The Department of Defense (DoD) is a department of the federal government and has three main components: The departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The DoD is housed in the Pentagon building. The department's roles and limits are contained in Title 10 of the US Code. This section of the law has five components: Subtitle A refers to General Military Law, Subtitle B to the Army, Subtitle C to the Navy and the Marine Corps, Subtitle D to the Air Force and Subtitle E to Military Reserves. Important agencies within the DoD include the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), National Security Agency (NSA), the Missile Defense Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The DoD receives the largest portion of each year's federal discretionary spending budget. 

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Latest Headlines

Agencies don't know if programs to improve lives of Afghan women actually worked, says audit

Three federal agencies responsible for directing funds to help women in Afghanistan didn't track their spending or results, so no one knows if the programs worked, says a Dec. 18 Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report. The agencies involved reported spending at least $64.8 million on 652 projects, programs and initiatives to support Afghan women in fiscal years 2011 through 2013.

DoD doesn't know if testing ranges are susceptible to spying, says GAO

The Defense Department doesn't know if its testing ranges are vulnerable to foreign spying, a Dec. 16 Government Accountability Office report says. "DOD has not conducted a risk assessment that includes assessing the degree to which foreign encroachment could pose a threat to the mission of the ranges," the GAO report says.

House and Senate lawmakers release omnibus spending bill, House vote planned Thursday

House and Senate leaders Tuesday night released an omnibus spending bill that would fully fund the federal government through fiscal 2015, except the Homeland Security Department, which would only get funding through February. The $1.1 trillion fiscal 2015 bill (H.R. 83) would fund every government agency with the exception of DHS through Sept. 30. That number includes $521 billion for defense functions of several agencies and $492 billion for non-defense agency functions.

Report: Sex assaults reported in Defense Department rise 8 percent in 2014

A recent Defense Department report says the number of sexual assaults reported by military members rose by 8 percent in 2014 as compared to last year – an increase that Secretary Chuck Hagel attributes to confidence among survivors. DoD fielded almost 6,000 sexual assault reports in 2014, up 5,500 reported in 2013.

DoD moves forward with mobile-friendly credentialing

Personal identity verification at the Defense Department could become more compatible with mobile devices, since the department approved Nov. 24 the first vendor to provide security credentials for Android, Apple and Microsoft mobile devices.

DoD needs to complete transition to IPv6 on enterprise network, IG says

The IG said IPv6 hasn't been made a priority by the chief information officer and U.S. Cyber Command. Additionally, DoD's CIO, CYBERCOM and the Defense Information Systems Agency didn't have an effective and coordinated effort nor did it use available resources toward transition to the higher protocol.

Obama expected to name Ashton Carter as new DoD secretary

A former second-in-command at the Pentagon is expected to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to CNN. Ashton Carter formerly served as deputy defense secretary under both Leon Panetta and Hagel.

POGO chides DoD for service contract spending

The Project on Government Oversight criticized the Defense Department for not being able to bring service contract spending under control. In a Nov. 25 letter (pdf) to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, POGO charged the DoD with hindering efforts to reign in its service contract spending.

Aircraft-equipped containment system used to fly Ebola patients out of Africa

An Army-developed containment system fitted into an aircraft is being used for the first time to quarantine Ebola patients being flown out of West Africa. The Aeromedical Biological Containment System is a tent-like, modular system that has been installed in a specially modified Gulfstream III air ambulance. Several successful missions have been conducted already.  

Hagel to step down as head of DoD

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will be leaving his post once a successor is nominated and confirmed, a Nov. 24 Defense Department news release says. Obama praised Hagel's service and noted he became the head of the DoD at a particularly difficult time. "When I asked Chuck to serve as secretary of defense, we were entering a significant period of transition," Obama said in the news release.