United States Secretary of Defense


United States Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg
Seal of the Department of Defense
USSecDefflag.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Defense
Incumbent
Leon Panetta

since July 1, 2011
Formation September 19, 1947
First holder James Forrestal
Succession Sixth
(in the presidential line of succession)
Deputy The Deputy Secretary of Defense
Salary Executive Schedule, Level 1
(5 U.S.C. § 5312)
Website www.defense.gov

The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries. Under the direction of the President, the Secretary of Defense has per federal law (10 U.S.C. § 113) "authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense", and is further designated by statute as "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense".[1]

The Secretary of Defense is in the chain of command and exercises command and control, subject only to the orders of the President, over all Department of Defense forces – i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps – for both operational and administrative purposes.[2][3][4][5] Only the Secretary of Defense or the President can authorize the transfer of forces from one Combatant Command to another.[6] The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the Secretary of Defense and the President, and while the Chairman may assist them in their command functions, the Chairman is not in the chain of command.[7]

The Secretary of Defense is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and is by custom a member of the Cabinet, and by law a member of the National Security Council. An individual may not be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force.[8]

Along with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense is generally regarded as one of the Big Four important cabinet officials. Secretary of Defense is a Level I position of the Executive Schedule and thus earns a salary of $199,700 per year. The current Secretary is Leon Panetta who assumed office July 1, 2011.

Contents

History

The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were established in 1775, in concurrence with the American Revolution. The War Department, headed by the Secretary of War, was created by Act of Congress in 1789 and was responsible for both the Army and Navy until the founding of a separate Department of the Navy in 1798.

Based on the experiences of World War II, proposals were soon made on how to more effectively manage the large combined military establishment over which only the President had direct line authority. The Army generally favored centralization while the Navy had institutional preferences for decentralization and the status quo. The resulting National Security Act of 1947 was largely a compromise between these divergent viewpoints. The Act split the War Department into the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force, each with their own Secretary, and created a sui generis National Military Establishment led by a Secretary of Defense. At first, each of the service secretaries maintained quasi-cabinet status The first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, who as Secretary of the Navy had opposed creation of the new position, found it difficult to exercise authority over them with the limited powers his office had. To address this and other problems, the Act was amended in 1949 to further consolidate the national defense structure in order to reduce interservice rivalry, directly subordinate the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to the Secretary of Defense in the chain of command, and rename the National Military Establishment to the Department of Defense. The position of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two position in the department, was also created at this time.

The general trend since 1949 has been to further centralize management in the Department of Defense, elevating the status and authorities of civilian OSD appointees and defense-wide organizations at the expense of the military departments and the services within them. The last major revision of the statutory framework concerning the position was done in the Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. In particular, it elevated the status of joint service for commissioned officers, making it in practice a requirement before appointments to general officer and flag officer grades could be made.

Powers and Functions

DoD organization chart (2005.)
Functional chart of the major DoD components, and their relations to the President and the NSC.

In the U.S. Armed Forces, the Secretary of Defense is often referred to as SecDef or SD. The Secretary of Defense and the President together constitute the National Command Authorities (NCA),[9] which has sole authority to launch strategic nuclear weapons. All nuclear weapons are governed by this dual-authority – both must concur before a strategic nuclear strike may be ordered.

The Secretary's staff element is called the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and is composed of a Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF) and five Under Secretaries of Defense in the fields of Acquisition, Technology & Logistics; Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer; Intelligence; Personnel & Readiness; and Policy.

The Secretary of Defense by statute also exercises "authority, direction and control" over the three Secretaries of the military departments (Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Chief of Staff, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Naval Operations, and Air Force Chief of Staff), the Combatant Commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands, the Directors of the Defense Agencies (for example the Director of the National Security Agency) and of the DoD Field Activities. All of these high-ranking positions require Senate confirmation.

The Secretary is one of few civilians[10] who is authorized to act as convening authority in the military justice system for General Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 822: article 22, UCMJ), Special Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 823: article 23, UCMJ), and Summary Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 824: article 24 UCMJ).

List of Secretaries of Defense

The longest-serving Secretary of Defense is the late Robert McNamara, who served for a total of 2,595 days.

Parties

      Democratic       Republican

Status
  Denotes acting Secretary of Defense
No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took Office Left Office Days served President(s)
1 James Forrestal James Vincent Forrestal New York September 19, 1947 March 19, 1949 558 Harry S. Truman
2 Louis A. Johnson Louis Arthur Johnson West Virginia March 28, 1949 September 19, 1950 540
3 George C. Marshall George Catlett Marshall, Jr. Virginia September 19, 1950 September 19, 1951 365
4 Robert A. Lovett Robert Abercrombie Lovett New York September 19, 1951 January 20, 1953 491
5 Charles E. Wilson Charles Erwin Wilson Indiana January 20, 1953 October 8, 1957 1,722 Dwight D. Eisenhower
6 Neil H. McElroy Neil Hosler McElroy Ohio October 9, 1957 December 1, 1959 783
7 Thomas S. Gates Thomas Sovereign Gates, Jr. Pennsylvania December 2, 1959 January 20, 1961 415
8 Robert McNamara Robert Strange McNamara Michigan January 21, 1961 February 29, 1968 2,595 John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
9 Clark M. Clifford Clark McAdams Clifford Kansas March 1, 1968 January 20, 1969 326
10 Melvin R. Laird Melvin Robert Laird Wisconsin January 22, 1969 January 29, 1973 1,469 Richard Nixon
11 Elliot L. Richardson Elliot Lee Richardson Massachusetts January 30, 1973 May 24, 1973 114
Bill Clements William Perry Clements, Jr. Texas May 24, 1973 July 2, 1973 39
12 Schlesinger James Rodney Schlesinger Virginia July 2, 1973 November 19, 1975 870
Gerald Ford
13 Rumsfeld Donald Henry Rumsfeld Illinois November 20, 1975 January 20, 1977 427
14 Harold Brown Harold Brown New York January 21, 1977 January 20, 1981 1,460 Jimmy Carter
15 Caspar W. Weinberger Caspar Willard Weinberger California January 21, 1981 November 23, 1987 2,497 Ronald Reagan
16 Carlucci Frank Charles Carlucci III Pennsylvania November 23, 1987 January 20, 1989 424
William Howard Taft IV, Deptuty Secretary of Defense, official portrait.JPEG William Howard Taft IV Ohio January 20, 1989 March 20, 1989 59 George H. W. Bush
17 Cheney Richard Bruce Cheney Wyoming March 21, 1989 January 20, 1993 1,402
18 Les Aspin Leslie Aspin, Jr. Wisconsin January 21, 1993 February 3, 1994 378 Bill Clinton
19 William J. Perry William James Perry Pennsylvania February 3, 1994 January 24, 1997 1,085
20 William S. Cohen William Sebastian Cohen Maine January 24, 1997 January 20, 2001 1,457
21 Rumsfeld Donald Henry Rumsfeld Illinois January 20, 2001 December 18, 2006 2,158 George W. Bush
22 Gates Robert Michael Gates Texas December 18, 2006 July 1, 2011[11] 1,643
Barack Obama
23 Leon Panetta Leon Edward Panetta California July 1, 2011 Incumbent &10000000000000135000000135

Succession

Presidential succession

The Secretary of Defense is sixth in the presidential line of succession, following the Secretary of the Treasury and preceding the Attorney General.

Secretary of Defense succession

In Executive Order 13533 of March 1, 2010, President Barack Obama modified the line of succession regarding who would act as Secretary of Defense in the event of a vacancy or incapacitation, thus reversing the changes made by President George W. Bush in Executive Order 13394 as to the relative positions of the Secretaries of the Military Departments. All of the officials in the line of succession are civilians appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate:

Executive Order 13533 (March 1, 2010—Present)

# Office
Secretary of Defense
1 Deputy Secretary of Defense
2 Secretary of the Army
3 Secretary of the Navy
4 Secretary of the Air Force
5 Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
6 Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
7 Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
8 Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
9 Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
10 Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense
11 Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
12 Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
13 Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
14 Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
15 Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
16 Director of Defense Research and Engineering
17 General Counsel of the Department of Defense
Assistant Secretaries of Defense
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs
Director of Operational Test and Evaluation
Director of Operational Energy Plans and Programs
and the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation
18 Under Secretary of the Army
Under Secretary of the Navy
and the Under Secretary of the Air Force
19 Assistant Secretaries of the Army
Assistant Secretaries of the Navy
Assistant Secretaries of the Air Force
General Counsel of the Army
General Counsel of the Navy
and the General Counsel of the Air Force.

Executive Order 13394 (December 22, 2005—March 1, 2010)

# Office
Secretary of Defense
1 Deputy Secretary of Defense
2 Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
3 Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
4 Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
5 Secretary of the Army
6 Secretary of the Air Force
7 Secretary of the Navy
8 Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
and the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
9 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
and the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
10 General Counsel of the Department of Defense
Assistant Secretaries of Defense
and the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation
11 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Material Readiness
and the Director of Defense Research and Engineering
12 Under Secretary of the Army
Under Secretary of the Navy
and the Under Secretary of the Air Force
13 Assistant Secretaries of the Army
Assistant Secretaries of the Navy
Assistant Secretaries of the Air Force
General Counsel of the Army
General Counsel of the Navy
and the General Counsel of the Air Force.

Living former Secretaries of Defense

See also

  • List of United States Secretaries of Defense by time in office

References

Federal law

Directives and doctrine

  • Gates, Robert M. (2010-12-21). [[1] Department of Defense Directive 5100.1: Functions of the Department of Defense and Its Major Components]. Department of Defense Directive. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense. [2]. 
  • Mullen, Michael G. (2009-03-20). [[3] Joint Publication 1 – Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States]. Joint Publications. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense. [4]. 

Print sources

  • Trask, Roger R.; Goldberg, Alfred (1997). [[5] The Department of Defense 1997-1947: Organization and Leaders]. Washington, D.C.: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense/U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 0160491630. [6]. 

Online sources

Footnotes

  1. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §113
  2. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §162(b)
  3. ^ >Title 10 of the United States Code §3011
  4. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §5011
  5. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §8011
  6. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §162(a)
  7. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §152(c)
  8. ^ The National Security Act of 1947 originally required an interval of ten years after relief from active duty, which was reduced to seven years by Sec. 903(a) of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. In 1950 Congress passed special legislation (Pub. Law 81-788) to allow George C. Marshall to serve as Secretary of Defense while remaining a commissioned officer on the active list of the Army (Army regulations kept all five-star generals on active duty for life), but warned:

    It is hereby expressed as the intent of the Congress that the authority granted by this Act is not to be construed as approval by the Congress of continuing appointments of military men to the office of Secretary of Defense in the future. It is hereby expressed as the sense of the Congress that after General Marshall leaves the office of Secretary of Defense, no additional appointments of military men to that office shall be approved.

    See Defenselink bio, retrieved 8/2/2010; and Marshall Foundation bio, retrieved 8/2/2010.

  9. ^ http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O63-NationalCommandAuthoritis.html
  10. ^ Others include the President, the Secretaries of the Military Departments, and the Secretary of Homeland Security (when the Coast Guard is not under DoD)
  11. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43591679/ns/politics-more_politics/

External links

United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of the Treasury
6th in line Succeeded by
Attorney General

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