July 26, 1947: Truman signs National Security Act
Exactly seventy years ago, on July 26, 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the National Security Act. This act ultimately led to the creation of today’s Department of Defense by merging the War Department and Navy Department into a single agency collectively overseeing the country’s security, an effort sought by many advocates following the country’s involvement in the Second World War. Especially noteworthy for most in this room is the bill’s establishment of a “Department of the Air Force,” to be composed of personnel from the Army Air Forces, the U.S. Army Air Corps, and the Air Force Combat Command. World War II had also demonstrated the value of military airpower as well as justification for an air force military branch. The same day that Truman signed the Congressionally-approved National Security Act, he also issued Executive Order 9877 that listed the primary functions of each armed service branch, including the United States Air Force.

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