Monday, January 14, 2013

Commerce and Defense


 The United States Department of Commerce was created in 1903; however, it was known as the United States Department of Commerce and Labor until 1913 when The Department of Labor became its own independent office. The current secretary is Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank. She was a Professor of Economics at Northwestern University before beginning her career in the Department of Commerce. Her department’s duties are promoting economic growth in the United States. According to its mission statement, the department “promotes job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans by working in partnership with businesses, universities, communities and our nation’s workers.” The department provides grants to programs it feels works towards these goals. The Commerce Department also conducts the census and monitors weather.


 The United States Department of Defense was created by Harry Truman on December 19, 1945 by consolidation of the Department of War and the Department of the Navy. The intention was to limit wasteful spending and cut down on inter-departmental conflict. Today, the Department of defense has the largest budget of any federal agency, with a budget of $549.1 billion in 2011. This amounts to more than one half of all federal discretionary spending. Leon Panetta is the current Secretary of Defense, and was Director of the CIA before assuming that role. However, Panetta is retiring, and President Obama has nominated former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to replace him. The Department of Defense is tasked with managing military operations, as well as installations, which include all bases and infrastructure in over 50 countries around the world. The Department of Defense also operates the National Defense University and the National War College.

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