Defense (military)
Defense has several uses in the sphere of military application.

Personal defense implies measures taken by individual soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

s in protecting themselves whether by use of protective materials such as armor, or field construction of trench
A trench is a type of excavation or depression in the ground. Trenches are generally defined by being deeper than they are wide , and by being narrow compared to their length ....

es or a bunker
A military bunker is a hardened shelter, often buried partly or fully underground, designed to protect the inhabitants from falling bombs or other attacks...

, or by using weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

s that prevent the enemy approaching them to initiate close combat
Close combat
*Close combat is a generic term for both Close Quarters Battle and Hand to hand combat.*Mêlée generally refers to disorganized close combat.*CQB is an acronym for Close Quarters Battle, such as that which occurs in urban warfare....

. In close combat where blade
A blade is that portion of a tool, weapon, or machine with a cutting edge and/or a pointed tip that is designed to cut and/or puncture, stab, slash, chop, slice, thrust, or scrape animate or inanimate surfaces or materials...

 weapons are used, defense refers to a specific armed fighting technique.

When applied to military units, defense implies use of defensive tactics that seek to negate enemy offensive tactics.

A defensive military doctrine implies operation of larger military forces from a largely defensive posture, which at the operational warfare
Operational warfare
Operational mobility, beginning as a military theory concept during the period of mechanisation of armed forces, became a method of managing movement of forces by strategic commanders from the staging area to their Tactical Area of Responsibility....

 scale assumes the form of defense in depth, and at strategic
Military strategy
Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek strategos, strategy when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general", 'the art of arrangement' of troops...

 scale encompasses a large area of operations such as the Maginot Line
Maginot Line
The Maginot Line , named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defences, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in light of its experience in World War I,...

 by large parts of the French Army before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


In military operations planning, a defensive strategy is the policy of preventing an attack, or minimizing the damage of an attack, by the forces assuming defense in strategic depth
Strategic depth
Strategic depth is a term in military literature that broadly refers to the distances between the front lines or battle sectors and the combatants’ industrial core areas, capital cities, heartlands, and other key centers of population or military production...

 for preventing an enemy from conquering territory.

Defense is also a euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

 for war
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

, used by governments to reflect their non-aggressive posture in their region which does not carry the negative connotation of war, such as Ministry or Department of Defense.

Within the scope of a national defense policy, defense is used to include most military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

Military science
Military science
Military science is the process of translating national defence policy to produce military capability by employing military scientists, including theorists, researchers, experimental scientists, applied scientists, designers, engineers, test technicians, and military personnel responsible for...

 seeks to integrate all the meanings of defense into a coherent whole that seeks to understand and develop applied uses for all of the above meanings within a single national defense management structure.

Although defense of territory, territorial waters
Territorial waters
Territorial waters, or a territorial sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a belt of coastal waters extending at most from the baseline of a coastal state...

 and national airspace is one of the functions of the governments of sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

s in the modern world, Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Hans-Hermann Hoppe is an Austrian School economist of the anarcho-capitalist tradition, and a Professor Emeritus of economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.-Academic career:...

, Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

, Morris and Linda Tannehill, and other anarcho-capitalist writers have opined that it could be more efficiently provided by private vendors.

Defense through the ages

Historically, it was generally true that defenders had an advantage over attackers. Battles commonly focused on siege
A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault. The term derives from sedere, Latin for "to sit". Generally speaking, siege warfare is a form of constant, low intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static...

s of important cities, allowing defenders to strengthen their position. They had the ability to make preparations for the battle to protect themselves from the enemy while making the enemy vulnerable, e.g. preparing positions such as trench
A trench is a type of excavation or depression in the ground. Trenches are generally defined by being deeper than they are wide , and by being narrow compared to their length ....

es and fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

s or in more recent times laying obstacles such as land mine
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

s and tank traps. However, in encounters larger than the small scale, the attacker may often have the advantage, since they get to choose the time and place of battle. An attacker may concentrate their entire force on a small part of the defended area, while the defender is forced to spread their forces over the possible area of attack.

In the modern era, the defenders' advantage has been gradually reduced, due to factors like increased mobility of modern forces, better communication technologies, and increased protection of troops and equipment.

See also

  • Arms trade
  • Defensive war
    Defensive war
    A defensive war is one of the causes that justify war by the criteria of the Just War tradition. It means a war where at least one nation is mainly trying to defend itself from another, as opposed to a war where both sides are trying to invade and conquer each other.-Examples:* The Darius'...

  • Department of Defense (disambiguation)
  • List of United States defense contractors
  • Military-industrial complex
    Military-industrial complex
    Military–industrial complex , or Military–industrial-congressional complex is a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the industrial sector that supports them...

  • Missile defense
    Missile defense
    Missile defense is a system, weapon, or technology involved in the detection, tracking, interception and destruction of attacking missiles. Originally conceived as a defence against nuclear-armed Intercontinental ballistic missiles , its application has broadened to include shorter-ranged...

  • Private defense agency
    Private defense agency
    A private defense agency is a conceptualized agency that provides personal protection and military defense services voluntarily through the free market. A PDA is not a private contractor of the state and is not subsidised in any way through taxation or immunities, nor does it rely on conscription...

  • Self defense
    Self-defense, self-defence or private defense is a countermeasure that involves defending oneself, one's property or the well-being of another from physical harm. The use of the right of self-defense as a legal justification for the use of force in times of danger is available in many...

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