Department of Defense

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The United States Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest employer in the world, employing approximately 3.2 million people on active duty, in the reserves, and in the civilian sector (Alexander, 2012). The Department of Defense is an independent agency operating under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. More than half of the annual Federal discretionary budget goes to the Department of Defense. There are three departments within the Department of Defense: the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy and the Department of the Air Force (“Department of defense,”). Additionally, there are innumerable agencies within the Department of Defense, including the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency (“Department of defense,”). The purpose of the Department is to provide for homeland security and the protection of American interests abroad through the armed forces, acting on the command of the President, U.S. Congress, and the Secretary of Defense. The Department of Defense is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, at the Pentagon, and the Department has permanent military bases located throughout the globe.

As long as America has been a nation, it has had a standing military, predating the American Revolution. In 1789, U.S. Congress established the War Department, and in 1798, the Department of the Navy was established (Polmar, 2005). The two departments had secretaries who held positions within the President's cabinet and acted as his advisors (Polmar, 2005). In 1945, President Harry S. Truman advised Congress to centralize state defense into one unified department; with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947, the National Military Establishment was created (Hogan, 2000). The newly unified military force then became overseen by the Secretary of Defense. At this time, the National Security Council and the Central...
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