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List of active duty United States four-star officers: Wikis

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"List of United States four-star officers" redirects here. For a complete historical list of U.S. four-star officers by branch, see Army generals, Marine Corps generals, Navy admirals, Air Force generals, Coast Guard admirals, or Public Health Service admirals.

There are currently 40 active duty four-star officers in the uniformed services of the United States: 11 in the Army, 4 in the Marine Corps, 10 in the Navy, 14 in the Air Force, 1 in the Coast Guard, and 0 in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Of the seven federal uniformed services, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps is the only service that does not have an established four-star position.

Contents

List of designated four-star positions

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Joint Chiefs of Staff

Position Photo Incumbent Service
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Michael Mullen, CJCS, official photo portrait, 2007.jpg ADM Michael G. Mullen USN
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VJCS) GEN Cartwright VJCS.jpg Gen James E. Cartwright USMC

Unified Combatant Commands

Position Photo Incumbent Service
Commander, U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) William E. Ward 2008.jpg GEN William E. Ward USA
Commander, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) GEN Petraeus Class A.jpg GEN David H. Petraeus USA
Commander, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)
Stavridis EUCOM.jpg ADM James G. Stavridis USN
Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) James N. Mattis.jpg Gen James N. Mattis USMC
Commander, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and
Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
Victor E. Renuart Jr. 2008.jpg Gen Victor E. Renuart, Jr. USAF
Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) Willard 2010.jpg ADM Robert F. Willard USN
Commander, U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Douglas M. Fraser 2009.jpg Gen Douglas M. Fraser USAF
Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) ADM Eric T. Olson.jpg ADM Eric T. Olson USN
Commander, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Kevin P. Chilton.jpg Gen Kevin P. Chilton USAF
Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Mcnabb dj5.jpg Gen Duncan J. McNabb USAF

Other joint positions

Position Photo Incumbent Service
Chief, National Guard Bureau (CNGB) General Craig R McKinley.jpg Gen Craig R. McKinley USAF
Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and
Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A)
Stanley McChrystal MG 2003.jpg GEN Stanley A. McChrystal USA
Commander, United Nations Command (UNC)
Commander, U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) and
Commander, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK)
GEN Walter L Sharp.jpg GEN Walter L. Sharp USA
Commanding General, United States Forces - Iraq (USF-I) Raymond T. Odierno as commander, MNF Iraq.jpg GEN Raymond T. Odierno USA
Director, National Security Agency (NSA),
Chief, Central Security Service (CSS) and
Commander, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM)

U.S. Army

Position Photo Incumbent
Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army (CSA) George W. Casey 2007.jpg GEN George W. Casey, Jr.
Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army (VCSA) GEN Peter W Chiarelli.jpg GEN Peter W. Chiarelli
Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) Carter F. Ham GEN 2008.jpg GEN Carter F. Ham
Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Charles C Campbell.jpg GEN Charles C. Campbell
Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) Gen Dunwoody 2008.jpg GEN Ann E. Dunwoody
Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) General Martin E Dempsy in ACUs.jpg GEN Martin E. Dempsey

U.S. Marine Corps

Position Photo Incumbent
Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) James T. Conway, official military photo portrait, 2006.jpg Gen James T. Conway
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (ACMC) Gen James F. Amos.jpg Gen James F. Amos

U.S. Navy

Position Photo Incumbent
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) ADM Gary Roughead CNO.jpg ADM Gary Roughead
Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Jonathan W. Greenert.jpg ADM Jonathan W. Greenert
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFLTFORCOM) ADM John C Harvey Jr.jpg ADM John C. Harvey, Jr.
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (USNAVEUR) -
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa (USNAVAF) and
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples (JFC Naples)
ADM Mark Fitzgerald.jpg ADM Mark P. Fitzgerald
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) ADM Walsh.jpg ADM Patrick M. Walsh
Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion[1] and
Deputy Administrator, NNSA's Naval Reactors[2]
ADM Kirkland H Donald.jpg ADM Kirkland H. Donald

U.S. Air Force

Position Photo Incumbent
Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force (CSAF) Norton A Schwartz 2008 2.jpg Gen Norton A. Schwartz
Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force (VCSAF) Gen Carrol H. Chandler.jpg Gen Carrol H. Chandler
Commander, Air Combat Command (ACC) General William M. Fraser III.jpg Gen William M. Fraser III
Commander, Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Gen Stephen Lorenz.jpg Gen Stephen R. Lorenz
Commander, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) General Donald J Hoffman.jpg Gen Donald J. Hoffman
Commander, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) USAF General C. Robert Kehler.jpg Gen C. Robert Kehler
Commander, Air Mobility Command (AMC) General Raymond E. Johns, Jr.jpg Gen Raymond E. Johns, Jr.
Commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) General Gary L. North.jpg Gen Gary L. North
Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)
Commander, Air Component Command, Ramstein (AIR-COM Ramstein) and
Director, Joint Air Power Competence Center (JAPCC)
Gen Roger A. Brady.jpg Gen Roger A. Brady

U.S. Coast Guard

Position Photo Incumbent
Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Allen official.jpg ADM Thad W. Allen

U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

Position Incumbent
Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH)[3] (Civilian appointee)

List of pending appointments

Position Photo Name Service Status & Date
(unannounced) LTG Edward A. Rice, Jr., USAF.jpg LtGen Edward A. Rice, Jr. USAF [20] (nomination sent to the Senate on March 17, 2010) [21]
Commander, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and
Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
VADM James A. Winnefeld, Jr.jpg VADM James A. Winnefeld, Jr. USN [22] (nomination sent to the Senate on January 20, 2010) [23]
Director, National Security Agency (NSA),
Chief, Central Security Service (CSS) and
Commander, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM)
Keith B. Alexander official portrait.jpg LTG Keith B. Alexander USA [24] (nomination sent to the Senate on October 20, 2009) [25]
Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) OfficialPhoto ThurmanJamesD-ACU.jpg LTG James D. Thurman USA [26] (nomination sent to the Senate on February 24, 2010) [27]
Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)
Commander, Air Component Command, Ramstein (AIR-COM Ramstein)
and Director, Joint Air Power Competence Center (JAPCC)[4]
LtGen Mark A. Welsh III USAF [28] (confirmed) October 28, 2009 [29]
Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard ADMIRALPapp.jpg VADM Robert J. Papp, Jr. USCG [30] (nomination sent to the Senate on December 22, 2009) [31]

Statutory limits

U.S. Code of law explicitly limits the total number of four-star officers that may be on active duty at any given time. The total number of active duty general or flag officers is capped at 302 for the Army, 216 for the Navy, 279 for the Air Force, 80 for the Marine Corps.[5] For the Army, Navy, and Air Force, no more than 16.3% of the service's active duty general or flag officers may have more than two stars, and no more than 25% of those may have four stars.[6][7][8] This corresponds to 12 four-star Army generals, 9 four-star Navy admirals, 11 four-star Air Force generals and 3 four-star Marine generals.

Several of these slots are reserved by statute. For the Army and the Air Force, the Chief of Staff and the Vice Chief of Staff for both services are all four-star generals; for the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Vice Chief of Naval Operations are both four-star admirals; for the Marine Corps, the Commandant and the Assistant Commandant are both four-star generals. In addition, the Commandant of the Coast Guard [9] is a four-star admiral; for the National Guard, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau [7][8][10] is a four-star general under active duty in the Army or Air Force; for the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the Assistant Secretary for Health [11] is a four-star admiral if he or she holds an active duty appointment to the regular corps.

Exceptions to statutory limits

There are several exceptions to the limits allowing more than allotted within the statute. A four-star officer serving as Chief of Staff to the President, or as Chairman [6] or Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [6] does not count against his or her service's general or flag officer cap. An officer serving as Chief of the National Guard Bureau [6] does not count against his or her service's general officer cap. An officer serving in one of several joint positions does not count against his or her service's four-star limit, but he or she does count against his or her service's limit on officers with more than two stars; these positions include the commander of a unified combatant command [6], the commander of U.S. Forces Korea [6], and the deputy commander of U.S. European Command [6] but only if the commander of that command is also the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.[12] Officers serving in certain intelligence positions are not counted against either limit, including the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[13] The President may also add four-star slots to one service if they are offset by removing an equivalent number from other services.[6] Finally, all statutory limits may be waived at the President's discretion during time of war or national emergency.[14]

On September 14, 2001, the President declared a national emergency and invoked his authority to waive all statutory limits on the number and grade distribution of general and flag officers on active duty.[15] On this basis, a number of senior officers in the Middle East have been appointed in excess of the normal limits, including the four-star commanders of the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters, and the temporary authorization for their positions will expire shortly following the termination of the national emergency.

Appointment

Four-star grades go hand-in-hand with the positions of office they are linked to, so these ranks are temporary. Officers may only achieve four-star grade if they are appointed to positions that require and/or allow the officer to hold such a rank.[16] Their rank expires with the expiration of their term of office, which is usually set by statute.[16] Four-star officers are nominated for appointment by the President from any eligible officers holding a one-star grade or above, who also meets the requirements for the position, under the advice and/or suggestion of their respective executive department secretary, service secretary, and if applicable the joint chiefs.[16] The nominee must be confirmed via majority by the Senate before the appointee can take office and thus assume the rank.[16]

It is extremely unusual for a four-star nominee to draw even token opposition in a Senate vote, either in committee or on the floor, because the administration usually withdraws or declines to submit nominations that draw controversy before or during the confirmation process.

  • For example, upon encountering opposition in the Senate, the administration declined to submit nominations for General Joseph W. Ralston to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1997,[17] for Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez to be commander of U.S. Southern Command in 2004,[18] or for General Peter Pace to be reappointed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2007;[19] and withdrew the nominations of Admiral Stanley R. Arthur to be commander in chief of U.S. Pacific Command in 1994,[20] and of General Gregory S. Martin to be commander of U.S. Pacific Command in 2004.[21]

When a doomed nomination is not withdrawn, the Senate typically does not hold a vote to reject the candidate, but instead allows the nomination to expire without action at the end of the legislative session.

  • For example, the Senate declined to schedule votes for the nominations of Lieutenant General James A. Abrahamson to be elevated to four-star rank as director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization in 1986;[22] of Lieutenant General Charles W. Bagnal to be elevated to four-star rank as commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific in 1989; and of Rear Admiral Cristina V. Beato to be assistant secretary for health in 2003.[23] If she would have been confirmed and assumed office, she would have been the first woman in any uniformed service to achieve four-star grade. Instead that honor went to General Ann E. Dunwoody.

Tour length

The standard tour length for most four-star positions is three years, bundled as a two-year term plus a one-year extension, with the following exceptions:

  • The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serve for a nominal two years but may serve for up to six years, in three consecutive terms, at the pleasure of the President. The President can appoint them to serve a fourth term, for a combined total of eight years, if it serves in the interest of the nation. Typically, the chairman and vice chairman serve for four years.
  • Service chiefs of staff serve for four years in one four-year term.
  • Service vice chiefs of staff serve for a nominal four years, but are commonly reassigned after one or two years. The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps serves for two years.
  • The Chief of the National Guard Bureau serves a nominal four years.
  • The Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion serves for a nominal eight years.
  • The Commandant of the Coast Guard serves for a nominal four years.
  • The Assistant Secretary for Health is a civilian appointee or a current serving member of the PHSCC who serves for a nominal four years at the pleasure of the President.

Extensions of the standard tour length can be approved, within statutory limits, by their respective service secretaries, the Secretary of Defense, the President, and/or Congress but these are rare, as they block other officers from being promoted. Some statutory limits of tour length under the U.S. Code can be waived in times of national emergency or war.[24][25] Four-star ranks may also be given by act of Congress but this is extremely rare.

Retirement

Other than voluntary retirement, statute sets a number of mandates for retirement. Four-star officers must retire after 40 years of service unless he or she is reappointed to grade to serve longer.[26] Otherwise all general and flag officers must retire the month after their 64th birthday.[27] However, the Secretary of Defense can defer a four-star officer's retirement until the officer's 66th birthday[27] and the President can defer it until the officer's 68th birthday.[27]

  • For example, Admiral William J. Fallon was born on December 30, 1944; placed on active duty in 1967; and promoted to admiral in October, 2000. Ordinarily, he would have been expected to retire in 2007, after 40 years of service. Instead, he was reappointed as an admiral and assigned as commander of U.S. Central Command on March 16, 2007. If he had remained on active duty until the completion of the standard three-year term as combatant commander, which would have expired in March 2010, he would have been 65 years of age with 43 years of service. Instead, he retired in March 2008 at the age of 63 and 41 years of service.

Senior officers typically retire well in advance of the statutory age and service limits, so as not to impede the upward career mobility of their juniors. Since there are a finite number of four-star slots available to each service, typically one officer must leave office before another can be promoted.[28] Maintaining a four-star rank is a game of musical chairs; once an officer vacates a position bearing that rank, he or she has no more than 60 days to be appointed or reappointed to a position of equal or greater importance before he or she must involuntarily retire [16]. Historically, officers leaving four-star positions were allowed to revert to their permanent two-star ranks to mark time in lesser jobs until statutory retirement, but now such officers are expected to retire immediately to avoid obstructing the promotion flow.

  • For example, Vice Admiral Patrick M. Walsh was promoted to admiral and assigned as vice chief of naval operations in 2007. The incumbent vice chief, Admiral Robert F. Willard, was reassigned as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The incumbent Pacific Fleet commander, Admiral Gary Roughead, was reassigned as commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, whose incumbent commander, Admiral John B. Nathman, received no further assignment and retired at the age of 59, with 37 years of service and three years in grade.

To retire at four-star grade, an officer must accumulate at least three years of satisfactory active duty service in that grade, as certified by the Secretary of Defense and confirmed by the Senate.[29] The Secretary of Defense may reduce this requirement to two years, but only if the officer is not being investigated for misconduct. Officers who do not meet the service-in-grade requirement revert to the next highest grade in which they served satisfactorily for at least six months. It is extraordinarily rare for a four-star officer not to be nominated to retire in grade, or for such a nomination not to be confirmed by the Senate unanimously.

  • For example, when dismissed after less than the statutory time in grade, Generals Frederick F. Woerner and Michael J. Dugan were retired as full generals by unanimous Senate consent; Admirals Husband E. Kimmel and Richard C. Macke were not nominated to retire at three-star or four-star rank, and retired as two-star rear admirals;[30] General John D. Lavelle was nominated to retire as a lieutenant general but was rejected by a Senate Armed Services Committee vote of 14 to 2, and retired as a major general;[31] and General Kevin P. Byrnes had over two years in grade but was being investigated for misconduct, and retired as a lieutenant general.[32] After achieving the statutory time in grade, Admirals Frank B. Kelso II and Henry H. Mauz Jr. were retired as full admirals, but only by Senate votes of 54 to 43 and 92 to 6, respectively.

Four-star officers typically step down from their posts up to 60 days in advance of their official retirement dates. Officers retire on the first day of the month, so once a retirement month has been selected, the relief and retirement ceremonies are scheduled by counting backwards from that date by the number of days of accumulated leave remaining to the retiring officer. During this period, termed transition leave or terminal leave, the officer is considered to be awaiting retirement but still on active duty.

  • For example, General Michael Hagee was relieved as commandant of the Marine Corps on November 13, 2006, and held his retirement ceremony the same day, but remained on active duty until his official retirement date on January 1, 2007.

A statutory limit can be waived by the President with the consent of Congress if it serves national interest. However, this is extremely rare.

  • For example, the record for the longest tenure in any service is held by General Lewis B. Hershey who enlisted in the Indiana Army National Guard in 1911 at the age of 18. He was called up for federal active duty during World War I, receiving a commission in 1916, and subsequently transferred to the regular army at the end of the war. He served in active duty in the Army until the age of 80 before being involuntarily retired in 1973 after 62 years of continuous service.

Notes

  1. ^ Historically, the Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion is held by an officer in the Navy, however 50 U.S.C. §2511 Notes: Ex. Ord. No. 12344 states a civilian can be appointed to that position without joining or being a serving member of the Navy.
  2. ^ By statute, 50 U.S.C. § 2406, any person serving as Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion also concurrently serves as the National Nuclear Security Administration's Deputy Administrator, Naval Reactors.
  3. ^ The position of Assistant Secretary of Health has historically been held by both a civilian or a serving member of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
  4. ^ LtGen Mark A. Welsh III's Air Force bio.
  5. ^ [1] 10 USC 526. Authorized strength: general and flag officers on active duty.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h [2] 10 USC 525. Distribution of commissioned officers on active duty in general officer and flag officer grades.
  7. ^ a b [3] Pub.L. 110-181: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
  8. ^ a b [4] Pub.L. 110-181: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 full text
  9. ^ [5] 14 USC 44. Commandant; appointment.
  10. ^ [6] 10 USC 10502 Chief of the National Guard Bureau: appointment; adviser on National Guard matters; grade; succession.
  11. ^ [7] 42 USC 207. Grades, ranks, and titles of commissioned corps.
  12. ^ [8] 10 USC 604. Senior joint officer positions: recommendations to the Secretary of Defense.
  13. ^ [9] 10 USC 528. Officers serving in certain intelligence positions: military status; exclusion from distribution and strength limitations; pay and allowances.
  14. ^ [10] 10 USC 527. Authority to suspend sections 523, 525, and 526.
  15. ^ [11] Proclamation 7463 of September 14, 2001. Declaration of national emergency by reason of certain terrorist attacks.
  16. ^ a b c d e [12] 10 USC 601. Positions of importance and responsibility: generals and lieutenant generals; admirals and vice admirals.
  17. ^ Henneberger, Melinda; Becker, Elizabeth (August 4, 1999), "For a Scandal-Scarred General, the Gleam Appears to Be Back on the Brass", The New York Times, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A07E4DE1630F937A3575BC0A96F958260 
  18. ^ Hendren, John (October 15, 2004), "4-Star Plans After Abu Ghraib", Los Angeles Times: A-1, http://articles.latimes.com/2004/oct/15/nation/na-sanchez15 
  19. ^ Shanker, Thom (June 9, 2007), "Chairman of Joint Chiefs Will Not Be Reappointed", The New York Times, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9800E3DE163FF93AA35755C0A9619C8B63 
  20. ^ "Clinton Selects Admiral to Lead Forces in Pacific", Associated Press, July 2, 1994, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0DE7DA1739F931A35754C0A962958260 
  21. ^ Kakesako, Gregg K. (October 7, 2004), "General pulls plug on Camp Smith job", Honolulu Star-Bulletin, http://archives.starbulletin.com/2004/10/07/news/story1.html 
  22. ^ Gordon, Michael R. (September 28, 1988), "General Quitting As Project Chief For Missile Shield", The New York Times, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE2D71230F93BA1575AC0A96E948260 
  23. ^ Connolly, Ceci (June 10, 2004), "Top Health Official Awaits Hearing on Nomination", The Washington Post: A17, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29549-2004Jun9.html 
  24. ^ [13] 10 USC 152. Chairman: appointment; grade and rank
  25. ^ [14] 10 USC 154. Vice Chairman
  26. ^ [15] 10 USC 636. Retirement for years of service: regular officers in grades above brigadier general and rear admiral (lower half).
  27. ^ a b c [16] 10 USC 1253 Age 64: regular commissioned officers in general and flag officer grades; exception
  28. ^ [17] DoD News Briefing on Thursday, June 6, 1996. Retirement of Admiral Leighton W. Smith Jr.
  29. ^ [18] 10 USC 1370. Commissioned officers: general rule; exceptions.
  30. ^ Kakesako, Gregg K. (April 9, 1996), "Macke still paying for rape remark", Honolulu Star-Bulletin, http://archives.starbulletin.com/96/04/09/news/story4.html 
  31. ^ Casey, Aloysius; Casey, Patrick (February 2007), "Lavelle, Nixon, and the White House Tapes", Air Force Magazine 90 (2), http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2007/February%202007/0207tapes.aspx 
  32. ^ [19] Congressional Record, October 18, 2005 - H8917. Executive communications, etc.

See also


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