|United States Secretary of Defense|
| United States Department of Defense |
Office of the Secretary of Defense
|Status||Leader and chief executive|
|Member of|| Cabinet |
National Security Council
|Reports to||President of the United States|
|Seat||The Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia|
|Appointer||The President |
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Constituting instrument|| 10 U.S.C. § 113 |
50 U.S.C. § 401
|Formation||September 17, 1947|
|First holder||James Forrestal|
|Deputy||Deputy Secretary of Defense|
|Salary||Executive Schedule, level I|
The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is the leader and chief executive officer of the United States Department of Defense, the executive department of the Armed Forces of the U.S.The Secretary of Defense's position of command and authority over the U.S. military is second only to that of the President and Congress, respectively. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in many other countries. The Secretary of Defense is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and is by custom a member of the Cabinet and by law a member of the National Security Council.
The chief executive officer (CEO) or just chief executive (CE), is the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer in charge of managing an organization – especially an independent legal entity such as a company or nonprofit institution. CEOs lead a range of organizations, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations and even some government organizations. The CEO of a corporation or company typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the entity, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues or another element. In the non-profit and government sector, CEOs typically aim at achieving outcomes related to the organization's mission, such as reducing poverty, increasing literacy, etc.
The United States Department of Defense is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government concerned directly with national security and the United States Armed Forces. The department is the largest employer in the world, with nearly 1.3 million active-duty service members as of 2016. Additional employees include over 826,000 National Guard and Reservists from the armed forces and over 732,000 civilians bringing the total to over 2.8 million employees. Headquartered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., the DoD's stated mission is to provide "the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security".
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.
Secretary of Defense is a statutory office, and the general provision in 10 U.S.C. § 113 provides that the Secretary of Defense has "authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense", and is further designated by the same statute as "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense". To ensure civilian control of the military, no one may be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years of serving as a commissioned officer of a regular (i.e., non-reserve) component of an armed force.
Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of armed forces in the United States Code. It provides the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the services as well as the United States Department of Defense. Each of the five subtitles deals with a separate aspect or component of the armed services.
Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in military and political science that places ultimate responsibility for a country's strategic decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership, rather than professional military officers. The reverse situation, where professional military officers control national politics, is called a military dictatorship. A lack of control over the military may result in a state within a state. One author, paraphrasing Samuel P. Huntington's writings in The Soldier and the State, has summarized the civilian control ideal as "the proper subordination of a competent, professional military to the ends of policy as determined by civilian authority".
An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.
Subject only to the orders of the President, the Secretary of Defense is in the chain of command and exercises command and control, for both operational and administrative purposes, over all Department of Defense forces – the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force – as well as the U.S. Coast Guard when its command and control is transferred to the Department of Defense.Only the Secretary of Defense (or the president or Congress) can authorize the transfer of operational control of forces between the three Military Departments (the departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force) and the 10 Combatant Commands (Africa Command, Central Command, European Command, Indo-Pacific Command, Northern Command, Southern Command, Cyber Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command, Transportation Command). Because the Office of Secretary of Defense is vested with legal powers which exceed those of any commissioned officer, and is second only to the President in the military hierarchy, its incumbent has sometimes unofficially been referred to as a de facto "deputy commander-in-chief". (The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the Secretary of Defense and the President, and while the Chairman may assist the Secretary and President in their command functions, the Chairman is not in the chain of command. )
Command and control or C2 is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ... [that] employs human, physical, and information resources to solve problems and accomplish missions" to achieve the goals of an organization or enterprise, according to a 2015 definition by military scientists Marius Vassiliou, David S. Alberts and Jonathan R. Agre, The term often refers to a military system.
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
The Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of the Treasury are generally regarded as heading the four most important departments.
The secretary of state is a senior official of the federal government of the United States of America, and as head of the United States Department of State, is principally concerned with foreign policy and is considered to be the U.S. government's equivalent of a minister for foreign affairs.
The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the chief lawyer of the Federal Government of the United States, head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. § 503, and oversees all governmental legal affairs.
The secretary of the treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury which is concerned with all financial and monetary matters relating to the federal government, and, until 2003, also included several major federal law enforcement agencies. This position in the federal government of the United States is analogous to the minister of finance in many other countries. The secretary of the treasury is a member of the president's Cabinet, and is nominated by the president of the United States. Nominees for secretary of the treasury undergo a confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Finance before being voted on by the United States Senate.
Since June 24, 2019, the Secretary of Defense has been Mark Esper, serving in an acting capacity.Richard V. Spencer has assumed the duties of Acting Secretary of Defense while Mark Esper deals with his confirmation at Congress on July 15, 2019. He expects "to continue to serve in this role until a Secretary of Defense nominee is confirmed by the Senate and assumes office. At that time, I will continue to serve as Secretary of the Navy."
Mark Thomas Esper is a former American corporate executive and military veteran serving as acting United States secretary of defense. He served as the 23rd United States secretary of the Army from 2017 to 2019. Prior to his current position, he served as vice president of government relations at Raytheon, a major U.S. defense contractor. During his time at Raytheon, Esper was recognized as a top corporate lobbyist by The Hill in 2015 and in 2016.
Richard Vaughn Spencer is an American politician and businessman who currently serves as the 76th United States Secretary of the Navy, he simultaneously is currently serving as Acting United States Secretary of Defense. Spencer served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1976 to 1981 as a Marine Aviator and also served as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Intercontinental Exchange from November 2001 to January 2008.
An Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were established in 1775, in concurrence with the American Revolution. The War Department, headed by the Secretary of War, was created by Act of Congress in 1789 and was responsible for both the Army and Navy until the founding of a separate Department of the Navy in 1798.
The American Revolution was a colonial revolt which occurred between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) with the assistance of France, winning independence from Great Britain and establishing the United States of America.
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department, was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army, also bearing responsibility for naval affairs until the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, and for most land-based air forces until the creation of the Department of the Air Force on September 18, 1947.
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War", had been appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation between 1781 and 1789. Benjamin Lincoln and later Henry Knox held the position. When Washington was inaugurated as the first president under the Constitution, he appointed Knox to continue serving as Secretary of War.
Based on the experiences of World War II, proposals were soon made on how to more effectively manage the large combined military establishment. The Army generally favored centralization while the Navy had institutional preferences for decentralization and the status quo. The resulting National Security Act of 1947 was largely a compromise between these divergent viewpoints. The Act split the Department of War into the Department of the Army and Department of the Navy and established the National Military Establishment (NME), presided over by the Secretary of Defense. The Act also separated the Army Air Forces from the Army to become its own branch of service, the United States Air Force. At first, each of the service secretaries maintained cabinet status. The first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, who in his previous capacity as Secretary of the Navy had opposed creation of the new position, found it difficult to exercise authority over the other branches with the limited powers his office had at the time. To address this and other problems, the National Security Act was amended in 1949 to further consolidate the national defense structure in order to reduce interservice rivalry, directly subordinate the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to the Secretary of Defense in the chain of command, and rename the National Military Establishment as the Department of Defense, making it one Executive Department. The position of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two position in the department, was also created at this time.
The general trend since 1949 has been to further centralize management in the Department of Defense, elevating the status and authorities of civilian OSD appointees and defense-wide organizations at the expense of the military departments and the services within them. The last major revision of the statutory framework concerning the position was done in the Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. In particular, it elevated the status of joint service for commissioned officers, making it in practice a requirement before appointments to general officer and flag officer grades could be made.
The Secretary of Defense, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is by federal law (10 U.S.C. § 113) the head of the Department of Defense, "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to Department of Defense", and has "authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense". Because the Constitution vests all military authority in Congress and the President, the statutory authority of the Secretary of Defense is derived from their constitutional authorities. Since it is impractical for either Congress or the President to participate in every piece of Department of Defense affairs, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary's subordinate officials generally exercise military authority.
As the head of DoD, all officials, employees and service members are "under" the Secretary of Defense. Some of those high-ranking officials, civil and military (outside of OSD and the Joint Staff) are: the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force, Army Chief of Staff, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Naval Operations, and Air Force Chief of Staff, Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the Combatant Commanders of the Combatant Commands. All of these high-ranking positions, civil and military, require Senate confirmation.
The Department of Defense is composed of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Joint Staff (JS), Office of the Inspector General (DODIG), the Combatant Commands, the Military Departments (Department of the Army (DA), Department of the Navy (DON) & Department of the Air Force (DAF)), the Defense Agencies and DoD Field Activities, the National Guard Bureau (NGB), and such other offices, agencies, activities, organizations, and commands established or designated by law, or by the President or by the Secretary of Defense.
Department of Defense Directive 5100.01 describes the organizational relationships within the Department, and is the foundational issuance for delineating the major functions of the Department. The latest version, signed by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in December 2010, is the first major re-write since 1987.
The Secretary's principally civilian staff element is called the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and is composed of the Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF) and five Under Secretaries of Defense in the fields of Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer, Intelligence, Personnel & Readiness, and Policy; several Assistant Secretaries of Defense; other directors and the staffs under them.
The name of the principally military staff organization, organized under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the Joint Staff (JS).
The Defense Distinguished Service Medal (DDSM), the Defense Superior Service Medal (DSSM), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM), the Joint Service Commendation Medal (JSCM) and the Joint Service Achievement Medal (JSAM) are awarded, to military personnel for service in joint duty assignments, in the name of the Secretary of Defense. In addition, there is the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA), which is the only ribbon (as in non-medal) and unit award issued to joint DoD activities, also issued in the name of the Secretary of Defense.
The DDSM is analogous to the distinguished services medals issued by the military departments (i.e. Army Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal & Air Force Distinguished Service Medal), the DSSM corresponds to the Legion of Merit, the DMSM to the Meritorious Service Medal, the JSCM to the service commendation medals, and the JSAM to the achievement medals issued by the services. While the approval authority for DSSM, DMSM, JSCM, JSAM and JMUA is delegated to inferior DoD officials: the DDSM can only be awarded by the Secretary of Defense.
Recommendations for the Medal of Honor (MOH), formally endorsed in writing by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are processed through the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and such recommendations be must approved by the Secretary of Defense before it can be handed over to the President, who is the final approval authority for the MOH, although it is awarded in the name of Congress.
The Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, is the approval authority for the acceptance and wear of NATO medals issued by the Secretary General of NATO and offered to the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO in recognition of U.S. Service members who meet the eligibility criteria specified by NATO.
As the head of the department, the Secretary of Defense is the chief witness for the congressional committees with oversight responsibilities over the Department of Defense. The most important committees, with respect to the entire department, are the two authorizing committees, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and the two appropriations committees, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee.
For the DoD intelligence programs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have the principal oversight role.
The Secretary of Defense is a statutory member of the National Security Council.As one of the principals, the Secretary along with the Vice President, Secretary of State and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs participates in biweekly Principals Committee (PC) meetings, preparing and coordinating issues before they are brought before full NSC sessions chaired by the President.
The Secretary is one of only five or six civilians—the others being the President, the three "service secretaries" (the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force), and the Secretary of Homeland Security (when the United States Coast Guard is under the United States Department of Homeland Security and has not been transferred to the Department of the Navy under the Department of Defense)—authorized to act as convening authority in the military justice system for General Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 822: article 22, UCMJ), Special Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 823: article 23, UCMJ), and Summary Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 824: article 24 UCMJ).
Secretary of Defense is a Level I position of the Executive Schedule,and thus earns a salary of $210,700 per year as of January 2018.
The longest-serving Secretary of Defense is Robert McNamara, who served for a total of 7 years, 39 days. Combining his two non-sequential services as Secretary of Defense, the second-longest serving is Donald Rumsfeld, who served just ten days fewer than McNamara. The second-longest unbroken tenure was Caspar Weinberger's, at 6 years, 306 days.
The shortest-serving Secretary of Defense is Elliot Richardson, who served 114 days and then was appointed U.S. Attorney General amid the resignations of the Watergate Scandal. (This is not counting Deputy Secretary of Defense William P. Clements and William Howard Taft IV, who each served a few weeks as temporary/acting Secretary of Defense).
Democratic Republican Political Independent / Unknown
|№||Secretary of Defense||Took office||Left office||Time in office||Party||State of residence|| President |
|1||James Forrestal |
|September 17, 1947||March 28, 1949||1 year, 192 days||Democratic||New York||Harry S Truman (Dem)|
|2||Louis A. Johnson |
|March 28, 1949||September 19, 1950||1 year, 175 days||Democratic||West Virginia||Harry S Truman (Dem)|
|3||George Marshall |
|September 21, 1950||September 12, 1951||356 days||Independent||Pennsylvania||Harry S Truman (Dem)|
|4||Robert A. Lovett |
|September 17, 1951||January 20, 1953||1 year, 125 days||Republican||New York||Harry S Truman (Dem)|
|5||Charles Erwin Wilson |
|January 28, 1953||October 8, 1957||4 years, 253 days||Republican||Michigan||Dwight D. Eisenhower (Rep)|
|6||Neil H. McElroy |
|October 9, 1957||December 1, 1959||2 years, 53 days||Republican||Ohio||Dwight D. Eisenhower (Rep)|
|7||Thomas S. Gates Jr. |
|December 2, 1959||January 20, 1961||1 year, 49 days||Republican||Pennsylvania||Dwight D. Eisenhower (Rep)|
|8||Robert McNamara |
|January 21, 1961||February 29, 1968||7 years, 39 days||Republican||Michigan||John F. Kennedy (Dem) |
Lyndon B. Johnson (Dem)
|9||Clark Clifford |
|March 1, 1968||January 20, 1969||325 days||Democratic||Maryland||Lyndon B. Johnson (Dem)|
|10||Melvin R. Laird |
|January 22, 1969||January 29, 1973||4 years, 7 days||Republican||Wisconsin||Richard Nixon (Rep)|
|11||Elliot Richardson |
|January 30, 1973||May 24, 1973||114 days||Republican||Massachusetts||Richard Nixon (Rep)|
|–||Bill Clements |
|May 24, 1973||July 2, 1973[ citation needed ]||39 days||Republican||Texas||Richard Nixon (Rep)|
|12||James R. Schlesinger |
|July 2, 1973||November 19, 1975||1 year, 38 days||Republican||Virginia||Richard Nixon (Rep) |
Gerald Ford (Rep)
|13||Donald Rumsfeld |
|November 20, 1975||January 20, 1977||1 year, 61 days||Republican||Illinois||Gerald Ford (Rep)|
|14||Harold Brown |
|January 20, 1977||January 20, 1981||4 years, 0 days||Independent||California||Jimmy Carter (Dem)|
|15||Caspar Weinberger |
|January 21, 1981||November 23, 1987||6 years, 306 days||Republican||California||Ronald Reagan (Rep)|
|16||Frank Carlucci |
|November 23, 1987||January 20, 1989||1 year, 58 days||Republican||Virginia||Ronald Reagan (Rep)|
|–||William Howard Taft IV |
|January 20, 1989||March 21, 1989||60 days||Republican||Ohio||George H. W. Bush (Rep)|
|17||Dick Cheney |
|March 21, 1989||January 20, 1993||3 years, 305 days||Republican||Wyoming||George H. W. Bush (Rep)|
|18||Leslie Aspin |
|January 20, 1993||February 3, 1994||1 year, 14 days||Democratic||Wisconsin||Bill Clinton (Dem)|
|19||William Perry |
|February 3, 1994||January 23, 1997 / January 24, 1997||2 years, 356 days||Independent||Pennsylvania||Bill Clinton (Dem)||.|
|20||William Cohen |
|January 24, 1997||January 20, 2001||3 years, 362 days||Republican||Maine||Bill Clinton (Dem)|
|21||Donald Rumsfeld |
|January 20, 2001||December 18, 2006||5 years, 332 days|
(7 years, 29 days total)
|Republican||Illinois||George W. Bush (Rep)|
|22||Robert Gates |
|December 18, 2006||June 30, 2011 / July 1, 2011||4 years, 194 days||Republican||Texas||George W. Bush (Rep) |
Barack Obama (Dem)
|23||Leon Panetta |
|July 1, 2011||February 26, 2013||1 year, 240 days||Democratic||California||Barack Obama (Dem)|
|24||Chuck Hagel |
|February 27, 2013||February 17, 2015||1 year, 355 days||Republican||Nebraska||Barack Obama (Dem)|
|25||Ash Carter |
|February 17, 2015||January 19, 2017||1 year, 337 days||Democratic||Massachusetts||Barack Obama (Dem)|
|26||Jim Mattis |
|January 20, 2017||December 31, 2018||1 year, 345 days||Independent||Washington||Donald Trump (Rep)|
|–||Patrick M. Shanahan |
|January 1, 2019||June 23, 2019||173 days||Independent||Washington||Donald Trump (Rep)|
|–||Mark Esper |
|June 24, 2019||July 15, 2019||23 days||Republican||Virginia||Donald Trump (Rep)|
|–|| Richard V. Spencer |
|July 15, 2019||Incumbent||2 days||Independent||Wyoming||Donald Trump (Rep)|
The Secretary of Defense is sixth in the presidential line of succession, following the Secretary of the Treasury and preceding the Attorney General.
In Executive Order 13533 of March 1, 2010, President Barack Obama modified the line of succession regarding who would act as Secretary of Defense in the event of a vacancy or incapacitation, thus reversing the changes made by President George W. Bush in Executive Order 13394 as to the relative positions of the Secretaries of the Military Departments. All of the officials in the line of succession are civilians appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate:
Executive Order 13533 (March 1, 2010 – present)
Executive Order 13394 (December 22, 2005 – March 1, 2010)
As of July 2019, there are nine living former Secretaries of Defense, the oldest being William Perry (1994–1997, born 1927). The most recent Secretary of Defense to die was Harold Brown (1977–1981), on January 4, 2019.
|Name||Term of office||Date of birth (and age)|
|Donald Rumsfeld||1975–1977, 2001–2006||9 July 1932|
|Dick Cheney||1989–1993||30 January 1941|
|William Perry||1994–1997||11 October 1927|
|William Cohen||1997–2001||28 August 1940|
|Robert Gates||2006–2011||25 September 1943|
|Leon Panetta||2011–2013||28 June 1938|
|Chuck Hagel||2013–2015||4 October 1946|
|Ash Carter||2015–2017||24 September 1954|
|Jim Mattis||2017–2018||8 September 1950|
The commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) is normally the highest-ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The CMC reports directly to the United States Secretary of the Navy and is responsible for ensuring the organization, policy, plans, and programs for the Marine Corps as well as advising the President, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of the Navy on matters involving the Marine Corps. Under the authority of the Secretary of the Navy, the CMC designates Marine personnel and resources to the commanders of Unified Combatant Commands. The commandant performs all other functions prescribed in Section 5043 in Title 10 of the United States Code or delegates those duties and responsibilities to other officers in his administration in his name. As with the other joint chiefs, the commandant is an administrative position and has no operational command authority over United States Marine Corps forces.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the head of the United States Navy. The position is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral who is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy. In a separate capacity as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the CNO is a military adviser to the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The current Chief of Naval Operations is Admiral John M. Richardson.
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American former politician. Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under Gerald Ford, and again from January 2001 to December 2006 under George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the second-oldest person to have served as Secretary of Defense. Additionally, Rumsfeld was a three-term U.S. Congressman from Illinois (1963–1969), Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (1969–1970), Counsellor (sic) to the President (1969–1973), the United States Permanent Representative to NATO (1973–1974), and White House Chief of Staff (1974–1975). Between his terms as Secretary of Defense, he served as the CEO and chairman of several companies.
The Legion of Merit (LOM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued to members of the seven uniformed services of the United States as well as to military and political figures of foreign governments.
The Secretary of the Navy is a statutory officer and the head of the Department of the Navy, a military department within the Department of Defense of the United States of America.
The National Security Act of 1947 was a major restructuring of the United States government's military and intelligence agencies following World War II. The majority of the provisions of the Act took effect on September 18, 1947, the day after the Senate confirmed James Forrestal as the first Secretary of Defense.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense which advises the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council on military matters. The composition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is defined by statute and consists of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), the Military Service Chiefs from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, all appointed by the President following Senate confirmation. Each of the individual Military Service Chiefs, outside their Joint Chiefs of Staff obligations, works directly for the Secretary of the Military Department concerned, i.e., Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is, by U.S. law, the highest-ranking and senior-most military officer in the United States Armed Forces and is the principal military advisor to the President, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff outranks all other commissioned officers, the Chairman is prohibited by law from having operational command authority over the armed forces; however, the Chairman does assist the President and the Secretary of Defense in exercising their command functions.
The Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Army. As the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, the CSA is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Army. In a separate capacity, the CSA is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, thereby, a military advisor to the National Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President of the United States. The CSA is typically the highest-ranking officer on active-duty in the U.S. Army unless the Chairman or the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are Army officers.
The Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of October 4, 1986 Pub.L. 99–433,, made the most sweeping changes to the United States Department of Defense since the department was established in the National Security Act of 1947 by reworking the command structure of the United States military. It increased the powers of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and implemented some of the suggestions from the Packard Commission, commissioned by President Reagan in 1985. Among other changes, Goldwater–Nichols streamlined the military chain of command, which now runs from the president through the secretary of defense directly to combatant commanders, bypassing the service chiefs. The service chiefs were assigned to an advisory role to the president and the secretary of defense as well as given the responsibility for training and equipping personnel for the unified combatant commands.
The United States Department of the Navy was established by an Act of Congress on April 30, 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps and, when directed by the President, the United States Coast Guard, as a service within the Department of the Navy, though each remain independent service branches. The Department of the Navy was an Executive Department and the Secretary of the Navy was a member of the President's cabinet until 1949, when amendments to the National Security Act of 1947 changed the name of the National Military Establishment to the Department of Defense and made it an Executive Department. The Department of the Navy then became, along with the Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force, a Military Department within the Department of Defense: subject to the authority, direction and control of the Secretary of Defense.
The Department of the Army (DA) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Army is the Federal Government agency within which the United States Army is organized, and it is led by the Secretary of the Army, who has statutory authority under 10 U.S.C. § 3013 to conduct its affairs and to prescribe regulations for its government, subject to the limits of the law, and the directions of the Secretary of Defense and the President.
A unified combatant command (UCC) is a United States Department of Defense command that is composed of forces from at least two Military Departments and has a broad and continuing mission. These commands are established to provide effective command and control of U.S. military forces, regardless of branch of service, in peace and war. They are organized either on a geographical basis or on a functional basis, such as special operations, power projection, or transport. UCCs are "joint" commands with specific badges denoting their affiliation.
John D. Altenburg Jr. is a lawyer for the U.S. Army and a retired Major General. In December 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld named Altenburg as the appointing authority for military commissions covering detainees at Guantanamo. He resigned, effective November 10, 2006.
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has a complex organizational structure. It includes the Army, Navy, the Marine Corps, Air Force, the Unified combatant commands, U.S. elements of multinational commands, as well as non-combat agencies such as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. The DoD's annual budget was roughly US$496.1 billion in 2015. This figure is the base amount and does not include the $64.3 billion spent on "War/Non-War Supplementals". Including those items brings the total to $560.6 billion for 2015.
The United States Space Force (USSF) is the proposed space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces, which is intended to have control over military space operations. It would be the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces and the eighth American uniformed service.
It is hereby expressed as the intent of the Congress that the authority granted by this Act is not to be construed as approval by the Congress of continuing appointments of military men to the office of Secretary of Defense in the future. It is hereby expressed as the sense of the Congress that after General Marshall leaves the office of Secretary of Defense, no additional appointments of military men to that office shall be approved.Defenselink bio, Retrieved February 8, 2010; and Marshall Foundation bio, Retrieved February 8, 2010.
In June 1973, Representative O. C. Fisher complained to William P. Clements, Jr., acting Secretary of Defense, that the authority, responsibility, and, consequently, effectiveness of the chiefs of the various reserve components seemed to be eroding.
(Deputy Secretary of Defense William H. Taft served as acting secretary of defense from 20 January 1989 until 21 March 1989).
Sworn in as secretary of defense on 3 February 1994 and served until 24 January 1997.
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|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Secretary of the Treasury
| Order of Precedence of the United States |
as Secretary of Defense
as Attorney General
|U.S. presidential line of succession|
Secretary of the Treasury
|6th in line||Succeeded by|
Secretary of the Interior