U.S. presence found in South America. Instead, the U.S. military would have been more useful in interdiction operations rather than eradication programs that were known to deplete legitimate crops planted next to coca fields. Secondly, the demand found in the United States for illicit drugs has always been considered an inferior concern rather than a main issue. Domestic programs within the United States may have potentially curbed the American appetite. The War on Drugs required extensive financial assistance and U.S. support in daily efforts. Pressure into making counter narcotic efforts most important throughout the region denied the opportunity for many to leave the illicit market and join a more respectable profession. Militarizing the campaign led countries to face their biggest anti-government organizations unprepared in civil war; endangering a number of innocent bystanders. Because the United States provided only a small amount of U.S. soldiers to join in the fight, the security situation for these nations would worsen; allowing guerrilla and paramilitary organizations to expand.

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