Politology (Unit 6)

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Unit 6

Armed Forces and Military Organizations


I. Read the text and translate it with the help of dictionary

Text 1

Ten Facts about the US Army

1. The Armed Forces of the USA include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The regular components are manned by both men and women who make the military life their profession. Under the Constitution of the United States the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The President is assisted by several agencies. At the top is the US Security Council which gives advice to the President. This Council is composed of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. Under its supervision is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

2. The Secretary of the Army, a civilian, is the head of the Army. He is assisted by other civilian officials and by the Army Staff.

3 The Army initiated a reorganization in 1973, after the war in Vietnam. Today the American Army is professional. Both men and women are volunteers. And women account for 20 % of the total strength. Why do people join the Army? The salary is stable and high (upwards of US $ 600). The meals for soldiers are free. You may travel all over the world because there are a lot of military bases in many countries. You may get a new profession. The Pentagon pays for your University course. And even when you leave the Army, they will take care of you during the rest of your life (special hospitals and so on). The recruiting lasts all the year round, except Christmas and Easter. You may live at the base in houses owned by the Army. The rent is free. No smoking, no alcohol, no drugs. But you must work hard: drill, physical fitness program, range practice.

4. Women join the Army because they want to have equal rights with men. And they get them. Service is a kind of adventure, sport, travelling. Women live together with men and must do the same things. If they are married and/or have children, they live separately and send their children to the free kindergarten. Every Army base has its own kindergarten and school, hospital and library, different clubs and shops. If you break no laws off duty, you may wear civilian clothes and leave the base without saying anything. But at 6 o'clock in the morning you must be at the base.

5. A most important person in the Army is the sergeant. It is he who makes real soldiers of volunteers. Twice a year all military people must undergo 2 tests: sport and weight. If you don't get the necessary results, you should leave the Army.

6. There are not very many special military colleges. The most famous is the US Military Academy at West Point where a famous Military Museum is situated.

7. The elite forces are American rangers. They are soldiers aged between 22 and 28. A ranger must do a lot of different things: be a leader, use different weapons, swim well in full uniform, get information and so on.

8. The Pentagon is the military center of the United States. It was built between 1941 and 1943, in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington. It is a huge 5-sided building 5 storeys high. It is the largest office building in the world. The Pentagon has more than 17 miles of corridors and a lot of people work here. The walls on each floor are a different color (brown, green, red, grey, blue). Inside the Pentagon yard there is a subway station and 2 helicopter platforms, a post office, a fire department, a police department, a hospital, and radio and TV stations.

9. In April 1949, the USA set up a military organization in Europe called NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). There were 12 countries there.

10. As for the armaments, they are very modern and of high quality: helicopters, submarines, aircraft carriers, ships, missiles, guns, tanks, artillery weapons.


Vocabulary Practice

I. Find in the text the English equivalents of the following:

вооруженные силы; сухопутные войска; военно-морской флот; военно-воздушные силы; морская пехота; береговая охрана; главнокомандующий; агентство; безопасность; госсекретарь; министр обороны; центральное разведывательное управление (ЦРУ); Министр армии.


II. Find English equivalents to the following Russian words and word-combinations:

доброволец; сержант; рейнджер; вертолет; подводная лодка; авианосец; ракета; огневая подготовка; программа физической подготовки; гражданское лицо.


III. Answer the questions:

1. What are the main components of the Armed Forces of the USA?

2. Who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces?

3. What kind of person is the Secretary of the Army?

4. What was the reason for the reorganization of the Army?

5. What are the advantages of serving in the Army? And the disadvantages?

6. Why do American women join the Army?

7. What role does a sergeant play there?

8. What arc the 2 special tests?

9. What is the most famous Academy?

10. What do you know about the Pentagon?

11. What kinds of armaments do you know?


IV. Complete the sentences:

1. Under the Constitution of the United States...

2. The Secretary of the Army...

3. The recruiting lasts...

4. Every Army base has...

5. A ranger must do a lot of different things...

6. Inside the Pentagon yard there is...


V. Who does this in the text?

1. Who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces?

2. Who makes real soldiers of volunteers

3. Who must do a lot of different things while serving in the Army?


VI. Ask your friend:

-- whether he/she knows how many women serve in the US Army;

-- what the Army offers to attract young people;

-- which office building is the largest in the world.


VII. Find a few sentences from which you have got new information.


VIII. Read the passage you like best and say why.


IX. Read and translate the American ranger rules and guess the meaning of the word

1.  Size up the situation.

2.  Undue haste makes waste.

3.  Remember where you are.

4.  Vanquish fear and panic.

5.  Improvise.

6.  Value living.

7.  Act like the natives.

8.  Learn the basic skills.


X. Match the words

1)  company

2)  campaign

3)  cadet

4)  service ribbon

5)  blood type

6)  mobility

7)  caterpillar

8)  battlefield

9)  missile

10) voice radio

11) identification card

12) liberty pass

13) steel helmet

14) airborne troops

a)  воздушно-десантные войска

b)  увольнительная записка

c)  каска

d)  поле боя

e)  курсант

f)   рота

g)  группа крови

h)  радиотелефон

i)   операция

j)   подвижность

k)  орденская лента

l)    гусеница

m)  ракета

n)  удостоверение личности


XI. Read the words and try to make up a dialogue with new words:

a) Armed Forces — вооруженные силы

Army — сухопутные войска

Navy — военно-морской флот

Air Force — военно-воздушные силы

Marine Corps — морская пехота

Coast Guard — береговая охрана

Commander-in-Chief — главнокомандующий

agency — агентство

security — безопасность

the Secretary of State — государственный секретарь

the Secretary of Defense — министр обороны

the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — Центральное разведывательное управление (ЦРУ)

the Secretary of the Army — министр армии

a civilian — гражданское лицо

volunteer — доброволец

physical fitness program — программа физической подготовки

range practice — огневая подготовка

sergeant — сержант

Military Academy — высшее военное училище

ranger — рейнджер (военнослужащий десантного диверсионно-разведывательного подразделения)

helicopter — вертолет

submarine — подводная лодка

aircraft carrier — авианосец

missile — ракета


b) Comment on the following:

1.  Serving in the army is a great honor.

2.  It is better to choose alternative service.

3.  It is not necessary for women to serve in the army.


XII. Read the text and translate into English.

Марселит Харрис

«Впервые звание бригадного генерала ВВС США присвоено чернокожей женщине — полковнику Марселит Дж. Харрис. В американской армии женщины в генеральском звании — не редкость. Десять американок имеют этот чин, причем две из них - чернокожие. С 1973 года, когда вооруженные силы страны перешли на вольнонаемную систему, количество женщин в армии постоянно растет.

Став офицером по обслуживанию в ВВС США, Харрис быстро продвигалась по служебной лестнице. В 1975 году она — начальник строевого отдела главного штаба ВВС в Вашингтоне. Президент Джимми Картер назначил ее своим помощником по социальным вопросам. В 1981 году она стала командиром эскадрильи обслуживания на военной базе Маконел стратегического командования ВВС США. А пятью годами позже Харрис возглавила службы обслуживания ВВС Кислер.

Место рождения 46-летней М. Харрис — Хьюстон, штат Техас. Окончила колледж Спелмана, а затем в университете штата Мэриленд получила ученую степень в области управления бизнесом. Образовательный уровень приобретает в вооруженных силах США все большее значение при повышении звания. Заметим, что лишь 5 из 100 полковников становятся бригадными генералами, и Харрис прошла этот жесткий отбор".


XIII. Use the information and put questions in a form of a dialogue:

Конечно, не все факты и интересные моменты вошли в приведенные выше материалы. Их можно дополнить следующими сведениями.

Письма от девушек, которые не дождались своих парней, ушедших в армию, называют "Dear John Letters".

Американские ветераны имеют такую привилегию: они вывешивают флаг США на своем доме вверх ногами, если что-то в действиях правительства им не нравится.

Металлические жетоны со всеми данными о солдате, которые вешают на шею, называют в шутку собачьими жетонами (dog's counters).

У каждого военнослужащего, начиная с рядового и кончая самым высшим начальником в Пентагоне, на форме есть нашивка с фамилией.

Очень многие виды вооружений в Америке носят названия индейских племен. Например, вертолеты: "Apache", "Chinook", "Iroquois", "Commanche", "Kiowa Warrior".

А основным изобретателем американских вертолетов был русский инженер И. И. Сикорский. Один из вертолетов носит его имя — "Sikorsky Black Hawk". Во время первой мировой войны американской армией командовал Джон Першинг. В его честь были названы крылатые ракеты "Pershing".

Американцы называют Пентагон "Тее-Рее" (вигвам) или "Big House".

Во время второй мировой войны американских солдат называли "G. I." (government issue букв, «состоящий на содержании правительства»).

Высшая военная награда в США — медаль Конгресса (the Congressional Medal of Honor).

Высший ранг в американской армии — генерал с пятью звездами. А вообще генералы бывают с одной звездой, с двумя и так до пяти.

Буквы МР расшифровываются в Америке как military police (военная полиция).




I. Read the text

The Pentagon

The Pentagon is a building in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. It has the offices of the U.S. Department of Defense. The Department of Defense includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. The word pentagon comes from the Greek penta, which means "five." A pentagon is a figure with five sides. Look at the picture. The Pentagon has five rings. The rings are inside each other. Each ring has five sides. How tall do you think the Pentagon is? The answer is easy. Each ring is five stories tall.

The Pentagon is the largest office building in the world. It has seventeen miles of halls. People can get lost in the Pentagon. So the walls on each floor are a different color (brown, green, red, gray, and blue). This helps people to know where they are. There are also many maps in the halls!

The Pentagon is so big that it is like a city. Almost 30,000 people work there. The Pentagon has its own doctors, dentists, and nurses. It has its own banks and stores. It has a post office, a fire department, and a police department. It also has an important center for communications. This center guards the country. It is hundreds of feet under the ground. The Pentagon even has its own radio and TV stations.


II. Replace the underlined words in the sentences with the words below.

figure       rings        stories        includes maps       Navy        get lost      halls

1.   A pentagon is a shape with five sides.

2.   The building has seventeen miles of long corridors or passageways.

3.   The Pentagon is five floors high.

4.   Sometimes people cannot find their way in the Pentagon.

5.   In the Department of Defense, there is the Army, the country's war ships and people who work on them, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

6.   The Pentagon has five circles, which are inside each other.

7.   To help you know where you are, you look at plans of the building.

8.   The Department of Defense contains the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.


III. Circle the letter of the best answer.

1. The Pentagon has the offices of…

a.         the U.S. Department of Defense

b.         the Army

c.         the Navy and the Air Force

2. The Pentagon has five…

a.         halls

b.         sides

c.         offices

3. The Pentagon…

a.         has the longest halls in the world

b.         has walls of different colors on the same floor

c.         is the largest office building in the world


IV. Say if the sentence is true or false.

1. The Pentagon is in Washington, D.C.

2. The Department of Defense includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

3. The Greek word penta means "five".

4. The Pentagon has seventy miles of halls.

5. The colors of the floors are red, blue, green, white, and gray.

6. The Pentagon has its own police department.


V. Complete the sentences with the prepositions below.

of     on     in     with     near

Example: You can get lost in the Pentagon.

1. The Pentagon is…Washington, D.C.

2. The Pentagon has the offices…the U.S. Department of Defense.

3. The walls…each floor are a different color.

4. A pentagon is a figure…five sides.

5. There are maps…the halls.

6. The Pentagon is the largest building…the world.


VI. Discuss the answers to these questions with your classmates.

1. What are the good and bad points of working in such a big place?

2. What other government building can you name in the United States?

3. Draw a picture of the soldier of the future. Then describe his or her uniform and equipment.


Text 2

The future of NATO

A moment of truth

The NATO alliance has until its November summit in Prague to decide what it is for

NOBODY damns NATO with faint praise. Both boosters and detractors call it the most successful military alliance in history. But does it have a future? It is hard for Americans and Europeans to imagine the past 50 years without the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation there to defend them. Yet it is harder than it used to be to imagine nato, as it is, advancing far into the 21st century.

Before September nth, the question dangling over the transatlantic alliance was what it was tor. The cold war, after all, had been over lor ten years. Since the attacks on the United States, and with Europe, too, more worried than it used to be about unfettered terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the value of "collective defence" is no longer in so much doubt. But does America, with its unrivalled military power, need nato any mote? And, assuming someone wants and needs it, how can the alliance be adapted to defend its members against the very different tin eats they now face? If good answers are not found before the nato summit in Prague in November, the future of NATO looks bleak indeed.

By an irony, NATO has never been busier. But much of its recent activity has been in fuzzier collective security-organising peacekeeping missions, holding the hands of Europe's weaker new democracies - rather than the harder - edged collective defence for which it was created. You might call it, as some do, babysitting the end of the cold war. Not everyone is unhappy at this change. Peacekeeping in the Balkans and elsewhere, as those who do it sharply point out, is not for wimps. Others, on both sides of the Atlantic, argue that ensuring peace and stability in Europe, given the trouble its past wars have caused, is anyway plenty for NATO to be getting on with. But those who want NATO to be doing more than babysitting are in deeply gloomy mood.

NATO troops still turn out together for peacekeeping duty in the Balkans, though in smaller numbers now. But what the war for Kosovo revealed, and the American-led campaign in Afghanistan hammered home, is how far the European members of NATO lag behind America, both in high-tech weapons and in their ability to get usable troops speedily to where they are needed. The extra $48 billion that President George Bush now proposes to add to America's $331 billion defence budget is more than Britain or France spends on defence in a year. As Europeans struggle to equip the 60,000-strong EU-led rapid-reaction force they promised for next year, such a gap may well drive them to despair.

Even success can be a problem. Former cold-war adversaries from Central and Eastern Europe are either in NATO already (Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic) or else queuing to join, with Russia's president keen to get alongside. Last June, in Warsaw, Mr Bush called on NATO to be ready at Prague to issue as many new invitations as possible. The alliance should "not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can do to advance the cause of freedom." Yet some of those who most value NATO's military effective-ness - the British and German governments, some members of the United States Senate — have doubts about going much beyond the current 19 members. They worry that Mr Bush's open-door enthusiasm really reflects his dwindling interest in NATO as a military tool.

Critics feel that to extend new invitations to Slovenia, Slovakia, perhaps the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and possibly even Bulgaria and Romania, would inevitably dilute the alliance, turning it into more of a security talking-shop. That might make a bigger NATO more acceptable to Russia, but would reduce it to little more than an armed version of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is open to all Europeans and spends its time on good works such as election-monitoring.


Vocabulary Practice

I. Read the text and discuss the following questions:

1. What is NATO?

2. How old is this organization?

3. What countries does NATO include?

4. What are the main aims of this military organization?


II. Make the following statements disjunctive questions.

1.      The cold war, after all, had been over for ten years.

2.      The future of NATO looks bleak indeed.

3.      Those who want NATO to be doing more than babysitting are deeply in deed gloomy mood.

4.      Even success can be a problem.

5.      The President of the USA called on NATO to be ready at Prague to issue as many new invitations as possible.

6.      Critics feel that to extend new invitations would inevitably dilute the alliance.

7.      That might make a bigger NATO more acceptable to Russia.


III. Make up a plan and try to retell the text.


IV. Make up a dialogue of your understanding “the future of NATO”.


V. Give Russian equivalents to the English ones:

a military alliance; a treaty; cold war; attacks; terrorism; the spread of weapons; mass destruction; the value of “collective defence”; different treats; collective security; peacekeeping missions; high-tech weapons; ensuring peace and stability; defence budget.


VI. Give it a name:

1. an arrangement in which two or more countries join together to defend themselves against an enemy.

2. a meeting or serious of meetings between leaders of two or more countries


Additional Reading


Human Rights and the Armed Forces

Under international law, everyone has a right to adequate food and to the highest attainable standard of health. The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the body that monitors states parties' compliance with the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, has affirmed that a positive obligation for states exists with regard to certain groups that are "unable, for reasons beyond their control," to enjoy the right to adequate food or medical care by the means at their disposal. Conscripts fit this criterion, as they live in custodial circumstances — they are not allowed to leave their base without prior permission from their commander and may be administratively or criminally punished should they do so — and generally do not have access to alternative sources of food or medical care.

From the perspective of international human rights law, military conscripts are an exceptional group. The special mission of the armed forces may justify restrictions on their rights that far exceed those that may be placed on almost any other group. For example, ordering a prisoner to crawl through the mud for several hours would almost certainly constitute degrading treatment. Such an order from a military commander to conscripts during field training would be a legitimate part of a soldier's preparation for battlefield conditions. Similarly, temporary deprivation of food can also be a legitimate part of a conscript soldier's training.

Intentional human rights law includes standards for minimum treatment of persons in state custody or otherwise deprived of their liberty, for example prisoners or people detained because of mental disabilities. These standards set limits on such restrictions, and impose on states positive obligations to provide for the well-being of those in state custody. No such standards exist for conscripts. However, in its case-law, the European Court of Human Rights has consistently held that, while certain restrictions placed on specific rights of military servicemen may be necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the army, these may not serve to altogether negate a basic right.

From this principle, Human Rights Watch has derived three criteria for determining the lawfulness of restrictions on conscripts' rights:

1.    Restrictions of conscripts' rights should have a legitimate purpose related to the specific mission of the armed forces;

2.    They must be shown to have been planned, and may not be arbitrary;

3.    They may not unjustifiably threaten the health or well being of the conscript.



Iraq Coalition to Recruit Militias Despite Dangers

The United States-led coalition in Iraq is to form a new paramilitary force to combat terrorism and growing guerrilla insurgency, drawing on the militias of the main political parties working with America to govern Iraq.

The move has been considered for some months, but had been delayed because of the dangers of using militias formed by individual parties, and the fear that they could exploit their power to political ends.

The new force will initially comprise about 1,000 men, and will draw on the militias' experience of fighting Saddam Hussein's regime and on their extensive intelligence networks to counter a well-entrenched and elusive enemy in Iraq, sources close to the coalition said.

The members of the new battalion, tentatively called a Response Unit, would come principally from the ranks of the Kurdish Peshmerga armies, the Badr Brigades, the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and the Pentagon-backed Iraqi National Congress of Ahmad Chalabi.

The force will be under the umbrella of the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC), itself a paramilitary police organisation, and initially will be under the combined command of the Iraqi administration and the coalition.

"They'd be at the sharp end of counter-terrorism," one source said. "They shouldn't be acting as belonging to a political party; that will remain a red line."

What to do with the militias, many of which fought as allies of the coalition against Saddam, has long been a pressing question. The coalition hopes that by incorporating them into the new national security forces they can both exploit their local intelligence networks and defuse their power as a political force.

Although militias are banned by the coalition, they have continued as party security apparatus, nominally disbanded but in fact tolerated. At the funeral of Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim, who was killed in a mosque bombing in August, the Badr Brigades openly enforced security in the Shia city of Najaf while the coalition turned a blind eye.

The Peshmerga, the de facto army in the autonomous Kurdish north since the 1991 Gulf War, has remained intact since the US-led invasion, under the control of the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Iraqi critics have given warning against the dangers of raising militias, arguing that once in place they would be difficult to disband.

Some even fear that they could ultimately trigger a civil war, a key reason why the coalition insists that they can operate only under strict parameters and after thorough vetting and training.

Dan Senor, a spokesman for Paul Bremer, the civilian head of the occupation authority, insisted that anyone joining the new national security structures would be vetted and "cannot represent any political party or militia. They must serve as individuals."

Abdelaziz al-Hakim, the brother of the dead ayatollah and the current president of the Iraqi Governing Council, described the militias as "freedom fighters" and said that the Iraqi authorities would use any group that they could to rid themselves of the insurgency led by Saddam loyalists.

Mr al-Hakim used to head the Badr Brigades, a force of at least 10,000 men that residents of Najaf have said works alongside the Iraqi police in hunting down Baath party loyalists.

Some Iraqi officials argue that if the coalition turned a blind eye, it could quickly identify and eliminate Baathists. The fear of such extra-judicial zeal has been another factor slowing the formation of the new force, which officials say is still in the planning phase.

After James Hider, THE TIMES





organised or functioning like a military unit but outside the regular military forces


an irregular military force, using harassing tactics against an enemy army




male citizens who receive military training outside the regular armed forces and who are on call for military service in times of emergency


unethically make use of (someone/something)


be composed of




tending to escape


not definite


demanding immediate attention


dismiss from military service


compel observance of


not damaged


start; set in motion


painstakingly careful


examining records or making background checks


those who remain faithful to the power, especially during a civil war or revolution


out of the ordinary course of legal procedure; not legally justified



1. Why did the coalition in Iraq delay the formation of a new paramilitary force?

2. What are the main advantages of the new force?

3. Where will the members of the new battalion come from?

4. What does the coalition hope to avoid by incorporating militias into the new national security forces?

5. What is the militias' current work?

6. What is the Peshmerga?

7. What are the main fears regarding the new force?

8. What can you say about the Badr Brigades?

9. What is the coalition going to do to avoid a civil war?


Problems for Discussion:

1.  There are fears that militias could exploit their power to political ends. Do you think they will? Why or why not?

2.  Some Iraqi officials argue that if the coalition turned a blind eye, the Badr Brigades could quickly identify and eliminate Baathists. Do you think it should have been done? Why or why not?

3.  Do you think the militias can help to fight terrorism and guerrilla insurgency? Why or why not?


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