United States Secretary of Defense

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The United States Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is the head of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), concerned with the armed services and military matters. This position roughly corresponds to Minister of defense in other countries. The role of the Secretary of Defense is to be the principal defense policy advisor to the President and is responsible for the formulation of general defense policy related to all matters of direct and primary concern to the DoD, and for the execution of approved policy.[1] The Secretary is appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate, and is a member of the Cabinet. By statute the secretary must be a civilian who has not served in the active component of the armed forces for at least seven years.[2] The Secretary of Defense is sixth in the presidential line of succession.


  1. http://www.dod.mil/odam/omp/pubs/GuideBook/DoD.htm#Secretary%20of%20Defense
  2. George Marshall was legislatively waived by Congress; he had only been a civilian for five years before his appointment in 1950. See Defenselink bio, retrieved 11/15/2008.
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