About the agency
The War Department was one of the first federal government agencies, dating back to 1789. Following World War II, the National Military Establishment (NME) was created in 1947. It included the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the newly-established Department of the Air Force. The Department of Defense (DoD) came into existence in 1949 and succeeded the NME.
Government Documents holds an extensive collection of War Department, NME, and DoD publications, including the following series:
Annual reports of the Secretary of War/Defense (W 1.1:, M 101.1:, D 1.1:) Reports on the major activities of each branch of the military, including manpower and budget statistics.
Atlas/data abstract for the United States and selected areas (D 1.58/4:) Statistics about military installations in each state and in foreign countries.
Armed forces decorations and awards (D 2.14:GEN-40) Illustrations of medals, ribbons, and order of precedence.
Most pre-1900 War Department and Navy documents, including the Annual report of the Secretary of War, are available in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set (UHM login required).
Additional documents covering 1910-1932 are available in the Executive Branch Documents microfiche set. DoD directives and other publications are also available for 1953-1980 on microcards. Please contact a government documents librarian if you have questions about our holdings.
We have thousands of Congressional hearings, prints, and documents about every aspect of the military. Search for these in ProQuest Congressional (UHM login required). We also have a variety of general publications, pamphlets, and other War Dept. materials.