United States Department of Defense

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United StatesUnited States United States Department of Defense
- US DoD -
100 * 100px
State level Federal level
Position of the authority Federal Ministry
Supervisory authority (s) United States government
Consist since July 26, 1947
Arose from United States Department of War and
United States Department of the Navy
Headquarters Arlington County, Virginia ( Pentagon )
household 738 billion . $ (2020)
Defense Minister
Lloyd J. Austin
Employee 700,000 ( civil ),
1,418,542 ( mil. )
Website www.defense.gov
Defense Minister's Standard

The Ministry of Defense of the United States (English United States Department of Defense , abbreviated US DoD or DoD ), with the adoption of the National Security Act by the US President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, first as National Military Establishment launched and Renamed the United States Department of Defense in 1949 . The Department of Defense is based in the Pentagon .

The Ministry of Defense was formed in 1947 from previously independent ministries and units of the armed forces . In it, the originally independent ministries with cabinet rank for the land forces ( United States Department of War ) and the naval forces ( United States Department of the Navy ) were merged into a common ministry.


The DoD is responsible for all national defense matters . In this role, it is responsible for military and financial planning as well as for training, equipping, deploying and commanding the US armed forces .

The Minister of Defense, together with the President, as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, forms the National Command Authority (NCA), which makes decisions on the use of nuclear weapons if necessary .


Structure of the Department of Defense (as of December 2013)

Armed Forces Offices

The Department of Defense has individual state secretaries with subordinate specialist departments (departments) for the individual armed forces . For the US Navy and the US Marine Corps is United States Department of the Navy responsible for the US Air Force , the United States Department of the Air Force and the US Army finally, the United States Department of the Army . The Coast Guard is under peacetime not the Ministry of Defense, but the Department of Homeland Security . In the event of war, however, it can be subordinated to the Department of the Navy.


Pentagon , headquarters of the DoD

In addition, there are various subordinate authorities that are subordinate to the DoD:



Under the US President George W. Bush , the annual defense budget of the US was constantly increased, and under President Barack Obama spending rose in his first two years in office. It was not until the end of the Iraq war (2011) and the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan at the beginning of 2015, followed only by a relatively small commitment in Operation Resolute Support , that capacities were released that made it possible to increase the budget from 2012 onwards lower - also because of the global economic crisis, which hit the USA hard.

The budget for fiscal year 2011 was still 664.84 billion US dollars. This makes this budget the third largest in the United States after the Department of Health's budget and social security and welfare expenses. In terms of employees, the Department of Defense is actually the largest in the United States, with around twelve times as many employees as the Department of War Veterans , the second largest department in terms of employees. With a total of 3.2 million employees, it is even the largest employer in the world. However, further cuts in the defense budget are to be expected, as the geopolitical interests of the USA have changed significantly in recent years.


The different ways of looking at the budget should be noted. The term military budget and expenditure on national excludes nuclear weapons of the Department of Energy with a. The pure armed forces budget is called the defense budget .


For years, officers , analysts and politicians have criticized the budgeting of the US military. They complain that the reinforcement of the military apparatus, with all its modern structure, training and equipment, still only takes place in the categories of the Cold War . Therefore, depending on their affiliation, they are calling for a more cautious foreign policy with correspondingly reduced locations or operations, a more efficient use of tax resources or a revolutionary rethinking of military planning. This should include more trust in the allies and a better focus on the threats of the 21st century . For example, dispensing with military status symbols such as battle tanks or the F-22 should also be able to significantly reduce costs.

See also


  • Douglas Kinnard: The Secretary of Defense. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington 1980, ISBN 0-8131-1434-9 .

Web links

Commons : United States Department of Defense  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Trump Signs Law Establishing US Space Force. In: defense.gov. December 20, 2019, accessed February 13, 2020 .
  2. United States Department of Defense : DOD Websites , accessed February 27, 2017
  3. ^ Department of Defense Budget 2011 , accessed February 27, 2017
  4. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17429786 March 20, 2012, accessed November 30, 2015
  5. A Leaner, Meaner Military by Newt Gingrich , Washington Post, March 4, 2006. Accessed January 2, 2011