Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard a subdivision of the national armed forces of a sovereign nation or state.

A United States Armed Forces Joint-Service Color Guard. This color guard consists of personnel from 5 of the 6 military branches of the United States Armed Forces (Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard).

Types of branches

Type Role Example (if atypical)
Air and space force Air and space warfare French Air and Space Force
Airborne forces Paratrooper operations Russian Airborne Forces
Air defence force Air and missile defense Egyptian Air Defense Forces
Air force Aerial warfare
Army Ground warfare
Border guard Border security Vietnam Border Guard
Coast guard Maritime security United States Coast Guard
Command and control Reconnaissance, Communication, Surveillance, Information warfare People's Liberation Army Information Support Force
Cyber force Cyberwarfare Digital and Intelligence Service (Singapore)
Emergencies service Disaster relief and emergency management Military Emergencies Unit (Spain)
Engineering service Military engineering Construction and Engineering Forces (Mongolia)
Gendarmerie Military and/or public policing National Gendarmerie (France)
General Staff Command and coordination of the military branches and guiding of the military operations Strategic Command Operations (Venezuela)
Logistics service Military logistics Joint Support Service (Germany)
Marines Naval land force United States Marine Corps
Medical service Medical service Belgian Medical Component
Military police Military law enforcement agency Republic of China Military Police
Military reserve force National reserve and auxiliary service Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces
Navy Naval warfare
Strategic rocket force Operation of strategic missiles People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (China)
Space force Space warfare United States Space Force
Special forces Special operations Polish Special Forces
Unmanned systems forces Managing and utilizing unmanned and robotic systems in military operations Unmanned Systems Forces (Ukraine)

Unified armed forces


The Canadian Armed Forces is the unified armed forces of Canada. While it has three environmental commands - namely the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force - it remains a single military service.[citation needed]

NATO definition


Branch of service (also branch of military service or branch of armed service) refers, according to NATO standards, to a branch, employment of combined forces or parts of a service, below the level of service, military service, or armed service.[1]

See also



  1. ^ MILITÄRISCHES STUDIENGLOSSAR ENGLISCH Teil I, A – K, Bundessprachenamt (Stand Januar 2001), page 226, definition: branch of service.