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 $664 billion (2010)
Active-duty military 1,473,900
Reserves 1,458,500
Civilian employees 700,000
Civilian Leadership
Commander in Chief President Barack Obama
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III
Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley
Military Leadership
Joint Chiefs of Staff
ADM Michael Mullen
Chief of Staff
GEN George W. Casey, Jr.
Chief of Naval Operations ADM Gary Roughead
Chief of Staff
Air Force
GEN Norton A. Schwartz
Commandant of the
Marine Corps
GEN James T. Conway

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 Robert Gates.


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 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.