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President Truman signs the National Security Act Amendment of 1949 in the Oval Office.

The National Security Act of 1947 (Pub. L. No. 235, 80 Cong., 61 Stat. 496, 50 U.S.C. ch.15) was signed by United States President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy, and Intelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of 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.

President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 onboard this VC-54C Presidential transport, the first aircraft used for the role of Air Force One. (At the time it was not painted with "U.S. Air Force" because it belonged to the USAAF.)

The Act merged the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment, headed by the Secretary of Defense. It was also responsible for the creation of a separate Department of the Air Force from the existing Army Air Forces. Initially, each of the three service secretaries maintained quasi-cabinet status, but the act was amended on August 10, 1949, to assure their subordination to the Secretary of Defense. At the same time, the NME was renamed as the Department of Defense.

Aside from the military reorganization, the act established the National Security Council, a central place of coordination for national security policy in the executive branch, and the Central Intelligence Agency, the States' first peacetime intelligence agency.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff was officially established under Title II, Section 211 of the original National Security Act of 1947 before Sections 209-214 of Title II were repealed by the law enacting Title 10 and Title 32, United States Code (Act of August 10, 1956, 70A Stat. 676) to replace them.

The act and its changes, along with the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, were major components of the Truman administration's Cold War strategy.

The bill signing took place aboard Truman's VC-54C presidential aircraft Sacred Cow, the first aircraft used for the role of Air Force One.[1] So the legislation that created the U.S. Air Force was enacted onboard an Air Force aircraft.

See also

  • Dulles-Jackson-Corre Report


External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

United States Code
by the United States Government
Title 50, Chapter 15. National Security
From the Cornell Law School U.S. Code Collection.: This chapter contains the National Security Act.
Chapter 15—National Security


§ 401. Congressional declaration of purpose.

In enacting this legislation,[1] it is the intent of Congress to provide a comprehensive program for the future security of the United States; to provide for the establishment of integrated policies and procedures for the departments, agencies, and functions of the Government relating to the national security; to provide a Department of Defense, including the three military Departments of the Army, the Navy (including naval aviation and the United States Marine Corps), and the Air Force under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense; to provide that each military department shall be separately organized under its own Secretary and shall function under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense; to provide for their unified direction under civilian control of the Secretary of Defense but not to merge these departments or services; to provide for the establishment of unified or specified combatant commands, and a clear and direct line of command to such commands; to eliminate unnecessary duplication in the Department of Defense, and particularly in the field of research and engineering by vesting its overall direction and control in the Secretary of Defense; to provide more effective, efficient, and economical administration in the Department of Defense; to provide for the unified strategic direction of the combatant forces, for their operation under unified command, and for their integration into an efficient team of land, naval, and air forces but not to establish a single Chief of Staff over the armed forces nor an overall armed forces general staff.

§ 401a. Definitions.

Subchapter 1. Coordination for National Security

Subchapter 2. Miscellaneous and Conforming Provisions

Subchapter 3. Accountability for Intelligence Activities

Subchapter 4. Protection of Certain National Security Information

Subchapter 5. Protection of Operational Files

Subchapter 6. Access to Classified Information

Subchapter 7. Application of Sanctions Laws to Intelligence Activities

Subchapter 7A. Education in Support of National Intelligence

Subchapter 8. Additional Miscellaneous Provisions


  1. Section 1 of act July 26, 1947 (ch. 343, 61 Stat. 495) provided:
    “That this Act may be cited as the ``National Security Act of 1947´´.”


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