The Pentagon, Security and Intelligence

The Pentagon, Security and Intelligence



The Pentagon, Security and Intelligence refers to the five-sided headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense, in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Pentagon contains the departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It employs about 23,000 workers, who are almost equally divided between military personnel and civilians. It also houses a shopping center, a large food-service area, bus and taxi terminals, and a heliport. The name Pentagon is also popularly applied to the Department of Defense itself. In September 2001 a hijacked airplane was crashed into the Pentagon
The U.S. emerged from World War II a nuclear superpower with global interests, necessitating expanded departments to handle foreign policy, and chiefly, security. Military power serves as an instrument of diplomacy—as a means of achieving goals defined by civilian officials of the government. The head of the Defense Department is a civilian secretary who serves in the President’s Cabinet. The principal military adviser to the President is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a strategy board consisting of the senior officers of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
Along with the Department of Defense, the National Security Act of 1947 created a small Cabinet-level National Security Council (NSC), which includes the President, the Vice President, the secretaries of State and Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to help the President manage and coordinate foreign policy. The NSC staff, headed by the President’s national security adviser, consists of specialists in geographic areas and functional issues, such as arms control.

 

 


More recently, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which began functioning in early 2003 as a reaction to the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, substantially altered the role of executive departments in foreign policy matters. The department, which oversees 22 separate agencies, has become extremely powerful in matters relating to trade, borders, immigration and security.
The “intelligence community” is a group of federal agencies that includes the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency. They collect information (for example, how many nuclear weapons China possesses), assess its accuracy and reliability, and disseminate the information to decision makers. In addition, the intelligence community, most notably the CIA, undertakes, with the approval of the President, clandestine operations. In 2004, the intelligence community was expanded to include the new position of Director of National Intelligence, who directs and manages the activities of the individual intelligence agencies and serves as the main adviser to the President on intelligence matters.