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News Release


Release No: 531-97
October 06, 1997


As part of the golden anniversary of the Department of Defense, which was celebrated on September 17, 1997, the historical office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense has published a 50-year history of the evolution of DoD's organization and top leadership.

Written by Roger R. Trask and Alfred Goldberg, "The Department of Defense, 1947-1997: Organization and Leaders," reviews the main organizational changes in DoD from the early formative years under the National Security Act of 1947, through the most recent reforms under the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. The 181-page book emphasizes the trend toward centralization of functions and authority. It not only covers the most significant structural and institutional changes, but also ongoing civil-military issues, the roles and missions of the armed forces, and the relationship of the Secretary of Defense to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Service Secretaries.

A separate section of 20 essays with photographs profiles the individual secretaries of defense from James Forrestal to current incumbent William S. Cohen. The history tome also contains a select bibliography and numerous useful reference materials, including organization charts, a listing of key officials with dates of tenure, and financial and manpower data.

Intended as both a historical commemoration and a valuable reference work, "The Department of Defense, 1947-1997: Organization and Leaders" may be ordered from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 20402.

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