The primary issue of Lovett's term as Secretary of Defense was the Korean War. Lovett felt that after the end of World War II, the United Stated handled incorrectly the demobilization of troops and armaments, leaving the nation ill prepared to deploy again when another military crisis arose. "We did not just demobilize... we just disintegrated."
Lovett attempted to expand his budgets to aid the Korean War effort, overall military rearmament, and to ensure the long-term preparedness of the United States. However, Congress and the steel industry were not so obliging. Congress slashed the 1952 budget $13 million from 1951. A wage strike in the steel industry threatened defense production (in fact, Harry S. Truman attempted to avert the strike by taking over the steel mills, but the Supreme Court overruled this action, and the strike ensued). Despite these troubles, Lovet noted that "the last six months of 1952 saw the most significant increases in the military effectiveness of the United States since the beginning of partial mobilization."
In addition to the stresses of the Korean War, Lovett was faced with heping to determine the role of nuclear weapons in the modern military. He proportioned a fair share of his budget to research and development of nuclear weapons. His requests for more funding for the Air Force expressed his belief that aircraft would be the most efficient delivery system for such weapons.
Lovett was keen on NATO, and during his term enthusiastically endorsed the entry of Greece and Turkey as member nations.
As his term ended, Lovett was growing dissatisfied with the organization of the Department of Defense, and wrote a letter to Harry S. Truman outlining the changes he felt would be necessitated should the United States enter into a large conflict. He felt the armed services should be more unified so that in the event of a conflict they could work smoothly together. Though Lovett left office on January 20, 1953, many of his suggestions formed the groundwork for massive organizational changes made during the Eisenhower administration by his successor, Charles E. Wilson.
"He has truly been the eyes, ears and hands of the Secretary of War in respect to the growth of that enormous American airpower which has astonished the world and played such a large part in bringing the war to a speedy and successful conclusion." -- Harry S. Truman
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