United States Department of Defense

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United States Department of Defense
26 July 1947
Headquarters Pentagon
Arlington, Virginia
Jurisdiction United States Government
Budget $534.3 billion (2016)
Active-duty military 1,300,000
Reserves 826,000
Civilian employees 742,000
Civilian Leadership
Commander in Chief President Donald Trump
Secretary of Defense James Mattis
Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan
Secretary of the Army Mark Esper
Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson
Military Leadership
Joint Chiefs of Staff
GEN Joseph Dunford
Chief of Staff
GEN Mark A. Milley
Chief of Naval Operations ADM John M. Richardson
Chief of Staff
Air Force
GEN David L. Goldfein
Commandant of the
Marine Corps
GEN Robert B. Neller

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is the government department in charge of managing matters involving military operations and national security. It was formerly known as the War Department. The current Secretary of Defense is James Mattis.


The DoD has developed significant technology that has been re-purposed for civilian use, such as the modern digital computer, the Internet, and the Global Positioning System. Artillery trajectories were calculated by "computers", that is, actual human beings who did the math by hand, until military necessity accelerated development of "electronic brains" such as the ENIAC (see also UNIVAC). The Internet was created and promoted by the Pentagon, largely because of the need to have redundant lines of communication to survive an enemy attack on phone and telegraph systems. The GPS satellites originally broadcast encrypted signals to support logistics, but a less precise signal is now also broadcast for hikers, taxi cab drivers, and commuters.

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