Ministry of Defence
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Defence, Ministry of
Defence, Ministry of. In 1950 there were secretaries of state for war and for air and a 1st lord of the Admiralty. But the exigencies of modern warfare, which demanded ever closer liaison between the armed forces, coupled with severe financial difficulties, which made three separate services appear extravagant, suggested a single command. On taking office in 1940 Winston Churchill had assumed the title of minister of defence and chaired the defence committee of the cabinet, though there was no corresponding department. This arrangement was continued by his successor Clement Attlee, but in 1947 a minister of defence was appointed to co-ordinate activities and allocate resources. In 1964 the policy was taken to its logical conclusion and a single Ministry of Defence created, with a secretary of state at its head.
J. A. Cannon