United States Department of War

The United States Department of War, also called the War Department (and occasionally War Office in the early years), was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army, also bearing responsibility for naval affairs until the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, and for most land-based air forces until the creation of the Department of the Air Force on September 18, 1947.

United States Department of War
The seal of the U.S. Department of War
Department overview
FormedAugust 7, 1789; 233 years ago (1789-08-07)
Preceding Department
DissolvedSeptember 18, 1947; 74 years ago (1947-09-18)
Superseding agencies
Department executive
Child Department
The seal of the Board of War and Ordnance, which the U.S. War Department's seal is derived from.
The emblem of the Department of the Army, derived from the seal of the U.S. War Department.

The Secretary of War, a civilian with such responsibilities as finance and purchases and a minor role in directing military affairs, headed the War Department throughout its existence.

The War Department existed from August 7, 1789[1] until September 18, 1947, when it split into the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force. The Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force later joined the Department of the Navy under the United States Department of Defense in 1949.


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