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Overview

Representing the largest organization in the U.S. federal government, the Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for protecting the United States by providing for a national defense. DoD includes all four branches of the armed services—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines—along with multiple sub-agencies that produce everything from weapons and supplies for military units to intelligence on foreign threats. The George W. Bush administration’s Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) campaign caused the DoD’s budget to balloon to its highest levels ever. The Obama administration’s anti-terrorism undertakings, along with the ongoing war in Afghanistan, have ensured that upward trend. Implementing the GWOT also resulted in multiple controversies for the department, which was led for much of the past decade by a polarizing Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.


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History:

After winning its independence from England in the Revolutionary War, the United States government created the U.S. Department of War in 1789, charged with organizing and maintaining the U.S. Army to provide for the defense of the new republic. The Department of War, headed by the Secretary of War, was a cabinet-level department under the command of the President that did not manage the Navy, which was transferred in 1798 to the U.S. Department of the Navy.

 

During the 19th century, the War Department supervised various military and non-military responsibilities ranging from the distribution of bounty land to pensions to Indian affairs to the Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. The outbreak of war between the U.S. and Spain in 1898 resulted in an expansion of the War Department’s powers, and following the conflict, the department was reorganized in 1903. The office of the commanding general of the Army was abolished, and the general staff corps was established to coordinate the Army under the direction of the chief of staff, who was charged with supervising the planning of national defense and with the mobilization of the military forces.

 

During World War I, the War Department was given supervision over the newly created National Guard, and under the National Defense Act of 1916, the officers’ reserve corps was created within the department. This act also established the office of Assistant Secretary of War to coordinate the procurement of munitions.

 

By 1941 the War Department had grown into a substantial work force in the Washington D.C., area, numbering more than 24,000 civilian and military personnel. Housed in 17 buildings, the department was expected to reach 30,000 by the beginning of 1942. At the same time the Quartermaster Corps’ Construction Division was struggling to cope with the vast mobilization of Army forces to fight in World War II. The federal government considered constructing temporary buildings to accommodate the growing needs of the War Department. Instead, Brigadier General Brehon B. Somervell, head of the construction division, proposed constructing a single massive building to house all War Department employees. Completed in 1943, the Pentagon was five stories in height and consisted of five concentric pentagons within an outer structure of reinforced concrete walls. Capable of housing 40,000 workers in four million square feet of space, the Pentagon also included a six-acre interior court and parking for 8,000 cars.

 

Building the Pentagon was just the beginning of the War Department’s challenges. Organizing the Army’s combat duties in the two-front war against Germany and Italy in Europe and Japan in the Pacific required the War Department to coordinate naval efforts with the Department of the Navy, all while mobilizing and training the largest increase is U.S. Army history. Although the U.S. achieved victory against the Axis powers, American policymakers felt the military didn’t always work effectively together in the split capacity between the War and Navy departments.

 

Believing that better coordination was necessary between the branches of the armed services, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 (pdf) that created the National Military Establishment (NME). The act combined the Department of War and the Department of Navy into the new NME, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The act also established the Air Force, which until then had been a part of the U.S. Army, as an independent service branch. All three service branches—Army, Navy (including the Marine Corps), and Air Force—reported directly to the Secretary of Defense, who was supported initially by three assistants. Today, the office of the Secretary of Defense employs 2,000, out of approximately 600,000 civilian employees who work for the DoD.

 

The NME was renamed the Department of Defense (DoD) in 1949. In the succeeding years of the Cold War, the DoD (commonly referred to as the Pentagon) grew into the largest of all U.S. governmental institutions as American military operations became tantamount in U.S.-Soviet jockeying for international dominance. The discovery of nuclear power during WWII resulted in an unprecedented arms build-up by the U.S. as American war planners poured billions of dollars into new generations of strategic nuclear weapons.

 

At first the focus was on long-range bombers. A new generation of jet-powered aircraft took over Air Force squadrons, most importantly the B-52 Stratofortress. Air wings comprised of B-52s, based both in the U.S. and overseas, were set up on round-the-clock aerial missions to fly toward the Soviet Union until reaching a “fail safe” point at which they turned around unless given the “go codes” from Strategic Air Command (SAC), a key national military command under the authority of the Pentagon. The development of America’s nuclear weapons complex, along with maintaining a large standing Army, Navy, and Air Force in preparation for World War III against the Soviet Union, resulted in the establishment of the “military industrial complex” during the 1950s. Coined by President Dwight Eisenhower, the military industrial complex represented a first-ever commitment to continual arms manufacturing, or procurement. The DoD became the federal arm responsible for overseeing procurement of all conventional and nuclear weapons.

 

President John F. Kennedy contributed to the Pentagon’s appetite for new weapons when he followed up on his promise during the 1960 presidential campaign to eliminate the “missile gap” that supposedly existed between the U.S. and the USSR. Under the leadership of Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, the U.S. greatly expanded its arsenal of nuclear warheads as it developed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) capable of delivering multiple warheads at targets in the USSR and China. McNamara, an unconventional choice to head the Pentagon, was president of the Ford Motor Company when Kennedy asked him to join his cabinet. Although not a military expert, he immersed himself in defense issues and instituted a number of key changes to U.S. military doctrine, including “flexible response.”

 

McNamara also implemented programs in counterinsurgency to combat Communist threats in foreign countries, which included creating the Defense Intelligence Agency and expanding Army commando units, called Special Forces, to conduct unconventional warfare. These counterinsurgency efforts were put to great use in the Vietnam War. U.S. involvement in South Vietnam grew exponentially while McNamara led DoD. Military forces went from a few thousand “advisers” to hundreds of thousands of soldiers and Marines. McNamara approved controversial strategic bombing campaigns against North Vietnam and the use of chemical defoliants, such as Agent Orange.

 

Although he loyally supported administration policy, McNamara gradually became skeptical about whether the war could be won by deploying more troops to South Vietnam and intensifying the bombing of North Vietnam. He traveled to Vietnam many times to study the situation firsthand. He became increasingly reluctant to approve the large force increments requested by the military commanders. In 1967 he left the Pentagon to become the head of the World Bank.

 

The secretaries of defense that followed McNamara kept a lower profile. These included Melvin Laird, who served under President Richard Nixon, and Donald Rumsfeld, who served under President Gerald Ford as the youngest Secretary of Defense in departmental history. Unlike his second term as secretary under President George W. Bush, Rumsfeld’s time with Ford was not controversial. Rumsfeld’s tenure at the Pentagon was noted mostly for pushing forward new weapons programs intended to modernize America’s nuclear and conventional arsenals. The 1970s saw research-and-development projects evolve into deployable systems, such as the Navy’s F-14 Tomcat, the Air Force F-15 Eagle, and the Army’s M1A Abrams tank.

 

Procurement programs reached new heights the following decade under President Ronald Reagan. Determined to restore America’s superiority on the world stage, Reagan instructed his defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, to embark on the most expensive arms buildup in the nation’s history, even though Weinberger’s pre-Defense reputation had been that of a budget trimmer. No longer was he “Cap the Knife,” for Weinberger shared the president’s conviction that the Soviet Union posed a serious threat and that the defense establishment needed to be modernized and strengthened. The secretary became a vigorous advocate of Reagan’s plan to increase the DoD budget, which approached $300 billion during the 1980s, for everything from new aircraft carriers to controversial programs like the B-1 bomber and the MX missile.

 

Efforts to strength America’s military also had their embarrassments. The Sergeant York air-defense gun was supposed to give the Army greater protection from Soviet aircraft. Instead, the weapon became “a symbol of a procurement process gone haywire.” After the Pentagon spent $1.8 billion and ten years developing the tank-mounted, radar-guided gun, field tests showed that it had trouble hitting a hovering helicopter. Another program that proved expensive and troublesome was the B-1 bomber. The B-1 was especially costly due to design flaws that forced Air Force commanders to alter the mission of the plane. Originally purchased to replace the aging B-52, the B-1 was supposed to be able to fly at low altitude in order to penetrate Soviet air defenses. Military planners later realized that the high-tech bomber was vulnerable to such defenses, forcing the Air Force to abandon its plan of replacing the B-52, which continues to serve in USAF squadrons to this day.

 

Weinberger was also swept up in the greatest scandal of the Reagan era: Iran Contra. The Iran-Contra affair involved the secret sale of weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian terrorists, and the diversion of money from that sale to provide support for anti-communist resistance fighters in Nicaragua known as the “Contras.” Weinberger was charged by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh with four counts of lying to congressional Iran-Contra investigators in 1987 and to Walsh’s prosecutors in 1990. His case involved allegations that he had concealed from Congressional investigators his personal notes that detailed events related to Iran-Contra and that reportedly undermined what President Reagan said about the origins and operations of the covert arms-for-hostages dealings. Weinberger pled not guilty and was ultimately pardoned by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 just before his case went to trial.

 

With the end of the Cold War, DoD became less of a priority during the two terms of President Bill Clinton, who placed less importance on defense spending and developing new weapons programs. In fact, the Pentagon’s budget shrunk during the decade as defense secretaries Les Aspin, William Perry and William Cohen spent more time determining what shape and role the U.S. military should take in a post-Cold War world. Big budget programs designed to fight the Soviet military, such as the Seawolf attack submarine, were cut back dramatically. Instead, doctrines emphasizing rapid deployment of conventional forces were further developed to address smaller scale conflicts and threats, including the growing danger from terrorist organizations like al Qaeda.

 

This military approach to combating terrorism ballooned following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. President George W. Bush’s secretary of defense, Rumsfeld, suddenly became the face of America’s tough new world posture designed to hunt down Osama bin Laden and others like him. A leader of the neocons, Rumsfeld and his chief deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, were key architects of the president’s Global War on Terrorism campaign, which included invading Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as planning attacks on Iran and North Korea. Rumsfeld also promoted enormous increases in the DoD budget that eclipsed those of the Reagan years, reaching upward of half a trillion dollars.

 

Rumsfeld proved to be a lightning rod for controversy as he unabashedly championed the President’s no-holds-barred approach with terrorist suspects or their supporters. Scandals erupted involving detainment of terrorist suspects in offshore military installations (Guantánamo Bay) and the torture of enemy combatants in Iraq (Abu Ghraib). Other hot-button issues involved the proper supplying of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and distortions of high-profile military rescues and deaths to conjure popular support for the war on terrorism.

 

After six stormy years at the Pentagon, President Bush asked Rumsfeld to resign following the 2006 election that saw Republicans lose control of Congress in a sweeping anti-war fervor by voters. Replacing Rumsfeld was former CIA director Robert Gates, who was brought in to devise a new strategy for the war in Iraq. Shortly after taking over, Gates ordered an increase in troop levels in Iraq—a move that had been resisted by the president but called for by some military commanders. The troop surge also went against sentiments expressed by voters and many Democrats in Congress who argued it was time to pull out from Iraq.

 

The 2008 election of Barack Obama as president saw him make good on his campaign promise to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq, which was completed in December 2011. However, after much consideration and citing a “deteriorating situation” caused by resurgent al-Qaeda and Taliban forces, he escalated the U.S. presence in Afghanistan in 2010 by adding 30,000 troops to the 68,000 already stationed there. Amid scattered claims of military successes dampened by ongoing insurgent attacks, instability, as well as corruption in the Afghan government—not to mention waning support for the war among the American public—Obama announced a timeline for U.S. and NATO troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by late 2014. Compounding the shaky state of affairs in the country has been an alarmingly high number of ongoing “insider” killings—U.S. troops being killed by their Afghan allies.

 

In 2011, former CIA director Leon Panetta took over as Secretary of Defense from a retiring Robert Gates. At the same time, the U.S. took a lead role in orchestrating and participating in—with 18 countries, including 14 NATO allies—a massive military operation to support and protect civilians in Libya from strongman Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s attacks on his people. Responding to a UN Security Council Resolution and a request for intervention from the Arab League, the U.S. military took out Libya’s air defense system and provided surveillance and intelligence to its partner nations, which conducted 75% of all aerial missions (the U.S. responsible for the balance).

 

In May 2011, under the order of President Obama, a number of U.S. military and intelligence agencies collaborated in the coordinated CIA-led assault on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where a team of U.S. Navy SEALs assassinated terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

 

As U.S. efforts against terrorist cells and its leaders continue, the Defense Department’s weapon of choice is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or drone, which locates and kills its targets through the direction of a pilot and a team of up to 180 operators situated at a base many thousands of miles away. In 2010, Secretary Gates made sure that the Pentagon’s future budgets would spare any cuts to the drone program. There has been a 1,200% increase in in the use of drone patrols since 2005, with the Obama administration’s use of UAVs in Pakistan’s tribal areas seeing a tenfold increase over their use under George W. Bush. There are currently more hours flown by drones than manned attack aircraft, and their use in targeted killings has expanded throughout Afghanistan, and into Yemen and Somalia. A 2009 U.S. Air Force report on projected drone use through 2047 (pdf) predicts that future drones will be outfitted with artificial intelligence, giving them the ability to make their own shoot-and-kill decisions.

 

In addition to these global hot spots, Pentagon contingency plans remain in place pending further escalation of the already volatile and deadly hostilities in Syria, and heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

Son of the Sergeant York (by John S. Demott, Time)

The Iran-Contra Affair (by Julie Wolf, PBS American Experience)

Bush's Defense Budget Biggest Since Reagan Era: Iraq, Afghanistan Spending Top Vietnam War (by Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post)

Honoring Those who Fought and Died in Iraq and Afghanistan

Are Drones Obama's Legacy In War On Terrorism? (by Ari Shaprio, NPR)

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What it Does:

Representing the largest organization in the U.S. federal government today, with an annual budget of more than half a trillion dollars, the Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for maintaining the national defense of the United States. The DoD includes all four branches of the armed services—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines—along with multiple sub-agencies that produce everything from weapons and supplies for military units to intelligence on foreign threats.

 

While DoD operations and offices are located across the country, and the armed services operate in many parts of the world, the Defense Department is primarily centered at the Pentagon, one of the largest buildings ever constructed. In order to operate effectively (although not necessarily efficiently, critics would argue), the DoD maintains a complex organizational structure that segments the hundreds of tasks that are performed both on a day-to-day basis and for long-term strategic planning.

 

The DoD is led by the Secretary of Defense, a cabinet-level position appointed by the President and subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The Secretary of Defense is assisted by a variety of under secretaries and assistant secretaries who manage specific functions. These include:

 

As a result of the George W. Bush administration’s Global War on Terrorism and the current anti-terror campaign of the Obama administration, which includes ongoing military combat in Afghanistan plus operations in Pakistan and Yemen, the DoD’s budget has ballooned this decade to its highest levels ever. However, it must be noted that the annual budget appropriation for the DoD often does not include emergency spending bills (called supplementals) approved by Congress after the regular budget has been approved. It is estimated that the military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have cost nearly $1.4 trillion since 2001, much of which has been authorized through supplementals. Including the cost of caring for wounded veterans, U.S. military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has, to date, actually cost between $2.3 trillion and $2.7 trillion, according to a 2011 study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. The study estimates the final cost of these military engagements to be $3.7 trillion, excluding interest payments and additional anticipated costs.

 

The budget request for DoD in FY 2013 is $613.9 billion. Some of the key defense activities to receive a portion of this money are:

 

Fighting Forces

Department of the Army

The United States Army’s mission is to provide ground forces for American military operations and wars. Combat forces generally consist of foot soldiers, or infantry, or soldiers who man tanks and artillery that make up armored units. Other Army personnel provide a variety of support duties, from engineering to medical care to fuel and food. The Army employs a vast array of weapons and equipment as part of its military operations. Examples of its military hardware include aircraft, air defense artillery, anti-armor weapons, indirect fire systems, individual and crew-served weapons and equipment, nuclear, biological, chemical defense equipment, tracked vehicles, and wheeled vehicles. Army forces deployed overseas currently number about 196,248.

 

Department of the Navy

The Navy Department oversees both the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. The Navy represents the seagoing branch of the armed services, maintaining fleets of ocean-going surface vessels and submarines capable of extending American sea and air power anywhere in the world. Naval vessels fall into one of seven classes: aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, and submarines. Battleships, cruisers, and destroyers have an assortment of guns and missile systems, while aircraft carriers carry both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

 

U.S. Marine Corps

Located under the authority of the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps serves as a land and air “force in readiness” capable of supporting U.S. military operations and executing national political objectives. Since the late 19th century, Marines have been used by the U.S. government to execute foreign policy objectives and protect American interests overseas. USMC forces have been at the center of major wars and key military operations, garnering them a reputation as an elite fighting force.

 

Department of the Air Force

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) constitutes the aviation component of the Armed Services, providing tactical, strategic, and logistical air support for U.S. military operations. The USAF also is charged with operational command of U.S. nuclear forces. Some of the most advanced weapons systems in the U.S. military have been developed for the Air Force, often at great costs and involving much controversy.

 

U.S. Special Operations Command

Located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) oversees all Special Operations Forces (SOF) in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Special Operations soldiers are specially trained, equipped and organized to carry out strategic or tactical missions during periods of war and peace. The units continually train to conduct unconventional warfare in any of its forms, such as guerrilla warfare, special reconnaissance, evasion and escape, subversion and sabotage. During the George W. Bush administration, SOF missions expanded in size and importance as part of the Global War on Terrorism campaign. SOF has been increasingly utilized by the Obama administration, and is said to be active in about 120 nations worldwide.

 

National Guard

Administered by the National Guard Bureau (a joint bureau of the departments of the Army and Air Force), the National Guard consists of both the Army National Guard (ARNG), and the Air National Guard (ANG). The National Guard has both a federal and state mission involving combat and non-combat army and air force units. Throughout its long history, Guard army units have been deployed overseas to fight in America’s wars, including the recent Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) campaign waged by the George W. Bush administration. The National Guard is also charged with assisting state governments during times of natural disasters. However, some state National Guards have reportedly found themselves stretched too thin from overseas deployments of men and equipment to Iraq and Afghanistan, which has prevented Guard units from adequately responding to state emergences. Nearly half of the U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq have been National Guard.

 

 

Spying and Intelligence Gathering

Defense Intelligence Agency

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is both a major producer and manager of military intelligence for the Department of Defense. Approximately 16,500 men and women work for the DIA worldwide (about 35% military personnel and 65% civilian personnel). The exact numbers and specific budget information are not publicly released due to security considerations.

 

National Reconnaissance Office

One of the most secretive agencies in the federal government, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) launches the nation’s military spy satellites. The NRO takes orders from both the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence and is funded through the National Reconnaissance Program, part of the National Foreign Intelligence Program. The agency shares its top-secret data not only with military planners, but also members of the Intelligence Community. At one time, the NRO’s technical sophistication was highly regarded, but after a series of blunders in recent years, the agency’s reputation has plummeted. However, its contribution to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden was critical, as its spy satellites helped to determine the master terrorist’s whereabouts in Pakistan, where he was killed by U.S. Special Forces in May 2011.

 

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) collects, processes and dispenses satellite imagery for national security purposes. This imagery is used to depict the planet’s physical features or activities that are being monitored by the intelligence community. The agency also supports combat troops with tactical data, such as targeting information for precision bombing.

 

Defense Clandestine Service

The Pentagon announced the creation of this new agency in April 2012. It is designed to beef up U.S. overseas spying operations against such high-profile adversaries as China and Iran. The DCS is to be staffed mainly by military personnel, 15% of which are to be case officers recruited from the DIA. The idea is to move beyond the DIA’s role of intelligence gathering in war zones by expanding to global areas of concern. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill in May that authorized funding of the DCS.

 

Weapons Development and Sales

Missile Defense Agency

The purpose of the Missile Defense Agency is to develop and field a Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) to defend the United States, its military forces, friends and allies against ballistic missile attacks. For more than five decades, engineers have been developing and testing variations of a missile defense to protect U.S. cities from nuclear combat. Current programs being researched and tested include Ground-Based Interceptors, Theater High Altitude Area Defense, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Multiple Kill Vehicle Program.

 

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a unique research organization established to maintain the U.S. military’s technological preeminence. Essentially, it’s the intellectual sandbox of the Defense Department, freed from many of the constraints imposed on other agencies so it can pursue riskier, more innovative research. Over the years, DARPA has helped develop technologies that have also worked their way into the civilian world, including the forerunner of the Internet. Some of its efforts have also been controversial. The agency faced conflict-of-interest charges in 2011 when it was discovered that its director had awarded lucrative contracts to a company that she had co-founded and which was being operated by family members.

 

Defense Threat Reduction Agency

The goal of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency is to reduce the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to the United States by either eliminating foreign stockpiles or mitigating their risk to the U.S. and its allies. Much of its work is done cooperatively with foreign nations, such as the mutual examination of nuclear stockpiles, and the dismantling of weapons and equipment of formerly hostile nations in accordance with treaties like START I. The agency also develops countermeasures against novel threats, both for domestic use and for combat support. 

 

Defense Security Cooperation Agency

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) facilitates the sale of U.S. weapons to other countries. Working with agencies in the DoD and the State Department, DSCA provides financing, resources and/or contractors for the sale of arms, defense technologies, training, and other services overseas. The agency’s work has contributed to the controversial proliferation of arms and military training to non-democratic, oppressive governments.

 

Technical Support Working Group

Partly run by the Department of Defense, the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) is a low-profile multi-federal-agency program with a highly important mission. Working with a vast array of U.S. government departments and agencies, the TSWG helps to rapidly develop the latest in technological solutions to combat terrorism. “Rapid” is a key word in TSWG’s mission, as it is expected to fund projects that can be ready for use by law enforcement, military and other government personnel in two years or less from time of first approval.

 

Training

U.S. Army Combined Arms Center

Referred to as the “intellectual center of the army,” the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center oversees the operation of, and/or coordinates with, about 50 subordinate organizations—schools and training centers, each of which is responsible for teaching specific skills to Army personnel and members of other armed services. The U.S. Army has a long history of providing specialized training to its soldiers, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. In recent times some elements of the CAC have drawn public attention for reports and internal debates over the George W. Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war.

 

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

The Command and General Staff College is a graduate school for U.S. military and foreign military leaders at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It is the Army’s senior tactical school and introduces officers to operational and strategic warfare. The college has five subordinate schools. Its main purpose is to synchronize Army leader development and education systems but works as a joint, interagency, multinational school.

 

International Military Education & Training

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program provides funding to train military and civilian leaders of foreign countries, primarily at schools and facilities in the U.S. The program is implemented by the DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, but funded by the State Department through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The IMET grew considerably during the administration of George W. Bush, from a budget of $50 million in FY 2000 to $85 million in FY 2008, a 70% increase. It has continued to grow during the administration of Barack Obama, with a projected budget of more than $102 million for FY 2013. More than 120 countries were funded by the IMET in FY 2010. The program has a long, controversial history of helping to train foreign military personnel who went on to commit human rights abuses in their home countries. One controversial decision involving the IMET stemmed from an administration policy change that provided military training to someone who had been one of America’s most notorious enemies: the late dictator of Libya, Muammar al-Qaddafi.

 

Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

Formerly known as the School of the Americas, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation has long been the most controversial training center run by the U.S. military. Throughout the Cold War, the school helped train thousands of military personnel from Latin American countries. Some of these graduates went on to commit human rights abuses and other atrocities in their home countries.

 

 

Logistics

Defense Logistics Agency

The largest agency within the Department of Defense, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) provides support as well as technical and logistic services to the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and several federal agencies. The DLA has supported every war in the past four decades, from the Vietnam War to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan. It is in charge of almost every consumable item, everything from combat readiness, emergency preparedness, and day-to-day operations inside the DoD.

 

Army Corps of Engineers

More than just a wing of the U.S. Army, the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been a leading designer and builder of water projects across the United States since the early 20th century. Corps engineers have been responsible for key flood control systems, including numerous dams, in the Western U.S. and other regions. Known for its skill and expertise, the USACE’s reputation took a hit following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans after investigations showed faulty work by Corps engineers on key levies protecting the city.

 

Defense Information Systems Agency

Providing global information and technology assistance through online services, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) helps U.S. military forces communicate with one another, pull information needed for their missions and receive accurate and protected information on any threats they may face. The DISA focuses on delivery of information speed, operational effectiveness and efficiency, and sharing information. Its primary aim is to provide secure and reliable communications networks, computers, software, databases, applications, and other products needed for the processing and transport needs of the DoD.

 

 

Money Management

Defense Contract Management Agency

One of DoD’s most critical offices, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) oversees the purchase of high-priced weapons systems. The DCMA is responsible for hundreds of thousands of contracts that have a collective value of $1.65 trillion. The DCMA is the Pentagon’s contract manager, responsible for ensuring that federal acquisition programs (systems, supplies, and services) are delivered on time, within projected cost or price, and meet performance requirements.

 

Defense Contract Audit Agency

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) independently investigates Pentagon contracts to determine the fairness, accuracy and completeness of financial records and reports, as well as the effectiveness of any transactions the DoD has made. In other words, the DCAA reviews business deals to make sure everything is aboveboard and acceptably efficient. The agency also provides financial advice to the DoD at every step of the contracting or subcontracting process, from negotiation to final resolution. In 2008 and 2009, the agency was found to have engaged in some corrupt contractor auditing practices.

 

Defense Finance and Accounting Services

The world’s largest finance and accounting operation, the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) supports the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for budgetary and fiscal matters. The agency is responsible for coordination and collaboration with all civilian defense agencies, military services, and combatant commands. The agency provides services primarily for military men and women, including processing military, civilian, retiree, travel, and contract/vendor pay, and managing military health care and benefits.

 

Office of Economic Adjustment

The Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is responsible for managing and directing efforts to assist communities impacted by Defense program changes, including base closures, base expansions, and contract or program cancellations, and for coordinating involvement of other federal agencies in the process. 

 

 

Criminal Investigation

Office of Inspector General

The DoD’s Office of Inspector General (DoDIG) serves as a watchdog for the department. The DoDIG is supposed to operate independently of the department to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse through audits and investigations. The Inspector General is in charge of keeping the Secretary of Defense and Congress informed about agency problems and deficiencies.

 

Defense Criminal Investigative Service

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) functions as the criminal investigative arm of the DoD Inspector General. DCIS investigates criminal activities involving terrorism, procurement fraud, computer crimes, illegal technology transfers, and public corruption within the Department of Defense.

 

Other

Defense Media Activity

Defense Media Activity (DMA) serves as DoD’s public relations and information provider. It creates press releases through a news service and sets policy for internal publications, visual information and audiovisual programs. The DMA also produces media aimed at service members and their families. Previously known as the American Forces Information Service, the agency had been accused by some critics of deception by, for example, releasing press releases that mimic the style of actual news reports.

 

Arlington National Cemetery

The nation’s most prestigious military cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery is also one of the oldest national cemeteries in the U.S. More than 310,000 people, including military casualties and veterans from every single U.S. war—from the American Revolution through U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq—are buried at Arlington. The cemetery is also the final resting place of many notable civilian, historical, literary and minority figures, including former President John F. Kennedy. 

 

 

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Where Does the Money Go

The Department of Defense (DoD) would not be the costly operation it is today without private defense contractors. Covering Army-, Navy- and Air Force-related industries, defense contractors provide everything from combat boots to some of the most advanced, sophisticated technology on the planet. Large weapons systems have price tags that run into the tens of billions of dollars, making the arms trade extremely lucrative for certain companies.

 

According to DoD documents, the cost of contractor services has increased 137% between 2001 and 2010, compared to a 1% increase for the compensation of active duty military personnel during the same period.

 

During this past decade—between FY 2002 and FY 2012—the DoD spent more than $3.237 trillion on 13,154,675 contractor transactions, according to USAspending.gov.  However, the top five companies—Lockheed Martin ($267.5 billion), Boeing ($199.2 billion), General Dynamics ($139.5 billion), Raytheon ($116.8 billion), and Northrop Grumman ($108.3 billion)—received almost one quarter of that money.

 

In FY 2011 alone, the DoD reportedly spent $536.8 billion on about 170,000 contractor transactions. In FY 2012, to date, it has spent nearly $206 billion on 822,963 transactions, with nearly 25% of the spending going to four of the same top contractors: Lockheed Martin ($18.7 billion), Boeing ($17.3 billion), General Dynamics ($10 billion), and Raytheon ($8.5 billion). The fifth top contractor is L-3 Communications ($3.8 billion).

In the case of Lockheed Martin, Defense Department contracts represented more than half of the company’s $46.5 billion in net sales in 2011.

 

Some examples of the equipment that this money bought are as follows:

Lockheed Martin

F-22 fighter (shared with Boeing)

Aegis Weapons System for U.S. Navy combat vessels

F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter (Boeing, originally McDonnell Douglas)

Hellfire Missile (shared with Boeing)

Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile

Littoral Combat Ships (shared with General Dynamics)

C-5 transport plane

C-130 transport plane

F-16 fighter

F-35 Lightning II fighter

 

Lockheed also operates the Global Information Grid networks for DoD’s Defense Information Systems Agency, stemming from a contract it was awarded by DoD in June 2012, which has a potential value of $4.6 billion over a seven-year period. In August it won a $28 million U.S. Navy contract for the procurement of Nuclear Weapon Security system equipment at Navy installations. Also for the Navy, in June it was awarded a no-bid contract for components and servicing of 22 sets of MK54 Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets.

 

Boeing

F-22 fighter (shared with Lockheed Martin)

Harpoon Missile

Hellfire Missile (shared with Lockheed Martin)

B-1 bomber

B-52 bomber

C-17 transport plane

F-15 fighter (Boeing, from McDonnell Douglas)

KC-135 tanker

Harrier jump jet

P-8A Poseidon

Apache attack helicopter (support services from Lockheed Martin)

WGS Satellite System

 

Since 2001 Boeing has held the Ground-based Midcourse Defense contract, for work designed to protect the U.S. from long-range ballistic missile threats. The original $18 billion 10-year contract was renewed in 2011 with a seven-year, $3.5 billion extension. Boeing has 17 partners on the project, including Northrop Grumman.

 

Northrop Grumman

E-2 Hawkeye early warning and control aircraft

F-14 Tomcat fighter 

Virginia class attack submarine (shared with General Dynamics)

Nimitz class aircraft carriers

B-2 bomber (along with Boeing, Hughes Radar Systems Group, General Electric Aircraft Engine Group and Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc.)

Global Hawk drones

 

Northrop Grumman has the job of bolstering cyber-security protections across all DoD and Intelligence Community networks, by virtue of a three-year $189 million contract that it was awarded by the DISA in March 2012.

 

General Dynamics

M1A Abrams tank

Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle

Los Angeles class attack submarine

Virginia class attack submarine (shared with Northrop Grumman)

Sea Wolf class attack submarine

Ohio class nuclear missile submarine

Littoral Combat Ships (shared with Lockheed Martin)

M2 machine gun

 

BAE Systems

Bradley Fighting Vehicle

Mark 38 25mm machine gun system for Navy ships

M777 howitzer

 

BAE Systems was awarded a $306 million contract in August 2012 to convert Operation Desert Storm vehicles into a “situational awareness configuration.”

 

Raytheon

Patriot Missile System

Torpedo - Mark 46

HARM Missile

Maverick Guided Missile 

Tomahawk® Cruise Missile

Sidewinder air-to-air missile

Phalanx CIWS weapon system

 

United Technologies

Sea Stallion helicopter

H-3 Sea King helicopter

 

Add to that list China’s first attack helicopter, which owes its existence to United Technologies. In June 2012, the defense contractor pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act and making false statements with regard to exports of software to China, which that country used to develop the military aircraft. Two U.S. senators have requested that the DoD to suspend United Technologies from being awarded any further Pentagon contracts.

 

Bell Helicopter Textron

Super Cobra attack helicopter

Huey helicopter

 

FY 2013 Program Acquisition Costs by Weapon System (U.S. Department of Defense) (pdf)

Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs (GAO Report) (pdf)

Top 100 Defense Contractors – 2010 (Government Executive)

Defense Contracts (DoD)

 

In March 2008 the Marine Corps announced contracts with several different companies for a new type of armored vehicle capable of withstanding attacks involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The IED was the most lethal weapon used by guerilla fighters in Iraq, accounting for almost 70% of all casualties suffered by American military forces. Instead of relying on Humvees, the Marine Corps deployed Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, designed to withstand small arms fire, IEDs and other explosive threats. (see Controversies)

 

The Army also utilizes contractors to provide a variety of logistics and other services. A one-time subsidiary of Halliburton, long known as an oil services provider with strong ties to the George W. Bush administration, was until 2006 providing soldiers with food, shelter, and communications with friends and family back home through a billion-dollar exclusive-rights contract (see Department of the Army, Controversies).

 

The company that the Air Force chooses to build a new plane can be quite controversial. Take for example the task of midair refueling. For decades the Air Force used Boeing’s KC-135 (a rendition of the old 707 commercial jet) to refuel Air Force fighter and bombers on long missions. But with the aircraft reaching its service limits due to age, the Air Force tried to lease a modified version of Boeing’s 767 to replace the KC-135. The deal fell apart after accusations arose over costs and ethical violations (see Department of the Air Force, Controversies).

Billion-Dollar Babies: Five Stealth Pentagon Contractors Reaping Billions of Tax Dollars (by Nick Turse, TomDispatch)

 

Benefits

Managed by the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Military Retirement Fund (MFR) (pdf) is part of DoD’s Military Retirement System. The fund paid out roughly $54.86 billion to military retirees and survivors in FY 2011. It received $105.32 in revenue that same year, from the U,S, Treasury, investment income, and cost payments. The MFR owns and manages $372.2 billion in total assets, and has $1.36 trillion in liabilities, calculated for future benefit payments. The Defense Department provides funding as well for educational benefits for eligible DoD employees (see GAO report - pdf).

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Controversies:

 

Weapons Procurement Waste and Corruption
In March 2008 the Government Accountability Office released a scathing report on the status of numerous weapons projects being developed for the Pentagon. Government auditors found programs for new ships, aircraft and satellites were billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.
 
Among the major programs reviewed was Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a stealthy tactical fighter intended for the Air Force and Navy. Cost projections put the price tag at almost $100 million per plane, up 40% since 2001. In a statement, Lockheed said that the Joint Strike Fighter was “performing solidly, making outstanding technical progress in the context of the most complex aircraft ever built” and that “the bedrock and the cornerstone” of the F-35 program have been “affordability and cost containment.”
 
Another project singled out was the Navy’s $5.2 billion Littoral Combat Ship, which experienced so many cost overruns that the service expected the price of its first two ships to exceed their combined budget of $472 million by more than 100%. The Navy canceled construction of the planned third and fourth ships by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, the prime contractors on the project.
 
In another case, the initial contract target price of Boeing’s program to modernize avionics in the C-130 cargo plane was expected to skyrocket 323%, to $2 billion.
 
The GAO report said the reasons for the cost overruns and delays were threefold: Too many programs chasing too few dollars; technologies not mature enough to go into production; too long to design, develop and produce a system.
 
“They’re asking for something that they’re not sure can be built, given existing technologies, and that’s risky,” said a GAO official.
 
Torture at Abu Ghraib
Once US military forces toppled the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Army took control of one of the legendary dictator’s infamous prisons: Abu Ghraib. The prison occupied 280 acres with over 4 kilometers of security perimeter and 24 guard towers, making it a virtual city within a city. Abu Ghraib was where Saddam Kamal (head of the Special Security Organization) oversaw the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners during the reign of Saddam Hussein. As many as 4,000 prisoners were executed by Iraqi security personnel at Abu Ghraib Prison in 1984 alone.
 
In late April 2004, with the prison under the control of the US military, photographs surfaced that depicted abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners held at the prison. Some of the pictures depicted US soldiers, both men and women in military uniforms, laughing and giving thumbs-up signs while posing with naked Iraqi prisoners made to stand, stacked in a pyramid or positioned to perform sex acts.
 
It turned out that a criminal investigation by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway since 2003 to look into allegations of prisoner abuse by the 320th MP Battalion. The findings of that investigation were revealed in the Taguba Report, which found that between October and December 2003, there were numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib. The systematic and illegal abuse of detainees was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company and also by members of the American intelligence community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th MP Battalion).
 
Some of the wrongdoing included breaking chemical lights and pouring phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack.
 
The report also contained information about private contractors who were supervising interrogations in the prison. One civilian contractor was accused of raping a young male prisoner but was not charged because military law had no jurisdiction over him. The investigation named CACI International Inc. and the Titan Corporation in the scandal.
 
A year later, more disturbing revelations surfaced about Army doctors and the medical care system at Abu Ghraib. Some military doctors helped inflict distress on prisoners, while amputations were performed by non-doctors and chest tubes recycled from the dead to the living.
 
The fallout from the scandal resulted in the removal of 17 soldiers and officers from duty, and seven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. Between May 2004 and September 2005, the seven soldiers were convicted in courts martial, sentenced to federal prison, and dishonorably discharged from service. Two soldiers, Specialist Charles Graner, and his former fiancée, Specialist Lynndie England, were sentenced to 10 years and three years in prison, respectively. The commanding officer at the prison, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, was demoted to the rank of colonel, all the while claiming that superiors in the chain of command knew and approved of the illegal behavior.
The Abu Ghraib Scandal You Don't Know (by Adam Zagorin, Time)
Abu Ghurayb Prison (Global Security)
The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos (Australia's Special Broadcasting Service TV)
 
Pat Tillman Cover Up
Following the 9/11 attacks, NFL star Pat Tillman did the unheard of. He walked away from a million-dollar career playing pro football in order to enlist in the Army. Wanting to fight al Qaeda and capture its leader, Osama Bin Laden, Pat wound up serving in the Army Rangers along with his brother, Kevin.
 
Pat Tillman’s enlistment grabbed the attention of the nation - and the highest levels of the Bush administration. A personal letter from Secretary Rumsfeld thanked Tillman for serving his country. Instead of going to Afghanistan, as the brothers expected, their Ranger battalion was sent to participate in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The Tillmans saw combat several times on their way to Baghdad. In early 2004, they finally were assigned to Afghanistan.
 
On April 22, 2004, the Tillmans’ Ranger company was searching for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in a village called Manah when one of their Humvees became disabled. The unit proceeded to split up, and during an ensuing firefight with Taliban fighters, Pat Tillman was killed. Tillman’s death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration - just a week before the Army’s abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal. The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.”
 
His killing was widely reported by the media, including conservative commentators such as Ann Coulter, who called him “an American original - virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.” His May 3, 2004, memorial in San Jose drew 3,500 people and was nationally televised.
 
Not until five weeks later, as Tillman’s battalion was returning home, did officials inform the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed accidentally by his fellow soldiers in a case of “friendly fire.” The Tillman family was outraged and sought the help of US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to find out why they had not been told the truth sooner about Pat’s death. A House committee investigated the matter, and eventually the Army censured a three-star general, Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., for failing to follow procedures requiring him to notify the Tillman family and top officials about the investigation into the possibility of friendly fire. Some critics contended Kensinger was merely a scapegoat to avoid those higher up in the chain of command from being implicated in the scandal, including Rumsfeld.
Retired General Is Censured for Role in Tillman Case (by Neil A. Lewis, New York Times)
 
Unprepared to Protect Soldiers and Humvees from IEDs
Once US forces had defeated the Iraqi military and assumed control of Iraq in 2003, the Pentagon believed the worst of its troubles were over. Little did military planners realize that American casualties not only would continue to mount, but that they would increase at an even higher pace than when soldiers were fighting a full-scale war.
 
Shortly after President Bush declared an end to the fighting, Iraqi guerilla fighters began attacking US combat troops with homemade bombs, or IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The IEDs proved to be especially dangerous to troops riding in Humvees, a vehicle widely used to transport troops. Lacking an armored body, the vehicle became a coffin for American soldiers caught inside when an IED exploded beneath or next to the Humvee.
 
Soon stories began appearing in American papers about the vulnerability of the Humvee, and how American troops were scavenging parts from other vehicles to fortify their Humvees with “hillbilly armor” because the Pentagon was slow to respond to the problem. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld claimed his department was doing everything it could to address the problem, but that the manufacturers of the Humvee couldn’t produce modified versions of the vehicle any faster. Not true, said the company, AM General, pointing out that they could increase production if the Pentagon wanted them to.
 
Even when reinforced Humvees arrived in Iraq, another problem arose. The heavily-armored vehicles couldn’t maneuver effectively and were prone to tipping over at certain speeds. In addition, its heavier doors trapped soldiers inside after an attack or accident.
 
The Pentagon then decided to scrap the Humvee altogether and purchase a brand new vehicle designed to withstand mines and other small explosives. All services have ordered a total of 7,700 MRAPs (short for “mine resistant ambush protected”) at a cost of $8 billion.
Troops in Iraq get safer vehicle (by Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today)
 
The rescue of Jessica Lynch
In 2003, as US forces continued to battle Iraqi military for control of Iraq, an Army private, Jessica Lynch, wound up being captured after her convoy was ambushed. Suffering numerous broken bones, Lynch was taken to a hospital still controlled by the enemy. A tip from an Iraqi source led to a daring rescue of Lynch by Special Operations soldiers. The story made front-page news as media sources around the country gobbled up the exciting tale, which turned out to be full of fantasy, thanks to Pentagon spin doctors.
 
It was true that Lynch had been severely injured when her Humvee crashed during an ambush outside Nasiriyah and that she was taken by captors to a hospital. But it was not true, as the Washington Post reported on April 1, 2003, that Lynch had killed several Iraqis in a gun battle and sustained many gunshot wounds herself. The Post’s erroneous account was seconded by the New York Times and other reputable media outlets. It wasn’t until early May that the story began to fall apart after the Toronto Star reported that Lynch had been well cared for at the hospital, that her captors had left up to two days before the raid and that fire from US forces had prevented hospital staffers from loading her in an ambulance. The BBC confirmed the Star’s account, and later the Post ran a 5,000-word story correcting what had previously been reported.
 
Once the truth was out, critics blasted the Pentagon for manipulating the truth about the rescue in order to gain sympathy for the US operation that was chewing up the country.
When Media Spread 'Lie' About Jessica Lynch Rescue (by Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher)
The truth about Jessica (by John Kampfner, The Guardian)
 
9/11 and the Fake Link with Iraq
Since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense has been at the center of numerous controversies and scandals stemming from the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks. When the decision was made to invade Afghanistan shortly after the destruction of the World Trade Center, few Americans disagreed with the decision, as the president and Secretary Rumsfeld made compelling arguments that it was necessary to go after al Qaeda terrorists hiding in that country.
 
Two years later, however, the Bush administration had a more difficult time gaining the same kind of consensus about invading Iraq. While claiming the existence of links between al Qaeda and Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein, Rumsfeld argued repeatedly that Iraq had developed weapons of mass destruction, making it a serious threat to American security. Evidence supporting this claim was limited at best before the attack on March 2003, and even after US forces took over the country, no physical evidence was ever produced to show that Hussein’s government had been hiding nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or had been conspiring with the likes of Osama bin Laden.
 
This lack of evidence not only was embarrassing for Rumsfeld and other administration officials, but also opened them up to accusations that they had lied to the country. Critics wondered if the invasion was really about gaining control of Iraq’s oil reserves or had more to do with cleaning up after the president’s father, President George H.W. Bush, who was criticized at the end of the Gulf War in 1991 for not taking out Saddam Hussein. There was also the theory that President George W. Bush wanted to get even for the attempted plot to assassinate his father in Kuwait in 1993. Whatever the real reason(s) for the war, the lack of WMDs in Iraq forced Rumsfeld and other top administration officials to try and spin their way out of trouble by claiming that WMDs had never really been the main reason for the invasion and that all along the US simply wanted to free the Iraqi people from a ruthless dictator.
Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction, by George Washington Univ. (by Jeffrey Richelson, National Security Archive)
 
Detention without Trial at Guantánamo Bay
In the wake of the Afghanistan invasion in 2001, the US government found itself with hundreds of prisoners who were suspected of being members of al Qaeda or accomplices in some way. But instead of bringing the “enemy combatants,” as the Bush administration labeled them, to the US, military officials shipped them to an obscure American naval base in Cuba: Guantánamo Bay. “Gitmo,” as it came to be known, soon represented one of the most controversial legal maneuvers ever attempted by the federal government.
 
The Bush administration argued that it was safer to house the detainees at Gitmo, located hundreds of miles off shore from the US, while investigations could be conducted to determine which prisoners should be tried by US military tribunals. The decision to prepare military tribunals sparked opposition from civil libertarians, human rights advocates and even some military lawyers. Legal scholars wondered what the effort would mean for the legal doctrine of due process in the American judicial system.
 
Legal challenges were brought against the Bush administration, resulting in a US Supreme Court ruling in June 2006 that found the President had over-stepped his legal authority in ordering the military tribunals without Congressional approval. Although a Republican-led Congress subsequently adopted legislation giving the president authority to conduct military tribunals of terrorism suspects, the legal challenges have continued.
 
Meanwhile, approximately 300 detainees were still being held at Gitmo as of 2008. Originally, more than 700 were held at the prison, but many were let go following investigations by the military or extradited to their home countries where they faced more questionable human rights conditions. Of those who have remained at Gitmo, many have participated in hunger strikes to protest their indefinite confinement. Others have been subject to harassment by US military guards, including incidents of religious intolerance involving copies of the Koran that only further alienated the US in the eyes of the Muslim world.
Supreme Court Blocks Guantánamo Tribunals (by Linda Greenhouse, New York Times)
Senate Approves Detainee Bill Backed by Bush: Constitutional Challenges Predicted (by Charles Babington and Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post)
 
Terrorism Futures Market
On the heels of the Total Information Awareness controversy, DARPA came under attack for trying to create a market-based system for predicting future terrorist attacks. The Policy Analysis Market (PAM) was intended to be a kind of “turmoil exchange” in which investors would place bets on possible events and collect real money if they happened. Democrats on Capitol Hill were outraged, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who said, “The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it’s grotesque.” DARPA shut down PAM two days later.
The Case for Terrorism Futures (by Noah Shachtman, Wired)
 
Total Information Awareness
As part of DoD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Information Awareness Office (IAO) was created in 2002, with the goal of applying advances in communications technology against transnational threats to the country, such as the terrorist network that organized the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States. The Total Information Awareness Program (later renamed the Terrorism Information Awareness Program) was one of the most controversial being handled by the IAO. Critics became concerned that the program was attempting to develop a surveillance system that could be used against anyone, including everyday citizens of the United States. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that the man chosen to direct the IAO was John Poindexter, a retired admiral, a former national security advisor and a figure in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration. Congress cut the IAO’s funding in 2003.
 
For more information, see Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Controversies.
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Debate:

Should the Air Force depend more on drones?

In only a few years drone technology has taken off, becoming a growing part of the United States’ military and civilian sectors. But it has been the expansion of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by the U.S. Air Force (and to some degree the Central Intelligence Agency) for war that has stirred the greatest debate.

 

As of 2010, the military had spent billions of dollars to expand its fleet of UAVs, which have gone from 167 aircraft in 2002 to more than 7,000. By 2009, the Air Force had already trained more pilots to fly drones than traditional, piloted aircraft, ushering in a new era of warfare.

 

The Air Force plans to greatly expand its fleet of drones by 2047, so much so that some see all piloted aircraft replaced by UAVs in the future. A sign of this development has already appeared with the Defense Department’s decision to scale back purchases of the F-22 Raptor, a piloted combat plane, because its usefulness may be reduced in the coming years with more advances in drone technology.

 

Another advanced fighter, the F-35, may be the last funded, piloted fighter program, according to analysts.

 

Some experts say drones represent an approaching technological tipping point that could produce a genuine revolution in military affairs.

 

Pro:

Officials within the Air Force argue drones are the future of the service. First and foremost, UAVs can conduct warfare with precision, and reduce collateral damage, making them a logical replacement for conventional fighters and bombers. Not only will this reduce civilian casualties, but American ones as well, supporters say.

 

Drone advocates also say that using UAVs in the war against terrorism is legal. Officials in the Obama administration contend killings of terrorists by drones are legal under established principles of self-defense, international laws of armed conflict and the Authorization for Use of Military Force (the so-called “law of 9/11” passed by Congress following the 2001 terrorist attacks).

 

Harold Koh, the State Department’s legal adviser, defended the administration’s use of drones for targeted attacks, asserting that the United States “may use force consistent with its inherent right to self-defense under international law.”

US Air Force Prepares Drones to End Era of Fighter Pilots (by Edward Helmore, The Guardian)

 

Con:

Critics say the use of drone attacks violate the laws of war, in part because the air strikes occur inside another nation’s sovereign territory. Attacks inside Pakistan have unquestionably violated international laws of armed conflict because the United States is not at war with Pakistan, critics point out.

 

Opponents also argue that drone strikes are fueling anti-American sentiment and spurring more terrorism. Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani immigrant who tried to set off a car bomb in New York’s Times Square in 2010, is cited as an example, because he suggested that American drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere helped motivate him.

 

Furthermore, critics cited a recent British study that warned drones are becoming increasingly automated. Soon, UAVs could be able to launch a missile on their own without help from human controllers—and without recourse to higher, human authority.

US Predicts Killer Robots 40 Years Away, Raises Ethics Debate (by Haley A. Lovett, Finding Dulcinea)

 

Other links:

Are Strikes By Unmanned Aircraft Ethical? (The CQ Researcher Blog)

Drones: America's New Air Force (CBS News)

Air Force UAVs The Secret History (by Thomas Ehrhard, Mitchell Institute)

Are Drones A Technological Tipping Point In Warfare? (by Walter Pincus, Washington Post)

U.S. Strike Kills 4 Amid Pakistan Drone Debate (by Rasool Dawar, Associated Press)

Air Force Plans for All-Drone Future (by David Axe, Wired)

Combat Generation: Drone Operators Climb On Winds Of Change In The Air Force (by Greg Jaffe, Washington Post)

Police Employ Predator Drone Spy Planes On Home Front (by Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times)

 

Should targeted killings be allowed?

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States began using targeted killings as a tactic to pursue those responsible. In time, the policy expanded to include others deemed a potential threat to the nation, but who hadn’t been involved in the 9/11 attacks or other terrorist missions against the U.S.

 

The Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency have been responsible for carrying out targeted killings in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

 

Targeted killings have escalated and increasingly involved the use of unmanned drones during the Obama administration. The George W. Bush administration practice of using U.S. Special Operations forces to carry out kill/capture missions has also continued. The successful killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs in May 2011 and the September 2011 drone strike on Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni cleric and al-Qaeda member, are examples of this policy.

 

The White House has argued targeted killings are necessary and deemed them successes of foreign policy, while critics have condemned the tactic on moral, legal, and political grounds.

 

Pro:

The Obama administration has argued that targeted killings are legal under U.S. law. Furthermore, officials have labeled them as ethical and wise, because the attacks are done with precision that effectively takes out threats to the U.S. while avoiding civilian casualties.

 

This tactic also prevents future attacks on the country by weakening adversaries like al-Qaeda and sending a message to other would-be dangers that the U.S. will respond if threatened.

 

Others in support of the administration’s policy point out that drones allow the military to put fewer American soldiers in harm’s way.

 

From an economic standpoint, drones are also a good idea because they cost considerably less than manned aircraft to produce.

 

Foreign Policy #1: Drones (Caleb’s RCL Blog)

US Assassin Drones: Burning Witches At the Stake Via Modern Tech (Culture of Life News)

From Bug Drones to Disease Assassins, Super Weapons Rule U.S. War Game (Truth Be Told)

 

Con:

Opponents of targeted killings object to them for moral, legal, and political reasons.

 

Morally, it makes no sense at all for the U.S. to conduct what amounts to assassinations, taking away any ethical high ground to stand upon.

 

Killing individuals, even suspected terrorists, without due process is anathema to the American way and our system of jurisprudence, critics say.

 

Also, targeted killings have turned out to be anything but precise. Again and again reports have surfaced of so-called surgical missions turning out to be blunders that cost numerous civilian lives, which have poisoned opportunities for the U.S. to win over local populations.

 

Death By Drone: The Moral Way To Go? (by Tania Lombrozo, NPR)

Assassins Aren’t What They Used to Be (by Ellen Murphy, Whatcom Watch Online)

US Assassin Drones: Burning Witches At the Stake Via Modern Tech (Culture of Life News)

 

Other links:

Targeted Killings (Council on Foreign Relations)

JSOC Private Killing Machine of the US President (Moral Outrage)

Drone Strike Policy Refined (by Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press)

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Suggested Reforms:

DoD: Follow the USSOCOM’s Lead on Acquisition

Shortly after President Barack Obama took office, administration and congressional leaders called for the Pentagon to carry out drastic reforms of its acquisition process.

 

A major complaint about the current system was it took too long to develop “acceptable” weapons systems, resulting in programs becoming outdated by the time they were deployed.

 

What the Pentagon needed was a process that could respond rapidly to the needs for specialized, low-tech equipment to carry out counterinsurgency missions.

 

One suggestion was for defense planners to look closely at the USSOCOM, which had spent years developing weapons needed for today’s threats.

 

The USSOCOM was noted for its shorter cycle for decision making, its ability to keep up with technological advances, and a greater willingness to take risks in order to get the right equipment to the right people and places expeditiously. Although in March 2013 the Government Accountability Office identified problems with some USSOCOM programs, the Command was also credited for focusing on its organizational culture to plow through bureaucracy, implying that the Pentagon would be well served to do the same.

USSOCOM Acquisition...Light, Agile, Lethal: A Pathfinder for DoD Acquisition Reform (by Glenda Scheiner, Armed Forces Comptroller)

USSOCOM Acquisition Under Review (Special Operations Technology)

 

Operational Energy Strategy

The Department of Defense (DoD) in 2012 unveiled its Operational Energy Strategy: Implementation Plan, which offered up multiple ways for the U.S. military to become a more efficient user of energy.

 

The Pentagon’s goal was to establish “energy security for the war fighter—to assure that U.S. forces have a reliable supply of energy for 21st century military missions.”

 

But the nation as a whole stood to benefit from the plan, given that the Pentagon accounts for 80% of the federal government’s energy use.

 

One example already developed by the Marine Corps was Mobile Solar Power, which allowed soldiers to recharge Marine batteries through the use of solar panels.

 

The U.S. Air Force, the Defense Department’s largest energy consumer, also was investing in ways to cut down on its electricity and fossil fuel use. At Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada, the service built a 14-megawatt photovoltaic solar array involving more than 72,000 solar panels that could generate 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year—enough to power the entire 12,000-person base.

 

Future plans for the Army include making 16 bases net-zero energy, waste, and water installations by 2020, adding nine more to that list by 2025. It is also looking into tents with better insulation, solar-powered canopies, the use of more LED lighting, and low-flow latrines.

The DoD Road To Reform: Ensuring Energy Efficiency For Future Forces (Army-Technology.com)

U.S. Air Force Turns 65, Looks to a Future of Innovation and Operational Efficiency (by Ryan Baldwin, American Chemistry Matters)

U.S. Army Tests New Energy-Saving Tents With Solar Power, Too (by Tina Casey, Clean Technica)

 

Transparency Urged for DoD/Contractor Business

Prior to being elected to the White House, Barack Obama promised to bring more transparency to government operations, including work involving contractors. But outside groups found themselves still calling for such reforms after Obama was elected, noting the need for more transparency still existed, especially with the Department of Defense.

 

Laura Peterson, a senior policy analyst for Taxpayers for Common Sense, told PolitiFact.com in 2012 that “no major new transparency initiatives have been introduced” by the Obama administration.

 

She did note the creation of USASpending.gov, which provides information on basic information about contract recipients and total money awarded to a contractor. But this reform was labeled incremental, owing to the fact that it did not go far enough, according to Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight.

 

That same year, the IBM Center for the Business of Government issued a report by Professor Steven Maser of Willamette University that focused on increasing transparency of government contracting at the Pentagon.

 

Maser argued that implementing the report’s recommendations could result in three achievements.

 

First, choosing contractors would become more efficient and effective, generating greater value for taxpayer dollars. Second, government agencies and contractors would have a more productive, and less contentious relationship. And, third, there would be fewer bid protests, which would save the government money by not having to respond to as many protests.

Improving Government Contracting: Lessons from Bid Protests of Department of Defense Source Selections (by Steven M. Maser, IBM Center for the Business of Government)

Establish Transparency Standards For Military Contractors (PolitiFact.com)

Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (General Services Administration)

 

Contractor Acquisition Reforms

A Pentagon advisory board recommended in 2012 that the Department of Defense conduct a complete overhaul of its “byzantine procurement regulations.”

 

The Defense Business Board, which featured retired leaders from the military and defense industry, reviewed more than 300 studies on the Pentagon’s acquisition practices, and offered as its first piece of advice to the agency: Start over.

 

“Zero base the entire system, including all directives and regulations,” the report recommended. “The burden of proof should be on those who argue to retain something versus those who argue to remove it.”

 

The panel of experts said the Defense Department’s system is hampered by a “stovepiped” structure that adds bureaucratic complexity to any acquisition.

Major Contracting Reform Could Hurt Competition, Small Biz (by Dietrich Knauth, Law 360)

AGC Urges Senate to Consider Small Business Contracting Reforms (AGC of America)

Letter to Congress (AGC of America)

 

Special Victims Unit to Deal with Sexual Assault

The DoD announced in 2012 that it would establish a Special Victims Units (SVU) to handle sexual assaults in the military.

 

An SVU would be set up in each of the four branches of the armed forces to conduct investigations, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

 

Panetta said that the SVUs would be led by an officer with the rank of colonel, or in the case of the Navy, a captain—one rank below general and admiral.

 

The announcement followed the release of the Pentagon’s annual report outlining the number of sexual assaults reported within the military in 2011. The numbers revealed that 3,192 assaults were reported, up 1% from the previous year.

 

But the number of reported incidents were estimated to be only 15% of the actual total of rapes and attacks, which the DoD estimated to be 19,000 each year. In fact, the DoD estimates that one-third of the women in the military have been sexually assaulted.

Leon Panetta Lays Out New Rules to Combat Sexual Assault in U.S. Military (by Jesse Ellison, Daily Beast)

Department of Defense Is Creating Special Victims Units in All Branches of the Military To Investigate Sex Crimes (by Joseph Straw, New York Daily News)

Military Sexual Assault Epidemic Continues To Claim Victims As Defense Department Fails Females (by Molly O’Toole, Huffington Post)

 

Military Compensation Reform

Calling military compensation a threat to the Pentagon’s future budgets, the Center for American Progress released a report in 2012 calling for reforms to the military’s payment, healthcare, and retirement systems.

 

The report noted how military personnel costs had nearly doubled since 2001 and were now consuming more than 30% of the Pentagon’s base budget (about $180 billion per year).

 

“If these costs are allowed to continue rising at their current rate, they will eat through the entire defense budget by FY 2039 unless the overall budget is increased to accommodate them,” the report stated.

 

For example, the Pentagon spends $107 billion on salaries and allowances, which amounted to about 20% of its budget. The increasing expense of paying soldiers and officers had come about through authorizations approved by Congress—and above the Defense Department’s budget requests.

 

The authors of the report also warned that the costs of salaries, healthcare, and retirement presented a serious obstacle to the Obama administration’s efforts to rein in defense spending.

Reforming Military Compensation (by Lawrence J. Korb, Alex Rothman, and Max Hoffman, Center for American Progress)

DoD Reforms Don't Go Far Enough (by Col. Carl Gingrich, Brookings Institution)

 

Reform Security Clearance Policies

After being criticized by congressional watchdogs for years, the DoD finally made progress during the Obama administration in improving its personnel security clearance process.

 

Pentagon officials lauded their reforms that they said had resulted in better speed and efficiency of background investigations and other processes by 2012. The changes also were said to have reduced duplication and waste.

 

But the real proof that progress had been made was in the fact that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) had removed the Pentagon’s personnel security clearance process from its “high-risk” list—something that had never occurred since the GAO created the list in 1990.

Reforms Improve DoD’s Security Clearance Process, Official Says (by Donna Miles, 

American Forces Press Service)

DOD Makes Progress Toward Faster Security Clearances (by Amber Corrin, FCW)

 

Rethink Partnerships in the War on Terror

The U.S. would be better served in its fight against terrorism if it gave more thoughtful consideration the countries it chooses as partners before committing significant governmental resources to them, argued Lt. Col. Michael C. Veneri.

 

In a paper published by Synesis in 2011, Veneri wrote the U.S. could avoid strategic mistakes by doing a better job of evaluating potential partners. Foremost, it shouldn’t partner with countries that it could never hope to influence and it should avoid connecting with countries that lacked the ability to be effective partners. This would avoid getting caught up in “endless commitments and continuous counterinsurgency operations.”

 

Things to consider, Veneri wrote, were the will and skill of a partner country. Also, the U.S. needed to make sure an ally shared strategic interests, otherwise Washington was unlikely to achieve its own strategic objective.

The Partner Predicament: US Building Partnership Capacity, the War on Terrorism and What the US Cannot Overlook (by Michael C. Veneri, Synesis)

What Works Best When Building Partner Capacity and Under What Circumstances? (by Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Beth Grill, Stephanie Young, Jennifer D. P. Moroney, Joe Hogler and Christine Leah, RAND)

Building Partnership Capacity (by Tom Donnelly, AEI Center for Defense Studies)

 

Defense Business Board and Retirement Reforms

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta proposed, while speaking at the National Defense University in 2011, to overhaul the military’s retirement benefits system.

 

Panetta said there had been no decision yet about how reform the system, only that a proposal from a Pentagon task force was being considered that would abandon the traditional pension system in favor of a 401(k)-style contribution program.

 

To avoid panic among service members, Panetta added that any change would grandfather in benefits for current recipients. “You have to do it in a way that doesn’t break faith with the military,” he said.

 

Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed Panetta’s position, saying any reforms would not come immediately. Nonetheless, retired Gen. Bob Scales called Panetta’s idea a “bad deal” for the military and a disincentive to stay in the service for 20 years unless they’re grandfathered in to the old system.

 

The Defense Business Board plan being reviewed called for all troops to receive annual retirement contributions if they served at least 20 years. But the money would not vest until service reached at least three to five years and would then be payable at retirement age. Anyone leaving the service before the three- to five-year mark would have their contributions rolled over into Social Security.

Panetta: 'You Have to Consider' Military Retirement Reform (Fox News)

Defense Business Board Pushes Scaling Back Pensions, Collective Bargaining Rights For Military (by Adam Weinstein, Mother Jones)

No Changes to Military Retirement Any Time Soon, Officials Say (by Jim Garamone,

American Forces Press Service)

Troop Retirement, Healthcare May Be Eyed For Cuts (by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press)

 

Purchasing Systems Reform

The DoD during President Barack Obama’s first term set out to reform its practices for buying weapons, as well as those governing employee training and contracting.

 

In November 2010, Frank Kendall, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said it was important to improve the development of requirements for DoD goods and services and provide better training for the employees charged with purchasing.

 

“Requirements development…has been identified as a weakness in the department and has led to cost and schedule overruns on many programs,” Kendall said in a memo. “Requirements development is paramount to successful acquisition outcomes.”

 

One change implemented by the Pentagon called for creating the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation and the hiring of more than 3,000 employees to improve DoD’s purchasing processes. That was especially important, since the loss of $31 billion could be linked to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone.

DOD Acquisition Chief Recognizes Setbacks, Notes Progress (by Amber Corrin, Defense Systems)

S. 1694 (112th): Defense Cost-Type Contracting Reform Act of 2011 (GovTrack.us)

DOD Emphasizes Education, Requirements In Acquisition Reform (by Amber Corrin, FCW)

Senators, Experts To Watch For DOD Contract Reforms (by Matthew Weigelt, FCW)

DOD: Wartime Contracting Reforms Underway (by Matthew Weigelt, Washington Technology)

Department Hires Acquisitions Workers to Help Reforms (by Lisa Daniel, American Forces Press Service)

New Survey Shows Defense Acquisitions Process Inefficient, Efforts to Fix Changing (Business Wire)

 

Foreign Arms Sales Reforms

Nineteen industry-lobbying groups launched a campaign in 2010 to convince Congress and the Obama administration to implement reforms for export controls.

 

The groups, which call themselves the Coalition for Security and Competitiveness and represent hundreds of companies selling everything from aircraft to software, argued the government should de-emphasize the current reliance on lists of munitions and dual-use technologies to make export decisions.

 

Instead, approval of military-related items should be based on such factors as whether an item could be purchased from another country, whether it was widely used outside of defense, and whether the buyer was a trusted partner.

 

One key change came down to this: if a weapons technology could be bought from other countries, then the U.S. government shouldn’t restrict American companies from selling the same technology overseas.

 

The changes proposed by the industry groups could have boosted U.S. exports by tens of billions, and perhaps even hundreds of billions of dollars, according to proponents.

United States Firms Launch Export-Control Reform Push (by William Matthews, Defense News.com)

How to Save Money, Reform Processes, and Increase Efficiency in the Defense Department (by Mackenzie Eaglen and Julia Pollak, Heritage Foundation)

 

Revised Export Control System

The Obama administration in 2010 announced plans to reform the export control system, which governs what American products can be sold overseas without endangering national security (see “Foreign Arms Sales Reforms” above).

 

President Barack Obama said the intention was to maintain protections for national security while focusing export controls on the “most critical products and technologies.” In the same breath Obama emphasized the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors.

 

The Pentagon was fully behind the reforms, saying it had been a leading proponent of changing export controls. Defense officials echoed the White House in noting that the economy was not helped by trying to protect too much from being exported.

 

“The goal has been to focus our efforts on the so-called ‘crown jewels,’” Andrew J. Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political military affairs, told the media.

 

Examples offered up by Shapiro included night vision systems, stealth and cloaking technologies, and satellite and communications technologies.

 

Under the current system, the State Department and the Commerce Department each maintained their own list of items subject to export controls. Shapiro said this situation caused confusion among allies, industries, and even within the U.S. government. There were also three different licensing agencies with their own policies and several agencies with overlapping authority—and all operating on incompatible computer systems.

 

The reforms were expected to streamline this process by moving tens of thousands of parts and components from the State Department’s list to Commerce’s for regulation.

President Obama Lays the Foundation for a New Export Control System To Strengthen National Security and the Competitiveness of Key U.S. Manufacturing and Technology Sectors (White House)

US Defense Export Control Reform Nears Finish Line (U.S. Department of Defense, Defence Talk)

Remarks of Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary for Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce (Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce)

Fact Sheet: Implementation of Export Control Reform (White House)

 

Limit or Halt Use of National Guard Troop Deployments During Wartime

The use of National Guard units in Iraq and Afghanistan became increasingly unpopular in many states whose soldiers were deployed again and again to fight the wars.

 

In 2005, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer asked the DoD to return his state’s Guardsmen from Iraq in order to help combat wildfires. The request was denied.

 

Maryland Senator Richard Madaleno Jr. in 2009 sponsored legislation to allow the governor to prohibit the federal deployment of the Maryland Guard unless Congress authorized the use of military force or passed a declaration of war.

 

The Democratic state senator said the Maryland Guard had exhausted its resources and equipment from repeated deployments, and was needed at home in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster.

 

The following year, a ballot initiative was offered up Idaho that would have authorized the governor to bring members of the National Guard home from international deployment. It also prohibited Guard deployments without congressional authorization for use of military force or a declaration of war.

Bill Would Restrict Federal Deployment of Md. National Guard (by Christian Davenport,

Washington Post)

Our National Guard: Too High a Price (Veterans for America)

An Initiative Limiting The Deployment Of National Guard Members, Defining Governor’s Authority And Nullifying Federal Law. (Idaho Secretary of State)

 

Arms Sales to Countries with Human Rights Violations

The United States needs to make human rights the deciding factor when considering arms sales to other countries, argued William D. Hartung, director of the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute at New School University in New York City.

 

Appearing before a congressional panel in 2001, Hartung testified that the U.S. needed to move beyond the point where human rights considerations were cast aside in favor of “pragmatic” concerns affecting national security.

 

“At the dawn of a new millennium, in the first few months of a new administration and a new Congress, it is time to take a serious look at the impact of U.S. arms sales on human rights with an eye towards changing our arms sales policies for the better,” Hartung said.

 

He recommended as “one small but important step” that the State Department abide by the spirit and letter of the International Arms Sales Code of Conduct law by taking specific steps to describe whether or not U.S. arms recipients covered by the human rights report live up to the standards set out in the law.

 

He called attention to numerous countries receiving support from Washington that had poor reputations for upholding human rights. These included, among others, Indonesia, Turkey, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Report: The Role of U.S. Arms Transfers in Human Rights Violations - World Policy Institute - Research Project (by William Hartung, World Policy Institute)

Inside the State Department's FY2008 Budget Request: An Analysis of U.S. Military Aid Appropriated to Human Rights Abusing Governments through the Foreign Military Financing Program (Peace Education Fund)

Middle East Tumult Complicates U.S. Arms Sales (by Zachary Fryer-Biggs, Defense News)

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Former Directors:

Secretaries of Defense

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Comments

Michael Alphin 7 months ago
I am writing this in regard to the sentencing of 1st Lt. Clint Lorance. This young and brave soldier was doing his job, looking for people who were a danger to his unit, when he had observed scouts from the enemy tracking them. Under military regulations, action may be taken when unfriendlies pose a threat. They were tracking 1st Lt. Lorance and his unit. They were using vehicles often deployed in attacks. Action is to be withheld unless the enemy is showing signs of attack. How is this not a sign of intent to strike? Our soldiers are instructed to strike in such cases. 1st Lt. Lorance was doing his job. Sentencing him to prison for twenty years in prison is wrong in every way. I am asking you to step in and undo the injustice done to him. Thank you, Michael Alphin.
JamesWatson 1 year ago
To whom it may concern. I have a copyrighted Phrase that I think may interset all Branches os Service.Its called A GRATEFUL NATION SAYS,TO THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED,WHOSE BLOOD HAS BEEN SPILLED,SO THAT LIBERTY AND FREEDOM,MAY RUN THRU OUR VEINS,THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.I am not sure if this is the Dept to try and market my idea or not.I have used this on Flag Cases,T SHIRTS Sweat Shirts,Coffe Cups,Picture Frames,Flat Wooden Flags,If u look and read the Saying it Memoralizes evry Man Woman And Child who ever severd OUR COUNTRY since the American Revolution.Regardless of there injury,death,or ptsd that person may have sufferd it accoknledges there contribution To our Country.Thank you for reading this and if this is the wrong Dept.Would u Please be so kind to point me in right direction Thank You Jim Watson USMC 72-75

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Founded: 1947
Annual Budget: $613.9 billion ($525.4 billion base budget, plus $88.5 billion for ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq) (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: About 3 million, including 2,238,400 military personnel and 756,356 civilians (FY 2013 Estimate)
Official Website: www.defense.gov

Department of Defense

Hagel, Chuck
Secretary

President Barack Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary is the first former enlisted combat soldier to run the Pentagon, but his own party opposed him. Nominated by Obama on January 7, Republican Chuck Hagel was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee February 12 on a 14-11 party line vote to succeed current Secretary Leon Panetta.

 

Hagel’s nomination has provoked unusual opposition from his fellow Republicans, including fellow Vietnam War vet John McCain (R-Arizona), who broke a close friendship with Hagel in 2007 over the Nebraskan’s refusal to support President George W. Bush’s Iraq troop surge.

 

Other Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), were critical of Hagel’s perceived antipathy toward Israel. The nomination was filibustered on February 14, 2013, the first time that had happened to a president’s cabinet choice. However, Hagel’s nomination was approved a couple weeks later, on February 26, and he took office the following day.

 

Born October 4, 1946, in North Platte, Nebraska, the son of Betty (née Dunn) and Charles Dean Hagel, he had three brothers, Thomas, Mike, and Jim, until Jim was killed in a car accident at the age of 16. Chuck Hagel graduated from St. Bonaventure High School (now Scotus Central Catholic High School) in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1964, and the Brown Institute for Radio and Television in 1966. After a stint in the Army, Hagel earned a BA in History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1971.

 

A Vietnam War veteran, Hagel served in the United States Army infantry as a squad leader from 1967 to 1968. A Sergeant (E-5), Hagel earned the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and two Purple Hearts. Home from the war, Hagel worked as a bartender, radio newscaster and talk show host in Omaha from 1969 to 1971 while attending college under the GI Bill.

 

Hagel’s political career began in 1971 when he was hired as a staffer by Congressman John Y. McCollister (R-Nebraska), serving until 1977. From 1977 to 1980, Hagel was a lobbyist for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, also serving as an organizer for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign.

 

Rewarded for his support with the job of deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration in 1981, Hagel resigned in 1982 over disagreements with VA Chief Robert P. Nimmo, an eager budget cutter who had called veterans groups “greedy”, and said Agent Orange was no worse than a “little teenage acne.”

 

Back in the private sector, Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, a mobile phone manufacturer, and became a multi-millionaire. While at Vanguard, he served as president and CEO of the United Service Organizations (USO), as deputy director and COO of the 1990 G7 Summit, and as chairman of the Agent Orange Settlement Fund.

 

In 1992 Hagel moved back to Nebraska to become president of investment banking firm The McCarthy Group. He was also chairman and CEO of American Information Systems (AIS), later known as Election Systems & Software, a computerized voting machine manufacturer partly owned by McCarthy Group.

 

In 1996, Hagel ran for an open U.S. Senate seat and became the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate race in Nebraska. Promising in 1996 to serve only two terms, Hagel won re-election in 2002 with more than 83% of the vote. A conservative in the Senate, Hagel earned a lifetime rating of 84% from the American Conservative Union and A and B grades from the National Taxpayers Union. Among other important votes, Hagel voted for the Patriot Act, for the George W. Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, and for the Iraq war resolution in 2002.

 

It was the Iraq war, and Hagel’s growing dissatisfaction therewith, that caused the rift between him and his fellow Republicans that has become a chasm. For example, in August 2005, Hagel compared the Iraq War to Vietnam and mocked Vice President Dick Cheney’s assertion that the Iraqi insurgency was in its “last throes.” In July 2007, Hagel was one of only three Republican Senators who supported Democratic legislation mandating a troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin within 120 days.

 

During his time in the Senate, Hagel served as deputy whip for the Republican Caucus. He was chair of the Senate Global Climate Change Observer Group and the Senate Oversight Task Force, and co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He served on four committees: Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Rules and Administration.

 

Fulfilling a promise he made in his first campaign, Hagel retired from the Senate in 2008 after two terms. Since February 2009, he was a distinguished professor in National Governance at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He published a book in 2008, America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers, in which he called the Iraq War one of the five biggest blunders in U.S. history and criticized George W. Bush’s foreign policy as “reckless,” and “a ping pong game with American lives.”

 

Since taking office in 2013, much of Hagel’s time has been spent listening to enlisted members of the armed forces, often traveling to distant bases and speaking to small groups of them. In addition, he has a monthly luncheon with lower-ranking non-commissioned officers from all services.

 

Hagel has also had to deal with the problems of a shrinking military budget. In 2013, he presided over the furloughs of about 350,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense, but did cut the number of unpaid days each worker had to take from 11 to six. Later, thousands of defense workers were sent home because of the government shutdown.

 

Hagel has proposed cutting the number of soldiers in the Army to between 440,000 and 450,000, which would be the smallest such number since 1940. He also proposed smaller cuts in the Marine Corps and the elimination of some types of aircraft.

 

Before becoming Secretary of Defense, Hagel was chairman of the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank, and co-chairman of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board. In the private sector, Hagel served on the boards of directors of Chevron Corp. and Zurich Holding Company of America, the advisory board of Corsair Capital, and the Americas Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank. He was a director and senior advisor to McCarthy Capital.

 

In 1985 Chuck Hagel married Lilibet Ziller. They have two children, Allyn and Ziller.

-Matt Bewig

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Panetta, Leon
Previous Secretary

Leon E. Panetta has been many things during his long career. Congressman. President’s right-hand man. Think tank founder. Professor. But none of his roles has ever taken him deep into the realm of intelligence work, which is why many inside and outside of Washington, DC, questioned his ability to take over the embattled Central Intelligence Agency. Nonetheless, he served as director of the CIA from February 13, 2009, until June 30, 2011. President Barack Obama then appointed him Secretary of Defense, a position he took over on July 1, 2011.

 
Born June 28, 1938, in Monterey, CA, Panetta was raised by his Italian immigrant parents, Carmelo and Carmelina, who owned a restaurant. In 1947 they purchased a walnut farm and moved their family there. Panetta attended two Catholic schools (St. Carlos Grammar School and Carmel Mission School) before attending a public high school (Monterey High School), where he became involved in student politics (student body vice president as a junior; president as a senior).
 
In 1956, Panetta enrolled in Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, magna cum laude, in 1960. He remained at Santa Clara for law school, serving as an editor of the Law Review, and receiving his JD in 1963.
 
Following college, Panetta joined the US Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He attended Army Inteloigence School and was chief of operations and planning for intelligence at Ford Ord in California. He left the service as a first lieutenant in 1966.
 
Panetta began his political career as a Republican, taking a job in 1966 as a legislative assistant to US Senator Thomas H. Kuchel, a moderate Republican from California who was Senate Minority Whip. Three years later, Panetta moved to the Nixon administration, serving as a special assistant to Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Robert Finch, and then as director of the US Office for Civil Rights, where he was responsible for enforcement of equal education laws. There, he butted heads with Nixon officials who wanted to put the brakes on civil rights enforcement.
 
Having worn out his welcome in the administration, Panetta went to New York City in 1970 to serve as executive assistant to Republican Mayor John Lindsay, overseeing the city’s relations with the state and federal governments. The following year, he returned to California, and he began practicing law in the Monterey firm of Panetta, Thompson & Panetta. He also published his first book in 1971 (Bring Us Together: The Nixon Team and the Civil Rights Retreat) about his frustrating experience heading up the Office of Civil Rights. He also switched his party affiliation to Democrat in 1971.
 
Panetta practiced law until 1976, when he was first elected to Congress from the 16th (now 17th) district from California, covering Monterey, Salinas and parts of the central coast. As a member of the House until 1993, he was a vocal opponent of the Reagan administration’s support for the Contra rebels, and he voted against authorizing US military action during the Gulf War in 1991.
 
Among the legislation he carried, Panetta authored the Hunger Prevention Act of 1988; the Fair Employment Practices Resolution extending civil rights protections to House employees for the first time; several bills designed to protect the California coast, including creation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; and legislation that established Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for hospice care for the terminally ill (PDF).
 
His committee assignments included serving as the chair of the House Committee on the Budget (1989-1993); the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Domestic Marketing, Consumer Relations and Nutrition; the House Administration Committee’s Subcommittee on Personnel and Police; and the Select Committee on Hunger’s Task Force on Domestic Hunger. He also served as vice chairman of the Caucus of Vietnam Era Veterans in Congress and as a member of the President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies.
 
Panetta left Congress in 1993 to become President Bill Clinton’s director of the Office of Management and Budget. A year later, Clinton chose Panetta to become his White House chief of staff after the president’s first choice, Thomas “Mack” McLarty, proved unable to provide the structure needed to keep the Clinton Oval Office on track. Panetta reportedly brought more structure and curtailed the long, meandering meetings Clinton tended to have, and limited access to the President so he could focus on key issues and not get distracted. Panetta was also credited with helping negotiate the 1996 budget compromise with Congressional Republican leaders.
 
Panetta left Washington in 1997 and returned to California, taking up residence on his parents’ family farm with his wife, Sylvia. He began formulating a run for California governor in November 1998, but ultimately never launched his bid for the Democratic nomination. Panetta faced numerous obstacles that included a better known Democrat (US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who also chose not to run, ultimately) and wealthy airline executive, Al Checchi, who lost the primary to Gray Davis.
 
Having decided his days as a politician were over, Panetta set out to create a think tank on the newly-established campus of California State University, Monterey Bay (where the army base Fort Ord once stood). The Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy was created in 1997 as a nonpartisan, not-for-profit study center for the advancement of public policy. That same year, Panetta was appointed Presidential Professor at Santa Clara University, and he began a six-year term on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange. He was chairman of the NYSE’s Committee for Review and was co-chair of the Corporate Governance and Listing Standards Committee.
 
Panetta has served in numerous community and national public policy organizations throughout his career. In November 2004, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him co-chair of the Council on Base Support and Retention. Since 2005 he has served as a member of the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future, and in March 2006, he was chosen to serve on the Iraq Study Group.
 
In addition, Panetta has served on the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the board of the National Steinbeck Center, and the University of California Santa Cruz Foundation, and on the board of the Santa Clara University Law School Board of Visitors. Other affiliations include being a member of the board of trustees for Santa Clara University; the Fleishman-Hillard International Advisory Board; the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula; the Monterey Bay Aquarium; the National Board of Advisors of the Center for National Policy (chairman), the Pew Oceans Commission (chairman); Blue Shield of California); IDT Corporation; Zenith National Insurance; Connetics Corporation; the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; Bread for the World; and Close Up.
 
Upon Panetta’s announcement as Obama’s pick for director of the CIA, some key Senate Democrats expressed concern about Panetta’s lack of intelligence experience. “My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time,” said Feinstein, who will oversee Panetta’s confirmation as chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence.
 
Those who came to Panetta’s defense included former Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN), who chaired foreign affairs and intelligence committees while serving in the House and later co-chaired the Iraq Study Group. Hamilton insisted that while Panetta wasn’t from the traditional world of intelligence, he dealt with the issue on a daily basis as Clinton’s chief of staff and as a member of the Iraq Study Group.
 
Panetta has been quoted as saying, “Torture is illegal, immoral, dangerous and counterproductive,” leading some intelligence experts to predict that the CIA will take a new direction in dealing with suspected terrorists, if Panetta is in charge.
 
Panetta and his wife, Sylvia, have been married since 1962. They have three sons and five grandchildren.
 
Leon Panetta (by Kate Pickert, Time)
Leon E. Panetta (New York Times)
American Reject Fear Tactics (by Leon Panetta, Monterey County Herald)
Q&A: Leon Panetta (by Hilary Howard, Northern California Golf Association)
Conversation with Leon Panetta (with Harry Kreisler, Institute of International Studies, University of California Berkeley)
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Overview

Representing the largest organization in the U.S. federal government, the Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for protecting the United States by providing for a national defense. DoD includes all four branches of the armed services—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines—along with multiple sub-agencies that produce everything from weapons and supplies for military units to intelligence on foreign threats. The George W. Bush administration’s Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) campaign caused the DoD’s budget to balloon to its highest levels ever. The Obama administration’s anti-terrorism undertakings, along with the ongoing war in Afghanistan, have ensured that upward trend. Implementing the GWOT also resulted in multiple controversies for the department, which was led for much of the past decade by a polarizing Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.


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History:

After winning its independence from England in the Revolutionary War, the United States government created the U.S. Department of War in 1789, charged with organizing and maintaining the U.S. Army to provide for the defense of the new republic. The Department of War, headed by the Secretary of War, was a cabinet-level department under the command of the President that did not manage the Navy, which was transferred in 1798 to the U.S. Department of the Navy.

 

During the 19th century, the War Department supervised various military and non-military responsibilities ranging from the distribution of bounty land to pensions to Indian affairs to the Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. The outbreak of war between the U.S. and Spain in 1898 resulted in an expansion of the War Department’s powers, and following the conflict, the department was reorganized in 1903. The office of the commanding general of the Army was abolished, and the general staff corps was established to coordinate the Army under the direction of the chief of staff, who was charged with supervising the planning of national defense and with the mobilization of the military forces.

 

During World War I, the War Department was given supervision over the newly created National Guard, and under the National Defense Act of 1916, the officers’ reserve corps was created within the department. This act also established the office of Assistant Secretary of War to coordinate the procurement of munitions.

 

By 1941 the War Department had grown into a substantial work force in the Washington D.C., area, numbering more than 24,000 civilian and military personnel. Housed in 17 buildings, the department was expected to reach 30,000 by the beginning of 1942. At the same time the Quartermaster Corps’ Construction Division was struggling to cope with the vast mobilization of Army forces to fight in World War II. The federal government considered constructing temporary buildings to accommodate the growing needs of the War Department. Instead, Brigadier General Brehon B. Somervell, head of the construction division, proposed constructing a single massive building to house all War Department employees. Completed in 1943, the Pentagon was five stories in height and consisted of five concentric pentagons within an outer structure of reinforced concrete walls. Capable of housing 40,000 workers in four million square feet of space, the Pentagon also included a six-acre interior court and parking for 8,000 cars.

 

Building the Pentagon was just the beginning of the War Department’s challenges. Organizing the Army’s combat duties in the two-front war against Germany and Italy in Europe and Japan in the Pacific required the War Department to coordinate naval efforts with the Department of the Navy, all while mobilizing and training the largest increase is U.S. Army history. Although the U.S. achieved victory against the Axis powers, American policymakers felt the military didn’t always work effectively together in the split capacity between the War and Navy departments.

 

Believing that better coordination was necessary between the branches of the armed services, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 (pdf) that created the National Military Establishment (NME). The act combined the Department of War and the Department of Navy into the new NME, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The act also established the Air Force, which until then had been a part of the U.S. Army, as an independent service branch. All three service branches—Army, Navy (including the Marine Corps), and Air Force—reported directly to the Secretary of Defense, who was supported initially by three assistants. Today, the office of the Secretary of Defense employs 2,000, out of approximately 600,000 civilian employees who work for the DoD.

 

The NME was renamed the Department of Defense (DoD) in 1949. In the succeeding years of the Cold War, the DoD (commonly referred to as the Pentagon) grew into the largest of all U.S. governmental institutions as American military operations became tantamount in U.S.-Soviet jockeying for international dominance. The discovery of nuclear power during WWII resulted in an unprecedented arms build-up by the U.S. as American war planners poured billions of dollars into new generations of strategic nuclear weapons.

 

At first the focus was on long-range bombers. A new generation of jet-powered aircraft took over Air Force squadrons, most importantly the B-52 Stratofortress. Air wings comprised of B-52s, based both in the U.S. and overseas, were set up on round-the-clock aerial missions to fly toward the Soviet Union until reaching a “fail safe” point at which they turned around unless given the “go codes” from Strategic Air Command (SAC), a key national military command under the authority of the Pentagon. The development of America’s nuclear weapons complex, along with maintaining a large standing Army, Navy, and Air Force in preparation for World War III against the Soviet Union, resulted in the establishment of the “military industrial complex” during the 1950s. Coined by President Dwight Eisenhower, the military industrial complex represented a first-ever commitment to continual arms manufacturing, or procurement. The DoD became the federal arm responsible for overseeing procurement of all conventional and nuclear weapons.

 

President John F. Kennedy contributed to the Pentagon’s appetite for new weapons when he followed up on his promise during the 1960 presidential campaign to eliminate the “missile gap” that supposedly existed between the U.S. and the USSR. Under the leadership of Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, the U.S. greatly expanded its arsenal of nuclear warheads as it developed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) capable of delivering multiple warheads at targets in the USSR and China. McNamara, an unconventional choice to head the Pentagon, was president of the Ford Motor Company when Kennedy asked him to join his cabinet. Although not a military expert, he immersed himself in defense issues and instituted a number of key changes to U.S. military doctrine, including “flexible response.”

 

McNamara also implemented programs in counterinsurgency to combat Communist threats in foreign countries, which included creating the Defense Intelligence Agency and expanding Army commando units, called Special Forces, to conduct unconventional warfare. These counterinsurgency efforts were put to great use in the Vietnam War. U.S. involvement in South Vietnam grew exponentially while McNamara led DoD. Military forces went from a few thousand “advisers” to hundreds of thousands of soldiers and Marines. McNamara approved controversial strategic bombing campaigns against North Vietnam and the use of chemical defoliants, such as Agent Orange.

 

Although he loyally supported administration policy, McNamara gradually became skeptical about whether the war could be won by deploying more troops to South Vietnam and intensifying the bombing of North Vietnam. He traveled to Vietnam many times to study the situation firsthand. He became increasingly reluctant to approve the large force increments requested by the military commanders. In 1967 he left the Pentagon to become the head of the World Bank.

 

The secretaries of defense that followed McNamara kept a lower profile. These included Melvin Laird, who served under President Richard Nixon, and Donald Rumsfeld, who served under President Gerald Ford as the youngest Secretary of Defense in departmental history. Unlike his second term as secretary under President George W. Bush, Rumsfeld’s time with Ford was not controversial. Rumsfeld’s tenure at the Pentagon was noted mostly for pushing forward new weapons programs intended to modernize America’s nuclear and conventional arsenals. The 1970s saw research-and-development projects evolve into deployable systems, such as the Navy’s F-14 Tomcat, the Air Force F-15 Eagle, and the Army’s M1A Abrams tank.

 

Procurement programs reached new heights the following decade under President Ronald Reagan. Determined to restore America’s superiority on the world stage, Reagan instructed his defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, to embark on the most expensive arms buildup in the nation’s history, even though Weinberger’s pre-Defense reputation had been that of a budget trimmer. No longer was he “Cap the Knife,” for Weinberger shared the president’s conviction that the Soviet Union posed a serious threat and that the defense establishment needed to be modernized and strengthened. The secretary became a vigorous advocate of Reagan’s plan to increase the DoD budget, which approached $300 billion during the 1980s, for everything from new aircraft carriers to controversial programs like the B-1 bomber and the MX missile.

 

Efforts to strength America’s military also had their embarrassments. The Sergeant York air-defense gun was supposed to give the Army greater protection from Soviet aircraft. Instead, the weapon became “a symbol of a procurement process gone haywire.” After the Pentagon spent $1.8 billion and ten years developing the tank-mounted, radar-guided gun, field tests showed that it had trouble hitting a hovering helicopter. Another program that proved expensive and troublesome was the B-1 bomber. The B-1 was especially costly due to design flaws that forced Air Force commanders to alter the mission of the plane. Originally purchased to replace the aging B-52, the B-1 was supposed to be able to fly at low altitude in order to penetrate Soviet air defenses. Military planners later realized that the high-tech bomber was vulnerable to such defenses, forcing the Air Force to abandon its plan of replacing the B-52, which continues to serve in USAF squadrons to this day.

 

Weinberger was also swept up in the greatest scandal of the Reagan era: Iran Contra. The Iran-Contra affair involved the secret sale of weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian terrorists, and the diversion of money from that sale to provide support for anti-communist resistance fighters in Nicaragua known as the “Contras.” Weinberger was charged by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh with four counts of lying to congressional Iran-Contra investigators in 1987 and to Walsh’s prosecutors in 1990. His case involved allegations that he had concealed from Congressional investigators his personal notes that detailed events related to Iran-Contra and that reportedly undermined what President Reagan said about the origins and operations of the covert arms-for-hostages dealings. Weinberger pled not guilty and was ultimately pardoned by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 just before his case went to trial.

 

With the end of the Cold War, DoD became less of a priority during the two terms of President Bill Clinton, who placed less importance on defense spending and developing new weapons programs. In fact, the Pentagon’s budget shrunk during the decade as defense secretaries Les Aspin, William Perry and William Cohen spent more time determining what shape and role the U.S. military should take in a post-Cold War world. Big budget programs designed to fight the Soviet military, such as the Seawolf attack submarine, were cut back dramatically. Instead, doctrines emphasizing rapid deployment of conventional forces were further developed to address smaller scale conflicts and threats, including the growing danger from terrorist organizations like al Qaeda.

 

This military approach to combating terrorism ballooned following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. President George W. Bush’s secretary of defense, Rumsfeld, suddenly became the face of America’s tough new world posture designed to hunt down Osama bin Laden and others like him. A leader of the neocons, Rumsfeld and his chief deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, were key architects of the president’s Global War on Terrorism campaign, which included invading Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as planning attacks on Iran and North Korea. Rumsfeld also promoted enormous increases in the DoD budget that eclipsed those of the Reagan years, reaching upward of half a trillion dollars.

 

Rumsfeld proved to be a lightning rod for controversy as he unabashedly championed the President’s no-holds-barred approach with terrorist suspects or their supporters. Scandals erupted involving detainment of terrorist suspects in offshore military installations (Guantánamo Bay) and the torture of enemy combatants in Iraq (Abu Ghraib). Other hot-button issues involved the proper supplying of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and distortions of high-profile military rescues and deaths to conjure popular support for the war on terrorism.

 

After six stormy years at the Pentagon, President Bush asked Rumsfeld to resign following the 2006 election that saw Republicans lose control of Congress in a sweeping anti-war fervor by voters. Replacing Rumsfeld was former CIA director Robert Gates, who was brought in to devise a new strategy for the war in Iraq. Shortly after taking over, Gates ordered an increase in troop levels in Iraq—a move that had been resisted by the president but called for by some military commanders. The troop surge also went against sentiments expressed by voters and many Democrats in Congress who argued it was time to pull out from Iraq.

 

The 2008 election of Barack Obama as president saw him make good on his campaign promise to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq, which was completed in December 2011. However, after much consideration and citing a “deteriorating situation” caused by resurgent al-Qaeda and Taliban forces, he escalated the U.S. presence in Afghanistan in 2010 by adding 30,000 troops to the 68,000 already stationed there. Amid scattered claims of military successes dampened by ongoing insurgent attacks, instability, as well as corruption in the Afghan government—not to mention waning support for the war among the American public—Obama announced a timeline for U.S. and NATO troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by late 2014. Compounding the shaky state of affairs in the country has been an alarmingly high number of ongoing “insider” killings—U.S. troops being killed by their Afghan allies.

 

In 2011, former CIA director Leon Panetta took over as Secretary of Defense from a retiring Robert Gates. At the same time, the U.S. took a lead role in orchestrating and participating in—with 18 countries, including 14 NATO allies—a massive military operation to support and protect civilians in Libya from strongman Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s attacks on his people. Responding to a UN Security Council Resolution and a request for intervention from the Arab League, the U.S. military took out Libya’s air defense system and provided surveillance and intelligence to its partner nations, which conducted 75% of all aerial missions (the U.S. responsible for the balance).

 

In May 2011, under the order of President Obama, a number of U.S. military and intelligence agencies collaborated in the coordinated CIA-led assault on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where a team of U.S. Navy SEALs assassinated terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

 

As U.S. efforts against terrorist cells and its leaders continue, the Defense Department’s weapon of choice is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or drone, which locates and kills its targets through the direction of a pilot and a team of up to 180 operators situated at a base many thousands of miles away. In 2010, Secretary Gates made sure that the Pentagon’s future budgets would spare any cuts to the drone program. There has been a 1,200% increase in in the use of drone patrols since 2005, with the Obama administration’s use of UAVs in Pakistan’s tribal areas seeing a tenfold increase over their use under George W. Bush. There are currently more hours flown by drones than manned attack aircraft, and their use in targeted killings has expanded throughout Afghanistan, and into Yemen and Somalia. A 2009 U.S. Air Force report on projected drone use through 2047 (pdf) predicts that future drones will be outfitted with artificial intelligence, giving them the ability to make their own shoot-and-kill decisions.

 

In addition to these global hot spots, Pentagon contingency plans remain in place pending further escalation of the already volatile and deadly hostilities in Syria, and heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

Son of the Sergeant York (by John S. Demott, Time)

The Iran-Contra Affair (by Julie Wolf, PBS American Experience)

Bush's Defense Budget Biggest Since Reagan Era: Iraq, Afghanistan Spending Top Vietnam War (by Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post)

Honoring Those who Fought and Died in Iraq and Afghanistan

Are Drones Obama's Legacy In War On Terrorism? (by Ari Shaprio, NPR)

more
What it Does:

Representing the largest organization in the U.S. federal government today, with an annual budget of more than half a trillion dollars, the Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for maintaining the national defense of the United States. The DoD includes all four branches of the armed services—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines—along with multiple sub-agencies that produce everything from weapons and supplies for military units to intelligence on foreign threats.

 

While DoD operations and offices are located across the country, and the armed services operate in many parts of the world, the Defense Department is primarily centered at the Pentagon, one of the largest buildings ever constructed. In order to operate effectively (although not necessarily efficiently, critics would argue), the DoD maintains a complex organizational structure that segments the hundreds of tasks that are performed both on a day-to-day basis and for long-term strategic planning.

 

The DoD is led by the Secretary of Defense, a cabinet-level position appointed by the President and subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The Secretary of Defense is assisted by a variety of under secretaries and assistant secretaries who manage specific functions. These include:

 

As a result of the George W. Bush administration’s Global War on Terrorism and the current anti-terror campaign of the Obama administration, which includes ongoing military combat in Afghanistan plus operations in Pakistan and Yemen, the DoD’s budget has ballooned this decade to its highest levels ever. However, it must be noted that the annual budget appropriation for the DoD often does not include emergency spending bills (called supplementals) approved by Congress after the regular budget has been approved. It is estimated that the military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have cost nearly $1.4 trillion since 2001, much of which has been authorized through supplementals. Including the cost of caring for wounded veterans, U.S. military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has, to date, actually cost between $2.3 trillion and $2.7 trillion, according to a 2011 study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. The study estimates the final cost of these military engagements to be $3.7 trillion, excluding interest payments and additional anticipated costs.

 

The budget request for DoD in FY 2013 is $613.9 billion. Some of the key defense activities to receive a portion of this money are:

 

Fighting Forces

Department of the Army

The United States Army’s mission is to provide ground forces for American military operations and wars. Combat forces generally consist of foot soldiers, or infantry, or soldiers who man tanks and artillery that make up armored units. Other Army personnel provide a variety of support duties, from engineering to medical care to fuel and food. The Army employs a vast array of weapons and equipment as part of its military operations. Examples of its military hardware include aircraft, air defense artillery, anti-armor weapons, indirect fire systems, individual and crew-served weapons and equipment, nuclear, biological, chemical defense equipment, tracked vehicles, and wheeled vehicles. Army forces deployed overseas currently number about 196,248.

 

Department of the Navy

The Navy Department oversees both the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. The Navy represents the seagoing branch of the armed services, maintaining fleets of ocean-going surface vessels and submarines capable of extending American sea and air power anywhere in the world. Naval vessels fall into one of seven classes: aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, and submarines. Battleships, cruisers, and destroyers have an assortment of guns and missile systems, while aircraft carriers carry both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

 

U.S. Marine Corps

Located under the authority of the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps serves as a land and air “force in readiness” capable of supporting U.S. military operations and executing national political objectives. Since the late 19th century, Marines have been used by the U.S. government to execute foreign policy objectives and protect American interests overseas. USMC forces have been at the center of major wars and key military operations, garnering them a reputation as an elite fighting force.

 

Department of the Air Force

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) constitutes the aviation component of the Armed Services, providing tactical, strategic, and logistical air support for U.S. military operations. The USAF also is charged with operational command of U.S. nuclear forces. Some of the most advanced weapons systems in the U.S. military have been developed for the Air Force, often at great costs and involving much controversy.

 

U.S. Special Operations Command

Located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) oversees all Special Operations Forces (SOF) in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Special Operations soldiers are specially trained, equipped and organized to carry out strategic or tactical missions during periods of war and peace. The units continually train to conduct unconventional warfare in any of its forms, such as guerrilla warfare, special reconnaissance, evasion and escape, subversion and sabotage. During the George W. Bush administration, SOF missions expanded in size and importance as part of the Global War on Terrorism campaign. SOF has been increasingly utilized by the Obama administration, and is said to be active in about 120 nations worldwide.

 

National Guard

Administered by the National Guard Bureau (a joint bureau of the departments of the Army and Air Force), the National Guard consists of both the Army National Guard (ARNG), and the Air National Guard (ANG). The National Guard has both a federal and state mission involving combat and non-combat army and air force units. Throughout its long history, Guard army units have been deployed overseas to fight in America’s wars, including the recent Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) campaign waged by the George W. Bush administration. The National Guard is also charged with assisting state governments during times of natural disasters. However, some state National Guards have reportedly found themselves stretched too thin from overseas deployments of men and equipment to Iraq and Afghanistan, which has prevented Guard units from adequately responding to state emergences. Nearly half of the U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq have been National Guard.

 

 

Spying and Intelligence Gathering

Defense Intelligence Agency

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is both a major producer and manager of military intelligence for the Department of Defense. Approximately 16,500 men and women work for the DIA worldwide (about 35% military personnel and 65% civilian personnel). The exact numbers and specific budget information are not publicly released due to security considerations.

 

National Reconnaissance Office

One of the most secretive agencies in the federal government, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) launches the nation’s military spy satellites. The NRO takes orders from both the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence and is funded through the National Reconnaissance Program, part of the National Foreign Intelligence Program. The agency shares its top-secret data not only with military planners, but also members of the Intelligence Community. At one time, the NRO’s technical sophistication was highly regarded, but after a series of blunders in recent years, the agency’s reputation has plummeted. However, its contribution to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden was critical, as its spy satellites helped to determine the master terrorist’s whereabouts in Pakistan, where he was killed by U.S. Special Forces in May 2011.

 

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) collects, processes and dispenses satellite imagery for national security purposes. This imagery is used to depict the planet’s physical features or activities that are being monitored by the intelligence community. The agency also supports combat troops with tactical data, such as targeting information for precision bombing.

 

Defense Clandestine Service

The Pentagon announced the creation of this new agency in April 2012. It is designed to beef up U.S. overseas spying operations against such high-profile adversaries as China and Iran. The DCS is to be staffed mainly by military personnel, 15% of which are to be case officers recruited from the DIA. The idea is to move beyond the DIA’s role of intelligence gathering in war zones by expanding to global areas of concern. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill in May that authorized funding of the DCS.

 

Weapons Development and Sales

Missile Defense Agency

The purpose of the Missile Defense Agency is to develop and field a Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) to defend the United States, its military forces, friends and allies against ballistic missile attacks. For more than five decades, engineers have been developing and testing variations of a missile defense to protect U.S. cities from nuclear combat. Current programs being researched and tested include Ground-Based Interceptors, Theater High Altitude Area Defense, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Multiple Kill Vehicle Program.

 

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a unique research organization established to maintain the U.S. military’s technological preeminence. Essentially, it’s the intellectual sandbox of the Defense Department, freed from many of the constraints imposed on other agencies so it can pursue riskier, more innovative research. Over the years, DARPA has helped develop technologies that have also worked their way into the civilian world, including the forerunner of the Internet. Some of its efforts have also been controversial. The agency faced conflict-of-interest charges in 2011 when it was discovered that its director had awarded lucrative contracts to a company that she had co-founded and which was being operated by family members.

 

Defense Threat Reduction Agency

The goal of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency is to reduce the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to the United States by either eliminating foreign stockpiles or mitigating their risk to the U.S. and its allies. Much of its work is done cooperatively with foreign nations, such as the mutual examination of nuclear stockpiles, and the dismantling of weapons and equipment of formerly hostile nations in accordance with treaties like START I. The agency also develops countermeasures against novel threats, both for domestic use and for combat support. 

 

Defense Security Cooperation Agency

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) facilitates the sale of U.S. weapons to other countries. Working with agencies in the DoD and the State Department, DSCA provides financing, resources and/or contractors for the sale of arms, defense technologies, training, and other services overseas. The agency’s work has contributed to the controversial proliferation of arms and military training to non-democratic, oppressive governments.

 

Technical Support Working Group

Partly run by the Department of Defense, the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) is a low-profile multi-federal-agency program with a highly important mission. Working with a vast array of U.S. government departments and agencies, the TSWG helps to rapidly develop the latest in technological solutions to combat terrorism. “Rapid” is a key word in TSWG’s mission, as it is expected to fund projects that can be ready for use by law enforcement, military and other government personnel in two years or less from time of first approval.

 

Training

U.S. Army Combined Arms Center

Referred to as the “intellectual center of the army,” the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center oversees the operation of, and/or coordinates with, about 50 subordinate organizations—schools and training centers, each of which is responsible for teaching specific skills to Army personnel and members of other armed services. The U.S. Army has a long history of providing specialized training to its soldiers, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. In recent times some elements of the CAC have drawn public attention for reports and internal debates over the George W. Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war.

 

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

The Command and General Staff College is a graduate school for U.S. military and foreign military leaders at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It is the Army’s senior tactical school and introduces officers to operational and strategic warfare. The college has five subordinate schools. Its main purpose is to synchronize Army leader development and education systems but works as a joint, interagency, multinational school.

 

International Military Education & Training

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program provides funding to train military and civilian leaders of foreign countries, primarily at schools and facilities in the U.S. The program is implemented by the DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, but funded by the State Department through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The IMET grew considerably during the administration of George W. Bush, from a budget of $50 million in FY 2000 to $85 million in FY 2008, a 70% increase. It has continued to grow during the administration of Barack Obama, with a projected budget of more than $102 million for FY 2013. More than 120 countries were funded by the IMET in FY 2010. The program has a long, controversial history of helping to train foreign military personnel who went on to commit human rights abuses in their home countries. One controversial decision involving the IMET stemmed from an administration policy change that provided military training to someone who had been one of America’s most notorious enemies: the late dictator of Libya, Muammar al-Qaddafi.

 

Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

Formerly known as the School of the Americas, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation has long been the most controversial training center run by the U.S. military. Throughout the Cold War, the school helped train thousands of military personnel from Latin American countries. Some of these graduates went on to commit human rights abuses and other atrocities in their home countries.

 

 

Logistics

Defense Logistics Agency

The largest agency within the Department of Defense, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) provides support as well as technical and logistic services to the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and several federal agencies. The DLA has supported every war in the past four decades, from the Vietnam War to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan. It is in charge of almost every consumable item, everything from combat readiness, emergency preparedness, and day-to-day operations inside the DoD.

 

Army Corps of Engineers

More than just a wing of the U.S. Army, the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been a leading designer and builder of water projects across the United States since the early 20th century. Corps engineers have been responsible for key flood control systems, including numerous dams, in the Western U.S. and other regions. Known for its skill and expertise, the USACE’s reputation took a hit following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans after investigations showed faulty work by Corps engineers on key levies protecting the city.

 

Defense Information Systems Agency

Providing global information and technology assistance through online services, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) helps U.S. military forces communicate with one another, pull information needed for their missions and receive accurate and protected information on any threats they may face. The DISA focuses on delivery of information speed, operational effectiveness and efficiency, and sharing information. Its primary aim is to provide secure and reliable communications networks, computers, software, databases, applications, and other products needed for the processing and transport needs of the DoD.

 

 

Money Management

Defense Contract Management Agency

One of DoD’s most critical offices, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) oversees the purchase of high-priced weapons systems. The DCMA is responsible for hundreds of thousands of contracts that have a collective value of $1.65 trillion. The DCMA is the Pentagon’s contract manager, responsible for ensuring that federal acquisition programs (systems, supplies, and services) are delivered on time, within projected cost or price, and meet performance requirements.

 

Defense Contract Audit Agency

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) independently investigates Pentagon contracts to determine the fairness, accuracy and completeness of financial records and reports, as well as the effectiveness of any transactions the DoD has made. In other words, the DCAA reviews business deals to make sure everything is aboveboard and acceptably efficient. The agency also provides financial advice to the DoD at every step of the contracting or subcontracting process, from negotiation to final resolution. In 2008 and 2009, the agency was found to have engaged in some corrupt contractor auditing practices.

 

Defense Finance and Accounting Services

The world’s largest finance and accounting operation, the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) supports the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for budgetary and fiscal matters. The agency is responsible for coordination and collaboration with all civilian defense agencies, military services, and combatant commands. The agency provides services primarily for military men and women, including processing military, civilian, retiree, travel, and contract/vendor pay, and managing military health care and benefits.

 

Office of Economic Adjustment

The Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is responsible for managing and directing efforts to assist communities impacted by Defense program changes, including base closures, base expansions, and contract or program cancellations, and for coordinating involvement of other federal agencies in the process. 

 

 

Criminal Investigation

Office of Inspector General

The DoD’s Office of Inspector General (DoDIG) serves as a watchdog for the department. The DoDIG is supposed to operate independently of the department to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse through audits and investigations. The Inspector General is in charge of keeping the Secretary of Defense and Congress informed about agency problems and deficiencies.

 

Defense Criminal Investigative Service

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) functions as the criminal investigative arm of the DoD Inspector General. DCIS investigates criminal activities involving terrorism, procurement fraud, computer crimes, illegal technology transfers, and public corruption within the Department of Defense.

 

Other

Defense Media Activity

Defense Media Activity (DMA) serves as DoD’s public relations and information provider. It creates press releases through a news service and sets policy for internal publications, visual information and audiovisual programs. The DMA also produces media aimed at service members and their families. Previously known as the American Forces Information Service, the agency had been accused by some critics of deception by, for example, releasing press releases that mimic the style of actual news reports.

 

Arlington National Cemetery

The nation’s most prestigious military cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery is also one of the oldest national cemeteries in the U.S. More than 310,000 people, including military casualties and veterans from every single U.S. war—from the American Revolution through U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq—are buried at Arlington. The cemetery is also the final resting place of many notable civilian, historical, literary and minority figures, including former President John F. Kennedy. 

 

 

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Where Does the Money Go

The Department of Defense (DoD) would not be the costly operation it is today without private defense contractors. Covering Army-, Navy- and Air Force-related industries, defense contractors provide everything from combat boots to some of the most advanced, sophisticated technology on the planet. Large weapons systems have price tags that run into the tens of billions of dollars, making the arms trade extremely lucrative for certain companies.

 

According to DoD documents, the cost of contractor services has increased 137% between 2001 and 2010, compared to a 1% increase for the compensation of active duty military personnel during the same period.

 

During this past decade—between FY 2002 and FY 2012—the DoD spent more than $3.237 trillion on 13,154,675 contractor transactions, according to USAspending.gov.  However, the top five companies—Lockheed Martin ($267.5 billion), Boeing ($199.2 billion), General Dynamics ($139.5 billion), Raytheon ($116.8 billion), and Northrop Grumman ($108.3 billion)—received almost one quarter of that money.

 

In FY 2011 alone, the DoD reportedly spent $536.8 billion on about 170,000 contractor transactions. In FY 2012, to date, it has spent nearly $206 billion on 822,963 transactions, with nearly 25% of the spending going to four of the same top contractors: Lockheed Martin ($18.7 billion), Boeing ($17.3 billion), General Dynamics ($10 billion), and Raytheon ($8.5 billion). The fifth top contractor is L-3 Communications ($3.8 billion).

In the case of Lockheed Martin, Defense Department contracts represented more than half of the company’s $46.5 billion in net sales in 2011.

 

Some examples of the equipment that this money bought are as follows:

Lockheed Martin

F-22 fighter (shared with Boeing)

Aegis Weapons System for U.S. Navy combat vessels

F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter (Boeing, originally McDonnell Douglas)

Hellfire Missile (shared with Boeing)

Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile

Littoral Combat Ships (shared with General Dynamics)

C-5 transport plane

C-130 transport plane

F-16 fighter

F-35 Lightning II fighter

 

Lockheed also operates the Global Information Grid networks for DoD’s Defense Information Systems Agency, stemming from a contract it was awarded by DoD in June 2012, which has a potential value of $4.6 billion over a seven-year period. In August it won a $28 million U.S. Navy contract for the procurement of Nuclear Weapon Security system equipment at Navy installations. Also for the Navy, in June it was awarded a no-bid contract for components and servicing of 22 sets of MK54 Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets.

 

Boeing

F-22 fighter (shared with Lockheed Martin)

Harpoon Missile

Hellfire Missile (shared with Lockheed Martin)

B-1 bomber

B-52 bomber

C-17 transport plane

F-15 fighter (Boeing, from McDonnell Douglas)

KC-135 tanker

Harrier jump jet

P-8A Poseidon

Apache attack helicopter (support services from Lockheed Martin)

WGS Satellite System

 

Since 2001 Boeing has held the Ground-based Midcourse Defense contract, for work designed to protect the U.S. from long-range ballistic missile threats. The original $18 billion 10-year contract was renewed in 2011 with a seven-year, $3.5 billion extension. Boeing has 17 partners on the project, including Northrop Grumman.

 

Northrop Grumman

E-2 Hawkeye early warning and control aircraft

F-14 Tomcat fighter 

Virginia class attack submarine (shared with General Dynamics)

Nimitz class aircraft carriers

B-2 bomber (along with Boeing, Hughes Radar Systems Group, General Electric Aircraft Engine Group and Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc.)

Global Hawk drones

 

Northrop Grumman has the job of bolstering cyber-security protections across all DoD and Intelligence Community networks, by virtue of a three-year $189 million contract that it was awarded by the DISA in March 2012.

 

General Dynamics

M1A Abrams tank

Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle

Los Angeles class attack submarine

Virginia class attack submarine (shared with Northrop Grumman)

Sea Wolf class attack submarine

Ohio class nuclear missile submarine

Littoral Combat Ships (shared with Lockheed Martin)

M2 machine gun

 

BAE Systems

Bradley Fighting Vehicle

Mark 38 25mm machine gun system for Navy ships

M777 howitzer

 

BAE Systems was awarded a $306 million contract in August 2012 to convert Operation Desert Storm vehicles into a “situational awareness configuration.”

 

Raytheon

Patriot Missile System

Torpedo - Mark 46

HARM Missile

Maverick Guided Missile 

Tomahawk® Cruise Missile

Sidewinder air-to-air missile

Phalanx CIWS weapon system

 

United Technologies

Sea Stallion helicopter

H-3 Sea King helicopter

 

Add to that list China’s first attack helicopter, which owes its existence to United Technologies. In June 2012, the defense contractor pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act and making false statements with regard to exports of software to China, which that country used to develop the military aircraft. Two U.S. senators have requested that the DoD to suspend United Technologies from being awarded any further Pentagon contracts.

 

Bell Helicopter Textron

Super Cobra attack helicopter

Huey helicopter

 

FY 2013 Program Acquisition Costs by Weapon System (U.S. Department of Defense) (pdf)

Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs (GAO Report) (pdf)

Top 100 Defense Contractors – 2010 (Government Executive)

Defense Contracts (DoD)

 

In March 2008 the Marine Corps announced contracts with several different companies for a new type of armored vehicle capable of withstanding attacks involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The IED was the most lethal weapon used by guerilla fighters in Iraq, accounting for almost 70% of all casualties suffered by American military forces. Instead of relying on Humvees, the Marine Corps deployed Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, designed to withstand small arms fire, IEDs and other explosive threats. (see Controversies)

 

The Army also utilizes contractors to provide a variety of logistics and other services. A one-time subsidiary of Halliburton, long known as an oil services provider with strong ties to the George W. Bush administration, was until 2006 providing soldiers with food, shelter, and communications with friends and family back home through a billion-dollar exclusive-rights contract (see Department of the Army, Controversies).

 

The company that the Air Force chooses to build a new plane can be quite controversial. Take for example the task of midair refueling. For decades the Air Force used Boeing’s KC-135 (a rendition of the old 707 commercial jet) to refuel Air Force fighter and bombers on long missions. But with the aircraft reaching its service limits due to age, the Air Force tried to lease a modified version of Boeing’s 767 to replace the KC-135. The deal fell apart after accusations arose over costs and ethical violations (see Department of the Air Force, Controversies).

Billion-Dollar Babies: Five Stealth Pentagon Contractors Reaping Billions of Tax Dollars (by Nick Turse, TomDispatch)

 

Benefits

Managed by the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Military Retirement Fund (MFR) (pdf) is part of DoD’s Military Retirement System. The fund paid out roughly $54.86 billion to military retirees and survivors in FY 2011. It received $105.32 in revenue that same year, from the U,S, Treasury, investment income, and cost payments. The MFR owns and manages $372.2 billion in total assets, and has $1.36 trillion in liabilities, calculated for future benefit payments. The Defense Department provides funding as well for educational benefits for eligible DoD employees (see GAO report - pdf).

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Controversies:

 

Weapons Procurement Waste and Corruption
In March 2008 the Government Accountability Office released a scathing report on the status of numerous weapons projects being developed for the Pentagon. Government auditors found programs for new ships, aircraft and satellites were billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.
 
Among the major programs reviewed was Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a stealthy tactical fighter intended for the Air Force and Navy. Cost projections put the price tag at almost $100 million per plane, up 40% since 2001. In a statement, Lockheed said that the Joint Strike Fighter was “performing solidly, making outstanding technical progress in the context of the most complex aircraft ever built” and that “the bedrock and the cornerstone” of the F-35 program have been “affordability and cost containment.”
 
Another project singled out was the Navy’s $5.2 billion Littoral Combat Ship, which experienced so many cost overruns that the service expected the price of its first two ships to exceed their combined budget of $472 million by more than 100%. The Navy canceled construction of the planned third and fourth ships by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, the prime contractors on the project.
 
In another case, the initial contract target price of Boeing’s program to modernize avionics in the C-130 cargo plane was expected to skyrocket 323%, to $2 billion.
 
The GAO report said the reasons for the cost overruns and delays were threefold: Too many programs chasing too few dollars; technologies not mature enough to go into production; too long to design, develop and produce a system.
 
“They’re asking for something that they’re not sure can be built, given existing technologies, and that’s risky,” said a GAO official.
 
Torture at Abu Ghraib
Once US military forces toppled the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Army took control of one of the legendary dictator’s infamous prisons: Abu Ghraib. The prison occupied 280 acres with over 4 kilometers of security perimeter and 24 guard towers, making it a virtual city within a city. Abu Ghraib was where Saddam Kamal (head of the Special Security Organization) oversaw the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners during the reign of Saddam Hussein. As many as 4,000 prisoners were executed by Iraqi security personnel at Abu Ghraib Prison in 1984 alone.
 
In late April 2004, with the prison under the control of the US military, photographs surfaced that depicted abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners held at the prison. Some of the pictures depicted US soldiers, both men and women in military uniforms, laughing and giving thumbs-up signs while posing with naked Iraqi prisoners made to stand, stacked in a pyramid or positioned to perform sex acts.
 
It turned out that a criminal investigation by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway since 2003 to look into allegations of prisoner abuse by the 320th MP Battalion. The findings of that investigation were revealed in the Taguba Report, which found that between October and December 2003, there were numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib. The systematic and illegal abuse of detainees was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company and also by members of the American intelligence community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th MP Battalion).
 
Some of the wrongdoing included breaking chemical lights and pouring phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack.
 
The report also contained information about private contractors who were supervising interrogations in the prison. One civilian contractor was accused of raping a young male prisoner but was not charged because military law had no jurisdiction over him. The investigation named CACI International Inc. and the Titan Corporation in the scandal.
 
A year later, more disturbing revelations surfaced about Army doctors and the medical care system at Abu Ghraib. Some military doctors helped inflict distress on prisoners, while amputations were performed by non-doctors and chest tubes recycled from the dead to the living.
 
The fallout from the scandal resulted in the removal of 17 soldiers and officers from duty, and seven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. Between May 2004 and September 2005, the seven soldiers were convicted in courts martial, sentenced to federal prison, and dishonorably discharged from service. Two soldiers, Specialist Charles Graner, and his former fiancée, Specialist Lynndie England, were sentenced to 10 years and three years in prison, respectively. The commanding officer at the prison, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, was demoted to the rank of colonel, all the while claiming that superiors in the chain of command knew and approved of the illegal behavior.
The Abu Ghraib Scandal You Don't Know (by Adam Zagorin, Time)
Abu Ghurayb Prison (Global Security)
The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos (Australia's Special Broadcasting Service TV)
 
Pat Tillman Cover Up
Following the 9/11 attacks, NFL star Pat Tillman did the unheard of. He walked away from a million-dollar career playing pro football in order to enlist in the Army. Wanting to fight al Qaeda and capture its leader, Osama Bin Laden, Pat wound up serving in the Army Rangers along with his brother, Kevin.
 
Pat Tillman’s enlistment grabbed the attention of the nation - and the highest levels of the Bush administration. A personal letter from Secretary Rumsfeld thanked Tillman for serving his country. Instead of going to Afghanistan, as the brothers expected, their Ranger battalion was sent to participate in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The Tillmans saw combat several times on their way to Baghdad. In early 2004, they finally were assigned to Afghanistan.
 
On April 22, 2004, the Tillmans’ Ranger company was searching for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in a village called Manah when one of their Humvees became disabled. The unit proceeded to split up, and during an ensuing firefight with Taliban fighters, Pat Tillman was killed. Tillman’s death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration - just a week before the Army’s abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal. The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.”
 
His killing was widely reported by the media, including conservative commentators such as Ann Coulter, who called him “an American original - virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.” His May 3, 2004, memorial in San Jose drew 3,500 people and was nationally televised.
 
Not until five weeks later, as Tillman’s battalion was returning home, did officials inform the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed accidentally by his fellow soldiers in a case of “friendly fire.” The Tillman family was outraged and sought the help of US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to find out why they had not been told the truth sooner about Pat’s death. A House committee investigated the matter, and eventually the Army censured a three-star general, Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., for failing to follow procedures requiring him to notify the Tillman family and top officials about the investigation into the possibility of friendly fire. Some critics contended Kensinger was merely a scapegoat to avoid those higher up in the chain of command from being implicated in the scandal, including Rumsfeld.
Retired General Is Censured for Role in Tillman Case (by Neil A. Lewis, New York Times)
 
Unprepared to Protect Soldiers and Humvees from IEDs
Once US forces had defeated the Iraqi military and assumed control of Iraq in 2003, the Pentagon believed the worst of its troubles were over. Little did military planners realize that American casualties not only would continue to mount, but that they would increase at an even higher pace than when soldiers were fighting a full-scale war.
 
Shortly after President Bush declared an end to the fighting, Iraqi guerilla fighters began attacking US combat troops with homemade bombs, or IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The IEDs proved to be especially dangerous to troops riding in Humvees, a vehicle widely used to transport troops. Lacking an armored body, the vehicle became a coffin for American soldiers caught inside when an IED exploded beneath or next to the Humvee.
 
Soon stories began appearing in American papers about the vulnerability of the Humvee, and how American troops were scavenging parts from other vehicles to fortify their Humvees with “hillbilly armor” because the Pentagon was slow to respond to the problem. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld claimed his department was doing everything it could to address the problem, but that the manufacturers of the Humvee couldn’t produce modified versions of the vehicle any faster. Not true, said the company, AM General, pointing out that they could increase production if the Pentagon wanted them to.
 
Even when reinforced Humvees arrived in Iraq, another problem arose. The heavily-armored vehicles couldn’t maneuver effectively and were prone to tipping over at certain speeds. In addition, its heavier doors trapped soldiers inside after an attack or accident.
 
The Pentagon then decided to scrap the Humvee altogether and purchase a brand new vehicle designed to withstand mines and other small explosives. All services have ordered a total of 7,700 MRAPs (short for “mine resistant ambush protected”) at a cost of $8 billion.
Troops in Iraq get safer vehicle (by Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today)
 
The rescue of Jessica Lynch
In 2003, as US forces continued to battle Iraqi military for control of Iraq, an Army private, Jessica Lynch, wound up being captured after her convoy was ambushed. Suffering numerous broken bones, Lynch was taken to a hospital still controlled by the enemy. A tip from an Iraqi source led to a daring rescue of Lynch by Special Operations soldiers. The story made front-page news as media sources around the country gobbled up the exciting tale, which turned out to be full of fantasy, thanks to Pentagon spin doctors.
 
It was true that Lynch had been severely injured when her Humvee crashed during an ambush outside Nasiriyah and that she was taken by captors to a hospital. But it was not true, as the Washington Post reported on April 1, 2003, that Lynch had killed several Iraqis in a gun battle and sustained many gunshot wounds herself. The Post’s erroneous account was seconded by the New York Times and other reputable media outlets. It wasn’t until early May that the story began to fall apart after the Toronto Star reported that Lynch had been well cared for at the hospital, that her captors had left up to two days before the raid and that fire from US forces had prevented hospital staffers from loading her in an ambulance. The BBC confirmed the Star’s account, and later the Post ran a 5,000-word story correcting what had previously been reported.
 
Once the truth was out, critics blasted the Pentagon for manipulating the truth about the rescue in order to gain sympathy for the US operation that was chewing up the country.
When Media Spread 'Lie' About Jessica Lynch Rescue (by Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher)
The truth about Jessica (by John Kampfner, The Guardian)
 
9/11 and the Fake Link with Iraq
Since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense has been at the center of numerous controversies and scandals stemming from the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks. When the decision was made to invade Afghanistan shortly after the destruction of the World Trade Center, few Americans disagreed with the decision, as the president and Secretary Rumsfeld made compelling arguments that it was necessary to go after al Qaeda terrorists hiding in that country.
 
Two years later, however, the Bush administration had a more difficult time gaining the same kind of consensus about invading Iraq. While claiming the existence of links between al Qaeda and Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein, Rumsfeld argued repeatedly that Iraq had developed weapons of mass destruction, making it a serious threat to American security. Evidence supporting this claim was limited at best before the attack on March 2003, and even after US forces took over the country, no physical evidence was ever produced to show that Hussein’s government had been hiding nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or had been conspiring with the likes of Osama bin Laden.
 
This lack of evidence not only was embarrassing for Rumsfeld and other administration officials, but also opened them up to accusations that they had lied to the country. Critics wondered if the invasion was really about gaining control of Iraq’s oil reserves or had more to do with cleaning up after the president’s father, President George H.W. Bush, who was criticized at the end of the Gulf War in 1991 for not taking out Saddam Hussein. There was also the theory that President George W. Bush wanted to get even for the attempted plot to assassinate his father in Kuwait in 1993. Whatever the real reason(s) for the war, the lack of WMDs in Iraq forced Rumsfeld and other top administration officials to try and spin their way out of trouble by claiming that WMDs had never really been the main reason for the invasion and that all along the US simply wanted to free the Iraqi people from a ruthless dictator.
Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction, by George Washington Univ. (by Jeffrey Richelson, National Security Archive)
 
Detention without Trial at Guantánamo Bay
In the wake of the Afghanistan invasion in 2001, the US government found itself with hundreds of prisoners who were suspected of being members of al Qaeda or accomplices in some way. But instead of bringing the “enemy combatants,” as the Bush administration labeled them, to the US, military officials shipped them to an obscure American naval base in Cuba: Guantánamo Bay. “Gitmo,” as it came to be known, soon represented one of the most controversial legal maneuvers ever attempted by the federal government.
 
The Bush administration argued that it was safer to house the detainees at Gitmo, located hundreds of miles off shore from the US, while investigations could be conducted to determine which prisoners should be tried by US military tribunals. The decision to prepare military tribunals sparked opposition from civil libertarians, human rights advocates and even some military lawyers. Legal scholars wondered what the effort would mean for the legal doctrine of due process in the American judicial system.
 
Legal challenges were brought against the Bush administration, resulting in a US Supreme Court ruling in June 2006 that found the President had over-stepped his legal authority in ordering the military tribunals without Congressional approval. Although a Republican-led Congress subsequently adopted legislation giving the president authority to conduct military tribunals of terrorism suspects, the legal challenges have continued.
 
Meanwhile, approximately 300 detainees were still being held at Gitmo as of 2008. Originally, more than 700 were held at the prison, but many were let go following investigations by the military or extradited to their home countries where they faced more questionable human rights conditions. Of those who have remained at Gitmo, many have participated in hunger strikes to protest their indefinite confinement. Others have been subject to harassment by US military guards, including incidents of religious intolerance involving copies of the Koran that only further alienated the US in the eyes of the Muslim world.
Supreme Court Blocks Guantánamo Tribunals (by Linda Greenhouse, New York Times)
Senate Approves Detainee Bill Backed by Bush: Constitutional Challenges Predicted (by Charles Babington and Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post)
 
Terrorism Futures Market
On the heels of the Total Information Awareness controversy, DARPA came under attack for trying to create a market-based system for predicting future terrorist attacks. The Policy Analysis Market (PAM) was intended to be a kind of “turmoil exchange” in which investors would place bets on possible events and collect real money if they happened. Democrats on Capitol Hill were outraged, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who said, “The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it’s grotesque.” DARPA shut down PAM two days later.
The Case for Terrorism Futures (by Noah Shachtman, Wired)
 
Total Information Awareness
As part of DoD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Information Awareness Office (IAO) was created in 2002, with the goal of applying advances in communications technology against transnational threats to the country, such as the terrorist network that organized the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States. The Total Information Awareness Program (later renamed the Terrorism Information Awareness Program) was one of the most controversial being handled by the IAO. Critics became concerned that the program was attempting to develop a surveillance system that could be used against anyone, including everyday citizens of the United States. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that the man chosen to direct the IAO was John Poindexter, a retired admiral, a former national security advisor and a figure in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration. Congress cut the IAO’s funding in 2003.
 
For more information, see Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Controversies.
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Debate:

Should the Air Force depend more on drones?

In only a few years drone technology has taken off, becoming a growing part of the United States’ military and civilian sectors. But it has been the expansion of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by the U.S. Air Force (and to some degree the Central Intelligence Agency) for war that has stirred the greatest debate.

 

As of 2010, the military had spent billions of dollars to expand its fleet of UAVs, which have gone from 167 aircraft in 2002 to more than 7,000. By 2009, the Air Force had already trained more pilots to fly drones than traditional, piloted aircraft, ushering in a new era of warfare.

 

The Air Force plans to greatly expand its fleet of drones by 2047, so much so that some see all piloted aircraft replaced by UAVs in the future. A sign of this development has already appeared with the Defense Department’s decision to scale back purchases of the F-22 Raptor, a piloted combat plane, because its usefulness may be reduced in the coming years with more advances in drone technology.

 

Another advanced fighter, the F-35, may be the last funded, piloted fighter program, according to analysts.

 

Some experts say drones represent an approaching technological tipping point that could produce a genuine revolution in military affairs.

 

Pro:

Officials within the Air Force argue drones are the future of the service. First and foremost, UAVs can conduct warfare with precision, and reduce collateral damage, making them a logical replacement for conventional fighters and bombers. Not only will this reduce civilian casualties, but American ones as well, supporters say.

 

Drone advocates also say that using UAVs in the war against terrorism is legal. Officials in the Obama administration contend killings of terrorists by drones are legal under established principles of self-defense, international laws of armed conflict and the Authorization for Use of Military Force (the so-called “law of 9/11” passed by Congress following the 2001 terrorist attacks).

 

Harold Koh, the State Department’s legal adviser, defended the administration’s use of drones for targeted attacks, asserting that the United States “may use force consistent with its inherent right to self-defense under international law.”

US Air Force Prepares Drones to End Era of Fighter Pilots (by Edward Helmore, The Guardian)

 

Con:

Critics say the use of drone attacks violate the laws of war, in part because the air strikes occur inside another nation’s sovereign territory. Attacks inside Pakistan have unquestionably violated international laws of armed conflict because the United States is not at war with Pakistan, critics point out.

 

Opponents also argue that drone strikes are fueling anti-American sentiment and spurring more terrorism. Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani immigrant who tried to set off a car bomb in New York’s Times Square in 2010, is cited as an example, because he suggested that American drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere helped motivate him.

 

Furthermore, critics cited a recent British study that warned drones are becoming increasingly automated. Soon, UAVs could be able to launch a missile on their own without help from human controllers—and without recourse to higher, human authority.

US Predicts Killer Robots 40 Years Away, Raises Ethics Debate (by Haley A. Lovett, Finding Dulcinea)

 

Other links:

Are Strikes By Unmanned Aircraft Ethical? (The CQ Researcher Blog)

Drones: America's New Air Force (CBS News)

Air Force UAVs The Secret History (by Thomas Ehrhard, Mitchell Institute)

Are Drones A Technological Tipping Point In Warfare? (by Walter Pincus, Washington Post)

U.S. Strike Kills 4 Amid Pakistan Drone Debate (by Rasool Dawar, Associated Press)

Air Force Plans for All-Drone Future (by David Axe, Wired)

Combat Generation: Drone Operators Climb On Winds Of Change In The Air Force (by Greg Jaffe, Washington Post)

Police Employ Predator Drone Spy Planes On Home Front (by Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times)

 

Should targeted killings be allowed?

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States began using targeted killings as a tactic to pursue those responsible. In time, the policy expanded to include others deemed a potential threat to the nation, but who hadn’t been involved in the 9/11 attacks or other terrorist missions against the U.S.

 

The Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency have been responsible for carrying out targeted killings in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

 

Targeted killings have escalated and increasingly involved the use of unmanned drones during the Obama administration. The George W. Bush administration practice of using U.S. Special Operations forces to carry out kill/capture missions has also continued. The successful killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs in May 2011 and the September 2011 drone strike on Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni cleric and al-Qaeda member, are examples of this policy.

 

The White House has argued targeted killings are necessary and deemed them successes of foreign policy, while critics have condemned the tactic on moral, legal, and political grounds.

 

Pro:

The Obama administration has argued that targeted killings are legal under U.S. law. Furthermore, officials have labeled them as ethical and wise, because the attacks are done with precision that effectively takes out threats to the U.S. while avoiding civilian casualties.

 

This tactic also prevents future attacks on the country by weakening adversaries like al-Qaeda and sending a message to other would-be dangers that the U.S. will respond if threatened.

 

Others in support of the administration’s policy point out that drones allow the military to put fewer American soldiers in harm’s way.

 

From an economic standpoint, drones are also a good idea because they cost considerably less than manned aircraft to produce.

 

Foreign Policy #1: Drones (Caleb’s RCL Blog)

US Assassin Drones: Burning Witches At the Stake Via Modern Tech (Culture of Life News)

From Bug Drones to Disease Assassins, Super Weapons Rule U.S. War Game (Truth Be Told)

 

Con:

Opponents of targeted killings object to them for moral, legal, and political reasons.

 

Morally, it makes no sense at all for the U.S. to conduct what amounts to assassinations, taking away any ethical high ground to stand upon.

 

Killing individuals, even suspected terrorists, without due process is anathema to the American way and our system of jurisprudence, critics say.

 

Also, targeted killings have turned out to be anything but precise. Again and again reports have surfaced of so-called surgical missions turning out to be blunders that cost numerous civilian lives, which have poisoned opportunities for the U.S. to win over local populations.

 

Death By Drone: The Moral Way To Go? (by Tania Lombrozo, NPR)

Assassins Aren’t What They Used to Be (by Ellen Murphy, Whatcom Watch Online)

US Assassin Drones: Burning Witches At the Stake Via Modern Tech (Culture of Life News)

 

Other links:

Targeted Killings (Council on Foreign Relations)

JSOC Private Killing Machine of the US President (Moral Outrage)

Drone Strike Policy Refined (by Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press)

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Suggested Reforms:

DoD: Follow the USSOCOM’s Lead on Acquisition

Shortly after President Barack Obama took office, administration and congressional leaders called for the Pentagon to carry out drastic reforms of its acquisition process.

 

A major complaint about the current system was it took too long to develop “acceptable” weapons systems, resulting in programs becoming outdated by the time they were deployed.

 

What the Pentagon needed was a process that could respond rapidly to the needs for specialized, low-tech equipment to carry out counterinsurgency missions.

 

One suggestion was for defense planners to look closely at the USSOCOM, which had spent years developing weapons needed for today’s threats.

 

The USSOCOM was noted for its shorter cycle for decision making, its ability to keep up with technological advances, and a greater willingness to take risks in order to get the right equipment to the right people and places expeditiously. Although in March 2013 the Government Accountability Office identified problems with some USSOCOM programs, the Command was also credited for focusing on its organizational culture to plow through bureaucracy, implying that the Pentagon would be well served to do the same.

USSOCOM Acquisition...Light, Agile, Lethal: A Pathfinder for DoD Acquisition Reform (by Glenda Scheiner, Armed Forces Comptroller)

USSOCOM Acquisition Under Review (Special Operations Technology)

 

Operational Energy Strategy

The Department of Defense (DoD) in 2012 unveiled its Operational Energy Strategy: Implementation Plan, which offered up multiple ways for the U.S. military to become a more efficient user of energy.

 

The Pentagon’s goal was to establish “energy security for the war fighter—to assure that U.S. forces have a reliable supply of energy for 21st century military missions.”

 

But the nation as a whole stood to benefit from the plan, given that the Pentagon accounts for 80% of the federal government’s energy use.

 

One example already developed by the Marine Corps was Mobile Solar Power, which allowed soldiers to recharge Marine batteries through the use of solar panels.

 

The U.S. Air Force, the Defense Department’s largest energy consumer, also was investing in ways to cut down on its electricity and fossil fuel use. At Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada, the service built a 14-megawatt photovoltaic solar array involving more than 72,000 solar panels that could generate 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year—enough to power the entire 12,000-person base.

 

Future plans for the Army include making 16 bases net-zero energy, waste, and water installations by 2020, adding nine more to that list by 2025. It is also looking into tents with better insulation, solar-powered canopies, the use of more LED lighting, and low-flow latrines.

The DoD Road To Reform: Ensuring Energy Efficiency For Future Forces (Army-Technology.com)

U.S. Air Force Turns 65, Looks to a Future of Innovation and Operational Efficiency (by Ryan Baldwin, American Chemistry Matters)

U.S. Army Tests New Energy-Saving Tents With Solar Power, Too (by Tina Casey, Clean Technica)

 

Transparency Urged for DoD/Contractor Business

Prior to being elected to the White House, Barack Obama promised to bring more transparency to government operations, including work involving contractors. But outside groups found themselves still calling for such reforms after Obama was elected, noting the need for more transparency still existed, especially with the Department of Defense.

 

Laura Peterson, a senior policy analyst for Taxpayers for Common Sense, told PolitiFact.com in 2012 that “no major new transparency initiatives have been introduced” by the Obama administration.

 

She did note the creation of USASpending.gov, which provides information on basic information about contract recipients and total money awarded to a contractor. But this reform was labeled incremental, owing to the fact that it did not go far enough, according to Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight.

 

That same year, the IBM Center for the Business of Government issued a report by Professor Steven Maser of Willamette University that focused on increasing transparency of government contracting at the Pentagon.

 

Maser argued that implementing the report’s recommendations could result in three achievements.

 

First, choosing contractors would become more efficient and effective, generating greater value for taxpayer dollars. Second, government agencies and contractors would have a more productive, and less contentious relationship. And, third, there would be fewer bid protests, which would save the government money by not having to respond to as many protests.

Improving Government Contracting: Lessons from Bid Protests of Department of Defense Source Selections (by Steven M. Maser, IBM Center for the Business of Government)

Establish Transparency Standards For Military Contractors (PolitiFact.com)

Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (General Services Administration)

 

Contractor Acquisition Reforms

A Pentagon advisory board recommended in 2012 that the Department of Defense conduct a complete overhaul of its “byzantine procurement regulations.”

 

The Defense Business Board, which featured retired leaders from the military and defense industry, reviewed more than 300 studies on the Pentagon’s acquisition practices, and offered as its first piece of advice to the agency: Start over.

 

“Zero base the entire system, including all directives and regulations,” the report recommended. “The burden of proof should be on those who argue to retain something versus those who argue to remove it.”

 

The panel of experts said the Defense Department’s system is hampered by a “stovepiped” structure that adds bureaucratic complexity to any acquisition.

Major Contracting Reform Could Hurt Competition, Small Biz (by Dietrich Knauth, Law 360)

AGC Urges Senate to Consider Small Business Contracting Reforms (AGC of America)

Letter to Congress (AGC of America)

 

Special Victims Unit to Deal with Sexual Assault

The DoD announced in 2012 that it would establish a Special Victims Units (SVU) to handle sexual assaults in the military.

 

An SVU would be set up in each of the four branches of the armed forces to conduct investigations, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

 

Panetta said that the SVUs would be led by an officer with the rank of colonel, or in the case of the Navy, a captain—one rank below general and admiral.

 

The announcement followed the release of the Pentagon’s annual report outlining the number of sexual assaults reported within the military in 2011. The numbers revealed that 3,192 assaults were reported, up 1% from the previous year.

 

But the number of reported incidents were estimated to be only 15% of the actual total of rapes and attacks, which the DoD estimated to be 19,000 each year. In fact, the DoD estimates that one-third of the women in the military have been sexually assaulted.

Leon Panetta Lays Out New Rules to Combat Sexual Assault in U.S. Military (by Jesse Ellison, Daily Beast)

Department of Defense Is Creating Special Victims Units in All Branches of the Military To Investigate Sex Crimes (by Joseph Straw, New York Daily News)

Military Sexual Assault Epidemic Continues To Claim Victims As Defense Department Fails Females (by Molly O’Toole, Huffington Post)

 

Military Compensation Reform

Calling military compensation a threat to the Pentagon’s future budgets, the Center for American Progress released a report in 2012 calling for reforms to the military’s payment, healthcare, and retirement systems.

 

The report noted how military personnel costs had nearly doubled since 2001 and were now consuming more than 30% of the Pentagon’s base budget (about $180 billion per year).

 

“If these costs are allowed to continue rising at their current rate, they will eat through the entire defense budget by FY 2039 unless the overall budget is increased to accommodate them,” the report stated.

 

For example, the Pentagon spends $107 billion on salaries and allowances, which amounted to about 20% of its budget. The increasing expense of paying soldiers and officers had come about through authorizations approved by Congress—and above the Defense Department’s budget requests.

 

The authors of the report also warned that the costs of salaries, healthcare, and retirement presented a serious obstacle to the Obama administration’s efforts to rein in defense spending.

Reforming Military Compensation (by Lawrence J. Korb, Alex Rothman, and Max Hoffman, Center for American Progress)

DoD Reforms Don't Go Far Enough (by Col. Carl Gingrich, Brookings Institution)

 

Reform Security Clearance Policies

After being criticized by congressional watchdogs for years, the DoD finally made progress during the Obama administration in improving its personnel security clearance process.

 

Pentagon officials lauded their reforms that they said had resulted in better speed and efficiency of background investigations and other processes by 2012. The changes also were said to have reduced duplication and waste.

 

But the real proof that progress had been made was in the fact that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) had removed the Pentagon’s personnel security clearance process from its “high-risk” list—something that had never occurred since the GAO created the list in 1990.

Reforms Improve DoD’s Security Clearance Process, Official Says (by Donna Miles, 

American Forces Press Service)

DOD Makes Progress Toward Faster Security Clearances (by Amber Corrin, FCW)

 

Rethink Partnerships in the War on Terror

The U.S. would be better served in its fight against terrorism if it gave more thoughtful consideration the countries it chooses as partners before committing significant governmental resources to them, argued Lt. Col. Michael C. Veneri.

 

In a paper published by Synesis in 2011, Veneri wrote the U.S. could avoid strategic mistakes by doing a better job of evaluating potential partners. Foremost, it shouldn’t partner with countries that it could never hope to influence and it should avoid connecting with countries that lacked the ability to be effective partners. This would avoid getting caught up in “endless commitments and continuous counterinsurgency operations.”

 

Things to consider, Veneri wrote, were the will and skill of a partner country. Also, the U.S. needed to make sure an ally shared strategic interests, otherwise Washington was unlikely to achieve its own strategic objective.

The Partner Predicament: US Building Partnership Capacity, the War on Terrorism and What the US Cannot Overlook (by Michael C. Veneri, Synesis)

What Works Best When Building Partner Capacity and Under What Circumstances? (by Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Beth Grill, Stephanie Young, Jennifer D. P. Moroney, Joe Hogler and Christine Leah, RAND)

Building Partnership Capacity (by Tom Donnelly, AEI Center for Defense Studies)

 

Defense Business Board and Retirement Reforms

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta proposed, while speaking at the National Defense University in 2011, to overhaul the military’s retirement benefits system.

 

Panetta said there had been no decision yet about how reform the system, only that a proposal from a Pentagon task force was being considered that would abandon the traditional pension system in favor of a 401(k)-style contribution program.

 

To avoid panic among service members, Panetta added that any change would grandfather in benefits for current recipients. “You have to do it in a way that doesn’t break faith with the military,” he said.

 

Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed Panetta’s position, saying any reforms would not come immediately. Nonetheless, retired Gen. Bob Scales called Panetta’s idea a “bad deal” for the military and a disincentive to stay in the service for 20 years unless they’re grandfathered in to the old system.

 

The Defense Business Board plan being reviewed called for all troops to receive annual retirement contributions if they served at least 20 years. But the money would not vest until service reached at least three to five years and would then be payable at retirement age. Anyone leaving the service before the three- to five-year mark would have their contributions rolled over into Social Security.

Panetta: 'You Have to Consider' Military Retirement Reform (Fox News)

Defense Business Board Pushes Scaling Back Pensions, Collective Bargaining Rights For Military (by Adam Weinstein, Mother Jones)

No Changes to Military Retirement Any Time Soon, Officials Say (by Jim Garamone,

American Forces Press Service)

Troop Retirement, Healthcare May Be Eyed For Cuts (by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press)

 

Purchasing Systems Reform

The DoD during President Barack Obama’s first term set out to reform its practices for buying weapons, as well as those governing employee training and contracting.

 

In November 2010, Frank Kendall, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said it was important to improve the development of requirements for DoD goods and services and provide better training for the employees charged with purchasing.

 

“Requirements development…has been identified as a weakness in the department and has led to cost and schedule overruns on many programs,” Kendall said in a memo. “Requirements development is paramount to successful acquisition outcomes.”

 

One change implemented by the Pentagon called for creating the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation and the hiring of more than 3,000 employees to improve DoD’s purchasing processes. That was especially important, since the loss of $31 billion could be linked to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone.

DOD Acquisition Chief Recognizes Setbacks, Notes Progress (by Amber Corrin, Defense Systems)

S. 1694 (112th): Defense Cost-Type Contracting Reform Act of 2011 (GovTrack.us)

DOD Emphasizes Education, Requirements In Acquisition Reform (by Amber Corrin, FCW)

Senators, Experts To Watch For DOD Contract Reforms (by Matthew Weigelt, FCW)

DOD: Wartime Contracting Reforms Underway (by Matthew Weigelt, Washington Technology)

Department Hires Acquisitions Workers to Help Reforms (by Lisa Daniel, American Forces Press Service)

New Survey Shows Defense Acquisitions Process Inefficient, Efforts to Fix Changing (Business Wire)

 

Foreign Arms Sales Reforms

Nineteen industry-lobbying groups launched a campaign in 2010 to convince Congress and the Obama administration to implement reforms for export controls.

 

The groups, which call themselves the Coalition for Security and Competitiveness and represent hundreds of companies selling everything from aircraft to software, argued the government should de-emphasize the current reliance on lists of munitions and dual-use technologies to make export decisions.

 

Instead, approval of military-related items should be based on such factors as whether an item could be purchased from another country, whether it was widely used outside of defense, and whether the buyer was a trusted partner.

 

One key change came down to this: if a weapons technology could be bought from other countries, then the U.S. government shouldn’t restrict American companies from selling the same technology overseas.

 

The changes proposed by the industry groups could have boosted U.S. exports by tens of billions, and perhaps even hundreds of billions of dollars, according to proponents.

United States Firms Launch Export-Control Reform Push (by William Matthews, Defense News.com)

How to Save Money, Reform Processes, and Increase Efficiency in the Defense Department (by Mackenzie Eaglen and Julia Pollak, Heritage Foundation)

 

Revised Export Control System

The Obama administration in 2010 announced plans to reform the export control system, which governs what American products can be sold overseas without endangering national security (see “Foreign Arms Sales Reforms” above).

 

President Barack Obama said the intention was to maintain protections for national security while focusing export controls on the “most critical products and technologies.” In the same breath Obama emphasized the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors.

 

The Pentagon was fully behind the reforms, saying it had been a leading proponent of changing export controls. Defense officials echoed the White House in noting that the economy was not helped by trying to protect too much from being exported.

 

“The goal has been to focus our efforts on the so-called ‘crown jewels,’” Andrew J. Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political military affairs, told the media.

 

Examples offered up by Shapiro included night vision systems, stealth and cloaking technologies, and satellite and communications technologies.

 

Under the current system, the State Department and the Commerce Department each maintained their own list of items subject to export controls. Shapiro said this situation caused confusion among allies, industries, and even within the U.S. government. There were also three different licensing agencies with their own policies and several agencies with overlapping authority—and all operating on incompatible computer systems.

 

The reforms were expected to streamline this process by moving tens of thousands of parts and components from the State Department’s list to Commerce’s for regulation.

President Obama Lays the Foundation for a New Export Control System To Strengthen National Security and the Competitiveness of Key U.S. Manufacturing and Technology Sectors (White House)

US Defense Export Control Reform Nears Finish Line (U.S. Department of Defense, Defence Talk)

Remarks of Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary for Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce (Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce)

Fact Sheet: Implementation of Export Control Reform (White House)

 

Limit or Halt Use of National Guard Troop Deployments During Wartime

The use of National Guard units in Iraq and Afghanistan became increasingly unpopular in many states whose soldiers were deployed again and again to fight the wars.

 

In 2005, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer asked the DoD to return his state’s Guardsmen from Iraq in order to help combat wildfires. The request was denied.

 

Maryland Senator Richard Madaleno Jr. in 2009 sponsored legislation to allow the governor to prohibit the federal deployment of the Maryland Guard unless Congress authorized the use of military force or passed a declaration of war.

 

The Democratic state senator said the Maryland Guard had exhausted its resources and equipment from repeated deployments, and was needed at home in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster.

 

The following year, a ballot initiative was offered up Idaho that would have authorized the governor to bring members of the National Guard home from international deployment. It also prohibited Guard deployments without congressional authorization for use of military force or a declaration of war.

Bill Would Restrict Federal Deployment of Md. National Guard (by Christian Davenport,

Washington Post)

Our National Guard: Too High a Price (Veterans for America)

An Initiative Limiting The Deployment Of National Guard Members, Defining Governor’s Authority And Nullifying Federal Law. (Idaho Secretary of State)

 

Arms Sales to Countries with Human Rights Violations

The United States needs to make human rights the deciding factor when considering arms sales to other countries, argued William D. Hartung, director of the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute at New School University in New York City.

 

Appearing before a congressional panel in 2001, Hartung testified that the U.S. needed to move beyond the point where human rights considerations were cast aside in favor of “pragmatic” concerns affecting national security.

 

“At the dawn of a new millennium, in the first few months of a new administration and a new Congress, it is time to take a serious look at the impact of U.S. arms sales on human rights with an eye towards changing our arms sales policies for the better,” Hartung said.

 

He recommended as “one small but important step” that the State Department abide by the spirit and letter of the International Arms Sales Code of Conduct law by taking specific steps to describe whether or not U.S. arms recipients covered by the human rights report live up to the standards set out in the law.

 

He called attention to numerous countries receiving support from Washington that had poor reputations for upholding human rights. These included, among others, Indonesia, Turkey, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Report: The Role of U.S. Arms Transfers in Human Rights Violations - World Policy Institute - Research Project (by William Hartung, World Policy Institute)

Inside the State Department's FY2008 Budget Request: An Analysis of U.S. Military Aid Appropriated to Human Rights Abusing Governments through the Foreign Military Financing Program (Peace Education Fund)

Middle East Tumult Complicates U.S. Arms Sales (by Zachary Fryer-Biggs, Defense News)

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Former Directors:

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Comments

Michael Alphin 7 months ago
I am writing this in regard to the sentencing of 1st Lt. Clint Lorance. This young and brave soldier was doing his job, looking for people who were a danger to his unit, when he had observed scouts from the enemy tracking them. Under military regulations, action may be taken when unfriendlies pose a threat. They were tracking 1st Lt. Lorance and his unit. They were using vehicles often deployed in attacks. Action is to be withheld unless the enemy is showing signs of attack. How is this not a sign of intent to strike? Our soldiers are instructed to strike in such cases. 1st Lt. Lorance was doing his job. Sentencing him to prison for twenty years in prison is wrong in every way. I am asking you to step in and undo the injustice done to him. Thank you, Michael Alphin.
JamesWatson 1 year ago
To whom it may concern. I have a copyrighted Phrase that I think may interset all Branches os Service.Its called A GRATEFUL NATION SAYS,TO THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED,WHOSE BLOOD HAS BEEN SPILLED,SO THAT LIBERTY AND FREEDOM,MAY RUN THRU OUR VEINS,THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.I am not sure if this is the Dept to try and market my idea or not.I have used this on Flag Cases,T SHIRTS Sweat Shirts,Coffe Cups,Picture Frames,Flat Wooden Flags,If u look and read the Saying it Memoralizes evry Man Woman And Child who ever severd OUR COUNTRY since the American Revolution.Regardless of there injury,death,or ptsd that person may have sufferd it accoknledges there contribution To our Country.Thank you for reading this and if this is the wrong Dept.Would u Please be so kind to point me in right direction Thank You Jim Watson USMC 72-75

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Founded: 1947
Annual Budget: $613.9 billion ($525.4 billion base budget, plus $88.5 billion for ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq) (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: About 3 million, including 2,238,400 military personnel and 756,356 civilians (FY 2013 Estimate)
Official Website: www.defense.gov

Department of Defense

Hagel, Chuck
Secretary

President Barack Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary is the first former enlisted combat soldier to run the Pentagon, but his own party opposed him. Nominated by Obama on January 7, Republican Chuck Hagel was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee February 12 on a 14-11 party line vote to succeed current Secretary Leon Panetta.

 

Hagel’s nomination has provoked unusual opposition from his fellow Republicans, including fellow Vietnam War vet John McCain (R-Arizona), who broke a close friendship with Hagel in 2007 over the Nebraskan’s refusal to support President George W. Bush’s Iraq troop surge.

 

Other Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), were critical of Hagel’s perceived antipathy toward Israel. The nomination was filibustered on February 14, 2013, the first time that had happened to a president’s cabinet choice. However, Hagel’s nomination was approved a couple weeks later, on February 26, and he took office the following day.

 

Born October 4, 1946, in North Platte, Nebraska, the son of Betty (née Dunn) and Charles Dean Hagel, he had three brothers, Thomas, Mike, and Jim, until Jim was killed in a car accident at the age of 16. Chuck Hagel graduated from St. Bonaventure High School (now Scotus Central Catholic High School) in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1964, and the Brown Institute for Radio and Television in 1966. After a stint in the Army, Hagel earned a BA in History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1971.

 

A Vietnam War veteran, Hagel served in the United States Army infantry as a squad leader from 1967 to 1968. A Sergeant (E-5), Hagel earned the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and two Purple Hearts. Home from the war, Hagel worked as a bartender, radio newscaster and talk show host in Omaha from 1969 to 1971 while attending college under the GI Bill.

 

Hagel’s political career began in 1971 when he was hired as a staffer by Congressman John Y. McCollister (R-Nebraska), serving until 1977. From 1977 to 1980, Hagel was a lobbyist for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, also serving as an organizer for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign.

 

Rewarded for his support with the job of deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration in 1981, Hagel resigned in 1982 over disagreements with VA Chief Robert P. Nimmo, an eager budget cutter who had called veterans groups “greedy”, and said Agent Orange was no worse than a “little teenage acne.”

 

Back in the private sector, Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, a mobile phone manufacturer, and became a multi-millionaire. While at Vanguard, he served as president and CEO of the United Service Organizations (USO), as deputy director and COO of the 1990 G7 Summit, and as chairman of the Agent Orange Settlement Fund.

 

In 1992 Hagel moved back to Nebraska to become president of investment banking firm The McCarthy Group. He was also chairman and CEO of American Information Systems (AIS), later known as Election Systems & Software, a computerized voting machine manufacturer partly owned by McCarthy Group.

 

In 1996, Hagel ran for an open U.S. Senate seat and became the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate race in Nebraska. Promising in 1996 to serve only two terms, Hagel won re-election in 2002 with more than 83% of the vote. A conservative in the Senate, Hagel earned a lifetime rating of 84% from the American Conservative Union and A and B grades from the National Taxpayers Union. Among other important votes, Hagel voted for the Patriot Act, for the George W. Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, and for the Iraq war resolution in 2002.

 

It was the Iraq war, and Hagel’s growing dissatisfaction therewith, that caused the rift between him and his fellow Republicans that has become a chasm. For example, in August 2005, Hagel compared the Iraq War to Vietnam and mocked Vice President Dick Cheney’s assertion that the Iraqi insurgency was in its “last throes.” In July 2007, Hagel was one of only three Republican Senators who supported Democratic legislation mandating a troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin within 120 days.

 

During his time in the Senate, Hagel served as deputy whip for the Republican Caucus. He was chair of the Senate Global Climate Change Observer Group and the Senate Oversight Task Force, and co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He served on four committees: Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Rules and Administration.

 

Fulfilling a promise he made in his first campaign, Hagel retired from the Senate in 2008 after two terms. Since February 2009, he was a distinguished professor in National Governance at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He published a book in 2008, America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers, in which he called the Iraq War one of the five biggest blunders in U.S. history and criticized George W. Bush’s foreign policy as “reckless,” and “a ping pong game with American lives.”

 

Since taking office in 2013, much of Hagel’s time has been spent listening to enlisted members of the armed forces, often traveling to distant bases and speaking to small groups of them. In addition, he has a monthly luncheon with lower-ranking non-commissioned officers from all services.

 

Hagel has also had to deal with the problems of a shrinking military budget. In 2013, he presided over the furloughs of about 350,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense, but did cut the number of unpaid days each worker had to take from 11 to six. Later, thousands of defense workers were sent home because of the government shutdown.

 

Hagel has proposed cutting the number of soldiers in the Army to between 440,000 and 450,000, which would be the smallest such number since 1940. He also proposed smaller cuts in the Marine Corps and the elimination of some types of aircraft.

 

Before becoming Secretary of Defense, Hagel was chairman of the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank, and co-chairman of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board. In the private sector, Hagel served on the boards of directors of Chevron Corp. and Zurich Holding Company of America, the advisory board of Corsair Capital, and the Americas Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank. He was a director and senior advisor to McCarthy Capital.

 

In 1985 Chuck Hagel married Lilibet Ziller. They have two children, Allyn and Ziller.

-Matt Bewig

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Panetta, Leon
Previous Secretary

Leon E. Panetta has been many things during his long career. Congressman. President’s right-hand man. Think tank founder. Professor. But none of his roles has ever taken him deep into the realm of intelligence work, which is why many inside and outside of Washington, DC, questioned his ability to take over the embattled Central Intelligence Agency. Nonetheless, he served as director of the CIA from February 13, 2009, until June 30, 2011. President Barack Obama then appointed him Secretary of Defense, a position he took over on July 1, 2011.

 
Born June 28, 1938, in Monterey, CA, Panetta was raised by his Italian immigrant parents, Carmelo and Carmelina, who owned a restaurant. In 1947 they purchased a walnut farm and moved their family there. Panetta attended two Catholic schools (St. Carlos Grammar School and Carmel Mission School) before attending a public high school (Monterey High School), where he became involved in student politics (student body vice president as a junior; president as a senior).
 
In 1956, Panetta enrolled in Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, magna cum laude, in 1960. He remained at Santa Clara for law school, serving as an editor of the Law Review, and receiving his JD in 1963.
 
Following college, Panetta joined the US Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He attended Army Inteloigence School and was chief of operations and planning for intelligence at Ford Ord in California. He left the service as a first lieutenant in 1966.
 
Panetta began his political career as a Republican, taking a job in 1966 as a legislative assistant to US Senator Thomas H. Kuchel, a moderate Republican from California who was Senate Minority Whip. Three years later, Panetta moved to the Nixon administration, serving as a special assistant to Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Robert Finch, and then as director of the US Office for Civil Rights, where he was responsible for enforcement of equal education laws. There, he butted heads with Nixon officials who wanted to put the brakes on civil rights enforcement.
 
Having worn out his welcome in the administration, Panetta went to New York City in 1970 to serve as executive assistant to Republican Mayor John Lindsay, overseeing the city’s relations with the state and federal governments. The following year, he returned to California, and he began practicing law in the Monterey firm of Panetta, Thompson & Panetta. He also published his first book in 1971 (Bring Us Together: The Nixon Team and the Civil Rights Retreat) about his frustrating experience heading up the Office of Civil Rights. He also switched his party affiliation to Democrat in 1971.
 
Panetta practiced law until 1976, when he was first elected to Congress from the 16th (now 17th) district from California, covering Monterey, Salinas and parts of the central coast. As a member of the House until 1993, he was a vocal opponent of the Reagan administration’s support for the Contra rebels, and he voted against authorizing US military action during the Gulf War in 1991.
 
Among the legislation he carried, Panetta authored the Hunger Prevention Act of 1988; the Fair Employment Practices Resolution extending civil rights protections to House employees for the first time; several bills designed to protect the California coast, including creation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; and legislation that established Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for hospice care for the terminally ill (PDF).
 
His committee assignments included serving as the chair of the House Committee on the Budget (1989-1993); the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Domestic Marketing, Consumer Relations and Nutrition; the House Administration Committee’s Subcommittee on Personnel and Police; and the Select Committee on Hunger’s Task Force on Domestic Hunger. He also served as vice chairman of the Caucus of Vietnam Era Veterans in Congress and as a member of the President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies.
 
Panetta left Congress in 1993 to become President Bill Clinton’s director of the Office of Management and Budget. A year later, Clinton chose Panetta to become his White House chief of staff after the president’s first choice, Thomas “Mack” McLarty, proved unable to provide the structure needed to keep the Clinton Oval Office on track. Panetta reportedly brought more structure and curtailed the long, meandering meetings Clinton tended to have, and limited access to the President so he could focus on key issues and not get distracted. Panetta was also credited with helping negotiate the 1996 budget compromise with Congressional Republican leaders.
 
Panetta left Washington in 1997 and returned to California, taking up residence on his parents’ family farm with his wife, Sylvia. He began formulating a run for California governor in November 1998, but ultimately never launched his bid for the Democratic nomination. Panetta faced numerous obstacles that included a better known Democrat (US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who also chose not to run, ultimately) and wealthy airline executive, Al Checchi, who lost the primary to Gray Davis.
 
Having decided his days as a politician were over, Panetta set out to create a think tank on the newly-established campus of California State University, Monterey Bay (where the army base Fort Ord once stood). The Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy was created in 1997 as a nonpartisan, not-for-profit study center for the advancement of public policy. That same year, Panetta was appointed Presidential Professor at Santa Clara University, and he began a six-year term on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange. He was chairman of the NYSE’s Committee for Review and was co-chair of the Corporate Governance and Listing Standards Committee.
 
Panetta has served in numerous community and national public policy organizations throughout his career. In November 2004, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him co-chair of the Council on Base Support and Retention. Since 2005 he has served as a member of the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future, and in March 2006, he was chosen to serve on the Iraq Study Group.
 
In addition, Panetta has served on the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the board of the National Steinbeck Center, and the University of California Santa Cruz Foundation, and on the board of the Santa Clara University Law School Board of Visitors. Other affiliations include being a member of the board of trustees for Santa Clara University; the Fleishman-Hillard International Advisory Board; the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula; the Monterey Bay Aquarium; the National Board of Advisors of the Center for National Policy (chairman), the Pew Oceans Commission (chairman); Blue Shield of California); IDT Corporation; Zenith National Insurance; Connetics Corporation; the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; Bread for the World; and Close Up.
 
Upon Panetta’s announcement as Obama’s pick for director of the CIA, some key Senate Democrats expressed concern about Panetta’s lack of intelligence experience. “My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time,” said Feinstein, who will oversee Panetta’s confirmation as chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence.
 
Those who came to Panetta’s defense included former Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN), who chaired foreign affairs and intelligence committees while serving in the House and later co-chaired the Iraq Study Group. Hamilton insisted that while Panetta wasn’t from the traditional world of intelligence, he dealt with the issue on a daily basis as Clinton’s chief of staff and as a member of the Iraq Study Group.
 
Panetta has been quoted as saying, “Torture is illegal, immoral, dangerous and counterproductive,” leading some intelligence experts to predict that the CIA will take a new direction in dealing with suspected terrorists, if Panetta is in charge.
 
Panetta and his wife, Sylvia, have been married since 1962. They have three sons and five grandchildren.
 
Leon Panetta (by Kate Pickert, Time)
Leon E. Panetta (New York Times)
American Reject Fear Tactics (by Leon Panetta, Monterey County Herald)
Q&A: Leon Panetta (by Hilary Howard, Northern California Golf Association)
Conversation with Leon Panetta (with Harry Kreisler, Institute of International Studies, University of California Berkeley)
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