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.