Key West Agreement

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The Key West Agreement is the colloquial name for the policy paper Function of the Armed Forces and the Joint Chiefs of Staff drafted by James V. Forrestal, the first United States Secretary of Defense. Its most prominent feature was an outline for the division of air assets between the Army, Navy, and the newly created Air Force which, with modifications, continues to provide the basis for the division of these assets in the U.S. military today.

The basic outline for the document was agreed to at a meeting of the United States service chiefs that took place from March 11 to March 14, 1948 in Key West, Florida, and was finalized after subsequent meetings in Washington, D.C. President Harry S. Truman approved the agreement on April 21, 1948, which was revised in 1954 by the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration.

Key points[edit]

  • The Navy would be allowed to retain its own combat air arm "...to conduct air operations as necessary for the accomplishment of objectives in a naval campaign..."
  • The Army would be allowed to retain aviation assets for reconnaissance and medical evacuation purposes.
  • The Air Force would have control of all strategic air assets, and most tactical and logistic functions as well.

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