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

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.

JCS's Dempsey: DoD needs larger budget to address mission needs despite sequestration

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called for an increased Defense Department budget, despite the looming threat of another year of sequestration related budget cuts in fiscal 2016. Chairman Martin Dempsey said even with the partial sequestration relief written into the fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015 budget framework, the $535 billion spending cap isn't enough.

Senate bill to address veteran suicides gains steam

Support for bill that would overhaul the Veterans Affairs Department's suicide prevention strategy gained steam on both sides of the aisle in the Senate after the mother of a combat vet who committed suicide testified to the troubles with the current system. "Clay's story details the urgency needed in addressing this issue," Susan Selke, said at a Nov. 19 Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. "Despite his proactive and open approach to seeking care to address his injuries, the VA system did not adequately address his needs. Even today, we continue to hear about both individual and systemic failures by the VA to provide adequate care and address the needs of veterans."

Work: If sequestration comes back, military will be in trouble

With the two year sequestration reprieve that came from the Murray-Ryan budget deal last year, the Defense Department has begun to rebound from the automatic spending cuts, but that could all be for naught if those cuts come back next year, DoD Deputy Secretary Robert Work said at a Nov. 12 Center for Strategic and International Studies event. The budget deal expires at the end of fiscal 2015 and if sequestration is reinstated in full, it would cause major problems for the DoD, Work said at the event.