The title Defence Minister, Minister for Defence, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State for Defence, Secretary of National Defense or some similar variation, is assigned to the person in a cabinet position in charge of a Ministry of Defence, which regulates the armed forces in sovereign states.
A Ministry of Defence or Defense, also known as a Department of Defence or Defense, is the common name for a part of the government found in states where the government is divided into ministries or departments, responsible for matters of defence.
A sovereign state is, in international law, a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralised government that has sovereignty over a geographic area.
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Defence is an official within Her Majesty's Government and head of the Ministry of Defence.
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The role of a defence minister varies considerably from country to country; in some the minister is only in charge of general budget matters and procurement of equipment; while in others the minister is also, in addition, an integral part of the operational military chain of command.
A command hierarchy is a group of people who carry out orders based on authority within the group..
Prior to the 20th century, there were in most countries separate ministerial posts for the land forces and the naval forces.
Since the end of World War II, the title has changed from war to defence, and has often involved putting a single defence minister in charge of all the armed forces.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier.
Another common reform which occurred at the end of World War II was to place the defence minister in a national security council, war cabinet, or a "Kitchen Cabinet", which allows the head of government or head of state to coordinate military, diplomatic and economic activities.
The Kitchen Cabinet was a term used by political opponents of President of the United States Andrew Jackson to describe his ginger group, the collection of unofficial advisers he consulted in parallel to the United States Cabinet following his purge of the cabinet at the end of the Eaton affair and his break with Vice President John C. Calhoun in 1831.
Head of government is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony who often presides over a cabinet.
A National Security Council is usually an executive branch governmental body responsible for coordinating policy on national security issues and advising chief executives on matters related to national security.
The Defence Ministry in some countries is a very important ministry, sometimes considered more important than the foreign ministry.
If war is common for a country, the defence minister's position is often assumed by the head of government..
In many nations it is a strong convention that the defence minister be a civilian, in order to highlight civilian control over the military, though it's not uncommon for the defence minister to have some military experience.
In less democratic countries, the minister is often an active military official.