Organizational structure of the United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has a complex organizational structure. It includes the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and the Unified combatant commands, U.S. elements of multinational commands (such as NATO and NORAD), as well as non-combat agencies such as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. The DoD's annual budget was roughly US$496.1 billion in 2015. This figure is the base amount and does not include the $64.3 billion spent on "War/Non-War Supplementals". Including those items brings the total to $560.4 billion for 2015.
Civilian control over matters other than operations is exercised through the three service departments, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy (which includes the Marine Corps), and the Department of the Air Force. Each is led by a service secretary, who is below Cabinet rank.
In wartime, the Department has authority over the Coast Guard, which is under the control of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in peacetime. Prior to the creation of DHS, the Coast Guard was under the control of the Department of Transportation, and earlier under the Department of the Treasury. According to the U.S. Code, the Coast Guard is at all times considered one of the five armed services of the United States. During times of declared war (or by Congressional direction), the Coast Guard operates as a part of the Navy; this has not happened since World War II, but members have served in undeclared wars and conflicts since then while the service remained in its peacetime department.
The Pentagon, in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is the Department's headquarters. The Department is protected by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which ensures law enforcement and security for the Pentagon and various other jurisdictions throughout the National Capital Region (NCR).
- 1 Chain of Command
- 2 Components of the Department of Defense
- 2.1 Senior Leaders
- 2.1.1 Office of the Secretary of Defense
- 2.1.2 Defense Agencies
- 2.1.3 Department of Defense Field Activities
- 2.1.4 Military Departments
- 2.1.5 Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- 2.1.6 Unified Combatant Commands
- 2.1.7 Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense
- 2.1.8 National Guard Bureau
- 2.1.9 Other
- 2.1 Senior Leaders
- 3 References
- 4 Further reading
Chain of Command
The President of the United States is, according to the Constitution, the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and Chief Executive of the Federal Government. The Secretary of Defense is the "Principal Assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense", and is vested with statutory authority (10 U.S.C. § 113) to lead the Department and all of its component agencies, including military command authority second only to the President.
The President and the Secretary of Defense exercise authority and control of the Armed Forces through two distinct branches of the chain of command. One branch (10 U.S.C. § 162) runs from the President, through the Secretary of Defense, to the Combatant Commanders for missions and forces assigned to their commands. The other branch, used for purposes other than operational direction of forces assigned to the combatant commands, runs from the President through the Secretary of Defense to the Secretaries of the Military Departments, i.e., the Secretary of the Army (10 U.S.C. § 3013), the Secretary of the Navy (10 U.S.C. § 5013), and the Secretary of the Air Force (10 U.S.C. § 8013). The Military Departments, organized separately within the Department, operate under the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of that Military Department. The Secretaries of the Military Departments exercise authority through their respective Service Chiefs (i.e., Chief of Staff of the Army, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Naval Operations, and Chief of Staff of the Air Force) over forces not assigned to a Combatant Command. The Service Chiefs, except as otherwise prescribed by law, perform their duties under the authority, direction, and control of the Secretaries of their respective Military Departments, to whom they are directly responsible.
In the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, Congress clarified the command line to the combatant commanders and preserved civilian control of the military. The Act states that the operational chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense to the Combatant Commanders. The Act permits the President to direct that communications pass through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the Secretary of Defense, and to the Combatant Commanders. This authority places the Chairman in the communications chain. Further, the Act gives the Secretary of Defense wide latitude to assign the Chairman oversight responsibilities for the activities of the Combatant Commanders.
Article II Section 2 of the Constitution designates the President as "Commander in Chief" of the Army, Navy and state militias. The President exercises this supreme command authority through the civilian Secretary of Defense, who by federal law is the head of the department, has authority direction, and control over the Department of Defense, and is the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense. The Secretary's principal deputy is the equally civilian Deputy Secretary of Defense who is delegated full powers to act for the Secretary of Defense. The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is the Secretary and Deputy Secretary's civilian staff, which includes several Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries of Defense with functional oversight responsibilities. The Secretaries of the Military Departments (i.e. Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force) are subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. They have the authority under Title 10 of the United States Code to conduct all the affairs of their respective departments (Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force) within which the military services are organized.
Historically, there have been challenges to civilian control. Most notably, during the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur ignored civilian instructions regarding advancing troops toward the Yalu River, which triggered an introduction of massive forces from China. Also, on April 5, 1950, Representative Joseph William Martin, Jr., the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, released copies of a letter from MacArthur critical of President Harry S. Truman's limited-war strategy to the press and read it aloud on the floor of the house. President Truman relieved MacArthur of command, and MacArthur then explored political options against Truman. The Revolt of the Admirals is another example in the same era of a challenge to civilian control.
DoD policies and directives protect the policy of civilian control by establishing strict limitations on the political activities of members of the military. For example, DoD Directive 1344.10 prohibits active-duty members of the military from running for office or making political appearances in uniform. However, enforcing this strict separation between the military and politics has been problematic. For example, over the years, many elected officials, including members of Congress, continued serving in the reserves while holding elected office. As another example, at a September 14, 2007, rally for Republican Presidential candidate John McCain in New Hampshire, seven on-duty uniformed Army personnel addressed the gathering. As another example, although DOD Directive 1344.10 prohibits political appearances by active-duty military members in uniform, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell invited a uniformed Army Staff Sergeant to stand behind him during his televised Republican response to the 2010 State of the Union Address.
Components of the Department of Defense
- Secretary of Defense
- Deputy Secretary of Defense
- Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense
- Immediate Office of the Deputy Secretary
- Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization
- Executive Secretariat
- Immediate Office of the Secretary
- Deputy Secretary of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
- Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
- Department of Defense Test Resource Management Center
- Defense Technical Information Center
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
- Missile Defense Agency
- Defense Contract Management Agency
- Defense Logistics Agency
- Defense Threat Reduction Agency
- Office of Economic Adjustment
- Defense Acquisition University
- Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate (DOT&E)
- Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
- Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer
Personnel and Readiness
- Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
- Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
- Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
- Defense Commissary Agency
- Defense Human Resources Activity
- Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
- Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
- Office of the Chancellor for Education and Professional Development
- Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
- Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration
Other OSD Offices
- Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
- Director of Administration and Management
- Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation
- General Counsel of the Department of Defense
Defense Agencies are established as DoD Components by law, the President, or the Secretary of Defense to provide for the performance, on a DoD-wide basis, of a supply or service activity that is common to more than one Military Department when it is determined to be more effective, economical, or efficient to do so, pursuant to sections 101, 191(a), and 192 of Title 10 of the United States Code or when a responsibility or function is more appropriately assigned to a Defense Agency. Pursuant to section 191(b) Title 10, such organizations are designated as Defense Agencies. Each Defense Agency operates under the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense, through a Principal Staff Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Department of Defense Field Activities
Department of Defense Field Activities are established as DoD Components by law, the President, or the Secretary of Defense to provide for the performance, on a DoD-wide basis, of a supply or service activity that is common to more than one Military Department when it is determined to be more effective, economical, or efficient to do so, pursuant to sections 101, 191(a), and 192 of Title 10 of the United States Code. Pursuant to section 191(b) of Title 10, such organizations are designated as DoD Field Activities. Each DoD Field Activity operates under the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense, through a Principal Staff Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Department of the Army
Headquarters, Department of the Army
Army Field Organizations
- Army Commands
- Army Component Commands
- Field Operating Agencies
- Direct Reporting Units
- Office of the Secretary of the Navy
- Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
- Headquarters Marine Corps (See also: Organization of the United States Marine Corps)
Headquarters Air Force
- Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
- The Air Staff
Air Force Field Organizations
Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Joint Chiefs of Staff
- The Joint Staff
- Director of the Joint Staff
- DOM- Directorate of Management
- J1 - Personnel and Manpower
- J2 - Intelligence
- J3 - Operations
- J4 - Logistics
- J5 - Strategic Plans and Policy
- J6 - Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems
- J7 - Operational Plans and Joint Force Development
- J8 - Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment
- Director of the Joint Staff
- National Defense University
- U.S. Delegation to the Inter-American Defense Board
- U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Military Staff Committee
- U.S. Representative at the NATO Military Committee
- U.S. Section, Joint Mexico-U.S. Defense Commission
Unified Combatant Commands
There are nine Unified Combatant Commands; six regional and three functional. Africa Command became initially operational in October 2007, while Joint Forces Command was officially disestablished on August 4, 2011.
|Seal||Name||Acronym||Headquarters||Area of Responsibility||Other Role of CCDR|
|United States Africa Command||AFRICOM||Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany; to be relocated to African continent or other location TBD||Africa excluding Egypt|
|United States Central Command||CENTCOM||MacDill Air Force Base, Florida||Egypt through the Persian Gulf region, into Central Asia, excluding Israel|
|United States European Command||EUCOM||Stuttgart, Germany||Europe, including Turkey, and Israel||Also Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)|
|United States Northern Command||NORTHCOM||Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado||North American homeland defense and coordinating homeland defense with federal and state civil authorities.||Also Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
(bilateral U.S.-Canadian military command)
|United States Pacific Command||PACOM||Camp H. M. Smith, Oahu, Hawaii||The Asia-Pacific region including Hawaii.|
|United States Southern Command||SOUTHCOM||Miami, Florida||South, Central America and the surrounding waters|
|U.S. Special Operations Command||SOCOM||MacDill Air Force Base, Florida||Provides special operations for the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force.|
|United States Strategic Command||STRATCOM||Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska||Covers the strategic deterrent force and coordinates the use of space assets.|
|United States Transportation Command||TRANSCOM||Scott Air Force Base, Illinois||Covers global mobility of all military assets for all regional commands.|
|The Geographic Commands|
In 2007, a new geographical command for Africa was authorized. This proposed significant changes to the areas of responsibility for other adjacent geographical commands as shown in the accompanying graphic.
Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense
The Office of the Inspector General is an independent and objective unit within the Department of Defense that conducts and supervises audits and investigations relating to the programs and operations of the Department of Defense, pursuant to the responsibilities specified in title 5, U.S.C. Appendix and DoDD 5106.01.
National Guard Bureau
The National Guard Bureau (NGB) is a joint activity of the Department of Defense. The Chief of the National Guard Bureau is a principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense, through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on matters involving non-federalized National Guard forces, and other matters as determined by the Secretary of Defense. For NGB matters pertaining to the responsibilities of the Departments of the Army and Air Force in law or DoD policy, the Secretary of Defense normally exercises authority, direction, and control over the NGB through the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force. The NGB is the focal point at the strategic level for National Guard matters that are not under the authority, direction, and control of the Secretaries of the Army or Air Force, including joint, interagency, and intergovernmental matters where the NGB acts through other DoD officials as specified in DoDD 5105.77.
The United States Naval Observatory falls under the Chief of Naval Operations. In 2003 the National Communications System was moved to the Department of Homeland Security, but only for executive purposes; it still centralizes its activities within the Department of Defense, since the human resources required by NCS (example: Military Departments) still reside within the Department of Defense, or for retention of practical maintenance.
- "United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request / Overview" (PDF). Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Chief Financial Officer. February 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "Caselaw: constitution article 2". Retrieved 15 April 2010.
- 10 U.S.C. 113
- 10 U.S.C. §§ 3013, 5013 & 8013
- James 1985, pp. 584–589.
- James, D. Clayton (1985). Volume 3, Triumph and Disaster 1945–1964. The Years of MacArthur. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 607–608. ISBN 0-395-36004-8. OCLC 36211311.
- "DoD Directive 1344.10, February 19, 2008 -- POSTED 2/21/2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- ssenberg, Sasha (28 September 2007). "Army personnel spoke at McCain rally". Boston Globe. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
- Kumar, Anita (27 January 2010). "McDonnell's guests at tonight's State of the Union response". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
- "Bob McDonnell's Republican Response to the SOTU: A Military Misstep". 28 January 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
- "Organizational Chart". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
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