What are the 17 Officer Branch Specialties of the US Army?

The branches of the US army are an array of Officer career fields that Cadetes compete for. But what are the 17 officer branch specialties of the US army and what are their functions? Keep reading to find out.

What are the 17 Officer Branch Specialties of the US Army?

Here is the list of the 17 officer branch specialties of the US army divided into four categories:

Combat Arms Branches

  • Air defense
  • Armor corps
  • Aviation
  • Corps of engineers
  • Infantry

Combat Support branches

  • Chemical corps
  • Military police
  • Military intelligence
  • Signal corps

Combat Service Support Branches

  • Adjutant General Corps
  • Finance
  • Ordnance Corps

Special Branches

  • Judge Advocate Generals Corps
  • Medical Services
  • Nurse Corps
  • Veterinary Corps

Combat Arms Branches

Air Defense

The Army Air Defense ADA is a branch of the US army responsible for an array of around-the-clock readiness and defense against hostile aerial and missile threats. 

The ADA provides early warning systems and weapons to enable the detection of missile threats and engage at an earlier and greater distance to minimize risks and lethality. 

This branch can also be found, depending on the mission, defending the critical unit areas through ground combat arms against air attacks.

Armor Corps

The Armor Corps branch supports the land operations of the Army. Its functions are to close with and destroy the enemy using fire, maneuver, and shock effects and to provide security during unified wide-area operations

Aviation

The Army Aviation is primarily a land operations branch. It provides a maneuver advantage through conducting attack and reconnaissance, employs fires to destroy and neutralize, air assault and air movement, suppress enemy forces, unmanned aviation system, conducts air medical evacuation, and fixed-wing operations. 

Army Aviation operates on 80% of the commissioned flying positions within the Army

Corps of Engineers

The Corps of Engineers is a body of people with technical skills and competent proficiencies to support the overall efforts of the Army. It is a Sub-profession of the Combat Arms Branch charged with military geographic responsibilities through their unique capabilities of combat, general, and geospatial engineering, and other unique services, and knowledge that the Army needs to accomplish its missions.

Infantry

The infantry is the only branch whose mission is to fight and destroy the enemy in close ground combat by means of fire and movement to defeat or capture him or repel his assault by fire counterattack. 

Infantry officers form the nucleus of the Army’s fighting strength because of their mental and physical sturdiness and their ability to accomplish missions even in the most severe situations.

Combat Support Branches

Chemical Corps

Chemical Corps is the only branch of the Army that specifically defends against the threat of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear weapons of mass destruction

Military Police

The military Police Corps operates on major decisive actions such as offensive, defensive, lethal, or nonlethal engagement, campaign plan execution, and civil support across ranges of military land operations to maintain peace and stability against a wide range of threats. 

They also serve on police operations, detention operations,  peacekeeping forces, and security and mobility support to critical Army facilities and resources.

Military Intelligence

The Military Intelligence branch integrates the process and function of military intelligence to plan, conduct, analyze raw information, and supervise intelligence resources to understand threats, terrain and weather, and civil considerations that support commanders and staff through briefings and written reports. 

The purpose of intelligence is to gain and conduct unified land operations at both the tactical and strategic levels to produce results by the collection, processing, integrating, analyzing, evaluating, and interpreting of information relating to actual or potential operations.

Signal Corps

Signal Corps is a branch that directs and controls the Army’s portion of the cyberspace domain such as telecommunications, computer networks, electromagnetic spectrum, and information services. 

They combine combat leadership skills and technical proficiency to plan, install, operate, maintain, defend, and reconfigure the networks of information systems to ensure availability, protection, and delivery of information as well as the freedom of action in and through cyberspace and defense communications systems. 

Combat Service Support Branches

Adjutant General Corps

The Adjutant General Corps’ function is to serve all organizational levels of the Army by providing manpower, Human resources, personnel management support, and administrative system management. 

HR function includes procurement, training, professional development, distribution, sustainment, retirement, or separation of personnel while Administrative includes courier and postal services

Finance

The finance branch is responsible for all the financial management and leadership including but not limited to purchases of services and supplies to support the soldiers and commanders in the field in sustaining their mission.

Ordnance Corps

The Ordnance Corps branch is the second-largest branch in the Army since there is an ordnance officer in all three components assigned to all units in the army. 

Its function is to develop, produce, distribute, acquire, and maintain ammunition supply and other weapons systems in the Defense Ammunition Center to provide combat power for the U.S. Army.

Special Branches

Judge Advocate Generals Corps

As a special branch of the army, the Judge Advocate Generals Corps’ duties are all in the area of legal practice and all their officers are lawyers. 

Medical Services

The Medical Services is a special branch of the Army and their function in the Army Medical Corps is to provide health services, clinical medicine, staff and command, and research for the Army. 

Nurse Corps

The Nurse Corps is part of the Army health care team and its function is to provide expert health care to the Soldiers and their families. All their officers are nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists 

Veterinary Corps

The Veterinary Corps is a special branch of the Army Medical Department whose functions include animal medical care, veterinary preventive medicine, veterinary food inspection and hygiene, and research and development.

Conclusion

The US Army is a major branch of the United States armed forces and its duty is to serve the American people by preserving peace and security, defending the nation, and protecting the national interests by the fulfillment of national military responsibilities

Its function also includes recruitment, training of soldiers, and organization of important members of its different branches as well as conducting and sustaining stability in military operations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): what are the 17 branches of the army?

What is the military language called?

The military language is called the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet (IRDS). It consists of 26 substitute code words for each letter of the alphabet created to exchange communication by radio or telephone properly.

Which branch has the longest training?

The Marine Corps has the longest basic training. You’ll spend 12 weeks, not including four days of in-processing time. 

How many years do you have to serve in the Army to retire?

Soldiers who completed 20 years of active service are allowed, in most cases, to apply for Retirement Pay at the end of their career through the three retirement systems by determining their Date of Initial Entry into Military Service (DIEMS). 

Reference

U.S. Army Units Explained: From Squads to Brigades to Corps

CHRISTINA KNIGHT | AUGUST 9, 2018 Updated April 19, 2022 https://www.thirteen.org/blog-post/u-s-army-units-explained-from-squads-to-brigades-to-corps/ 

Army, U. S. “About the army.” Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention Report 2010 (2004).

What Are the Branches of the US Military? https://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/us-military-branches-overview.html 

U.S. Army Branches https://www.shu.edu/rotc/us-army-branches.cfm 

Branches of the Army https://arotc.oregonstate.edu/branches-army 

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