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The title Defence Minister, Minister of Defence or Minister for Defence is assigned to a person in a cabinet position in charge of a Ministry of Defence, which regulates the armed forces in some sovereign nations. The minister usually has a very important role in a cabinet. When cabinets first started appearing in the late 18th century, the defence ministers were often called "Ministers of War", and were in charge of the land forces of a nation. Since the end of World War II, the title has changed from war to defence, and has often involved putting a single defence minister in charge of all the armed forces. Another common reform which occurred at the end of World War II was to place the defence minister in a national security council or a "Kitchen Cabinet", which allows the head of government or head of state to coordinate military, diplomatic and economic activities. The Defence Ministry in some countries is a very important ministry, sometimes considered more important than the foreign ministry. If war is common for a country, the minister's position is often assumed by the Prime Minister.. In many nations it is a strong convention that the defence minister be a civilian, in order to highlight civilian control over the military. In less democratic countries, the minister is often an active military official; in several countries the minister also holds the position of Commander of the Armed Forces. (via Freebase)