The secretary of defense is a part of the president’s cabinet and the leader of the Department of Defense. The current secretary of defense is General Lloyd Austin. The secretary’s job is to manage the military and advise the president on military issues. He makes suggestions about how wars should be fought and how the military should be run in general.
Like the secretary of state, the defense secretary is in the presidential line of succession. If the president dies in office, there is a list of people who take his place. The secretary of defense is number six behind the vice president, speaker of the House, president pro tempore of the Senate, secretary of state, and the secretary of the treasury.
Department of Defense
History of the Defense Department
The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were created in 1775 during the American Revolutionary War. In 1789, the War Department was established, but the name was later changed to the Department of Defense. In 1947, the government decided to unite the three departments, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, under one department. The U.S. Air Force was created later in that same year.
The highest-ranking members of each branch of the military serve as the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Along with managing their respective agencies, they also serve as an advisory panel for the defense secretary, who is the highest ranking military official under the president.