Open main menu
A United States Armed Forces Joint-Service Color Guard. The color guard consists of personnel from all 5 military branches of the United States Armed Forces.

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



In classical NATO terminology, the three basic environmental commands military branches are the Army, Navy and Air Force[1]


Some countries don't use the classical organisation for their military forces. Some examples are:

Historical developmentEdit

Unified forcesEdit

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

NATO definitionEdit

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 serviced or armed service.[3]


  1. ^ STANAG 2116: NATO Codes for Grades of Military Personnel. NATO. 13 March 1996.
  2. ^
  3. ^ MILITÄRISCHES STUDIENGLOSAR ENGLISCH Teil I, A – K, Bundessprachenamt (Stand Januar 2001), page 226, definition: branch of service.