Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense, abbreviated DoD or DOD and sometimes called the Defense Department, is a civilian Cabinet organization of the United States Government. The Department of Defense controls the United States armed forces and is headquartered at The Pentagon. It is headed by the Secretary of Defense, who is currently Donald Rumsfeld.
Structure of the DoD
- DoD Organizational Structure (Defenselink.mil)
- Structure of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Defenselink.mil PDF)
The Department of Defense is an global organization possessing the most advanced weapons and electronic espionage systems in the world.
Key civilian and military leaders include:
- Secretary of Defense: Robert M. Gates
- Deputy Secretary: Gordon England
- Under Secretary of Defense for Policy: Eric S. Edelman
- Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence: James R. Clapper
- Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
- Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness:
- Defense Department Comptroller: Tina W. Jonas
- Director of Defense Research and Engineering:
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
- Inspector General of the Department of Defense: Missing in action?
The Pentagon has a number of agencies and military branches:
- Air Force
- Marine Corps
- Defense Agencies:
- Unified Combatant Commands:
List via BrainyEncyclopedia DoD entry
Of particular interest to those looking at how the war on Iraq came about are the following offices:
- Defense Policy Board, formerly chaired by Richard Perle
- Office of Special Plans (OSP) run by Abram Shulsky
- Office of Near East and South Asia bureau (NESA) run by Deputy Under Secretary William Luti
Retired intelligence officials from the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have long charged that the two offices exaggerated and manipulated intelligence about Iraq before passing it along to the White House. - Jim Lobe
- Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network by Jim Lobe
- Career Officer Does Eye-Opening Stint Inside Pentagon by Ret. Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski
For many years the DoD had sought to decentralize its operations, in the event that a nuclear war or massive disaster had wiped out much of the U.S. NORAD, (originally "North American Radar Air Defense") a vast underground command center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, supposedly has the ability to withstand at least one nuclear blast. Researchers at DARPA developed the forerunner to the Internet, DARPANET, as a computer network that could intelligently route around damage. Ironically, as John Gilmour put it, DARPANET's descendant "treats censorship as damage, and routes around it," a quality created by the DoD.
After the cold war, DoD divided the world into a number of sectors, each run by a central command or CENTCOM facility. The global military command has rapidly eclipsed American diplomatic missions in spending, size and political influence, as regional policies such as military training are conducted by the CENTCOM. Operations like training, in turn, are increasingly turned over to private companies, so essential Defense Department political missions are under corporate executives, making the DoD a hybrid public/private enterprise.
Privatization and military firms
Command of operations
Wars such as the invasion of Iraq are generally commanded at the highest level from the regional CENTCOM headquarters and the Pentagon.
Impact of bases on local populations
The bulk of the DoD's global presence is in a peacetime stance, "treading water" in the local environment, which in turn creates reactions in the society surrounding American bases. In Okinawa, dozens of bases have filled much of the island since the end of WWII. The garrisoned troops may not have orders to march anywhere, but if they have been ordered to that base, whatever effect they have on the area could be considered the result of the command structure as a whole. On overseas bases, a key legal underpinning of their command is the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the military and the host government.
Although the DoD originally depended more on other agencies for information, now the Defense Intelligence Agency collects a large proportion of military intelligence.