No Rush U.S.; It Took 172 Years to Coordinate the Military Branches

In 1947, on July 26, President Harry Truman signed the National Act, giving rise and power to the Department of Defense (DoD). To date, the DoD remains the oldest and largest agency in the U.S. government.

The mission of the DoD:

“The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.”

We can thank the DoD for cool things like GPS, but also for cooler things like keeping the western world safe from the bad guys.

The DoD is the governing body which oversees the branches of our military. The Secretary of Defense is the head of the DoD and the single point of contact for the president with the branches of the military.

What’s hard to believe is that for the better part of two centuries, the U.S. operated without a DoD or a Secretary of Defense.

First U.S. Military

It was before anyone signed any declarations of independence, the United States established an Army. The American Revolutionary War started in April in 1775, mandating the U.S. create an official army.

The Continental Congress made it a reality on June 14, 1775. Then, in October the same year, the second Continental Congress chartered the United States Navy, the Marine Corps in November.

At the time, the Navy and the Marines were two parts of the same branch, the Navy. There was no such thing as an air force back then for obvious reasons.

That didn’t come about until the Second World War. Before then, however, the United States would suffer some disorganization.

World War II

After the United States gave the British Imperialists the boot, military skirmishes consisted of the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the near-genocide of the Native Americans.

World War I was the first time the United States really came together as a modern nation to fight together. By that time, the branches of the military had become a mess.

They didn’t see eye-to-eye and budgets were out of control. The Department of War, which was to oversee the military, had lost control of the navy back in 1798. That was handled by the Navy Department, and they only answered to the President.

President Harry Truman saw military budgets in need of control. He proposed the creation of a governing body.

National Military Establishment

Truman signing the National Security Act |

Created by the National Security Act, the National Military Establishment was what they first called the DoD.

The National Security Act was more than the centralization of military command. It created the CIA, the new Air Force branch of service, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to name a few.

It was the biggest overhaul of the U.S. Military since 1775.

In 1949, the National Military Establishment became the Department of Defense, which sounded better, but didn’t change much about Truman’s overhaul.

From 1947 forward, communication between the president and the branches of the military became more streamlined through the Secretary of Defense; an office, picked by the President.

President Truman wanted to better organize the military and reduce wasted spending.

The military became more organized from his National Security Act. As for reducing military spending or cleaning it up… that’s a little bigger conversation than this blog.