Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
|Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff|
Gen. Martin Dempsey
since: October 1, 2011
|Formation||August 19, 1949|
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is, by law, the highest-ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces and is the principal military advisor to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. 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 (JCS), an advisory body within the Department of Defense comprising the Chairman, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the chiefs of staff of the United States Army and United States Air Force, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. The Joint Staff is under the exclusive direction of the Chairman.
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 has any command authority over combatant forces. The Goldwater-Nichols Act places the chain of command from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands. 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 10 U.S.C. § 153 or allocates those duties and responsibilities to other officers in the joint staff under his name.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is assisted by the Director of the Joint Staff, 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 who served as a communication conduit between the Chairman and the senior enlisted advisors (sergeants major, command master chief petty officers, and command chief master sergeants) of the combatant commands.
Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN, 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 via majority vote by the Senate. 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 or admiral while holding office and assumes office on October 1 of odd-numbered years.
Although the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Omar Bradley, 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, to outrank him.
According to the 2013 Military Pay Table effective 1 January 2013, 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 $20,937.90 monthly plus additional allowances.
List of Chairmen
Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief (historical predecessor office)
|No.||Image||Name||Term of Office||Secretaries||President|
|1.||Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN||July 20, 1942||March 21, 1949||2436||James Forrestal||Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
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.
- Chief of Defence
- Joint Requirements Oversight Council
- List of United States Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by time in office
- National Command Authority
- National Military Strategy (United States)
- Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman
- Single Integrated Operational Plan
- Unified Command Plan
-  10 USC 152. Chairman: appointment; grade and rank
-  10 USC 151. Joint Chiefs of Staff: composition; functions
-  Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986
-  10 USC 162. Combatant commands: assigned forces; chain of command
-  10 USC 163. Role of Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
-  10 USC 166a. Combatant commands: funding through the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
- "Washington Eats". Life. 1942-10-05. p. 95. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
-  10 USC 154. Vice Chairman
- Abrams, Jim (March 22, 1991). "Higher rank not in the stars for nation's top generals". Associated Press. "Bradley received his fifth star in 1950 when he became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff so he would not be outranked by MacArthur."
- Tillman, Barrett (2004). Brassey's D-Day encyclopedia: the Normandy invasion A-Z. Brassey's. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-57488-760-0. Retrieved February 22, 2011. "MacArthur, having been army chief of staff before World War II, was senior to everyone on the Joint Chiefs, and some observers felt that Bradley was given his fifth star in order to deal with the vainglorious field commander on an equal footing."
- "Organizing for National Security: The Role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". Institute for Foreign Analysis. January 1986. p. 11. Retrieved February 21, 2011. "There was some discussion of the proposal to grant the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs five-star rank, as a symbol of his status as the most senior officer in the armed forces."
- Jones, Logan (February 2000). Toward the Valued Idea of Jointness: The Need for Unity of Command in U.S. Armed Forces (PDF). Naval War College. p. 2. ADA378445. Retrieved February 21, 2011. Lay summary. "Promoting the Chairman to the five-star rank and ceding to him operational and administrative control of all U.S. Armed Forces would enable him to provide a unifying vision..."
- Owsley, Robert Clark (June 1997). Goldwater-Nichols Almost Got It Right: A Fifth Star for the Chairman (PDF). Naval War College. p. 14. ADA328220. Retrieved February 21, 2011. Lay summary. "...Chairman's title be changed to Commander of the Armed Forces and commensurate with the title and authority he be assigned the grade of five stars."
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