Department of Defense

By: Marisa Misbach


  • 1775 - Army, Navy, Marine Corps established (concurrence with American Revolution)

  • 1789 - War Department established

  • 1790 - Coast Guard was established

  • 1798 - founding of the Department of the Navy

  • 1947 - decision to unify all the different services into one department; creation of National Military Establishment

  • 1947 - U.S. Air Force established, followed by founding of Department of the Air Force

  • 1949 - three military branches (Army, Navy, Air Force) were finally placed under direct control of Secretary of Defense - amendment to the National Security Act resulted in the National Military Establishment to be renamed the Department of Defense

What is the Department of Defense? What do they do for society?

Coordinates and supervises all agencies and functions of the government concerned directly with national security and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Also largest employer in the world (more than 2.13 active servicemen and women, also civilian workers)

When and why was this department created?

  • Established on August 10, 1949
  • “Created” in 1775 because of American Revolution

  • Following aftermath of WWII; President Truman proposed a unification of the military branches into one department of defense (Dec. 19, 1945)

  • July 26, 1947 - Truman signed National Security Act of 1947 - set up unified military command/department - National Military Establishment

Truman signing National Security Act

What issues has the DoD dealt with?

Over the past 50 years, the DoD has dealt with some of the following issues:

  • Conflicts revolving around WWI and WWII
  • Conflicts revolving around the Vietnam War
  • The fight against terrorism
  • Moving troops in and out of Afghanistan
  • Ending war/enforcing peace in Bosnia
  • Moving troops in and out of Iraq

What role does the DoD play in foreign affairs?

  • DoD operates bases and ships around globe with their employees in over 163 countries

  • Cold War - foreign affairs surpassed domestic policy as the government’s top concern - foreign policy options dwelt on military actions - resulted in foreign policy that reflected the priorities and concerns of the Pentagon

  • Even without Cold War, foreign affairs would have still grown as a logical outcomes of WWII and aftermath - after war, security problems preoccupied Washington (Soviet-American relations), threat of atomic weapons and new technologies, remembrance of Pearl Harbor

Who else is included in the DoD?

Preceding Departments
    • U.S. Department of War

    • U.S. Department of the Navy

Child Agencies

    • U.S. Department of the Army

    • U.S. Department of the Navy

    • U.S. Department of the Air Force

How big is the Department of Defense? Where is it?

The Pentagon, Washington D.C.

    • 718,000 (civilian)

    • 1,418,592 (active duty military)

    • 1,100,000+ (reserve)

How does the DoD get money?

The Department of Defense is funded by the President/government