Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is by law the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

, and is the principal military adviser to the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, the National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

, the Homeland Security Council and the Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

. While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff outranks all other officers, he does not have operational command authority over the Armed Forces; however, the Chairman does assist the President and the Secretary of Defense in exercising their command functions.

The Chairman convenes the meetings and coordinates the efforts of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 (JCS), an advisory body comprising the Chairman, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the second highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces ranking just below the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff...

, the chiefs of staff of the United States Army
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
The Chief of Staff of the Army is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Army, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Army; and is in...

 and United States Air Force
Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Air Force, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Air Force, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the...

, the Chief of Naval Operations
Chief of Naval Operations
The Chief of Naval Operations is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Navy. The office is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy...

, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps
The Commandant of the Marine Corps is normally the highest ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff...

. The Joint Staff is under the exclusive direction of the Chairman.

Authority


Although the office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is considered very important and highly prestigious, neither the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, nor the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a body have any command authority over combatant forces. The Goldwater-Nichols Act
Goldwater-Nichols Act
The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 , , made the most sweeping changes to the United States Department of Defense since the department was established in the National Security Act of 1947 by reworking the command structure of the United States military...

 places the chain of command from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the commanders of the Unified Combatant Command
Unified Combatant Command
A Unified Combatant Command is a United States Department of Defense command that is composed of forces from at least two Military Departments and has a broad and continuing mission. These commands are established to provide effective command and control of U.S. military forces, regardless of...

s. However the chiefs do have authority over personnel assignments and oversight over resources and personnel allocated to the combatant commands within their respective services. The Chairman may also transmit communications to the combatant commanders from the President and Secretary of Defense as well as allocate additional funding to the combatant commanders if necessary. He also performs all other functions prescribed under or allocates those duties and responsibilities to other officers in the joint staff under his name.

Assistants


The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is assisted by the Director of the Joint Staff
Director of the Joint Staff
The Director of the Joint Staff is a three-star officer who assists the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the management of the Joint Staff, an organization composed of approximately equal numbers of officers contributed by the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, who have been...

, a three-star officer who assists the Chairman with the management of the Joint Staff, an organization composed of approximately equal numbers of officers contributed by the Army, the Navy and Marine Corps, and the Air Force, who have been assigned to assist the Chairman with the unified strategic direction, operation, and integration of the combatant land, naval, and air forces.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is also advised on enlisted personnel matters by the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman is a military position within the United States Department of Defense and is the most senior noncommissioned or petty officer overall in the United States Armed Forces...

 who served as a communication conduit between the Chairman and the senior enlisted advisors (sergeants major, command master chief petty officers
Command Master Chief Petty Officer
-Background:First referenced in OPNAVINST 1306.2C dated 16 October 1995, the Navy's Command Master Chief Program is a valuable asset which stimulates free-flowing communications and ensures the highest standards of professionalism are upheld at all levels within the chain of command...

, and command chief master sergeants) of the combatant commands.

Historical


Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral (U.S.)
Fleet Admiral of the United States Navy, or more commonly referred to as Fleet Admiral , is a five-star flag officer rank, and it is considered to be the highest possible rank attainable in the United States Navy. Fleet Admiral ranks immediately above admiral and is equivalent to General of the...

 William D. Leahy
William D. Leahy
Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy was an American naval officer, building his reputation through administration and staff work. As Chief of Naval Operations he was the senior officer in Navy, overseeing the preparations for war. After retiring from the Navy he was appointed by his close friend...

, USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, served as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy (July 20, 1942–March 21, 1949). He presided over meetings of what was called the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Leahy's office was the precursor to the post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Appointment and rank


The Chairman is nominated by the President for appointment and must be confirmed
Advice and consent
Advice and consent is an English phrase frequently used in enacting formulae of bills and in other legal or constitutional contexts, describing a situation in which the executive branch of a government enacts something previously approved of by the legislative branch.-General:The expression is...

 via majority vote by the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. The Chairman and Vice Chairman may not be members of the same armed force service branch. However, the President may waive that restriction for a limited period of time in order to provide for the orderly transition of officers appointed to serve in those positions. The Chairman serves a two-year term of office at the pleasure of the President, but can be reappointed to serve two additional terms for a total of six years. In a time of war or national emergency, there is no limit to how many times an officer can be reappointed to serve as Chairman. Historically, the Chairman has served two terms. By statute, the Chairman is appointed as a four-star general
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

 or admiral
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

 while holding office and assumes office on October 1st of odd-numbered years.

Although the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Omar Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

, was eventually awarded a fifth star, the CJCS does not receive one by right, and Bradley's award was politically motivated so as to not allow his subordinate, Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

, to outrank him.

In the 1990s, there were proposals in U.S. Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 academic circles to bestow on the office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a five-star rank.
According to the 2011 Military Pay Table effective 1 January 2011, While serving as Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff/Vice Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, Chief of Navy Operations, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Army/Air Force Chief of Staff,Commander of a unified or specified combatant command, basic pay is $20,263.50 a month plus additional allowances/pay.

Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief (historical predecessor office)

No. Image Name Term of Office Secretaries
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 serving under:
President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 appointed by:
Began Ended Days of Service
1.
Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy
William D. Leahy
Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy was an American naval officer, building his reputation through administration and staff work. As Chief of Naval Operations he was the senior officer in Navy, overseeing the preparations for war. After retiring from the Navy he was appointed by his close friend...

, USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

July 20, 1942 March 21, 1949 James Forrestal
James Forrestal
James Vincent Forrestal was the last Cabinet-level United States Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense....

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...


Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

No. Image Name Term of Office Secretaries
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 serving under:
President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 appointed by:
Began Ended Days of Service
1.
General of the Army
General of the Army (United States)
General of the Army is a five-star general officer and is the second highest possible rank in the United States Army. A special rank of General of the Armies, which ranks above General of the Army, does exist but has only been conferred twice in the history of the Army...

 Omar Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

August 19, 1949 August 15, 1953 Louis A. Johnson
Louis A. Johnson
Louis Arthur Johnson was the second United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the cabinet of President Harry S. Truman from March 28, 1949 to September 19, 1950....


George C. Marshall
Robert A. Lovett
Robert A. Lovett
Robert Abercrombie Lovett was the fourth United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the cabinet of President Harry S. Truman from 1951 to 1953 and in this capacity, directed the Korean War. Promoted to the position from deputy secretary of defense Domhoff described Lovett as a "Cold War...


Charles E. Wilson
Charles E. Wilson
Charles Edward Wilson was a CEO of General Electric. He left school at age 12 to work as a stock boy at Sprague Electrical Works, which was acquired by General Electric, taking night classes and working up to president in 1939.During World War II he served on the War Production Board as executive...

Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

2.
Admiral Arthur W. Radford
Arthur W. Radford
Arthur William Radford was a United States Navy Admiral, Commander-in-Chief of the United States Pacific Command and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.Arthur Radford was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1896...

, USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

August 15, 1953 August 15, 1957 Charles E. Wilson
Charles E. Wilson
Charles Edward Wilson was a CEO of General Electric. He left school at age 12 to work as a stock boy at Sprague Electrical Works, which was acquired by General Electric, taking night classes and working up to president in 1939.During World War II he served on the War Production Board as executive...

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

3.
General Nathan F. Twining, USAF
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

August 15, 1957 September 30, 1960 Charles E. Wilson
Charles E. Wilson
Charles Edward Wilson was a CEO of General Electric. He left school at age 12 to work as a stock boy at Sprague Electrical Works, which was acquired by General Electric, taking night classes and working up to president in 1939.During World War II he served on the War Production Board as executive...


Neil H. McElroy
Neil H. McElroy
Neil Hosler McElroy was United States Secretary of Defense from 1957 to 1959 under President Eisenhower. He had been president of Procter & Gamble.- Early life :...


Thomas S. Gates
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

4.
General Lyman Lemnitzer
Lyman Lemnitzer
Lyman Louis Lemnitzer was a United States Army General, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1960 to 1962. He then served as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO from 1963 to 1969.-Biography:...

, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

October 1, 1960 September 30, 1962 Thomas S. Gates
Robert S. McNamara
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

5.
General Maxwell D. Taylor
Maxwell D. Taylor
General Maxwell Davenport "Max" Taylor was an United States Army four star general and diplomat of the mid-20th century, who served as the fifth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after having been appointed by the President of the United States John F...

, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

October 1, 1962 July 1, 1964 Robert S. McNamara John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

6.
General Earle Wheeler
Earle Wheeler
Earle Gilmore "Bus" Wheeler, was a United States Army General who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army and then as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , holding the latter position during the Vietnam War.-Biography:Earle Gilmore Wheeler was born on January 13, 1908 in Washington,...

, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

July 3, 1964 July 2, 1970 Robert S. McNamara
Clark M. Clifford
Melvin R. Laird
Melvin R. Laird
Melvin Robert Laird is an American politician and writer. Laird was a Republican congressman who also served as Richard Nixon's Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973. Laird urged Nixon to maintain a policy of withdrawing US soldiers from Vietnam...

Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

7.
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

July 2, 1970 July 1, 1974 Melvin R. Laird
Melvin R. Laird
Melvin Robert Laird is an American politician and writer. Laird was a Republican congressman who also served as Richard Nixon's Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973. Laird urged Nixon to maintain a policy of withdrawing US soldiers from Vietnam...


Elliot Richardson
Elliot Richardson
Elliot Lee Richardson was an American lawyer and politician who was a member of the cabinet of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. As U.S...


James R. Schlesinger
James R. Schlesinger
Dr. James Rodney Schlesinger is an American politician. He is best known for serving as Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

8.
General George S. Brown, USAF
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

July 1, 1974 June 20, 1978 James R. Schlesinger
James R. Schlesinger
Dr. James Rodney Schlesinger is an American politician. He is best known for serving as Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...


Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...


Harold Brown
Harold Brown (Secretary of Defense)
Harold Brown , American scientist, was U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1977 to 1981 in the cabinet of President Jimmy Carter. He had previously served in the Lyndon Johnson administration as Director of Defense Research and Engineering and Secretary of the Air Force.While Secretary of Defense, he...

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

9.
General David C. Jones
David Charles Jones
David Charles Jones is a retired U.S. Air Force general and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.Jones was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota and raised in Minot, North Dakota, where he graduated from Minot High School....

, USAF
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

June 21, 1978 June 18, 1982 Harold Brown
Harold Brown (Secretary of Defense)
Harold Brown , American scientist, was U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1977 to 1981 in the cabinet of President Jimmy Carter. He had previously served in the Lyndon Johnson administration as Director of Defense Research and Engineering and Secretary of the Air Force.While Secretary of Defense, he...


Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Willard "Cap" Weinberger , was an American politician, vice president and general counsel of Bechtel Corporation, and Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan from January 21, 1981, until November 23, 1987, making him the third longest-serving defense secretary to date, after...

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

10.
General John W. Vessey Jr.
John William Vessey Jr.
John William Vessey, Jr. is a retired United States Army general. He served as the tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from June 18, 1982 to September 30, 1985...

, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

June 18, 1982 September 30, 1985 Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Willard "Cap" Weinberger , was an American politician, vice president and general counsel of Bechtel Corporation, and Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan from January 21, 1981, until November 23, 1987, making him the third longest-serving defense secretary to date, after...

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

11.
Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

October 1, 1985 September 30, 1989 Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Willard "Cap" Weinberger , was an American politician, vice president and general counsel of Bechtel Corporation, and Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan from January 21, 1981, until November 23, 1987, making him the third longest-serving defense secretary to date, after...


Frank Carlucci
Frank Carlucci
Frank Charles Carlucci III is a former official in the United States Government, associated with the Republican Party. The most prominent office held by Carlucci was as Secretary of Defense from 1987 until 1989 in the Reagan Administration.-Early life and career:Carlucci was born in Scranton,...


Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

12.
General Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

October 1, 1989 September 30, 1993 Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....


Les Aspin
Les Aspin
Leslie "Les" Aspin, Jr. was a United States Representative from 1971 to 1993, and the United States Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton from January 21, 1993 to February 3, 1994.-Early life:...

George H.W. Bush
(acting)
Admiral David E. Jeremiah
David E. Jeremiah
Admiral David Elmer Jeremiah, USN , is a former United States Navy officer, who served as Vice Chairman and also Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Since his retirement from the Navy in February 1994, he has worked in the field of investment banking...

, USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

October 1, 1993 October 24, 1993 Les Aspin
Les Aspin
Leslie "Les" Aspin, Jr. was a United States Representative from 1971 to 1993, and the United States Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton from January 21, 1993 to February 3, 1994.-Early life:...

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

13.
General John Shalikashvili, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

October 25, 1993 September 30, 1997 Les Aspin
Les Aspin
Leslie "Les" Aspin, Jr. was a United States Representative from 1971 to 1993, and the United States Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton from January 21, 1993 to February 3, 1994.-Early life:...


William J. Perry
William S. Cohen
Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

14.
General Hugh Shelton
Hugh Shelton
General Henry Hugh Shelton is a retired American career military officer of the United States Army. He served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001.-Early life, family and education:...

, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

October 1, 1997 September 30, 2001 William S. Cohen
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

15.
General Richard B. Myers, USAF
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

October 1, 2001 September 30, 2005 Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

16.
General Peter Pace
Peter Pace
Peter Pace is a retired United States Marine Corps general who served as the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first Marine appointed to the United States' highest-ranking military office. Appointed by President George W. Bush, Pace succeeded U.S. Air Force General Richard Myers on...

, USMC
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

October 1, 2005 September 30, 2007 Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...


Robert M. Gates
George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

17. Admiral Michael Mullen
Michael Mullen
Michael Glenn "Mike" Mullen is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral, who served as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2011. Mullen previously served as the Navy's 28th Chief of Naval Operations from July 22, 2005 to September 29, 2007...

, USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

October 1, 2007 September 30, 2011 Robert M. Gates
Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta
Leon Edward Panetta is the 23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama since 2011. Prior to taking office, he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency...

George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

18. General Martin Dempsey
Martin Dempsey
General Martin E. Dempsey, USA is the 18th and current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He previously served 149 days as the 37th Chief of Staff of the Army from April 11, 2011 to September 7, 2011. Prior to that, he served as Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command from...

, USA
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

October 1, 2011 Incumbent Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta
Leon Edward Panetta is the 23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama since 2011. Prior to taking office, he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency...

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by Branch of Service

  • Air Force - 4
  • Army - 9
  • Marine Corps - 1
  • Navy - 4


Note: This list does not include Chief of Staff to the CINC FADM Leahy and acting Chairman ADM Jeremiah.

See also


External links