Department of Defense HQ (DOD HQ)
Headquartered in Arlington, Va.| Official Web site
The Department of Defense (DOD) was first established as the National Military Establishment by the National Security Act of 1947 and redesignated as a department by the amendments of 1949. It is an executive department (10 U.S.C. 111) headed by the secretary of defense. The DOD is responsible for providing the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of the United States. The major elements of these forces are the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, consisting of about 1.3 million men and women on active duty. They are backed, in case of emergency, by the 825,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard. In addition, there are about 600,000 civilian employees in the DOD.
Under the president, who is commander in chief, the defense secretary exercises authority, direction and control over the DOD. The department is composed of the Office of the Secretary of Defense; the military departments and the military services within those departments; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff; the combatant commands; the defense agencies; DOD field activities; and such other offices, agencies, activities and commands as may be established or designated by law, or by the president or the defense secretary. Each military department is separately organized under its own secretary and functions under the authority, direction and control of the defense secretary. The secretary of each military department is responsible to the defense secretary for the operation and efficiency of his or her department. Orders to the military departments are issued through the secretaries of these departments or their designees, by the defense secretary, or under authority specifically delegated in writing by the defense secretary or provided by law.
The commanders of the combatant commands are responsible to the president and the defense secretary for accomplishing the military missions assigned to them and exercising command authority over forces assigned to them. The operational chain of command runs from the president to the defense secretary to the commanders of the combatant commands. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff functions within the chain of command by transmitting the orders of the president or the defense secretary to the commanders of the combatant commands.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense is a large organization involved in the formulation of general defense policy and policy related to DOD, and for the execution of approved policy. It is organized primarily through a set of undersecretaries:
• Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
• Undersecretary for Intelligence
• Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness
• Undersecretary for Policy
In addition, the defense secretary and deputy secretary are assisted by a special staff of assistants, including the assistant secretary of defense (Networks and Information Integration)/chief information officer; assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs; the general counsel; the inspector general; the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs; the assistant to the secretary of defense (Intelligence Oversight); the director of administration and management; the undersecretary of defense (Comptroller)/chief financial officer; the director of operational test and evaluation; director, force transformation; director, net assessment; director, program analysis and evaluation; and such other officers as the defense secretary establishes to assist in carrying out duties and responsibilities.
The director of national intelligence (DNI) coordinates intelligence matters related to the DOD with the undersecretary of defense (Intelligence) -- the USD(I). This individual serves as the principal staff assistant and adviser to the defense secretary and the deputy defense secretary on all intelligence, counterintelligence and security, and other intelligence-related matters. The USD(I) provides oversight and policy guidance for all DOD intelligence activities.
Three major intelligence agencies in the DOD -- the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) -- make up the larger part of the national intelligence budget. Although the Intelligence Reform Act provides extensive budgetary and management authorities over these agencies to the DNI, it does not revoke the responsibilities of the defense secretary for these agencies.
(See also: Defense Agencies.)
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