The National Security Act of 1947 implemented sweeping changes throughout the armed forces and intelligence agencies. How much do you know about the act and how the changes it made still impact our national security?

National Security Act of 1947

After World War II, the Cold War era began. Communism was spreading at an alarming rate throughout Asia and Western Europe, and the United States responded to the threat in part by signing the National Security Act.

The Act reorganized the structure of the armed forces by creating the Department of Defense to bring them under one umbrella, creating a clear chain of command. Where armed forces had previously been somewhat siloed and sometimes even duplicated work, the Department of Defense now could streamline efforts and create efficiency and effectiveness throughout the organization.

National Security Council

It also created the National Security Council as a forum for making decisions involving national security foreign policy. Though President Truman wasn’t thrilled with the idea of the NSC, it still exists today, though some of the members and its processes have changed.

The National Security Act also established the position of the Director of Central Intelligence. The director in this role would not only manage the CIA, but was charged with overseeing the entirety of the intelligence community.

Over the 75 years since its creation, the National Security Act has been amended and adjusted multiple times. Some of the major amendments include changes from the USA Patriot Act, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, and the National Security and Intelligence Reform Act. However, many of the roles and agencies created by the Act are still integral in the armed forces and intelligence agencies as we know them today.

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Brynn Mahnke is a freelance writer specializing in researching, writing, and ghostwriting for clients in the career, finance, SaaS, and B2B/B2C niches. She focuses on writing case studies, whitepapers, ebooks, and articles showcasing the value her clients bring to their customers. When she isn't writing, you can find her running, cycling, or wrangling children. She can be reached through her website or at