Secretary of Defense

Essay by ChelseaaneyeseCollege, UndergraduateA-, September 2014

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The Secretary of Defense, (once called the 'Secretary of War') is an important position because he or she heads the Department of Defense, (a government agency that deals with military matters). The position was created in 1947 under President Harry Truman. The Secretary of Defense works with civilian and military advisors to create military policies; they also give recommendations on foreign policies to the president. They are appointed by the acting president with approval from the senate. "According to federal law, the president cannot appoint anyone who has been relieved within seven years from active duty as a commissioned officer of any of the country's armed forces (E-How1)". The Secretary of Defense is part of the presidential cabinet, and is considered to be one of the more important members. He or she also works with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This position is regarded as important, because the Secretary of Defense has a huge influence on the direction of American military policy.

Like with other cabinet positions, the Secretary of Defense is part of the line of succession to the Presidency; in the improbable event that the President, Vice-President, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Secretary of State, and Secretary of the Treasury were all incapacitated, the Secretary of Defense would then become the President of the United States. The Secretary of Defense is supposed to plan, develop and execute policies that are relevant to military affairs and the national security of the country. The first Secretary of Defense was James Forrestal, who took office in September of 1947 and stayed a little under two years. The Secretary of Defense position has no set amount of time a person can inhabit it, but the average amount of time a Secretary is in office is two to...