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|United States Secretary of War|
Flag of the Secretary of War
|United States Department of War|
|Reports to||President of the United States|
|Appointer||The President |
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Precursor||Secretary at War|
|First holder||Henry Knox|
|Final holder||Kenneth C. Royall|
|Succession|| Secretary of the Army |
Secretary of the Air Force
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.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
President of the United States (POTUS) is the title for the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
The presidency of George Washington began on April 30, 1789, when Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1797. Washington took office after the 1788–89 presidential election, the nation's first quadrennial presidential election, in which he was elected unanimously. Washington was re-elected unanimously in the 1792 presidential election, and chose to retire after two terms. He was succeeded by his vice president, John Adams of the Federalist Party.
The Secretary of War was the head of the War Department. At first, he was responsible for all military affairs, including naval affairs. In 1798, the Secretary of the Navy was created by statute, and the scope of responsibility for this office was reduced to the affairs of the United States Army. From 1886 onward, the Secretary of War was in the line of succession to the presidency, after the Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tem of the Senate and the Secretary of State.
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 United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.
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.
In 1947, with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, the Secretary of War was replaced by the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force, which, along with the Secretary of the Navy, have since 1949 been non-Cabinet subordinates under the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of the Army's office is generally considered the direct successor to the Secretary of War's office although the Secretary of Defense took the Secretary of War's position in the Cabinet, and the line of succession to the presidency.
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 Secretary of the Army is a senior civilian official within the Department of Defense of the United States with statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications, and financial management.
The Secretary of the Air Force is the head of the Department of the Air Force, a component organization within the United States Department of Defense. The Secretary of the Air Force is appointed from civilian life by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Secretary reports to the Secretary of Defense and/or the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and is by statute responsible for and has the authority to conduct all the affairs of the Department of the Air Force.
The office of Secretary at War was modelled upon Great Britain's Secretary at War, who was William Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington, at the time of the American Revolution. The office of Secretary at War was meant to replace both the Commander-in-Chief and the Board of War, and like the President of the Board, the Secretary wore no special insignia. The Inspector General, Quartermaster General, Commissary General, and Adjutant General served on the Secretary's staff. However, the Army itself under Secretary Henry Knox only consisted of 700 men.
The Secretary at War was a political position in the English and later British government, with some responsibility over the administration and organization of the Army, but not over military policy. The Secretary at War ran the War Office. After 1794 it was occasionally a cabinet-level position, although it was considered of subordinate rank to the Secretaries of State. The position was combined with that of Secretary of State for War in 1854 and abolished in 1863.
William Wildman Shute Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington PC was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons for 38 years from 1740 to 1778. He was best known for his two periods as Secretary at War during Britain's involvement in the Seven Years War and American War of Independence.
The Board of War, also known as the Board of War and Ordnance, was created by the Second Continental Congress as a special standing committee to oversee the American Continental Army's administration and to make recommendations regarding the army to Congress. On January 24, 1776, Congressional delegate Edward Rutledge, echoing General George Washington's own concerns, suggested that a war office similar to Great Britain's be established. Pressure from Washington and the large volume of military business led Congress to establish the Board of War and Ordnance on June 12, 1776. Five delegates of Congress, initially John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Harrison, James Wilson, and Edward Rutledge, assisted by a permanent secretary, Richard Peters, composed the Board of War. They assumed the prescribed responsibilities for compiling a master roster of all Continental Army officers; monitoring returns of all troops, arms, and equipment; maintaining correspondence files; and securing prisoners of war. The Board of War began functioning on June 21, 1776.
|No.||Portrait||Name||State of residence||Took office||Left office||Congress|
|1||Benjamin Lincoln||Massachusetts||March 1, 1781||November 2, 1783||Congress of the Confederation|
|2||Henry Knox||Massachusetts||March 8, 1785||September 12, 1789|
No party (1) Federalist (3) Democratic-Republican (8) Democratic (14) Whig (5) Republican (25)
The Federalist Party, referred to as the Pro-Administration party until the 3rd United States Congress as opposed to their opponents in the Anti-Administration party, was the first American political party. It existed from the early 1790s to the 1820s, with their last presidential candidate being fielded in 1816. They appealed to business and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government, manufacturing, and preferred Britain and opposed the French Revolution.
The Democratic-Republican Party was an American political party formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison around 1792 to oppose the centralizing policies of the new Federalist Party run by Alexander Hamilton, who was Secretary of the Treasury and chief architect of George Washington's administration. From 1801 to 1825, the new party controlled the presidency and Congress as well as most states during the First Party System. It began in 1791 as one faction in Congress and included many politicians who had been opposed to the new constitution. They called themselves Republicans after their political philosophy, republicanism. They distrusted the Federalist tendency to centralize and loosely interpret the Constitution, believing these policies were signs of monarchism and anti-republican values. The party splintered in 1824, with the faction loyal to Andrew Jackson coalescing into the Jacksonian movement, the faction led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay forming the National Republican Party and some other groups going on to form the Anti-Masonic Party. The National Republicans, Anti-Masons, and other opponents of Andrew Jackson later formed themselves into the Whig Party.
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party. The Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, and leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has also promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice.
|No.||Portrait||Name||State of Residence||Took office||Left office||President(s)|
|1||Henry Knox||Massachusetts||September 12, 1789||December 31, 1794||George Washington|
|2||Timothy Pickering||Pennsylvania||January 2, 1795||December 10, 1795|
|3||James McHenry||Maryland||January 27, 1796||June 1, 1800|
|4||Samuel Dexter||Massachusetts||June 1, 1800||January 31, 1801|
|5||Henry Dearborn||Massachusetts||March 5, 1801||March 4, 1809||Thomas Jefferson|
|6||William Eustis||Massachusetts||March 7, 1809||January 13, 1813||James Madison|
|7||John Armstrong, Jr.||New York||January 13, 1813||September 27, 1814|
|8||James Monroe||Virginia||September 27, 1814||March 2, 1815|
|9||William H. Crawford||Georgia||August 1, 1815||October 22, 1816|
|10||John C. Calhoun||South Carolina||October 8, 1817||March 4, 1825||James Monroe|
|11||James Barbour||Virginia||March 7, 1825||May 23, 1828||John Quincy Adams|
|12||Peter Buell Porter||New York||May 23, 1828||March 9, 1829|
|13||John H. Eaton||Tennessee||March 9, 1829||June 18, 1831||Andrew Jackson|
|14||Lewis Cass||Ohio||August 1, 1831||October 5, 1836|
|15||Joel Roberts Poinsett||South Carolina||March 7, 1837||March 4, 1841||Martin Van Buren|
|16||John Bell||Tennessee||March 5, 1841||September 13, 1841||William Henry Harrison|
|17||John Canfield Spencer||New York||October 12, 1841||March 4, 1843|
|18||James Madison Porter||Pennsylvania||March 8, 1843||February 14, 1844|
|19||William Wilkins||Pennsylvania||February 15, 1844||March 4, 1845|
|20||William Learned Marcy||New York||March 6, 1845||March 4, 1849||James K. Polk|
|21||George W. Crawford||Georgia||March 8, 1849||July 22, 1850||Zachary Taylor|
|22||Charles Magill Conrad||Louisiana||August 15, 1850||March 4, 1853||Millard Fillmore|
|23||Jefferson Davis||Mississippi||March 7, 1853||March 4, 1857||Franklin Pierce|
|24||John B. Floyd||Virginia||March 6, 1857||December 29, 1860||James Buchanan|
|25||Joseph Holt||Kentucky||January 18, 1861||March 4, 1861|
|26||Simon Cameron||Pennsylvania||March 5, 1861||January 14, 1862||Abraham Lincoln|
|27||Edwin M. Stanton||Pennsylvania||January 20, 1862||May 28, 1868|
|28||John McAllister Schofield||Illinois||June 1, 1868||March 13, 1869|
|29||John Aaron Rawlins||Illinois||March 13, 1869||September 6, 1869||Ulysses S. Grant|
|30||William W. Belknap||Iowa||October 25, 1869||March 2, 1876|
|31||Alphonso Taft||Ohio||March 8, 1876||May 22, 1876|
|32||J. Donald Cameron||Pennsylvania||May 22, 1876||March 4, 1877|
|33||George W. McCrary||Iowa||March 12, 1877||December 10, 1879||Rutherford B. Hayes|
|34||Alexander Ramsey||Minnesota||December 10, 1879||March 4, 1881|
|35||Robert Todd Lincoln||Illinois||March 5, 1881||March 4, 1885||James A. Garfield|
|Chester A. Arthur|
|36||William Crowninshield Endicott||Massachusetts||March 5, 1885||March 4, 1889||Grover Cleveland|
|37||Redfield Proctor||Vermont||March 5, 1889||November 5, 1891||Benjamin Harrison|
|38||Stephen Benton Elkins||West Virginia||December 17, 1891||March 4, 1893|
|39||Daniel S. Lamont||New York||March 5, 1893||March 4, 1897||Grover Cleveland|
|40||Russell A. Alger||Michigan||March 5, 1897||August 1, 1899||William McKinley|
|41||Elihu Root||New York||August 1, 1899||January 31, 1904|
|42||William Howard Taft||Ohio||February 1, 1904||June 30, 1908|
|43||Luke Edward Wright||Tennessee||July 1, 1908||March 4, 1909|
|44||Jacob M. Dickinson||Tennessee||March 12, 1909||May 21, 1911||William Howard Taft|
|45||Henry L. Stimson||New York||May 22, 1911||March 4, 1913|
|46||Lindley Miller Garrison||New Jersey||March 5, 1913||February 10, 1916||Woodrow Wilson|
|47||Newton D. Baker||Ohio||March 9, 1916||March 4, 1921|
|48||John W. Weeks||Massachusetts||March 5, 1921||October 13, 1925||Warren G. Harding|
|49||Dwight F. Davis||Missouri||October 14, 1925||March 4, 1929|
|50||James William Good||Illinois||March 6, 1929||November 18, 1929||Herbert Hoover|
|51||Patrick J. Hurley||Oklahoma||December 9, 1929||March 4, 1933|
|52||George Dern||Utah||March 4, 1933||August 27, 1936||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|53||Harry Hines Woodring||Kansas||September 25, 1936||June 20, 1940|
|54||Henry L. Stimson||New York||July 10, 1940||September 21, 1945|
|Harry S. Truman|
|55||Robert P. Patterson||New York||September 27, 1945||July 18, 1947|
|56||Kenneth C. Royall||North Carolina||July 19, 1947||September 18, 1947|
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