Harry S Truman signed the National Security bill in 1949. This important piece of legislation established the Department of Defense. Today it’s hard to imagine our country without this government agency, but before this event it didn’t exist. It was a direct reaction against the ever maturing Cold War. The Department of Defense became a huge part of the American Military efforts to thwart and stomp out the perceived “evil” of communism.
Two years prior the National Security Act gave permission for a Cabinet level position that was solely assigned for defense. The Secretary of Defense is now a widely known position creating and ensuring safety measures for both internal and external, domestic and international threats to security.
The secretary of defense is just one of many high level positions necessary to ensure the safety of Americans. The crazy umbrella military defense agency that preceded the Department of Defense was known as the National Military Establishment. It wasn’t efficient and often was a point of controversy among military personnel. The National Security bill ended up smoothing out all of the issues in the National Military Establishment, and through efforts from both sides of the aisle a lot of changes were made.
The bill trimmed a lot of fat from military agencies and removed positions like Army, Navy and Airfare secretaries. They all would now report to the Cabinet level position of Secretary of Defense. The first person to ever hold his position was Louis Johnson. Finally, the bill provided for the office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were trying to make everyone get along, and get rid of some of the status wars within the secretary positions of the Joint Chiefs.
General Omar Bradely was the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He was a hero during WWII and his experience proved to help him perform in the position.
The National Security Bill of 1949 proved that a lot of agencies within the United States government were inefficient. The ridiculous bureaucracy that had plagued a lot of organizations was examined and corrected in some small way with Truman’s signing of this bill. The Cold War motivated a lot of fears and problems within the government and in the eyes of the American people. It all stemmed from fear, and ultimately it made a big difference in how the military and defense teams were organized.