Major Military Operations Since World War II
World War II was the last war fought in which the President asked Congress for a declaration of war. Since then, United States armed forces have been in combat several times, including the following:
|1950-1953 Korean War|
Communist North Korea, supported by China, invades non-communist South Korea. UN forces, principally made up of U.S. troops, fight to protect South Korea. The Korean War is the first armed conflict in the global struggle between democracy and communism, called the Cold War.
|1961-1973 Vietnam War|
In 1955, communist North Vietnam invades non-communist South Vietnam in an attempt to unify the country and impose communist rule. The United States joins the war on the side of South Vietnam in 1961, but withdraws combat troops in 1973. In 1975 North Vietnam succeeds in taking control of South Vietnam. The Vietnam War is the longest conflict the U.S. ever fought and the first war it lost.
|1965 Dominican Republic|
U.S. troops form part of a multinational peacekeeping force to help the fragile Lebanese government maintain power in the politically volatile country. In 1983 241 U.S. Marines and 60 French soldiers are killed by a truck bomb. The multinational force withdraws in 1984.
U.S. President George H. W. Bush invades Panama and overthrows Panamanian dictator and drug-smuggler Manuel Noriega. Noriega is later tried and convicted on a number of charges, and is imprisoned in the United States.
|1991 Gulf War (Kuwait and Iraq)|
A U.S.-led multinational force attempts to restore order to war-torn Somalia so that food can be delivered and distributed within the famine-stricken country.
During the Bosnian civil war, which begins shortly after the country declares independence in 1992, the U.S. launches air strikes on Bosnia to prevent ethnic cleansing. It becomes a part of NATO's peacekeeping force in the region.
Yugoslavia's province of Kosovo erupts in war in the spring of 1999. A U.S.-led NATO force intervenes with air strikes after Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian forces uproot the population and embark on a plan of ethnic cleansing of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian population.
The Taliban government harbored Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist group, responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. After Afghanistan refused to turn over Bin Laden, the U.S. and UN coalition forces invaded. The Taliban government was ousted and many terrorist camps in Afghanistan were destroyed. Thereafter, the Taliban begin regrouping. By 2005, the Taliban and coalition troops are it was engaged in ongoing clashes with coaltition troops. The year 2006 was the deadliest year for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001.
|2003—2010 Iraq War|
The U.S. and Great Britain invade Iraq and topple the government of dictator Saddam Hussein. The U.S. engagement in Iraq continues for the next several years amid that country's escalating violence and fragile political stability.
On August 8, 2014, the U.S. initiated military intervention against the Islamic State of Irag and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh) with airstrikes on key targets in Iraq. The move was later named Operation Inherent Resolve and claimed the following intent: "to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community." In Feb. 2015, President Obama sent a request for authorization for military force (AUMF) to Congress, but the measure couldn't win the necessary votes. According to the Department of Defense, 6,097 targets were damaged or destroyed as of April 23, 2015.