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The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...
charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to
national security National security or national defence is the security and Defence (military), defence of a sovereign state, nation state, including its Citizenship, citizens, economy, and institutions, which is regarded as a duty of government. Originally c ...
and the
United States Armed Forces The United States Armed Forces are the Military, military forces of the United States of America. The armed forces consists of six Military branch, service branches: the United States Army, Army, United States Marine Corps, Marine Corps, Uni ...

United States Armed Forces
. The DOD is the largest employer in the world, with over 1.4 million active-duty service members (soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen, and Guardians) as of 2021. More 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 The Pentagon is the headquarters Headquarters (commonly referred to as HQ) denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States The United States of America ...
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 Department of Defense is headed by the
secretary of defense A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
, a cabinet-level head who reports directly to the
president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the Federal government of the United States#Executive branch, executive branch of the Federal gover ...

president of the United States
. Beneath the Department of Defense are three subordinate military departments: the
Department of the Army The United States Department of the Army (DA) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the U.S.. The Department of the Army is the federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a ...
, the Department of the Navy, and the
Department of the Air Force The United States Department of the Air Force (DAF) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Air Force was formed on September 18, 1947, per the National Se ...
. In addition, four national intelligence services are subordinate to the Department of Defense: the Defense Intelligence Agency ( DIA), the National Security Agency (
NSA The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, Intelligence analysis, analysis, and exploitation of information in support of law enforce ...

NSA
), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (
NGA
NGA
), and the National Reconnaissance Office ( NRO). Other Defense agencies include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (
DARPA The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Originally known as the Ad ...
), the Defense Logistics Agency (
DLA
DLA
), the Missile Defense Agency (
MDA MDA, mda, or ''variation'', may refer to: Places * Moldova, a country in Europe with the ISO 3166-1 country code MDA People * A. P. Mda (1916-1993) South African political activist * Zakes Mda (born 1948) South African author Companies, organiz ...
), the Defense Health Agency (
DHA
DHA
), Defense Threat Reduction Agency ( DTRA), the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency ( DCSA), the Space Development Agency ( SDA) and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency ( PFPA), all of which are subordinate to the secretary of defense. Additionally, the Defense Contract Management Agency ( DCMA) is responsible for administering contracts for the DoD. Military operations are managed by eleven regional or functional
Unified combatant command A unified combatant command (CCMD), also referred to as a combatant command, is a joint military command A command in military terminology Military terminology refers to the terms and language of military A military, also known colle ...
s. The Department of Defense also operates several joint services schools, including the
Eisenhower School
Eisenhower School
(ES) and the
National War College The National War College (NWC) of the United States is a school in the National Defense University. It is housed in Roosevelt Hall on Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., the third-oldest Army post still active. History The National War Colleg ...
(NWC).


History

Faced with rising tensions between the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
and the
British government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
, one of the first actions taken by the
First Continental Congress The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. It met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall Carpenters' Hall is the official birthplace of the C ...
in September 1774 was to recommend that the colonies begin defensive military preparations. In mid-June 1775, after the outbreak of the
Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War(s) may refer to: * American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the armed conflict between Great Britain and 13 of its North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of America * French Revolution ...
, the
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British c ...
, recognizing the necessity of having a national army that could move about and fight beyond the boundaries of any particular colony, organized the
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the Thirteen Colonies and the Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, and was established by a resolution of ...
on 14 June 1775. This momentous event is commemorated in the U.S. annually as
Flag Day A flag day is a flag A flag is a piece of textile, fabric (most often rectangular or quadrilateral) with a distinctive design and colours. It is used as a symbol, a signalling device, or for decoration. The term ''flag'' is also used to refe ...
. Later that year, Congress would charter the
Continental Navy The Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. The fleet cumulatively became relatively substantial through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron John Adams and vigor ...
on 13 October, and the
Continental Marines The Continental Marines were the Amphibious warfare, amphibious infantry of the Thirteen Colonies, American Colonies (and later the United States) during the American Revolutionary War. The Corps was formed by the Continental Congress on Novem ...
on 10 November.


The War Department and Navy Department

Upon the seating of the 1st U.S. Congress on 4 March 1789, legislation to create a military defense force stagnated as they focused on other concerns relevant to setting up the new government. President
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
went to Congress to remind them of their duty to establish a military twice during this time. Finally, on the last day of the session, 29 September 1789, Congress created the War Department. The War Department handled naval affairs until Congress created the Navy Department in 1798. The secretaries of each department reported directly to the president as cabinet-level advisors until 1949, when all military departments became subordinate to the Secretary of Defense.


National Military Establishment

After the end of World War II, President
Harry Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs th ...
proposed the creation of a unified department of national defense. In a special message to Congress on 19 December 1945, the president cited both wasteful military spending and inter-departmental conflicts. Deliberations in Congress went on for months focusing heavily on the role of the military in society and the threat of granting too much military power to the executive. On 26 July 1947, Truman signed the
National Security Act of 1947 The National Security Act of 1947 (Act of Congress, Pub.L.]80-253 61 United States Statutes at Large, Stat.]495 enacted July 26, 1947) was a law enacting major restructuring of the Federal government of the United States, United States government' ...
, which set up a unified military command known as the "National Military Establishment", as well as creating the
Central Intelligence Agency The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as the Agency and the Company, is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. fed ...
, the
National Security Council#REDIRECT National security council A National Security Council (NSC) is usually an executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State ...
,
National Security Resources BoardThe National Security Resources Board was a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists ...
,
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosph ...

United States Air Force
(formerly the
Army Air Forces The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF or AAF) was the major land-based aerial warfare service component of the United States Army and ''de facto'' aerial warfare service branch of the United States during and immediately after World War II ( ...
) and the
Joint Chiefs of Staff The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is the body of the most senior uniformed leaders within the , that advises the , the , the and the on military matters. The composition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is defined by and consists of a (CJCS), a ...
. The act placed the National Military Establishment under the control of a single
secretary of defense A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
. The National Military Establishment formally began operations on 18 September, the day after the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
confirmed James V. Forrestal as the first secretary of defense. The National Military Establishment was renamed the "Department of Defense" on 10 August 1949 and absorbed the three cabinet-level military departments, in an amendment to the original 1947 law. Under the Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1958 (), channels of authority within the department were streamlined while still maintaining the ordinary authority of the Military Departments to organize, train, and equip their associated forces. The Act clarified the overall decision-making authority of the secretary of defense with respect to these subordinate Military Departments and more clearly defined the operational
chain of command A command hierarchy is a group of people who carry out orders based on others' authority within the group. It can be viewed as part of a power structure, in which it is usually seen as the most vulnerable and also the most powerful part. Milit ...
over U.S. military forces (created by the military departments) as running from the president to the secretary of defense and then to the unified combatant commanders. Also provided in this legislation was a centralized research authority, the
Advanced Research Projects Agency The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an United States federal executive depart ...
, eventually known as
DARPA The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Originally known as the Ad ...
. The act was written and promoted by the Eisenhower administration and was signed into law 6 August 1958.


Financial discrepancies

A day before the
September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks, also commonly referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated by the militant terrorist group against the on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. On that morning, four commercial s traveling fro ...
of 2001, Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld Donald Henry Rumsfeld (July 9, 1932 – June 29, 2021) was an American politician, government official and businessman who served as from 1975 to 1977 under president , and again from 2001 to 2006 under President . He was both the younge ...

Donald Rumsfeld
announced that the department was unable to account for about $2.3 trillion worth of transactions.
Reuters Reuters (, ) is an international news organisation owned by Thomson Reuters. It employs around 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide. Reuters is one of the largest news agencies in the world. The agency w ...
reported in 2013 that the Pentagon was the only federal agency that had not released annual audits as required by a 1992 law. According to Reuters, the Pentagon "annually reports to Congress that its books are in such disarray that an audit is impossible". By 2015, the discrepant funds had increased to $6.5 trillion for the army alone. In June 2016, the
Office of the Inspector General In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Wash ...
released a report stating that the army made $6.5 trillion in wrongful adjustments to its accounting entries in 2015.


Organizational structure

The
secretary of defense A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
, appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
, is by federal law () 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 A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
vests all military authority in
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
and the president, the statutory authority of the secretary of defense is derived from their constitutional authority. 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. 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 The United States Department of the Army (DA) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the U.S.. The Department of the Army is the federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a ...
(DA), Department of the Navy (DON) &
Department of the Air Force The United States Department of the Air Force (DAF) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Air Force was formed on September 18, 1947, per the National Se ...
(DAF)), the Defense Agencies and Department of Defense Field Activities, the
National Guard Bureau The National Guard Bureau is the federal instrument responsible for the administration of the United States National Guard, National Guard established by the United States Congress as a joint bureau of the Department of the Army and the Department ...

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 Robert Michael Gates (born September 25, 1943) is an American intelligence analyst and university president who served as the 22nd United States secretary of defense from 2006 to 2011. He was originally appointed by president George W. Bush and ...

Robert Gates
in December 2010, is the first major re-write since 1987.


Office of the Secretary of Defense

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is the secretary and his/her deputy's (mainly) civilian staff. OSD is the principal staff element of the secretary of defense in the exercise of policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal and program evaluation and oversight, and interface and exchange with other U.S. government departments and agencies, foreign governments, and international organizations, through formal and informal processes. OSD also performs oversight and management of the Defense Agencies, Department of Defense Field Activities, and specialized Cross Functional Teams.


Defense agencies

OSD also supervises the following Defense Agencies:


National intelligence agencies

Several defense agencies are members of the
United States Intelligence Community The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a group of separate United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States The United Sta ...
. These are national-level intelligence services that operate under the Department of Defense jurisdiction but simultaneously fall under the authorities of the
director of national intelligence The director of national intelligence (DNI) is a United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States The United States of America (USA), ...
. They fulfill the requirements of national policymakers and war planners, serve as Combat Support Agencies, and also assist non-Department of Defense intelligence or law enforcement services such as the
Central Intelligence Agency The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as the Agency and the Company, is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. fed ...
and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction Abstraction in its main sense is a conceptual process where general rules and concept Conce ...

Federal Bureau of Investigation
. The military services each have their own intelligence elements that are distinct from but subject to coordination by national intelligence agencies under the Department of Defense. Department of Defense manages the nation's coordinating authorities and assets in disciplines of
signals intelligence Signals intelligence (SIGINT) is list of intelligence gathering disciplines, intelligence-gathering by interception of signals, whether Communication, communications between people (communications intelligence—abbreviated to COMINT) or from e ...
,
geospatial intelligence In the United States, geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of r ...
, and
measurement and signature intelligence Measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) is a technical branch of list of intelligence gathering disciplines, intelligence gathering, which serves to detect, track, identify or describe the distinctive characteristics (signatures) of fixed ...
, and also builds, launches, and operates the Intelligence Community's satellite assets. Department of Defense also has its own
human intelligence Human intelligence is the intellectual capability of humans, which is marked by complex cognition, cognitive feats and high levels of motivation and self-awareness. High intelligence is associated with better outcomes in life. Through intelligenc ...
service Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of university faculty * Civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of gove ...
, which contributes to the CIA's human intelligence efforts while also focusing on military human intelligence priorities. These agencies are directly overseen by the
Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence The under secretary of defense for intelligence or USD(I) is a high-ranking civilian position in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) within the United States Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense that acts as the principal c ...
. File:US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) seal (vector).svg,
Defense Intelligence Agency The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is an of the , specializing in defense and . A component of the (DoD) and the (IC), DIA informs national civilian and defense policymakers about the military intentions and capabilities of foreign govern ...
File:National Security Agency.svg,
National Security Agency The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, Intelligence analysis, analysis, and exploitation of information in support of law enforce ...

National Security Agency
File:US-NationalGeospatialIntelligenceAgency-2008Seal.svg,
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a within the whose primary mission is collecting, analyzing, and distributing (GEOINT) in support of . Initially known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) from 1996 to 2003, it ...

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
File:US-NationalReconnaissanceOffice-Seal.svg,
National Reconnaissance Office The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is a member of the United States Intelligence Community and an agency of the United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an United States feder ...


Joint Chiefs of Staff

The
Joint Chiefs of Staff The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is the body of the most senior uniformed leaders within the , that advises the , the , the and the on military matters. The composition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is defined by and consists of a (CJCS), a ...
(JCS) is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the Department of Defense who advise the secretary of defense, the
Homeland Security Council The Homeland Security Council (HSC) is an entity within the Executive Office of the President of the United States The Executive Office of the President (EOP) comprises the offices and agencies that support the work of the president at the ...
, the
National Security Council#REDIRECT National security council A National Security Council (NSC) is usually an executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State ...
and the president 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 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is the presiding officer of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is the body of the most senior uniformed leaders within the United States Department of D ...
(CJCS),
vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VJCS) is, by U.S. law, the second highest-ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces The United States Armed Forces are the of the . The armed forces consists of six : the , ...
(VCJCS), senior enlisted advisor to the chairman (SEAC), the Military Service chiefs from the
Army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch, service branc ...
,
Marine Corps Marines, or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate in in support of naval operations. Historically, tasks undertaken by marines have included helping maintain discipline and order aboard the ship (reflecting the natu ...
,
Navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense ...
, Air Force, and
Space Force A space force is a military branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard a subdivision of the national armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily arme ...

Space Force
, in addition to the chief of
National Guard Bureau The National Guard Bureau is the federal instrument responsible for the administration of the United States National Guard, National Guard established by the United States Congress as a joint bureau of the Department of the Army and the Department ...

National Guard Bureau
, all appointed by the president following
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
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: the
secretary of the Army The secretary of the Army (SA, SECARM or SECARMY) is a senior civilian official within the United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an United States federal executive departments, exec ...
,
secretary of the Navy The secretary of the Navy (or SECNAV) is a statutory officer () and the head (chief executive officer) of the United States Department of the Navy, Department of the Navy, a military department (component organization) within the United States D ...
and
secretary of the Air Force The secretary of the Air Force, sometimes referred to as the secretary of the Department of the Air Force, (SecAF, or SAF/OS) is the head of the United States Department of the Air Force, Department of the Air Force and the service secretary fo ...
. Following the
Goldwater–Nichols Act The Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of October 4, 1986 , (signed by President Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th presiden ...
in 1986 the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have operational command authority, neither individually nor collectively, as the chain of command goes from the president to the secretary of defense, and from the Secretary of Defense to the commanders of the Combatant Commands. Goldwater–Nichols also created the office of vice-chairman, and the chairman is now designated as the ''principal military adviser'' to the secretary of defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and to the president. The Joint Staff (JS) is a headquarters staff at the
Pentagon In geometry, a pentagon (from the Greek language, Greek πέντε ''pente'' meaning ''five'' and γωνία ''gonia'' meaning ''angle'') is any five-sided polygon or 5-gon. The sum of the internal angles in a simple polygon, simple pentagon is ...
made up of personnel from all four services that assist the chairman and vice chairman in discharging their duties, and managed by the
director of the Joint Staff The director of the Joint Staff (DJS) is a three-star officer who assists the Joint Chiefs of Staff The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is the body of the most senior uniformed leaders within the United States Department of Defense The U ...
(DJS) who is a
lieutenant general Lieutenant general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star rank, three-star military rank (NATO code OF-8) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second-in ...
or
vice admiral Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer A flag officer is a commissioned officer An officer is a member of an Military, armed forces or Uniformed services, uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In its broadest sense, the ...
.


Military Departments

There are three Military Departments within the Department of Defense: # the
Department of the Army The United States Department of the Army (DA) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the U.S.. The Department of the Army is the federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a ...
, within which the
United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare, land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed services, and is designated as the Army o ...
is organized. # the Department of the Navy, within which the
United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = "Anchors Aweigh" , mascot = , equipment = List of equipment of the United St ...
and the
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the Marines, maritime land force military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary warfare, exped ...
are organized. # the
Department of the Air Force The United States Department of the Air Force (DAF) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Air Force was formed on September 18, 1947, per the National Se ...
, within which the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosph ...

United States Air Force
and
United States Space Force The United States Space Force (USSF) is the Space force, space service branch of the United States Armed Forces, U.S. Armed Forces, one of the eight Uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed services, and the world's first and ...

United States Space Force
are organized. The Military Departments are each headed by their own secretary (i.e.,
Secretary of the Army The secretary of the Army (SA, SECARM or SECARMY) is a senior civilian official within the United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an United States federal executive departments, exec ...
,
Secretary of the Navy The secretary of the Navy (or SECNAV) is a statutory officer () and the head (chief executive officer) of the United States Department of the Navy, Department of the Navy, a military department (component organization) within the United States D ...
and
Secretary of the Air Force The secretary of the Air Force, sometimes referred to as the secretary of the Department of the Air Force, (SecAF, or SAF/OS) is the head of the United States Department of the Air Force, Department of the Air Force and the service secretary fo ...
), appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
. They have the legal authority under
Title 10 of the United States Code Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized ...
to conduct all the affairs of their respective departments within which the military services are organized. The secretaries of the Military Departments are (by law) subordinate to the
secretary of defense A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
and (by SecDef delegation) to the
deputy secretary of defense The deputy secretary of defense (acronym An acronym is a word or name formed from the initial components of a longer name or phrase, usually using individual initial letters, as in NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) or European Union, ...
. Secretaries of Military Departments, in turn, normally exercise authority over their forces by delegation through their respective service chiefs (i.e., Chief of Staff of the Army,
Commandant of the Marine Corps The commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) is normally the highest-ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service bran ...
,
Chief of Naval Operations#REDIRECT Chief of Naval Operations The chief of naval operations (CNO) is the professional head of the United States Navy. The position is a statutory office () held by an admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, a ...
, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and
Chief of Space Operations The chief of space operations (CSO) is a statutory office () held by a general in the United States Space Force, and is the principal military adviser to the secretary of the Air Force for Space Force operations; and is in a separate capacity a ...
) over forces not assigned to a Combatant Command. Secretaries of Military Departments and service chiefs do not possess operational command authority over U.S. troops (this power was stripped from them in the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958), and instead, Military Departments are tasked solely with "the training, provision of equipment, and administration of troops." File:United States Department of the Army Seal.svg,
Department of the Army The United States Department of the Army (DA) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the U.S.. The Department of the Army is the federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a ...
File:United States Department of the Navy Seal.svg, Department of the Navy File:Seal of the US Air Force.svg,
Department of the Air Force The United States Department of the Air Force (DAF) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Air Force was formed on September 18, 1947, per the National Se ...


Unified Combatant Commands

A
unified combatant command A unified combatant command (CCMD), also referred to as a combatant command, is a joint military command A command in military terminology Military terminology refers to the terms and language of military A military, also known colle ...
is a military command composed of personnel/equipment from at least two Military Departments, which has a broad/continuing mission. These Military Departments are responsible for equipping and training troops to fight, while the Unified Combatant Commands are responsible for military forces' actual operational command. Almost all operational U.S. forces are under the authority of a Unified Command. The Unified Commands are governed by a Unified Command Plan—a frequently updated document (produced by the DoD), which lays out the Command's mission, geographical/functional responsibilities, and force structure. During military operations, the chain of command runs from the president to the
secretary of defense A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
to the combatant commanders of the Combatant Commands. the United States has eleven Combatant Commands, organized either on a geographical basis (known as "
area of responsibility Area of Responsibility (AOR) is a pre-defined geographic region assigned to Combatant commanders of the Unified Command Plan (UCP), that are used to define an area with specific geographic boundaries where they have the authority to plan and cond ...
", AOR) or on a global, functional basis: * U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) * U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) * U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) * U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) * U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) * U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) * U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) * U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) * U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) * U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) * U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM)


Budget

Department of Defense spending in 2017 was 3.15% of GDP and accounted for about 38% of budgeted List of countries by military expenditures, global military spending – more than the next 7 largest militaries combined. By 2019 the 27th secretary of defense had begun a line-by-line review of the defense budget; in 2020 the secretary identified items amounting to $5.7 billion, out of a $106 billion subtotal (the so-called "fourth estate" agencies such as missile defense, and defense intelligence, amounting to 16% of the defense budget),Mackenzie Eaglen (05 February 2020) Is Army Richest Service? Navy? Air Force? AEI’s Eaglen Peels Back Budget Onion
/ref> He will re-deploy to the modernization of hypersonics, artificial intelligence, and missile defense.Paul McLeary (February 05, 2020) SecDef Eyeing Moving Billions By Eliminating Offices, Legacy Systems
/ref> Beyond 2021 the 27th secretary of defense is projecting the need for yearly budget increases of 3 to 5 percent to modernize.McLeary (February 06, 2020) Flatline: SecDef Esper Says DoD Budgets Must Grow 3-5%
/ref> The Department of Defense accounts for the majority of federal discretionary spending. In FY 2017 the Department of Defense budgeted spending accounted for 15% of the U.S. federal budget, and 49% of federal discretionary spending, which represents funds not accounted for by pre-existing obligations. However, this does not include many military-related items that are outside the Defense Department budget, such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance, cleanup, and production, which is in the Department of Energy budget, Veterans Affairs, the Treasury Department's payments in pensions to military retirees and widows and their families, interest on debt incurred in past wars, or State Department financing of foreign arms sales and militarily-related development assistance. Neither does it include defense spending that is not military in nature, such as the Department of Homeland Security, counter-terrorism spending by the FBI, and intelligence-gathering spending by the NSA. In the 2010 United States federal budget, the Department of Defense was allocated a base budget of $533.7 billion, with a further $75.5 billion adjustment in respect of 2009, and $130 billion for overseas contingencies. The subsequent 2010 Department of Defense Financial Report shows the total budgetary resources for fiscal year 2010 were $1.2 trillion. Of these resources, $1.1 trillion were obligated and $994 billion were disbursed, with the remaining resources relating to multi-year modernization projects requiring additional time to procure. After over a decade of US military expenditure#GAO audits, non-compliance,
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
has established a deadline of Fiscal year 2017 for the Department of Defense to achieve Audit#Accounting, audit readiness. In 2015 the allocation for the Department of Defense was $585 billion, the Military budget of the United States, highest level of budgetary resources among all Federal agencies, and this amounts to more than one-half of the annual Federal Expenditures in the United States federal budget Discretionary spending, discretionary budget. On 9/28/2018, President Donald Trump signed the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 (H.R.6157) into law. On 30 September 2018, the FY2018 Budget expired and the FY2019 budget came into effect.


For FY2019

The FY2019 Budget for the Department of Defense is approximately $686,074,048,000 (Including Base + Overseas Contingency Operations + Emergency Funds) in discretionary spending and $8,992,000,000 in mandatory spending totaling $695,066,000,000 Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) David Norquist, David L. Norquist said in a hearing regarding the FY 2019 budget: "The overall number you often hear is $716 billion. That is the amount of funding for national defense, the accounting code is 050, and includes more than simply the Department of Defense. It includes, for example, the Department of Energy and others. That large a number, if you back out the $30 billion for non-defense agencies, you get to $686 billion. That is the funding for the Department of Defense, split between $617 billion in base and $69 billion in Overseas Contingency Operation, overseas contingency." The Department of Defense budget encompasses the majority of the National Defense Budget of approximately $716.0 billion in discretionary spending and $10.8 billion in mandatory spending for a $726.8 billion total. Of the total, $708.1 billion falls under the jurisdiction of the United States House Committee on Armed Services, House Committee on Armed Services and United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senate Armed Services Committee and is subject to authorization by the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The remaining $7.9 billion falls under the jurisdiction of other congressional committees. The Department of Defense is unique because it is one of the few federal entities where the majority of its funding falls into the discretionary category. The majority of the entire federal budget is mandatory, and much of the discretionary funding in the budget consists of DoD dollars.


Budget overview

* Numbers may not add due to rounding


Energy use

The Department of Defense was the largest single consumer of energy in the United States in 2006. It is one of the largest carbon pollutors in history, producing more carbon emissions than the total emissions of over 100 countries combined. In FY 2006, the department used almost 30,000 gigawatt hours (GWH) of electricity, at the cost of almost $2.2 billion. The department's electricity use would supply enough electricity to power more than 2.6 million average American homes. In electricity consumption, if it were a country, the department would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark and slightly more than Syria (CIA World Factbook, 2006).Colonel Gregory J. Lengyel, USAF, The Brookings Institution, Department of Defense Energy Strategy, August 2007. The Department of Defense was responsible for 93% of all US government fuel consumption in 2007 (
Department of the Air Force The United States Department of the Air Force (DAF) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Air Force was formed on September 18, 1947, per the National Se ...
: 52%; Department of the Navy: 33%;
Department of the Army The United States Department of the Army (DA) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the U.S.. The Department of the Army is the federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a ...
: 7%; other Department components: 1%). The Department of Defense uses of fuel annually, an average of of fuel per day. A large Army division may use about per day. According to the 2005 ''CIA World Factbook'', if it were a country, the Department of Defense would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden. The Air Force is the largest user of fuel energy in the
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...
. 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.


Criticism

In the latest Center for Effective Government analysis of 15 federal agencies which receive the most Freedom of Information Act (United States), Freedom of Information Act requests, published in 2015 (using 2012 and 2013 data, the most recent years available), the DoD earned 61 out of a possible 100 points, a D− grade. While it had improved from a failing grade in 2013, it still had low scores in processing requests (55%) and their disclosure rules (42%). A 2013 ''Reuters'' investigation concluded that Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, the Department of Defense’s primary financial management arm, implements monthly “unsubstantiated change actions”—illegal, inaccurate “plugs”—that forcibly make DOD’s books match Treasury’s books. It concluded:
Fudging the accounts with false entries is standard operating procedure… Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition, and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn’t need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars… [H]ow much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn’t known.
In 2015, a Pentagon consulting firm performed an audit on the Department of Defense's budget. It found that there was $125 billion in wasteful spending that could be saved over the next five years without layoffs or reduction in military personnel. In 2016, ''The Washington Post'' uncovered that rather than taking the advice of the auditing firm, senior defense officials suppressed and hid the report from the public to avoid political scrutiny. Shortly after the 2020 Baghdad International Airport airstrike, the Islamic Consultative Assembly, Iranian parliament designated all of the U.S. military, including the Department of Defense, as a terrorist organization.


Related legislation

The organization and functions of the Department of Defense are in
Title 10 of the United States Code Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized ...
. Other significant legislation related to the Department of Defense includes: * 1947:
National Security Act of 1947 The National Security Act of 1947 (Act of Congress, Pub.L.]80-253 61 United States Statutes at Large, Stat.]495 enacted July 26, 1947) was a law enacting major restructuring of the Federal government of the United States, United States government' ...
* 1958: Department of Defense Reorganization Act, * 1963: Department of Defense Appropriations Act, * 1963: Military Construction Authorization Act, * 1967: Supplemental Defense Appropriations Act, * 1984: Department of Defense Authorization Act, * 1986: Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 (Department of Defense Reorganization Act), * 1996: Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act,


See also

* Arms industry * List of United States military bases * Military–industrial complex * Nuclear weapons * Private military company * Title 32 of the Code of Federal Regulations * United States Department of Homeland Security * United States Department of Justice * United States Department of Veterans Affairs * Warrior Games * JADE (planning system) * Global Command and Control System


References


External links

*
Department of Defense
on Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, USAspending.gov
Department of Defense
in the Federal Register
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
Budget and Financial Management Policy
Death and Taxes: 2009
A visual guide and infographic of the 2009 United States federal budget, including the Department of Defense with data provided by the Comptrollers office.

* * * {{Authority control United States Department of Defense, 1947 establishments in the United States Government agencies established in 1947 Nuclear weapons infrastructure of the United States United States federal executive departments, Defense Organisations designated as terrorist by Iran