Soldiers

Ever wondered what it's like to be a soldier? This section defines the people, technology and science used to equip soldiers. Articles here range from the technology of war and military snipers to gas masks and body armor.

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Most experts agree that the all-volunteer military is what makes the U.S. armed forces the best in the world. Would that change if the draft was reinstated?

By John Perritano

Wars and murders have much the same result -- by the end, someone will be dead. One is condoned, while the other is punished. Why is that? What makes the two so different from each another?

By Jonathan Strickland

People have been fighting with one another longer than humans have recorded their history. But what was the first war?

By Jonathan Strickland

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Soldiers rely on all kinds of high-tech gadgets to help them get their jobs done. Some of them are specially designed for military use, while others are gizmos you might have in your pocket right now.

By Nathan Chandler

While it says it doesn't participate in physical torture, the United States government has a manual of techniques to make prisoners talk. But are they torture?

By Josh Clark

Modern warfare is a formidable display of technological expertise. These articles examine some of the weapons and defenses that play a prominent role in modern combat, as well as some pieces of technology that could play a role in the future.

Ukraine is seeking foreign volunteers to join the fight against the Russians. But unless you've got military experience and elite skills, you probably should stay home.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Companies are reporting waiting lists for gas masks. Learn how these devices work and what they can actually protect you from.

By Marshall Brain

Body armor is about to undergo the biggest change in centuries -- new liquid formations are making Kevlar much lighter and more flexible to wear. Find out about this new technique for making body armor more wearable.

By Tracy V. Wilson

In 2007, Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey came under fire for refusing to classify water boarding as torture. What does water boarding entail? Does it work?

By Julia Layton

Body armor is essential for many people in high-risk professions. The strange thing is, the most common armor is actually a high-tech, soft netting. Learn how modern armor technologies stop bullets.

By Tom Harris

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Camouflage is critical in military operations. Learn about different types of camouflage and see how the art of blending in is keeping up with modern detection systems.

By Tom Harris

It is pretty common to hear someone on the news say, "The crowd was dispersed with tear gas." What is tear gas? What does it do?

Have you always thought of yourself as more of a Jean-Pierre than a Jon? Good news, you can still be that guy, provided you're willing to fight for France for five years.

By William Harris

Once you pass through this school's gates, you leave your civilian clothes and ordinary life behind and join the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. It's a far cry from the adventures of a typical, clueless college freshman. So what's knob life like?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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These 10 technologies changed war and the course of history as we know it. Some of these battlefield innovations, like adding grooves to gun barrels, are surprisingly simple. So what else made our list?

By Susan L. Nasr

Professional soldiers have influenced history for centuries, fighting alongside colonists in the Revolutionary War and, more recently, providing private security in Iraq. What's life as a hired gun like?

By William Harris

Bullet-resistant glass seems flimsy once you compare it with transparent aluminum armor. Will this new heavy-duty material soon be shielding soldiers and police officers?

By Tom Scheve

In one of its more bizarre moments, the U.S. Army created voice tapes of allegedly wandering souls to depress Viet Cong morale.

By Alia Hoyt

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The U.S. Navy SEALs exemplify unconventional warfare. Find out how conventional and unconventional warfare differ in this article.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Was a dog really the first to encounter bin Laden? We may never know, but we do know that man's best friend has been serving in wars for centuries, getting soldiers smokes, sniffing out bombs and patrolling borders. Why do canines make such good soldiers?

By William Harris

Game theory isn't about people scratching their heads over a never-ending game of Monopoly. Serious theorists, like Henry Kissinger, used it to form war strategies.

By Tom Scheve

Somewhere in the world, a prisoner likely is enduring torture right now. Human rights organizations have made it their mission to report these crimes against men, women and children. Here are 10 of the most common ways torture is perpetuated in modern society.

By Josh Clark & Jonathan Atteberry

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Coalition troops have been surviving mainly on MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for most of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Learn what these portable, adaptable and absolutely essential pieces of military technology are all about.

By Marshall Brain

There's more to being a sniper than lining up your target in the crosshairs and pulling the trigger -- try lying in the same position for days at a time.

By Robert Valdes