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Q: Political Issues ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Political Issues
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: fc225-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 08 Dec 2003 17:26 PST
Expires: 07 Jan 2004 17:26 PST
Question ID: 285098
What is the defense establishment? How does it work? Who are the players?

Request for Question Clarification by mvguy-ga on 09 Dec 2003 18:33 PST
How extensive of an answer are you expecting? I could write a book on
that subject, or I could do it in a paragraph. Let me (or another
Researcher) know what you want.  Thanks.

Clarification of Question by fc225-ga on 09 Dec 2003 19:18 PST
a paragraph is fine...just as long as it's enough to answer the question
Subject: Re: Political Issues
Answered By: mvguy-ga on 09 Dec 2003 21:18 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
"Defense establishment" is a term that isn't found any dictionary (at
least none I've been able to find). However, as the term is usually
used, it refers to the military structure of the U.S. government and
the people in it.

Structurally, the military establishment is officially represented by
the Department of Defense, which is headed by the Secretary of
Defense.  Within the DoD, there are four military branches:
-- Army
-- Navy
-- Air Force
-- Marine Corps

There are also 16 defense agencies:
-- Defense Commissary Agency  
-- Defense Contract Audit Agency  
-- Defense Contract Management Agency 
-- Defense Finance and Accounting Service 
-- Defense Information Systems Agency 
-- Defense Intelligence Agency 
-- Defense Legal Services Agency 
-- Defense Logistics Agency 
-- Defense Security Cooperation Agency 
-- Defense Security Service 
-- Defense Threat Reduction Agency
-- Missile Defense Agency 
-- National Imagery And Mapping Agency  
-- National Security Agency 
-- Pentagon Force Protection Agency

If you'd like to see a diagram of all this and more, you can download
an organizational chart of the DoD here:

DoD Organizational Chart

You can also get an overview here:

DoD at a Glance

In addition to the Department of Defense, there are other agencies and
players involved. These include the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff
(which has an obvious overlap with the DoD), the Congressional
committees that provide legislative oversight, and various
presidential advisers.

In theory, at least, the President is the commander of chief and makes
military decisions and sets military policy. In practice, the military
is a huge bureaucracy that has a momentum of its own, although
certainly the Secretary of Defense can and does implement broad policy
changes. Only at the highest levels are the appointments of military
personnel subject to presidential discretion.

In a broader sense, the term "military establishment" can refer to
other players as well, including defense contractors, suppliers, and
others to benefit directly from military spending. Sometimes the term
used for that broad sense of the term is "military-industrial

The bottom line is that the President has the official and final say,
but the military structure itself has tremendous influence and
momentum that can override partisan considerations.

I hope this fully answers your question.



Google search strategy: I searched using "defense establishment" and
related terms and never found one particular site that explained
everything in one place. But I was able to gather how the term is
used, and supplemented that information by searching on "department of
defense" to find the above links.
fc225-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

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