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Military Police


The history of the military police occupation coincides with the history of the various military branches. The U.S. military originated in the 1600s, when colonial states had defense forces known as militias. In 1775, the Continental Army was created to fight the British in the Revolutionary War. In 1778, a provost unit was created, under the command of George Washington, to provide police functions both in the military camp and while in the field.

In 1790 , the Coast Guard, which is the oldest continuous seagoing service in the United States, was established to combat smuggling. The Army had marine units attached to it when it was established; these marine units became an independent part of the Navy when it was officially established in 1798. The Marine Corps was part of the Navy until 1834, when it became its own military branch by establishing itself as a defense force for both land and sea.

The air service got its start in the Civil War, when a balloon corps was attached to the Army of the Potomac. A formal Balloon Corps was created in 1892 as part of the Army's Signal Corps, and by 1907, the Army had a separate Aeronautical Division. Air power was invaluable during World War I and brought major changes in military strategy. The United States was becoming an international military power and the Army Air Service was created as an independent unit in 1918, remaining under Army direction for a time. America emerged from World War II as the strongest military power, with superior air forces. The importance of air power led to the creation of the U.S. Air Force in 1947. The various branches of military service were unified under the Department of Defense in 1949.

From the 1950s through 1970s, the focus was on fighting the Cold War with the Soviet Union, which contributed to U.S. involvement in the Korean War and later the Vietnam War. Antiwar sentiments rose and in 1973, the draft was abolished and the U.S. military became an all-volunteer force. The armed forces have since aimed to improve the image of the military and present it as an appealing career choice in order to attract talented people.

In the 1980s, the U.S. military increased efforts to bring about the collapse of Soviet communism, and in 1991, the Cold War ended. The United States also became active in the Middle East, particularly the Persian Gulf, which supplied much of the world's oil, and from 1990 through 1991, engaged in the Persian Gulf War.

From the early 1990s up until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. military took on a new role as a peacekeeping force. It participated in cooperative efforts led by the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed the role of the military from a peacekeeping force to an aggressor in the attempt to destroy the strongholds and training camps of terrorists around the world. U.S. troops, warships, and fighter planes were deployed to south-central Asia and the Middle East and air and ground strikes began in Afghanistan. Diplomatic, law enforcement, and financial strategies would also be used against those believed responsible for the attacks.

In 2003, the leader of Irag, Saddam Hussein, was captured for suspicion of creating and harboring weapons of mass destruction for potential use in terrorist attacks (none were found when U.S. forces entered the country). Despite the capture, trial, and execution of Hussein, and the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq, a continued U.S. military presence in this country was required during its transition to democracy. By 2014, all U.S. troops (except for a small contingent to protect embassy workers) were withdrawn from Iraq. As of 2020, a timetable was introduced for the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.