Secretary Of Defense Essay

993 words - 4 pages

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 three years. The longest serving Secretary of Defense was Robert McNamara, he served 2,595 days. The shortest time served was William P. Clements who served only 39 days. The Secretary of Defense is a level one on the Executive schedule (salaries given to the highest-ranking appointed positions in the executive branch) and earns a salary of $199,700 per year. The current Secretary of Defense is Chuck Hagel, a Nebraskan republican. Secretary Hagel was born in 1946 and is the eldest of four brothers and two sisters. He joined the Army in 1968, and volunteered to go to Vietnam; there he served as a squad leader in the Army's 9th Infantry Division, with his brother Tom, and for his actions there received many military decorations including two Purple Hearts. After returning home from a year in Vietnam, Hagel went back to school at the University of Nebraska and received his Bachelor's degree in 1971. After he received his degree he went to work for Congressman John McCollister as a staffer, and eventually became Chief of Staff to the Congressman. In 1980 he served as an organizer for...

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