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United States
Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg
Agency overview
Preceding agency Department of War
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia
38°52′15.56″N 77°3′21.46″W / 38.8709889°N 77.0559611°W / 38.8709889; -77.0559611
Employees 700,000 civilian
2,300,000 military (2004)
Annual budget $651 billion [1](2009)
Agency executives Robert M. Gates, Secretary
William J. Lynn III, Deputy Secretary
Child agency Click here

The United States Department of Defense (USDOD, DOD or DoD) is the U.S. federal department charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government relating directly to national security and the United States armed forces. 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 building near Washington, D.C., 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,Glendale 104,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 19 December 1945, President Harry Truman proposed creation of a unified Department of state 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 Department of War (founded in 1789) and Department of the Navy (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).


The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.

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, including the NORAD base in Colorado Springs. The DoD's annual budget was roughly $786 billion in 2007.[2] 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.

Civilian control over matters other than operations is exercised through the three service departments, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy (which includes the Marine Corps), and the Department of the Air Force. Each is led by a service secretary, who are below Cabinet rank.

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.

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).

Command structure

The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military.

The command structure of the Department of Defense is defined by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 (PL 99-433), signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on 1 October 1986. The Act reworked the command structure of the United States military, introducing the most sweeping changes to the Department since it was established in the National Security Act of 1947. 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. Each service is responsible for organizing, training and equipping military units for the commanders of the various Unified Combatant Commands.

National Command organizational chart

US National Command.png


Defense Agencies within the Department of Defense.

United States Secretary of Defense

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael G. Mullen (USN)
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James E. Cartwright (USMC)
Chief of Staff of the United States Army Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. (USA)
Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz (USAF)
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead (USN)
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway (USMC)

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 ten Unified Combatant Commands; six regional and four functional. United States Africa Command became initially operational in October 2007.

Command Commander Home Base Area 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), General David H. Petraeus (USA) 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, including Turkey, and Israel
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 (USA) Kelley Barracks, 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) 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 Duncan J. McNabb (USAF) Scott Air Force Base, Illinois Covers global mobility of all military assets for all regional commands.
The Geographic Commands
Unified Combatant Commands map.png

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.


Military spending as a percentage of GDP.

The United States Department of Defense expenditures for fiscal year 2009 are $651.2 billion. This does not take into account military spending outside of the Department of Defense, which when included increases the figure to between $859 billion and $1.16 trillion.

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). Department of Defense spending accounts for 21% 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.[4][3]

However, in terms of per capita spending, the U.S. ranks third behind Israel and Singapore[4].

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 spent 4.06% on military in the year 2000, ranking it 28th in the world. This was higher than France's 2.6%, and lower than Saudi Arabia's 10%[5].

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.

Facilities and energy

DoD's Energy Conservation Investment Program (ECIP) improves the energy and water efficiency of existing Military Services' facilities. The program's projects help the Military Services save on energy usage and cost.[6]. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $120 million for the ECIP.

Also the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has given money for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Army National Guard and Air National Guard facilities to invest in energy efficiency.

Energy use

The Department of Defense uses 4,600,000,000 US gallons (1.7×1010 L) (4.6 billion gallons) of fuel annually, an average of 12,600,000 US gallons (48,000,000 L) (12.6 million gallons) of fuel per day. A large Army division may use about 6,000 US gallons (23,000 L) per day. According to the 2005 CIA World Factbook, the DoD would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.[7]

In FY 2006, the DoD used almost 30,000 gigawatt hours (GWH) of electricity, at a cost of almost $2.2 billion. The DoD's electricity use would supply enough electricity to power more than 2.6 million average American homes. In electricity consumption, the DOD would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark and slightly more than Syria (CIA World Factbook, 2006).[8]

The DoD uses 93% of all US government fuel consumption (Air Force: 52%; Navy: 33%; Army: 7%. Other DoD: 1%).[8]

The Air Force is the largest user of fuel energy in the federal government. The Air Force uses 10% of the nation's aviation fuel. (JP-8 accounts for nearly 90% of its fuels. This fuel usage breaks down as such: 82% jet fuel, 16% facility management and 2% ground vehicle/equipment.[9] To meet renewable energy goals, it plans to certify its entire fleet on coal-to-liquid synthetic fuel blends by 2011. By 2016, it plans to fuel half of its domestic transportation by US-produced synthetic blends. The Air Force is currently the leading purchaser of renewable energy within the Federal government and has been a long time pioneer of renewable energy development and leadership.

The US Army has recently prioritized renewable energy strategies in Iraq.[10] Strategies include the Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery Program, which converts 1 short ton (0.91 t) ton of waste to 11 US gallons (42 L) gallons of JP-8 fuel, a photovoltaic flexible, portable mat, insulating foam technology, hybrid-electric Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV), and highly efficient portable cells.[10] The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave more than $150 million to develop these technologies.[10]

The Navy has tremendous variety within its maritime infrastructure. They are working on further developing wind and nuclear alternatives to traditional fuel engines. The Navy, like the Air Force is a leader in renewable development.

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".[11] 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 health 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.

The military's analysis of the missile strike on a dead U.S. spy satellite has revealed no sign of danger from debris, including no hazard from the satellite's fuel tank, a Pentagon spokesman said February 22, 2008.[12] The launched missile successfully destroyed the fuel tank of an inoperable spy satellite, U.S. military officials said February 25, 2008.[13]

In fall of 2006, the U.S. Defense Department accidentally shipped ballistic missile components instead of helicopter batteries to Taiwan, it was reported on March 25, 2008. The parts were 1960s technology, designed for use with Minuteman ballistic missiles. The missile components were first shipped from F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming to Hill Air Force Base in Utah in 2005.[14]

On April 20, 2008, The New York Times published an exposé accusing the U.S. Department of Defense of running a propaganda "message machine" to spread the administration's talking points on Iraq by briefing retired military commanders for network television and cable television appearances, where they were presented as independent analysts.[15][16]

Military buildup

To meet the growing demands in the Middle East and around the world, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates proposed to President Bush 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 545,000 to 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.[17] There have also been calls to increase the sizes of the other branches of the military to match the increase in the Marines and Army.

Related legislation

See also


  1. ^ Department of Defense
  2. ^ "National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2006" (PDF). U.S. Department of Defense. April 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  3. ^ Global Issues That Affect Everyone. "High Military Expenditure in Some Places". Retrieved 8 May 2006. 
  4. ^ NationMaster. "Military Statistics > Expenditures > Dollar figure (per capita) by country". Retrieved 2006-07-04. 
  5. ^ "Military expenditures percent of GDP". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Colonel Gregory J. Lengyel, USAF, The Brookings Institution, Department of Defense Energy Strategy, August 2007, [1]
  8. ^ a b Colonel Gregory J. Lengyel, USAF, The Brookings Institution, Department of Defense Energy Strategy, August 2007.
  9. ^ Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security, CNA Analysis & Solutions, May 2009
  10. ^ a b c Vogel, Steve. Pentagon Prioritizes Pursuit Of Alternative Fuel Sources, The Washington Post, 4/13/09
  11. ^ Steensma, David K. (2002-02-26) (PDF), Independent Auditor's Report on the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2001 Agency-Wide Financial Statements, DoD Inspector General, p. 2, Report No. D-2002-055,, retrieved 2007-11-11 
  12. ^ Pentagon: No signs of danger from satellite debris, CNN, 2008-02-22,, retrieved 2008-02-22 
  13. ^ Military: Satellite's downing worked as planned, CNN, 2008-02-25,, retrieved 2008-02-25 
  14. ^ U.S. says missile parts mistakenly sent to Taiwan, CNN, 2008-03-25,, retrieved 2008-03-25 
  15. ^ Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon’s Hidden Hand". New York Times. 
  16. ^ Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. 
  17. ^ Bender, Bryan (2007-01-12), "Gates calls for buildup in troops", The Boston Globe,, retrieved 2007-11-11 

External links

Simple English

The United States Department of Defense, also known as the DoD, is a department in the United States government that is in charge of the military of the United States. It was created in 1947 and its headquarters is in The Pentagon in Washington, D.C.. The person in charge of the Department of Defense is called the Secretary of Defense. The current Secretary of Defense is Robert Gates. The Secretary of Defense answers directly to the President.

The Department of Defense is made up of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Air Force, the National Security Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. (The Department of the Navy includes the Navy and the Marine Corps. Also, during time of war the United States Coast Guard is under the authority of the Department of Defense.)

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