United States Secretary of Defense

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Secretary of Defense of the United States of America
USSecDefflag.svg
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg
Seal of the Department of Defense[2]
Chuck Hagel Defense portrait.jpg
Incumbent
Chuck Hagel

since February 27, 2013
Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
StyleMister Secretary
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
Reports toThe President
SeatThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
AppointerThe President
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 113
50 U.S.C. § 401
PrecursorSecretary of War
and Secretary of the Navy
Inaugural holderJames Forrestal[3]
FormationSeptember 19, 1947
SuccessionSixth
in the presidential line of succession.[4]
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Defense
(principal deputy)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
(military deputy)
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level 1[5]
Websitewww.defense.gov
 
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Secretary of Defense of the United States of America
USSecDefflag.svg
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg
Seal of the Department of Defense[2]
Chuck Hagel Defense portrait.jpg
Incumbent
Chuck Hagel

since February 27, 2013
Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
StyleMister Secretary
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
Reports toThe President
SeatThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
AppointerThe President
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 113
50 U.S.C. § 401
PrecursorSecretary of War
and Secretary of the Navy
Inaugural holderJames Forrestal[3]
FormationSeptember 19, 1947
SuccessionSixth
in the presidential line of succession.[4]
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Defense
(principal deputy)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
(military deputy)
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level 1[5]
Websitewww.defense.gov

The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is the leader and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense, an Executive Department of the Government of the United States of America.[6][7][8] The Secretary of Defense's power over the United States military is second only to that of the President.[9] This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in many other countries.[10] 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.[11]

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."[12] 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.[13]

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.[14][15][16][17][18] Only the Secretary of Defense (or the President) can authorize the transfer of operational control of forces between the three Military Departments (the departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force) and the nine Combatant Commands (Africa Command, Central Command, European Command, Northern Command, Pacific Command, Southern Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command, Transportation Command).[14] 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 President in the military hierarchy, it has sometimes unofficially been referred to as a de facto "deputy commander-in-chief".[19][20][21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

The current Secretary of Defense is Chuck Hagel, who assumed office on February 27, 2013.

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. 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

The Secretary of War [now Secretary of Defense] is the regular constitutional organ of the President for the administration of the military establishment of the nation; and rules and orders publicly promulgated through him must be received as the acts of the executive, and as such, be binding upon all within the sphere of his legal and constitutional authority. Such regulations cannot be questioned or denied because they may be thought unwise or mistaken. .

United States v. Eliason, 41 U.S. 291 (1842)

Nor is it necessary for the Secretary of War [now Secretary of Defense] in promulgating such rules or orders to state that they emanate from the President, for the presumption is that the Secretary is acting with the President's approbation and under his direction.

In re Brodie, 128 Fed. 668 (CCA 8th 1904)
Department of Defense organizational chart (March 2012)

The Secretary of Defense, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is by federal law (10 U.S.C. § 113) the head of the Department of Defense, "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to Department of Defense", and has "authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense". Because the Constitution vests all military authority in Congress and the President, the statutory authority of the Secretary of Defense is derived from their constitutional authorities. Since it is impractical for either Congress or the President to participate in every piece of Department of Defense affairs, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary's subordinate officials generally exercise military authority.

As the head of DoD, all officials, employees and service members are "under" the Secretary of Defense. Some of those high-ranking officials, civil and military (outside of OSD and the Joint Staff) are: the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force, Army Chief of Staff, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Naval Operations, and Air Force Chief of Staff, Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the Combatant Commanders of the Combatant Commands. All of these high-ranking positions, civil and military, require Senate confirmation.

The Department of Defense is composed of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Joint Staff (JS), Office of the Inspector General (DODIG), the Combatant Commands, the Military Departments (Department of the Army (DA), Department of the Navy (DON) & Department of the Air Force (DAF)), the Defense Agencies and DoD Field Activities, the National Guard Bureau (NGB), and such other offices, agencies, activities, organizations, and commands established or designated by law, or by the President or by the Secretary of Defense.

Department of Defense Directive 5100.01 describes the organizational relationships within the Department, and is the foundational issuance for delineating the major functions of the Department. The latest version, signed by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in December 2010, is the first major re-write since 1987.[24][25]

Office of the Secretary of Defense

The Secretary's principally civilian staff element is called the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and is composed of the 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; several Assistant Secretaries of Defense; other directors and the staffs under them.

The name of the principally military staff organization, organized under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the Joint Staff (JS).

Awards and decorations

The Defense Distinguished Service Medal (DDSM), the Defense Superior Service Medal (DSSM), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM), the Joint Service Commendation Medal (JSCM) and the Joint Service Achievement Medal (JSAM) are awarded, to military personnel for service in joint duty assignments, in the name of the Secretary of Defense. In addition, there is the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA), which is the only ribbon (as in non-medal) and unit award issued to joint DoD activities, also issued in the name of the Secretary of Defense.

The DDSM is analogous to the distinguished services medals issued by the military departments (i.e. Army Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal & Air Force Distinguished Service Medal), the DSSM corresponds to the Legion of Merit, the DMSM to the Meritorious Service Medal, the JSCM to the service commendation medals, and the JSAM to the achievement medals issued by the services. While the approval authority for DSSM, DMSM, JSCM, JSAM and JMUA is delegated to inferior DoD officials: the DDSM can only be awarded by the Secretary of Defense.

Recommendations for the Medal of Honor (MOH), formally endorsed in writing by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are processed through the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and such recommendations be must approved by the Secretary of Defense before it can be handed over to the President, who is the final approval authority for the MOH, although it is awarded in the name of Congress.

The Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, is the approval authority for the acceptance and wear of NATO medals issued by the Secretary General of NATO and offered to the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO in recognition of U.S. Service members who meet the eligibility criteria specified by NATO.[26]

Congressional committees

As the head of the department, the Secretary of Defense is the chief witness for the congressional committees with oversight responsibilities over the Department of Defense. The most important committees, with respect to the entire department, are the two authorizing committees, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and the two appropriations committees, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee.

For the DoD intelligence programs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have the principal oversight role.

National Security Council

The Secretary of Defense is a statutory member of the National Security Council.[27] As one of the principals, the Secretary along with the Vice President, Secretary of State and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs participates in biweekly Principals Committee (PC) meetings, preparing and coordinating issues before they are brought before full NSC sessions chaired by the President.

Role in the military justice system

The Secretary is one of only five or six civilians — the others being 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) — 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).

Amenities

Salary

Secretary of Defense is a Level I position of the Executive Schedule,[5] and thus earns a salary of $199,700 per year.

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 just ten days fewer than McNamara. William P. Clements is the shortest-serving one at just 39 days.

Parties

      Democratic       Republican

Status
  Denotes an Acting Secretary of Defense
No.PortraitNameState of ResidenceTook OfficeLeft OfficeDays servedPresident
serving under
1James ForrestalJames V. ForrestalNew YorkSeptember 19, 1947March 19, 1949558Harry S Truman
2Louis A. JohnsonLouis A. JohnsonWest VirginiaMarch 28, 1949September 19, 1950540
3George C. MarshallGeorge C. MarshallPennsylvaniaSeptember 19, 1950September 19, 1951365
4Robert A. LovettRobert A. LovettNew YorkSeptember 19, 1951January 20, 1953491
5Charles E. WilsonCharles E. WilsonMichiganJanuary 20, 1953October 8, 19571,722Dwight D. Eisenhower
6Neil H. McElroyNeil H. McElroyOhioOctober 9, 1957December 1, 1959783
7Thomas S. GatesThomas S. Gates, Jr.PennsylvaniaDecember 2, 1959January 20, 1961415
8Robert McNamaraRobert S. McNamaraMichiganJanuary 21, 1961February 29, 19682,595John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
9Clark M. CliffordClark M. CliffordMarylandMarch 1, 1968January 20, 1969326
10Melvin R. LairdMelvin R. LairdWisconsinJanuary 22, 1969January 29, 19731,469Richard Nixon
11Elliot L. RichardsonElliot L. RichardsonMassachusettsJanuary 30, 1973May 24, 1973114
Bill ClementsWilliam P. Clements
(acting)
TexasMay 24, 1973July 2, 197339
12SchlesingerJames R. SchlesingerVirginiaJuly 2, 1973November 19, 1975403
467
(870 total)
Gerald Ford
13RumsfeldDonald RumsfeldIllinoisNovember 20, 1975January 20, 1977427
14Harold BrownHarold BrownCaliforniaJanuary 21, 1977January 20, 19811,460Jimmy Carter
15Caspar W. WeinbergerCaspar WeinbergerCaliforniaJanuary 21, 1981November 23, 19872,497Ronald Reagan
16CarlucciFrank CarlucciVirginiaNovember 23, 1987January 20, 1989424
William Howard Taft IV, Deptuty Secretary of Defense, official portrait.JPEGWilliam Howard Taft IV
(acting)
OhioJanuary 20, 1989March 20, 198959George H. W. Bush
17CheneyRichard B. CheneyWyomingMarch 21, 1989January 20, 19931,402
18Les AspinLeslie AspinWisconsinJanuary 21, 1993February 3, 1994378Bill Clinton
19William J. PerryWilliam J. PerryPennsylvaniaFebruary 3, 1994January 24, 19971,085
20William S. CohenWilliam S. CohenMaineJanuary 24, 1997January 20, 20011,457
21RumsfeldDonald RumsfeldIllinoisJanuary 20, 2001December 18, 20062,158George W. Bush
22GatesRobert M. GatesTexasDecember 18, 2006July 1, 2011764
879
(1,643 total)
Barack Obama
23Leon PanettaLeon PanettaCaliforniaJuly 1, 2011February 27, 2013608
24Chuck HagelChuck HagelNebraskaFebruary 27, 2013Incumbent630

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.[28]

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

As of October 2014, there are nine living former Secretaries of Defense, the oldest being Melvin Laird (1969-1973, born 1922). The most recent Secretary of Defense to pass away was James R. Schlesinger (1977–1979), on March 27, 2014.

NameTerm of officeDate of birth
Melvin Laird1969-1973(1922-09-01) September 1, 1922 (age 92)
Donald Rumsfeld1975–1977, 2001-2006(1932-07-09) July 9, 1932 (age 82)
Harold Brown1977–1981(1927-09-19) September 19, 1927 (age 87)
Frank Carlucci1987–1989(1930-10-18) October 18, 1930 (age 84)
Dick Cheney1989–1993(1941-01-30) January 30, 1941 (age 73)
William Perry1994–1997(1927-10-11) October 11, 1927 (age 87)
William Cohen1997–2001(1940-08-28) August 28, 1940 (age 74)
Robert Gates2006–2011(1943-09-25) September 25, 1943 (age 71)
Leon Panetta2011–2013(1938-06-28) June 28, 1938 (age 76)

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/UniformedServices/Flags/Pos_Colors_DoD.aspx, accessed on 2012-01-04.
  2. ^ Trask & Goldberg: p. 177.
  3. ^ Trask & Goldberg: pp. 57-60.
  4. ^ 3 U.S.C. § 19
  5. ^ a b 5 U.S.C. § 5312.
  6. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 113.
  7. ^ DoDD 5100.1: Enclosure 2: a
  8. ^ 5 U.S.C. § 101.
  9. ^ Trask & Goldberg: p.11
  10. ^ http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-C0FDE451-36F2483B/natolive/nato_countries.htm, accessed on 2012-01-04.
  11. ^ 50 U.S.C. § 402.
  12. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 113
  13. ^ 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.

  14. ^ a b 10 U.S.C. § 162
  15. ^ Joint Publication 1: II-9, II-10 & II-11.
  16. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 3011
  17. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 5011
  18. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 8011
  19. ^ Trask & Goldberg: pp.11 & 52
  20. ^ Cohen: p.231.
  21. ^ http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2006/10/rumsfeld.html, accessed on 2012-01-06.
  22. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 152
  23. ^ Cabinets and Counselors: The President and the Executive Branch (1997). Congressional Quarterly. p. 87.
  24. ^ Department of Defense Directive 5100.01 Functions of the Department of Defense and Its Major Components
  25. ^ DoDD 5100.1: p.1.
  26. ^ DoDM 1348.33, Vol 3: p.39 (Enclosure 3)
  27. ^ 50 U.S.C. § 402
  28. ^ 3 U.S.C. § 19.

Sources

Federal law

Directives, regulations and manuals

Further reading

Primary historical sources

Online sources

External links

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