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Department of Defense - GovITwiki

Department of Defense

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Department of Defense redirects here. For the defense departments in governments of other countries, see defence ministry.

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The United States Department of Defense (DOD or DoD) is the federal department charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government relating directly to national security and the military. The organization and functions of the DOD are set forth in Title 10 of the United States Code.

The DOD is the major tenant of The Pentagon, and has three major components — the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force. Among the many DOD agencies are the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the National Security Agency (NSA). The department also operates several joint service schools, including the National War College.



During 1945, specific plans for the proposed DoD were put forth by the Army, the Navy, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a special message to Congress on December 19, 1945, President Harry Truman proposed creation of a unified Department of National Defense. A proposal went to Congress in April 1946, but was held up by the Naval Affairs Committee hearings in July 1946, which raised objections to the concentration of power in a single department. Truman eventually sent new legislation to Congress in February 1947, where it was debated and amended for several months.

DoD was created in 1947 as a national military establishment with a single secretary as its head to preside over the former War Department (founded in 1789) and Navy Department (founded in 1798; formerly the Board of Admiralty, founded in 1780). The Department of the Air Force was also created as a new service at the same time (it had been part of the War Department as the United States Army Air Force), and made part of DoD. DoD was created in order to reduce interservice rivalry which was believed to have reduced military effectiveness during World War II.

On July 26, 1947, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, which set up the National Military Establishment to begin operations on September 18, 1947, the day after the Senate confirmed James V. Forrestal as the first Secretary of Defense. The Establishment had the unfortunate abbreviation "NME" (the obvious pronunciation being "enemy"), and was renamed the "Department of Defense" (abbreviated as DOD or DoD) on August 10, 1949; in addition, the Secretary of Defense was given greater authority over three of the branches of the military (Army, Navy, and Air Force). Prior to the creation of the National Military Establishment / Department of Defense, the Armed Forces of the United States were separated into different cabinet-level departments without much central authority. The Marine Corps remained as a separate service under the Department of the Navy, and the Coast Guard remained in the Department of the Treasury, ready to be shifted to the Navy Department during time of declared war (as it was in both world wars).


File:The Pentagon US Department of Defense building.jpg
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.

The Pentagon, in Arlington County, Virginia across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is the headquarters of the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense is protected by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency which ensures law enforcement and security for The Pentagon and various other jurisdictions throughout the National Capital Region (NCR). The Department includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, as well as non-combat agencies such as the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency. The DoD's annual budget was roughly $425 billion in 2006.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> This figure does not include tens of billions more in supplemental expenditures allotted by Congress throughout the year, particularly for the war in Iraq. It also does not include expenditures by the Department of Energy on nuclear weapons design and testing.

In wartime, the Department of Defense has authority over the Coast Guard; in peacetime, that agency is under the control of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Prior to the creation of DHS, the Coast Guard was under the control of the Department of Transportation and earlier under the Department of the Treasury. According to the U.S. Code, the Coast Guard is at all times considered one of the five armed services of the United States. During times of declared war (or by Congressional direction), the Coast Guard operates as a part of the Navy; the service has not been under the auspices of Navy since World War II, but members have served in the undeclared wars and conflicts since then while the service remained in its peacetime department.

Command Structure

The command structure of the Department of Defense is defined by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. Under the act, the chain of command runs from the President of the United States, through the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commanders (COCOM) who command all military forces within their area of responsibility. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the service Chiefs of Staff are responsible for readiness of the U.S. military and serve as the President's military advisers, but are not in the chain of command. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the highest ranking military officer in the United States.


File:DOD 2005.svg
2005 DoD Structure

United States Secretary of Defense

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffAdm. Michael G. Mullen (USN)
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffGen. James E. Cartwright (USMC)
Chief of Staff of the United States ArmyGen. George W. Casey Jr. (USA)
Commandant of the Marine CorpsGen. James T. Conway (USMC)
Chief of Naval OperationsAdm. Gary Roughead (USN)
Chief of Staff of the United States Air ForceGen. T. Michael Moseley (USAF)

The United States Naval Observatory falls under the Chief of Naval Operations. In 2003, the National Communications System was moved to the Department of Homeland Security, but only for executive purposes. The National Communications System still centralizes its activities within the Department of Defense, since the human resources required by NCS (example: Military Departments) still reside within the Department of Defense, or for retention of practical maintenance.

Unified Combatant Commands

There are nine, soon to be ten Unified Combatant Commands; five (soon to be six) regional and four functional. United States Africa Command will become initially operational in October 2007.

CommandCommanderHome BaseArea of Responsibility
United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM) General Victor E. Renuart Jr. (USAF) (also Chief of NORAD) Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado North American homeland defense and coordinating homeland security with civilian forces.
United States Central Command (CENTCOM), Admiral William J. Fallon (USN) MacDill Air Force Base, Florida Egypt through the Persian Gulf region, into Central Asia; handing over responsibility of Horn of Africa to AFRICOM.
United States European Command (EUCOM) General John Craddock (USA) (also Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), Belgium (USEUCOM HQ in Stuttgart, Germany) Europe and Israel; handing over responsibility of Africa to AFRICOM.
United States Pacific Command (PACOM) Admiral Timothy J. Keating (USN) Camp H. M. Smith, Oahu, Hawaii The Asia-Pacific region including Hawaii.
United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Admiral James Stavridis (USN) Miami, Florida South, Central America and the surrounding waters
United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) General William E. Ward (US Army) Stuttgart, Germany for now; to be relocated to African continent Africa excluding Egypt
U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Admiral Eric T. Olson (USN) MacDill Air Force Base, Florida Provides special operations for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) General James Mattis (USMC) (also Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT)) Naval Support Activity Headquarters (Norfolk) and Suffolk, Virginia Supports other commands as a joint force provider.
United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) General Kevin P. Chilton (USAF) Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska Covers the strategic deterrent force and coordinates the use of space assets.
United States Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) General Norton A. Schwartz (USAF) Scott Air Force Base, Illinois Covers global mobility of all military assets for all regional commands.

Until 2007, five geographical commands were given responsibilities for United States military operations in various areas of the world as shown on the following map.

The Five Geographic Commands
File:Unified Command map s.jpg
File:USAFRICOM United States Africa Command Map Draft .jpg
February 2007 Draft Map of the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) showing its creation from parts of USEUCOM, USCENTCOM and USPACOM. (Click to see enlarged image.)

Beginning in 2007, a new geographical command for Africa was authorized. This proposed significant changes to the areas of responsibility for other adjacent geographical commands as shown in the accompanying graphic.Template:Clear



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Military spending as a percentage of GDP


The military expenditure of the United States Department of Defense for fiscal year 2007 is:

Total Funding$439.3 Billion
Operations and maintenance$152.2 Bil.
Military Personnel$110.8 Bil.
Procurement$84.2 Bil.
Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation$73.2 Bil.
Military Construction$12.6 Bil.
Family Housing$4.1 Bil.
(The War on terror, Iraq, Afghanistan are not included)

The United States and its closest allies are responsible for approximately two-thirds of global military spending (of which, in turn, the U.S. is responsible for the vast majority). Military spending accounts for 19% of the United States' federal budget, and approximately half of its federal discretionary spending, which comprises all of the U.S. government's money not accounted for by pre-existing obligations.[1] <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

However, in terms of per capita spending, the U.S. ranks third behind Israel and Singapore<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>. It is also number 27 in terms of military spending per dollar GDP. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2003 the United States spent approximately 47% of the world's total military spending of US $956,000,000,000.

As a percentage of its GDP, the United States spends 3.7% on military, ranking it 27th in the world. This is higher by percent than France's 2.6%, and lower than Saudia Arabia's 10%<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>. This 3.7% is low relative to the United States's past 60-some years. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Also, since it is an all-volunteer force and since most jobs within it require high degrees of technical skill and personnel retention, the United States armed forces have dramatically higher personnel costs, both military and civilian, compared to the militaries of countries which use conscription, many of which have far more troops than the United States. However, only China has more standing troops than the United States.

Current issues

On February 26, 2002, the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General has reported that DOD has not and will not account for $1.1 trillion of "unsupported accounting entries".<ref>Template:Citation</ref> In addition, there have been several high-profile Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigations of the Department of Defense.

The GAO is also interested in ways DOD can partner with other government agencies to save money and create efficiencies. One way was through use of the Veterans Administration's Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) program. The CMOP fills continuation of therapy or refill prescriptions only. Initial prescriptions are written for veterans at one of the Veteran Administration’s health care facilities. When a refill is needed, the heath care facilities process the prescriptions. The CMOP then uploads this information from multiple facilities in its region. Once filled, the United States Postal Service (USPS) delivers the prescriptions. The health care facility or clinic is notified of the prescription’s completion electronically. As of 2000, the annual workload was near 50 million prescriptions. Processing and filling prescriptions took two days; three more days were required for mail delivery.

The DOD and VA conducted a pilot program in FY 2003. In its 2005 report, GAO-05-555, the GAO found that the DOD could generate savings because CMOP's size allows it to negotiate volume discounts. The CMOP program is now serving the entire country from a number of locations including West Los Angeles, California; Bedford, Massachusetts; Dallas, Texas; Hines, Illinois, Charleston, South Carolina; Leavenworth, Kansas; and Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Military Buildup

To meet the growing demands in the Middle East and around the world, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates proposed to the President to increase the overall size of the military by approximately 92,000 troops over the course of five years. Specifically, the proposal calls for an Army troop cap of 550,000 active duty soldiers and a troop cap of 202,000 active duty Marines. The total active duty force of the United States after the buildup will be about 1,479,000.<ref>Template:Citation </ref>

Related legislation

See also



External links


Template:DOD agencies Template:Cabinet

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