The Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) and the President together constitute the National Command Authorities (NCA), which has sole authority to launch strategic nuclear weapons. All nuclear weapons are governed by this dual-authority – both must concur before a strategic nuclear strike may be ordered.
The Secretary of Defense by statute also exercises "authority, direction and control" over the three Secretaries of the military departments (Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Chief of Staff, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Naval Operations, and Air Force Chief of Staff), the Combatant Commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands, the Directors of the Defense Agencies (for example the Director of the National Security Agency) and of the DoD Field Activities. All of these high-ranking positions require Senate confirmation.
The SECDEF is also one of few civilians — others are the President, the three "service secretaries" (the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force), and the Secretary of Homeland Security (when the United States Coast Guard is under the United States Department of Homeland Security) — authorized to act as convening authority in the military justice system for General Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 822: article 22, UCMJ), Special Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 823: article 23, UCMJ), and Summary Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 824: article 24 UCMJ).
Title 10 U.S.C. § 113
· 7 years ago