United States Department of Defense

The United States Department of Defense (DoD,[5] 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,[6] with over 1.4 million active-duty service members (soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen, and Guardians) as of 2021.[7] More employees include over 826,000 National Guard and reservists from the armed forces, and over 732,000 civilians[8] bringing the total to over 2.8 million employees.[2] 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".[9][10]

United States Department of Defense
Agency overview
FormedSeptember 18, 1947; 74 years ago (1947-09-18) (as National Military Establishment)
Preceding agencies
TypeExecutive department
JurisdictionU.S. federal government
HeadquartersThe Pentagon
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
38°52′16″N 77°3′21″W
  • 732,079 (civilian)[1]
  • 1,300,000 (active duty military)
  • 826,000 (National Guard and reserve)
  • 2.86 million total[2] (2018)
Annual budgetUS$721.5 billion (FY2020)[3]
Agency executives
Child agencies

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 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 (DCSA), the Space Development Agency (SDA) and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), all of which are subordinate to the secretary of defense. Additionally, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is responsible for administering contracts for the DoD. 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).