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Encyclopedia > Secretary of Defense

The United States Secretary of Defense is the head of the United States Department of Defense, concerned with the armed services and military matters. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet.

This position was created in 1947 when the Navy, Army, and newly created Air Force were merged into the new National Military Establishment. In the same massive reorganization, the Secretary of the Navy was changed to a non-Cabinet position placed under the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of War was replaced by the Secretary of the Army, also a non-Cabinet position under the Secretary of Defense. In 1949, the National Military Establishment was renamed the Department of Defense, which remains the current name of the department.

Within the United States Armed Forces, the Secretary of Defense is often referred to as SecDef.

He is assisted by a Deputy Secretary and 5 Under Secretaries in the fields of Acquisition, Technology & Logistics; Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer; Intelligence; Personnel & Readiness; and arguably the most important, Policy. All of these positions require Senate confirmation.

See http://www.defenselink.mil/osd/topleaders.html for information on each position and biographies of the current Deputy Secretary (DepSecDef) and Under Secretaries (USDs).

SecDef also supervises the 6 Joint Chiefs of Staff (http://www.dtic.mil/jcs/) and the commanders of the 9 Unified Commands (http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/unifiedcommand).

Secretaries of Defense
Name Term of Office President(s) served under
James V. Forrestal September 17, 1947 - March 28, 1949 Harry S. Truman
Louis A. Johnson March 28, 1949 - September 19, 1950 Harry S. Truman
George C. Marshall September 21, 1950 - September 12, 1951 Harry S. Truman
Robert A. Lovett September 17, 1951 - January 20, 1953 Harry S. Truman
Charles E. Wilson January 28, 1953 - October 8, 1957 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Neil H. McElroy October 9, 1957 - December 1, 1959 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Thomas S. Gates December 2, 1959 - January 20, 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Robert McNamara January 21, 1961 - February 29, 1968 John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson
Clark Clifford March 1, 1968- January 20, 1969 Lyndon Johnson
Melvin Laird January 22, 1969 - January 29, 1973 Richard Nixon
Elliot L. Richardson January 30, 1973 - May 24, 1973 Richard Nixon
James R. Schlesinger July 2, 1973 - November 19, 1975 Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford
Donald H. Rumsfeld November 20, 1975 - January 20, 1977 Gerald Ford
Harold Brown January 21, 1977 - January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
Caspar W. Weinberger January 21, 1981 - November 23, 1987 Ronald Reagan
Frank C. Carlucci November 23, 1987 - January 20, 1989 Ronald Reagan
Richard B. Cheney March 21, 1989 - January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
Les Aspin January 21, 1993 - February 3, 1994 Bill Clinton
William J. Perry February 3, 1994 - January 23, 1997 Bill Clinton
William S. Cohen January 24, 1997 - January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
Donald H. Rumsfeld January 20, 2001 - present George W. Bush

External links

  • Histories of the Secretaries of Defense (http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/secdef_histories/)

  Results from FactBites:
Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (252 words)
The Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge is a U.S. military badge of the Department of Defense issued to members of the U.S. military who are permanently assigned as military aides to the Secretary of Defense in the Department of Defense.
Personnel who are awarded the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge include military aides to the Secretary of Defense, senior flag and general officers assigned to The Pentagon, as well as the service chiefs and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge was first created in 1949 and was referred to as the "National Military Establishment Identification Badge." In 1950, the badge was renamed as "Department of Defense Identification Badge" and adopted its current name on December 20, 1962.
Defense Intelligence Agency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (835 words)
The director of the DIA is the main adviser to the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on matters related to military intelligence.
Acting on the recommendations of the Joint Study Group, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara advised the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of his decision to establish the Defense Intelligence Agency in February 1961.
It was a union of Defense intelligence and counterintelligence activities, and did not add administrative layering within the Defense intelligence community.
  More results at FactBites »



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