The United States armed services were founded in 1775. Ongoing political tensions between Great Britain and the Thirteen American Colonies had reached a crisis in 1774 when the British placed the Massachusetts colony under martial law. Shooting began at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, and the Continental Army was established by a resolution of the Colonies’ Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1775 to coordinate the Colonies’ military efforts in a revolt against the rule of Great Britain. General George Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief.
The U.S. armed services is one of the world’s largest militaries. It is made up of voluntary personnel. Although conscription (the draft) has been used during various times of war and peace, it has not been used since 1972 during the Viet Nam War. As of 2010, the United States spends approximately $692 billion annually to fund its military services, constituting approximately 43 % of the entire world’s military expenditures. The U.S. armed services maintains large stockpiles of advanced armaments and equipment, which give the United States powerful defensive and offensive capabilities.