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|Generations of warfare[[|[show]]]*First*Second|
|Grand strategy[[|[show]]]*Containment*Economic warfare|
|Organization[[|[show]]]*Command and control*Doctrine|
|Logistics[[|[show]]]*Materiel*Supply chain management|
|Other[[|[show]]]*Asymmetric warfare*Cold war|
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external and internal aggressors. In some countries paramilitary forces are included in a nation's armed forces. Armed force is the use of armed forces to achieve political objectives.
The study of the use of armed forces is called military science. Broadly speaking, this involves considering offense and defense at three "levels": strategy, operational art, and tactics. All three levels study the application of the use of force in order to achieve a desired objective.
Main article: Military organizationIn most countries the basis of the armed forces is the military, divided into basic military branches. However, armed forces can include other paramilitary structures.
Map of the military expenditures as a percentage of GDP by country, CIA figures.Military spending in 2007, in USD, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.The obvious benefit to a country in maintaining armed forces is in providing protection from foreign threats and from internal conflict. In recent decades armed forces personnel have also been used as emergency civil support roles in post-disaster situations. On the other hand, they may also harm a society by engaging in counter-productive (or merely unsuccessful) warfare. Expenditure on science and technology to develop weapons and systems sometimes produces side benefits, although some claim that greater benefits could come from targeting the money directly.[who?]