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Washington, D.C., from the Cold War to the New Millennium

Between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, new demands on Washington, D.C., to protect American security arose. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, which reorganized the entire U.S. military establishment and established the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency (the successor to World War II’s swashbuckling Office of Strategic Services).

Many more additions to the federal bureaucracy followed. Here are just some examples that span the second half of the 20th century:

  • In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

  • In the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society legislation introduced such federal programs as Medicare and Medicaid, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Department of Transportation.

  • The latest wave of government expansion took place post 9/11. Once again, security concerns drove growth. President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the ubiquitous Transportation Security Administration (and airport security lines — and personal privacy issues). A new layer of bureaucracy, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was laid on top of the 16-member intelligence community.

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