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United States Department of Defense

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United States Department of Defense

United States Department of Defense

Politics and Administration

Description

The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national security and the United States Armed Forces. The DoD is the largest employer in the world, with nearly 1.3 million active-duty service members (soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen) as of 2016. More employees include over 826,000 National Guard and Reservists from the armed forces, and over 732,000 civilians bringing the total to over 2.8 million employees. Headquartered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., the DoD's stated mission is to provide "the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security".

The Department of Defense is headed by the Secretary of Defense, a cabinet-level head who reports directly to the President of the United States. Beneath the Department of Defense are three subordinate military departments: the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force. In addition, four national intelligence services are subordinate to the Department of Defense: the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Other Defense agencies include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Defense Health Agency (DHA), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (formerly the DSS), and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), all of which are subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. Additionally, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) delivers actionable acquisition intelligence, from factory floor to the warfighter. Military operations are managed by eleven regional or functional Unified combatant commands. The Department of Defense also operates several joint services schools, including the Eisenhower School (ES) and the National War College (NWC).

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