DoDEA has a long and proud history of serving military families at locations around the globe.
DoDEA's beginnings can be traced back to the end of World War II with the establishment of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DODDS). At the end of the war, there was no precedent to follow for establishing and operating dependents schools in foreign occupied countries and quite often, parents organized small schools.
The Department of the Army established the first dependents schools - on and off military installations - in 1946 in the occupied countries of Germany, Austria and Japan. Within three years, there were nearly 100 schools which were operated separately by the Army, Navy, and Air Force, in countries around the world.
DoDEA, as one of only two Federally-operated school systems, is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, and managing prekindergarten through 12th grade educational programs on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). DoDEA is globally positioned, operating 160 accredited schools in 8 districts located in 11 foreign countries, 7 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
DoDEA employs approximately 15,000 employees who serve approximately 67,000 children of active duty military and DoD civilian families. DoDEA is committed to ensuring that all school-aged children of military families are provided a world-class education that prepares them for postsecondary education and/or career success and to be leading contributors in their communities as well as in our 21st century globalized society.
DoDEA operates as a field activity of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness). It is headed by a director who oversees all agency functions from DoDEA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. DoDEA's schools are divided into 3 geographic areas: Europe, the Pacific, and the Americas.
In 1992 the DoDDS headquarters in Arlington, VA, became the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). The DoDEA Director assumed responsibility for organizing, managing, and directing the DoDEA headquarters, DoDDS, and DDESS. Today, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) provides education to approximately 67,000 eligible DoD military and civilian children in 160 schools.
Following the Cold War in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the number of DoDDS schools was reduced and combined with the U.S.-based Domestic Dependents Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) to form the Department of Defense Education Activity in 1992.
During the 1960s, combined worldwide enrollment averaged 160,000 students. In 1964 the Secretary of Defense combined three separate school systems into the Department of Defense Overseas Dependents School System. Three geographic areas were formed and the Services were assigned responsibility for operational support. The Army operated schools in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The Air Force operated schools in the Pacific (Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, Korea, and Midway Island).The Navy operated all schools in the Atlantic (Iceland, Labrador, Newfoundland, Bermuda, Cuba, Eleuthera, and Antigua).
In 1976, a Joint House-Senate Conference Committee Report informed the three military departments that the Department of Defense was taking over the operation of the military dependents' schools. A newly-established office in the Pentagon - the Office of Overseas Dependents Education - responsible to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs - took oversight of the schools.
In 1978 the Office of Overseas Dependents Education became the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS). The three geographic areas - Europe, Pacific, and Atlantic - were reconfigured into six geographic regions (Atlantic, Germany North, Germany South, Mediterranean, Panama and Pacific) with a regional director and several superintendents. In 1983, Germany North and Germany South were combined into a single Germany region.