A defense minister (American English) or defence minister (British English) is a cabinet portfolio which regulates the armed forces in a sovereign nation. The minister of defense is usually a very important role in a cabinet. When cabinets first started appearing in the late 18th century, they were often called "Ministers of War". Since the end of World War II, the change was made from war to defense.
The defense/defence ministry in some countries is a very important ministry, sometimes considered more important than the foreign minister. It is often assumed by the Prime Minister if war is common for that nation (for example, no less than five Prime Ministers of Israel have held the Defense Ministry during their Premiership).
In the United States, the defense minister has been called the Secretary of Defense since 1947, when the once separate War Department and the Department of the Navy were merged (though the Secretary of the Navy still exists to this day, however it is no longer a Cabinet level position).
In the United Kingdom, the Defense minister is called the Secretary of State for Defence. In many countries the formal title is Minister for Defence or Minister for Defense.
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