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Secretary of Defense Duties

The Varied Duties and Responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense

The secretary of defense is one of the highest positions in the Department Of Defense (DoD). Almost everything related to national security comes under the secretary of defense duties. Read on, to know more about this reputed position in the government.
CareerStint Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
With an approximate budget of US$500 billion or more (2010 data), the United States Department of Defense is amongst the most prestigious wings of the US government. The US is known to be one of the top military powers in the world. While the U.S. President acts as the supreme commander-in-chief of the US army, there are some crucial positions that play a pivotal role in ensuring national security. One such designation is of the secretary of defense, who is appointed as the head of the Department of Defense. Secretary of defense duties are extended to all matters concerned with the national safety and security. Have a look at it in more details.

Secretary of Defense Responsibilities: An Overview

The secretary of defense is entrusted with many duties and responsibilities in the government. In general, duties of this most crucial Defense Department (DoD) post is as follows.

Work under the President's Leadership
The Secretary of Defense is the chief adviser to the President on matters of national peace and security. He works on the directions issued by the US President and acts in accordance with the advice given to him on national and international matters of security.

Manages Pentagon
The Pentagon is the central building of the US Department of Defense. All activities regarding military and national security businesses are done and finalized there. As a secretary of defense, one is expected to look into the daily business of Pentagon and take care of the entire management set up. It is just like managing one big business, right from its operational department to the R & D wing to ensuring military supplies in case of need. The defense secretary is answerable to the President on management of the Pentagon.

Oversees Finances of the Defense Department
As stated earlier in the article, the US defense budget is amongst the highest in the world. The secretary of defense looks after allocation of budget and expenditures of the US Defense department. He needs to keep a track of the budget, to the tunes of US$500 billion or more, which is eye-popping! Besides that he looks after the millions of employees in the DoD and ensures everyone gets their salaries and benefits timely. He has to keep a record of every penny spend by the Pentagon as he is the in-charge of the expenditure of the DoD.

Looks after all Wings of Defense
Be it the army, navy, air force or Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency etc., the Secretary of Defense looks after the management and operation of all wings of the DoD.

Other Duties of Secretary of Defense

Following are some of the most crucial duties of a defense secretary in the US.
  • Assigns duties and responsibilities to each Defense department, depending on its strength and capacity.
  • In case war, advice the President on deployment of nuclear weapons.
  • Ensures that the Defense Department is well managed and is dedicated towards improving the safety and security of the US.
  • Monitor the quality of weapons, specifications, standards and ensure that military equipment are manufactured with zero margin of error.
Any citizen of U.S. with deep understanding of how the government works, priorities of U.S. security and defense and has a way to deal with the members of congress is deemed to be an ideal person for defense secretary position. It is a fact that an ex-military person who has left the service more than 7 years before is also eligible to be appointed as a Secretary of Defense. He must be a great statesman as he will be required to work with variety of Congress members. He must also be well acquainted with the national peace and security issues of the US. Abundant knowledge on national, international and security issues is important. Secretary defense duties of US have been included in the Title 10 of the United States Code. In this article, we just gave you an overview of all generalized duties.