The Department of Defense’s mission states that it is responsible for providing “military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.” Since its creation during the Revolutionary War, it has been the key to winning seemingly insurmountable battles and organizing operations vital to our nation’s security. Find out some fun facts about one of the most important and powerful government organizations in the United States.
Fun Facts about the Department of Defense
- The Department of Defense is the largest organization in the U.S. government, and the largest employer in the country. It employs 1.8 million civilians and active-duty military members. That is more than the amount of employees Exxon, Ford, GE, General Motors, and Mobil have combined.
- The Pentagon is the national headquarters for the Department of Defense. The pentagon is three times bigger than the Empire State Building in regards to square footage, and has 17 miles of hallways. It takes a whole 10 minutes to walk from one end of the Pentagon to the other. Although marble is used in most government buildings in Washington D.C., the Pentagon contains none of it. Instead, it was built with steel and concrete. This is because the Pentagon was built during World War II when Italy, the world’s supplier of marble, was not an American ally.
- The Department of Defense uses 12,600,000 gallons of fuel every day, and 4,600,000,000 gallons every year. The Department uses more fuel in one day than the whole country of North Korea uses in a year.
- In 2010, the Department of Defense needed a supercomputer, but they wanted it to be cost efficient and environmentally friendly. Instead of starting from scratch, the Department of Defense commissioned a computer to be built out of over 1,700 PlayStation 3’s!
- When the Department of Defense was first created in 1789, it was called the War Department. In 1947, it was renamed for the first time and became the National Military Establishment. Two years later, in 1949, President Harry Truman changed the name for the last time to the Department of Defense.
- The DoD has a program called the Department of Defense Excess Property Program. Every year, they give away over $500 million worth of leftover weapons to both local and state law enforcements, militarizing the general population.
- The Department of Defense oversees the funds for all ventures for the United States armed forces except nuclear weapons. The funds allotted for nuclear weapons are handled by the Department of Energy.
- In addition to being the nation’s largest employer, the Department of Defense manages about 30 million acres of land all over the world. They use the land for bases, airfields, training centers, military academies, depots, active-duty living quarters, and more.
- The DoD is in charge of the operations for only four of the five branches of the United States armed forces: the Air Force, the Navy, the Marines, and the Army. The fifth branch, the Coast Guard, is operated by the Department of Homeland Security.
- The yearly budget for the Department is over half of a trillion dollars. Throughout the year, they spend a majority of that money on private defense contractors who are responsible for providing everything for the military from things like uniforms, blankets, and food to state-of-the-art weapons, planes, and military vehicles.
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