The People's Liberation Army (PLA; simplified Chinese: 中国人民解放军; traditional Chinese: 中國人民解放軍; pinyin: Zhōngguó Rénmín Jiěfàngjūn) is the military arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the de facto armed forces of the People's Republic of China, consisting of land, sea, strategic missile and air forces. Initially called the Chinese Workers and Peasants Red Army, the PLA was established on August 1, 1927 which is celebrated annually as "PLA Day". The People's Liberation Army's insignia consists of a roundel with a red star bearing the Chinese characters for "Eight One", referring to August 1 (Chinese: 八一), the date of the 1927 Nanchang Uprising.
The PLA is the world's largest military force, with a strength of approximately 2,250,000 personnel (about 0.18% of the country's population). The PLA comprises five main service branches, consisting of the PLA Ground Force, PLA Navy (PLAN), PLA Air Force (PLAAF), Second Artillery Corps (strategic missile force), and the PLA Reserve Force. Military service is compulsory, in theory, for all men who attain the age of 18; women may register for duty in the medical, veterinary, and other technical services at ages as young as 14. However, a draft in China has never been enforced due to large numbers of volunteers from China's huge population. Demobilized servicemen are carried in a ready reserve, which is reinforced by a standby reserve of veterans and by the militia.
China (Listeni/ˈtʃaɪnə/; Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The PRC also claims Taiwan -- which is controlled by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity -- as its 23rd province, a claim controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.
The United States Armed Forces[N 1] are the military forces of the United States of America. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The U.S. has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military. The President of the United States is the military's overall head, and helps form military policy with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), a federal executive department, acting as the principal organ by which military policy is carried out. The DoD is headed by the Secretary of Defense, who is a civilian and Cabinet member. The Defense Secretary is second in the military's chain of command, just below the President, and serves as the principal assistant to the President in all DoD-related matters. To coordinate military action with diplomacy, the President has an advisory National Security Council headed by a National Security Advisor. Both the President and Secretary of Defense are advised by a seven-member Joint Chiefs of Staff, which includes the head of each of the Defense Department's service branches as well as the chief of the National Guard Bureau. Leadership is provided by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Commandant of the Coast Guard is not a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The United States of America (USA or U.S.A.), commonly referred to as the United States (US or U.S.) or America, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C. are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America, west of Canada and east of Russia which is across the Bering Strait in Asia, and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-North Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 315 million people, the United States is the third largest country by land area and population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the U.S. is also extremely diverse, with deserts, plains, forests, and mountains that are home to a wide variety of wildlife.
War is an organised and often prolonged armed conflict that is carried out by states or non-state actors. It is characterised by extreme violence, social disruption, and economic destruction.