Department Of Defense

Facts

Defense United States Department Of : Creation

The Department of Defense was created by the National Security Act of 1947 by combining the departments of war and navy.

During the cold war , the Department of Defense became a major economic force , mostly through its massive purchases and researched. Under the act, the Secretary of Defense—appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate~supervises the entire military. The Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force—made cabinet members by the act of 1947—were subordinated (1949) to give the Secretary of Defense full cabinet authority over the department. During the cold war, the Dept. of Defense became a major economic force, mostly through its massive purchases and research investments (see Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). However, the breakup of the USSR and the resultant reductions in defense spending have negatively affected civilian industries that supplied the Dept. of Defense. By 1997 the department had begun a "defense reform initiative," intended to streamline and modernize what had become one of the world's largest organizations.

Department of Defense: History

Under Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara (1961–68), the department aimed for a more balanced military program and established a new layer of civilian officials who imported civilian management techniques. In general, the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson aimed for a stronger conventional capability but still failed with their counterinsurgency strategy in the Vietnam War. The new defense establishment received its first test in the Korean War. It was generally agreed that the department revealed a capability to react quickly to crisis, but there was criticism that too much reliance had been placed on strategic air forces and nuclear weapons to the neglect of conventional military forces. The Eisenhower administration, concerned about controlling military expenditures, emphasized deterring a nuclear attack with massive retaliation (see nuclear strategy), despite critics who advocated additional expenditures on conventional forces.