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Defense, Department of

The Department of Defense (DOD) is headquartered in the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The department comptroller estimated the budget of the DOD for 2011 to be $708 billion, with $159 billion included for overseas contingency operations; the base budget of the DOD is approximately 3.5% of the U.S. gross domestic product. The organization, the largest in the Executive Branch, is responsible to the president of the United States for the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of the United States. This mission began shortly after the American War for Independence, in 1789, under the supervision of an organization called the War Department, joined in 1798 by the Navy Department. This entry discusses the history of the U.S. DOD from its ...

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