The American national security is protected through the Department of Defense with the headquarters at the Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia. The department has often been loosely referred to as the Pentagon.
Role of the civilian component
The civilian officers in the Department of Defense provide technical support based that discharges the following duties: the development of military policy; they essentially formulate the policy and recommend for approval by constitutional bodies such as the presidency and Congress. They perform planning and management of resources activities. In this aspect, they are the custodians of military resources and manpower. They also undertake fiscal and program evaluation, oversight and regulatory duties in the department of defense. In addition, they carry out liaising activities between the department of defense and other government departments and agencies, foreign governments and international institutions. The civilian component under the office of the Secretary of Defense also performs oversight functions on the following military agencies: Defense Clandestine Service, Defense Technical Information Center, National Reconnaissance Office, Defense Security Service, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, among other agencies. It is noteworthy that the employees in the mentioned agencies are also part of the civilian component of the Pentagon.
Role of the military component
The military component of the Pentagon essentially refers to the personnel engaged in active military service. They include soldiers, sailors, airmen, servicemen and marines. They belong to the following military wings: the Air Force, the Army and the Marine Reserves. This component of the Pentagon is charged with actual military combat. They engage in warfare, peacekeeping missions, rescue operations, advanced military research and training, among other military assignments. Servicemen are not necessarily engaged in military activity, but they provide auxiliary and support services to the military operatives. Unlike their civilian counterparts, they accompany the military components to the field during active duty.
Role of Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is a Cabinet member and the head of the Department of Defense. The office is charged with the overall operations of the military including both civilian and military agencies that are dedicated for purposes of military operations. The Secretary of Defense is the principal assistant to the president on military issues. The constitution and statutes of the United States of America vest executive authority over the military on Congress and the presidency. However, the two institutions cannot oversee military operations on a day to day basis. As such, it is the office of the Secretary of Defense that is charged with the day to day operations of the military.
Role of Joint Chief of Staff
The Joint Chief of Staff is a body composed of senior uniformed military personnel whose main mandate is to advise the Secretary of Defense, The presidency, The National Security Council and The Homeland Security Council. Their advisory role is accommodated in light of their technical exposure to the military operations which the institutions they advise are not privy to. They advise the institutions on broad military issues including the policies to pursue, the strategies to undertake, the budgetary requirements, military invasions, among other technical aspects. The body is statutorily constituted with the following members: the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Military Chiefs from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, and the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman. The counsel of the Joint Chief of Staff is also accommodated in the National Security Council through the membership of the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff to the body.
Thie, Harry. Alignment of Department of Defense Manpower, Resources, and Personnel Systems. New York: Rand Corporation, 2007.
U.S Department of Defence. Secretary of Defense / Deputy Secretary of Defense. 6 June 2010. 23 September 2012