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 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, 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 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 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. 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.
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).
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.
|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.
|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 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 (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) (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 Duncan J. McNabb (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|
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.
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.|
|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.
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 4.06% on military, ranking it 28th in the world. This is higher by percent than France's 2.6%, and lower than Saudi Arabia's 10%. This 3.7% is low relative to the United States' past 60-some years.
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.
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.
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.The launched missile successfully destroyed the fuel tank of an inoperable spy satellite, U.S. military officials said February 25, 2008.
In fall 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.
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.
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