United States Secretary of Defense

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Secretary of Defense of the United States of America
USSecDefflag.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Defense[1]
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg
Seal of the Department of Defense
Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Incumbent
Leon Panetta

since July 1, 2011
StyleMister Secretary
FormationSeptember 19, 1947
First holderJames Forrestal[2]
SuccessionSixth
in the presidential line of succession.[3]
DeputyThe Deputy Secretary of Defense
SalaryExecutive Schedule, Level 1[4]
WebsiteThe Official Home of the Department of Defense
 
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Secretary of Defense of the United States of America
USSecDefflag.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Defense[1]
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg
Seal of the Department of Defense
Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Incumbent
Leon Panetta

since July 1, 2011
StyleMister Secretary
FormationSeptember 19, 1947
First holderJames Forrestal[2]
SuccessionSixth
in the presidential line of succession.[3]
DeputyThe Deputy Secretary of Defense
SalaryExecutive Schedule, Level 1[4]
WebsiteThe Official Home of the Department of Defense

The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is the top ranking executive officer of the Department of Defense, an Executive Department of the Government of the United States of America.[5][6][7] This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in many other countries.[8] 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.[9]

Secretary of Defense is a statutory office, and the general provision in 10 U.S.C. § 113 provides that the Secretary of Defense has "authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense", and is further designated by the same statute as "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense."[10] Ensuring civilian control of the military, 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 (i.e., non-reserve) component of an armed force.[11]

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 (the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps) for both operational and administrative purposes.[12][13][14][15] Only the Secretary of Defense (or the President) can authorize the transfer of operational control of forces between the three Military Departments (Departments of the Army, Navy & Air Force) and the currently nine Combatant Commands (Africa Command, Central Command, European Command, Northern Command, Pacific Command, Southern Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command, Transportation Command), and between the Combatant Commands.[16] Because the Office of Secretary of Defense is vested with legal powers which exceeds those of any commissioned officer, and is second only to the Office of President in the military hierarchy, it has sometimes unofficially been referred to as a de facto "deputy commander-in-chief".[17][18][19] 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 the Secretary and President in their command functions, the Chairman is not in the chain of command.[20]

The Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, are generally regarded as the four most important cabinet officials because of the importance of their departments.[21] 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

Seal of the National Military Establishment (1947–1949), which was reorganized into the Department of Defense.

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 in his previous capacity 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 at the time. To address this and other problems, the National Security 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 as one Executive Department. 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),[22] 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[23] 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. Combining his two non-sequential services as Secretary of Defense, the second longest serving is Donald Rumsfeld, who served merely ten days fewer than McNamara.

Parties

      Democratic       Republican

Status
  Denotes an Acting Secretary of Defense
No.PortraitNameState of ResidenceTook OfficeLeft OfficeDays servedPresident
serving under
1James ForrestalJames Vincent ForrestalNew YorkSeptember 19, 1947March 19, 1949558Harry S. Truman
2Louis A. JohnsonLouis Arthur JohnsonWest VirginiaMarch 28, 1949September 19, 1950540
3George C. MarshallGeorge Catlett Marshall, Jr.PennsylvaniaSeptember 19, 1950September 19, 1951365
4Robert A. LovettRobert Abercrombie LovettNew YorkSeptember 19, 1951January 20, 1953491
5Charles E. WilsonCharles Erwin WilsonMichiganJanuary 20, 1953October 8, 19571,722Dwight D. Eisenhower
6Neil H. McElroyNeil Hosler McElroyOhioOctober 9, 1957December 1, 1959783
7Thomas S. GatesThomas Sovereign Gates, Jr.PennsylvaniaDecember 2, 1959January 20, 1961415
8Robert McNamaraRobert Strange McNamaraMichiganJanuary 21, 1961February 29, 19682,595John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
9Clark M. CliffordClark McAdams CliffordMarylandMarch 1, 1968January 20, 1969326
10Melvin R. LairdMelvin Robert LairdWisconsinJanuary 22, 1969January 29, 19731,469Richard Nixon
11Elliot L. RichardsonElliot Lee RichardsonMassachusettsJanuary 30, 1973May 24, 1973114
Bill ClementsWilliam Perry Clements, Jr.
(as Deputy Secretary)
TexasMay 24, 1973July 2, 197339
12SchlesingerJames Rodney SchlesingerVirginiaJuly 2, 1973November 19, 1975870
Gerald Ford
13RumsfeldDonald RumsfeldIllinoisNovember 20, 1975January 20, 1977427
14Harold BrownHarold BrownCaliforniaJanuary 21, 1977January 20, 19811,460Jimmy Carter
15Caspar W. WeinbergerCaspar Willard WeinbergerCaliforniaJanuary 21, 1981November 23, 19872,497Ronald Reagan
16CarlucciFrank Charles Carlucci IIIVirginiaNovember 23, 1987January 20, 1989424
William Howard Taft IV, Deptuty Secretary of Defense, official portrait.JPEGWilliam Howard Taft IV
(as Deputy Secretary)
OhioJanuary 20, 1989March 20, 198959George H. W. Bush
17CheneyRichard Bruce CheneyWyomingMarch 21, 1989January 20, 19931,402
18Les AspinLeslie Aspin, Jr.WisconsinJanuary 21, 1993February 3, 1994378Bill Clinton
19William J. PerryWilliam James PerryPennsylvaniaFebruary 3, 1994January 24, 19971,085
20William S. CohenWilliam Sebastian CohenMaineJanuary 24, 1997January 20, 20011,457
21RumsfeldDonald RumsfeldIllinoisJanuary 20, 2001December 18, 20062,158George W. Bush
22GatesRobert M. GatesTexasDecember 18, 2006July 1, 2011[24]1,643
Barack Obama
23Leon PanettaLeon PanettaCaliforniaJuly 1, 2011Incumbent7002503000000000000503

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.[25]

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

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/UniformedServices/Flags/Pos_Colors_DoD.aspx, accessed on 2012-01-04.
  2. ^ http://osdhistory.defense.gov/SODs/forrestal.html, accessed on 2012-01-04.
  3. ^ 3 U.S.C. § 19
  4. ^ 5 U.S.C. § 5312.
  5. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 113.
  6. ^ Enclosure 2 (a), DoDD5100.1 (2010).
  7. ^ 5 U.S.C. § 101.
  8. ^ http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-C0FDE451-36F2483B/natolive/nato_countries.htm, accessed on 2012-01-04.
  9. ^ 50 U.S.C. § 402.
  10. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §113
  11. ^ 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.

  12. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §162(b)
  13. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §3011
  14. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §5011
  15. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §8011
  16. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §162(a)
  17. ^ Trask & Goldberg (1997). pp.11 & 52.
  18. ^ Cohen, Eliot A., Supreme Command: soldiers, statesmen and leadership in wartime (2003). p.231. ISBN 978-1-4000-3404-8
  19. ^ http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2006/10/rumsfeld.html, accessed on 2012-01-06.
  20. ^ Title 10 of the United States Code §152(c)
  21. ^ Cabinets and Counselors: The President and the Executive Branch (1997). Congressional Quarterly. p. 87.
  22. ^ http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O63-NationalCommandAuthoritis.html
  23. ^ The others are the President, the three "service secretaries" (the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force), and the Secretary of Homeland Security (when the United States Coast Guard is under the United States Department of Homeland Security and has not been transferred to the Department of the Navy under the Department of Defense).
  24. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43591679/ns/politics-more_politics/
  25. ^ 3 U.S.C. § 19.

References

Federal law

Directives and doctrine

Print sources

Online sources

External links

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