List of active duty United States three-star officers

Summary

There are currently 161 active-duty three-star officers in the uniformed services of the United States: 49 in the Army, 16 in the Marine Corps, 36 in the Navy, 49 in the Air Force, 6 in the Space Force, 4 in the Coast Guard, 1 in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and 0 in the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.

Three-star reserve officers and the chief of the National Guard Bureau testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on April 17, 2018.

List of designated three-star positionsEdit

Department of DefenseEdit

Office of the Secretary of DefenseEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Direct reporting officers
 
Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
 
Lieutenant General
Ronald P. Clark
 
U.S. Army
National intelligence agencies
 
Director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
 
Lieutenant General
Scott D. Berrier
 
U.S. Army
 
Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
 
Vice Admiral
Frank D. Whitworth III
 
U.S. Navy
Defense Agencies
 
Director, Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)
 
Lieutenant General
David G. Bassett
 
U.S. Army
 
Director, Defense Health Agency (DHA)
 
Lieutenant General
Ronald J. Place
 
U.S. Army
 
 
Director, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and
Commander, Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DoDIN)
 
Lieutenant General
Robert J. Skinner
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Director, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)
 
Vice Admiral
Michelle C. Skubic
 
U.S. Navy
 
Director, Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
 
Vice Admiral
Jon A. Hill
 
U.S. Navy

Joint StaffEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Office of the Joint Staff
 
Director of the Joint Staff (DJS)
 
Lieutenant General
James J. Mingus
 
U.S. Army
 
Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (ACJCS)
 
Vice Admiral
Colin J. Kilrain
 
U.S. Navy
Joint Staff directorates
 
Director for Intelligence (J-2), Joint Staff
 
Lieutenant General
Dimitri Henry
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Director for Operations (J-3), Joint Staff
 
Lieutenant General
Douglas A. Sims II
 
U.S. Army
 
Director for Logistics (J-4), Joint Staff
 
Lieutenant General
Leonard J. Kosinski
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy (J-5), Joint Staff and
Senior Member, United States Delegation to the United Nations Military Staff Committee
 
Vice Admiral
Stephen T. Koehler
 
U.S. Navy
 
Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers and
Cyber and Chief Information Officer (J-6), Joint Staff
 
Lieutenant General
Mary F. O'Brien
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Director for Joint Force Development (J-7), Joint Staff
 
Lieutenant General
Dagvin R.M. Anderson
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Director of Force Structure, Resources and Assessment (J-8), Joint Staff
 
Vice Admiral
Sara A. Joyner
 
U.S. Navy

Unified Combatant CommandsEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Unified combatant commands
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Kirk W. Smith
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Gregory M. Guillot
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Timothy D. Haugh
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Steven L. Basham
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Stephen D. Sklenka
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and
Vice Commander, U.S. Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
 
Lieutenant General
A.C. Roper Jr.
 
U.S. Army
 
Military Deputy Commander, U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Andrew A. Croft
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM)
 
Lieutenant General
John E. Shaw
 
U.S. Space Force
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)   Vice Admiral
Collin P. Green
 
U.S. Navy
 
Vice Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Tony D. Bauernfeind
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Thomas A. Bussiere
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
John P. Sullivan
 
U.S. Army

Other joint positionsEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
National Guard
 
Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau (VCNGB)
 
Lieutenant General
Marc H. Sasseville
 
U.S. Air Force
Sub-unified commands
 
 
Alaska
Commander, Alaskan Command (ALCOM) and
Commander, Eleventh Air Force (11 AF)
 
Lieutenant General
David S. Nahom
 
U.S. Air Force
 
 
Japan
Commander, U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) and
Commander, Fifth Air Force (5 AF)
 
Lieutenant General
Ricky N. Rupp
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Commander, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and
Commander, Joint Special Operations Command Forward, U.S. Special Operations Command
 
Vice Admiral
Frank M. Bradley
 
U.S. Navy
Special activities (domestic)
 
President, National Defense University (NDU)
 
Lieutenant General
Michael T. Plehn
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Program Executive Officer, F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office
 
Lieutenant General
Michael J. Schmidt
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Director's Advisor for Military Affairs, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
 
Lieutenant General
Jeffrey A. Kruse
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Associate Director for Military Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency
 
Lieutenant General
John D. Caine
 
U.S. Air Force
Special activities (international)
 
Deputy Chair of the NATO Military Committee (DCMC)
 
Lieutenant General
Lance K. Landrum
 
U.S. Air Force
 
U.S. Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee (USMILREP)
 
Lieutenant General
E. John Deedrick Jr.
 
U.S. Army
 
Commander, NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ)
 
Lieutenant General
Antonio M. Fletcher
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development, Headquarters Allied Command Transformation (ACT)
 
Lieutenant General
David J. Julazadeh
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Israel
United States Security Coordinator, Israel-Palestinian Authority
 
Lieutenant General
Michael R. Fenzel
 
U.S. Army

Department of the ArmyEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Office of the Secretary
 
Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology)
 
Lieutenant General
Robert A. Rasch Jr.
 
U.S. Army
 
Military Deputy for Budget to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller)
 
Lieutenant General
Paul A. Chamberlain
 
U.S. Army
 
Inspector General of the United States Army (IG)
 
Lieutenant General
Donna W. Martin
 
U.S. Army

United States ArmyEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Army Staff
 
Director of the Army Staff
 
Lieutenant General
Walter E. Piatt
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (G-1)
 
Lieutenant General
Douglas F. Stitt
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G-2)
 
Lieutenant General
Laura A. Potter
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Training (G-3/5/7)
 
Lieutenant General
Patrick E. Matlock
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (G-4)
 
Lieutenant General
Charles R. Hamilton
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Command, Control, Communications, Cyber Operations and Networks (G-6)
 
Lieutenant General
John B. Morrison Jr.
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs (G-8)
 
Lieutenant General
Erik C. Peterson
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations (G-9)
 
Lieutenant General
Kevin Vereen
 
U.S. Army
Judge Advocate General's Corps
 
Judge Advocate General of the United States Army (TJAG) and
Dean, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School
 
Lieutenant General
Stuart W. Risch
 
U.S. Army
Army commands (and subordinated units)
 
Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Paul T. Calvert
 
U.S. Army
 
 
Chief of the United States Army Reserve (CAR) and
Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC)
 
Lieutenant General
Jody J. Daniels
 
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC) and
Deputy Commanding General for Combat Development, U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC)
 
Lieutenant General
James M. Richardson
Retiring[1]
 
U.S. Army
 
 
Deputy Commanding General for Acquisition and Systems Management, U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC) and
Director, Combat Systems Directorate (CSD)
 
Lieutenant General
Thomas H. Todd III
 
U.S. Army
 
 
Deputy Commanding General for Futures and Concepts, U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC) and
Director, Futures and Concepts Center (FCC)
 
Lieutenant General
D. Scott McKean
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC)
 
Vacant  
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Omar J. Jones IV
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff,
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
 
Lieutenant General
Maria R. Gervais
 
U.S. Army
 
 
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (USACAC),
Commandant, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC)
Executive Vice Chancellor, Army University (ArmyU) and
Commanding General, Fort Leavenworth
 
Lieutenant General
Theodore D. Martin
 
U.S. Army
Army service component commands
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Central (ARCENT) and
Commanding General, Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC)
 
Lieutenant General
Patrick D. Frank
 
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER)
 
Lieutenant General
Maria B. Barrett
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF)
 
Lieutenant General
Andrew M. Rohling
 
U.S. Army
 
Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC)
 
Lieutenant General
James B. Jarrard
 
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army North (ARNORTH) and
Senior Commander, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis
 
Lieutenant General
John R. Evans Jr.
 
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC)
 
Lieutenant General
Jonathan P. Braga
 
U.S. Army
 
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/U.S. Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) and
Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense (JFCC IMD)[2]
 
Lieutenant General
Daniel L. Karbler
 
U.S. Army
Direct reporting units
 
Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) and
Director, U.S. Army Acquisition Corps (AAC)
 
Lieutenant General
Robert L. Marion
 
U.S. Army
 
 
United States Army Chief of Engineers (COE) and
Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
 
Lieutenant General
Scott A. Spellmon
 
U.S. Army
 
 
 
Surgeon General of the United States Army (TSG),
Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) and
Chief, Army Medical Department (AMEDD)
 
Lieutenant General
R. Scott Dingle
 
U.S. Army
 
Superintendent of the United States Military Academy (USMA)
 
Lieutenant General
Steven W. Gilland
 
U.S. Army
Operating forces
 
Commanding General, First Army
 
Lieutenant General
Antonio A. Aguto Jr.
 
U.S. Army
 
 
Commanding General, Eighth United States Army and
Chief of Staff, ROK/U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC)
 
Lieutenant General
Willard M. Burleson III
 
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, I Corps and
Commanding General, Joint Base Lewis-McChord
 
Lieutenant General
Xavier T. Brunson
 
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, III Armored Corps and
Commanding General, Fort Hood
 
Lieutenant General
Robert P. White
 
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, V Corps
 
Lieutenant General
John S. Kolasheski
 
U.S. Army
 
Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps and
Commanding General, Fort Bragg
 
Lieutenant General
Christopher T. Donahue
 
U.S. Army
Army National Guard
 
Director, Army National Guard (ARNG)
 
Lieutenant General
Jon A. Jensen
 
U.S. Army
In transit
 
Lieutenant General
James E. Rainey
Promotable[3]
 
U.S. Army

Department of the NavyEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Office of the Secretary
 
Principal Military Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition)
 
Vice Admiral
Francis D. Morley
 
U.S. Navy
 
Naval Inspector General (NAVIG) and
Special Assistant for Inspection Support (N09G)
 
Vice Admiral
John V. Fuller
 
U.S. Navy
 
Judge Advocate General of the Navy (JAG),
Special Assistant for Legal Services (N09J) and
Department of Defense Representative for Ocean Policy Affairs (REPOPA)
 
Vice Admiral
Darse E. Crandall Jr.
 
U.S. Navy

United States Marine CorpsEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Headquarters Marine Corps
 
Director of the Marine Corps Staff (DMCS)
 
Lieutenant General
Gregg P. Olson
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (DC M&RA)
 
Vacant  
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations (DC, PP&O)
 
Lieutenant General
David J. Furness
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Deputy Commandant for Aviation (DCA)
 
Lieutenant General
Michael S. Cederholm
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics (DC I&L)
 
Lieutenant General
Edward D. Banta
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
 
Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration (DC, CD&I) and Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC)
 
Lieutenant General
Karsten S. Heckl
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources (DC P&R)
 
Lieutenant General
Christopher J. Mahoney
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Deputy Commandant for Information (DCI) and
Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Strategic Command (MARFORSTRAT)
 
Lieutenant General
Matthew G. Glavy
 
U.S. Marine Corps
Supporting establishment
 
Commanding General, U.S. Marine Corps Training and Education Command (TECOM)
 
Lieutenant General
Kevin M. Iiams
 
U.S. Marine Corps
Operating forces
 
 
 
Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM),
Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Northern Command (MARFORNORTH) and Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic (FMFLANT)
 
Lieutenant General
Brian W. Cavanaugh
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF)
 
Lieutenant General
David A. Ottignon
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific (MARFORPAC) and
Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific (FMFPAC)
 
Lieutenant General
William M. Jurney
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF)
 
Lieutenant General
George W. Smith Jr.
 
U.S. Marine Corps
 
Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) and
Commander, Marine Forces Japan (MARFORJ)
 
Lieutenant General
James W. Bierman Jr.
 
U.S. Marine Corps
Marine Forces Reserve
 
 
Commander, Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES) and
Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH)
 
Lieutenant General
David G. Bellon
 
U.S. Marine Corps

United States NavyEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education (N1/NT) and
Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP)
 
Vice Admiral
Richard J. Cheeseman Jr.
 
U.S. Navy
 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2/N6) and
Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI)
 
Vice Admiral
Jeffrey E. Trussler
 
U.S. Navy
 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5)
 
Vice Admiral
William R. Merz
 
U.S. Navy
 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics (N4)
 
Vice Admiral
Ricky L. Williamson
 
U.S. Navy
 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development (N7)
 
Vice Admiral
Jeffrey W. Hughes
 
U.S. Navy
 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources (N8)
 
Vice Admiral
Randy B. Crites
 
U.S. Navy
 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Requirements and Capabilities (N9)
 
Vice Admiral
Scott D. Conn
 
U.S. Navy
 
Chief of Navy Reserve (N095) and
Commander, Navy Reserve Force (CNRF)
 
Vice Admiral
John B. Mustin
 
U.S. Navy
Type commands
 
 
Commander, Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR) and
Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)
 
Vice Admiral
Kenneth R. Whitesell
 
U.S. Navy
 
Commander, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR)
 
Vice Admiral
Kelly A. Aeschbach
 
U.S. Navy
 
 
 
Commander, Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR),
Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMSUBLANT),
Commander, Allied Submarine Command (ASC),
Commander, Task Force 114 (CTF-114),[4]
Commander, Task Force 88 (CTF-88) and
Commander, Task Force 46 (CTF-46)
 
Vice Admiral
William J. Houston
 
U.S. Navy
 
 
Commander, Naval Surface Forces (COMNAVSURFOR) and
Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVSURFPAC)
 
Vice Admiral
Roy I. Kitchener
 
U.S. Navy
Operating forces (and subordinated units)
 
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF),
Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Northern Command (NAVNORTH),
Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Strategic Command (NAVSTRAT) and Commander, Task Force 80 (CTF-80)
 
Vice Admiral
James W. Kilby
 
U.S. Navy
 
 
 
Commander, U.S. Second Fleet (C2F),
Commander, Joint Force Command – Norfolk (JFC-NF) and
Director, Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence (CJOS COE)
 
Vice Admiral
Daniel W. Dwyer
 
U.S. Navy
 
 
Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet (C6F),
Commander, Task Force Six,
Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (COMSTRIKFORNATO),
Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-CNA) and
Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Europe
 
Vice Admiral
Thomas E. Ishee
 
U.S. Navy
 
Commander, U.S. Third Fleet (C3F)
 
Vice Admiral
Michael E. Boyle
 
U.S. Navy
 
Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet (C7F)
 
Vice Admiral
Karl O. Thomas
 
U.S. Navy
 
 
 
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT),
Commander, U.S. Fifth Fleet (C5F) and
Commander, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)
 
Vice Admiral
Charles B. Cooper II
 
U.S. Navy
 
 
 
Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command (FCC),
Commander, U.S. Tenth Fleet (C10F) and
Commander, U.S. Navy Space Command (CNSC)
 
Vice Admiral
Craig A. Clapperton
 
U.S. Navy
Shore establishment
 
Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
 
Vice Admiral
William J. Galinis
 
U.S. Navy
 
Commander, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
 
Vice Admiral
Carl P. Chebi
 
U.S. Navy
 
Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC)
 
Vice Admiral
Yancy B. Lindsey
 
U.S. Navy
 
Director for Strategic Systems Programs (SSP)
 
Vice Admiral
Johnny R. Wolfe Jr.
 
U.S. Navy
 
Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy (USNA)
 
Vice Admiral
Sean S. Buck
 
U.S. Navy
In transit
 
Vice Admiral
Eugene H. Black III
 
U.S. Navy

Department of the Air ForceEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Office of the Secretary
 
Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (SAF/AQ)
 
Lieutenant General
Donna D. Shipton
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Inspector General of the Department of the Air Force (DAF/IG)
 
Lieutenant General
Stephen L. Davis
 
U.S. Air Force

United States Air ForceEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Air Staff
 
Director of Staff of the United States Air Force (AF/DS)
 
Lieutenant General
Kevin B. Schneider
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services (A1)
 
Lieutenant General
Caroline M. Miller
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations (A2/6)
 
Lieutenant General
Leah G. Lauderback
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (A3)
 
Vacant  
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection (A4)
 
Lieutenant General
Tom D. Miller
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force Futures (A5)
 
Lieutenant General
S. Clinton Hinote
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs (A8)
 
Lieutenant General
Richard G. Moore Jr.
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration (A10)
 
Lieutenant General
James C. Dawkins Jr.
 
U.S. Air Force
 
United States Air Force Judge Advocate General (AF/JA) and
Judge Advocate General of the United States Space Force (SF/JA)
 
Lieutenant General
Charles L. Plummer
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Surgeon General of the United States Air Force (AF/SG) and
Surgeon General of the United States Space Force (SF/SG)
 
Lieutenant General (Dr.)
Robert I. Miller
 
U.S. Air Force
Direct reporting units
 
Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA)
 
Lieutenant General
Richard M. Clark
 
U.S. Air Force
Air Force major commands (and subordinated units)
 
Deputy Commander, Air Combat Command (ACC)
 
Lieutenant General
Russell L. Mack
 
U.S. Air Force
 
 
 
Commander, First Air Force (Air Forces Northern/AFNORTH and Air Forces Space/AFSPACE) (1 AF),
Commander, Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR),
Combined Force Air Component Commander for North American Aerospace Defense Command and
Joint Force Air Component Commander for U.S. Northern Command
 
Lieutenant General
Kirk S. Pierce
 
U.S. Air Force
 
 
Commander, Ninth Air Force (9 AF),
Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT) and
Combined Forces Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command
 
Lieutenant General
Alexus G. Grynkewich
 
U.S. Air Force
 
 
 
Commander, Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber/AFCYBER) (16 AF) and
Commander, Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber (JFHQ-C)
 
Lieutenant General
Kevin B. Kennedy Jr.
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Commander, Air Education and Training Command (AETC)
 
Lieutenant General
Brian S. Robinson
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Commander and President, Air University
 
Lieutenant General
Andrea D. Tullos
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) and
Deputy Commander, Air Forces Strategic-Air, U.S. Strategic Command
 
Lieutenant General
Mark E. Weatherington
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC)
 
Lieutenant General
Carl E. Schaefer
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Commander, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and
Program Executive Officer for the Rapid Sustainment Office
 
Lieutenant General
Shaun Q. Morris
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Commander, Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC)
 
Lieutenant General
Stacey T. Hawkins
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Chief of Air Force Reserve (AF/RE) and
Commander, Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)
 
Lieutenant General
John P. Healy
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)
 
Lieutenant General
James C. Slife
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, Air Mobility Command (AMC)
 
Lieutenant General
Randall Reed
 
U.S. Air Force
 
Deputy Commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and
Deputy Theater Air Component Commander to the Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
 
Lieutenant General
James A. Jacobson
 
U.S. Air Force
 
 
Commander, Seventh Air Force (Air Forces Korea) (7 AF),
Commander, Air Component Command, United Nations Command (UNC),
Commander, Air Component Command, ROK/U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) and Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK)
 
Lieutenant General
Scott L. Pleus
 
U.S. Air Force
 
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA)
 
Lieutenant General
John D. Lamontagne
 
U.S. Air Force
Air National Guard
 
Director, Air National Guard (ANG)
 
Lieutenant General
Michael A. Loh
 
U.S. Air Force

United States Space ForceEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Space Staff
 
Director of Staff of the United States Space Force (SF/DS)
 
Lieutenant General
Nina M. Armagno
 
U.S. Space Force
 
Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear (S2/3/4/6/7/10)
 
Lieutenant General
B. Chance Saltzman
Promotable[5]
 
U.S. Space Force
 
Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Strategy, Plans, Programs, Requirements, and Analysis (S5/8)
 
Lieutenant General
Philip A. Garrant
 
U.S. Space Force
Field commands
 
Commander, Space Operations Command (SpOC)
 
Lieutenant General
Stephen N. Whiting
 
U.S. Space Force
 
Commander, Space Systems Command (SSC)
 
Lieutenant General
Michael A. Guetlein
 
U.S. Space Force

Department of Homeland SecurityEdit

United States Coast GuardEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Headquarters support units
 
Deputy Commandant for Operations (DCO)
 
Vice Admiral
Peter W. Gautier
 
U.S. Coast Guard
 
Deputy Commandant for Mission Support (DCMS)
 
Vice Admiral
Paul F. Thomas
 
U.S. Coast Guard
Area commands
 
Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area (USCGLANTAREA) and
Director, Department of Homeland Security Joint Task Force – East (JTF-E)
 
Vice Admiral
Kevin E. Lunday
 
U.S. Coast Guard
 
Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area (PACAREA) and
Commander, Defense Force West
 
Vice Admiral
Andrew J. Tiongson
 
U.S. Coast Guard

Department of Health and Human ServicesEdit

United States Public Health Service Commissioned CorpsEdit

Position insignia Position Photo Incumbent Service branch
Office of the Surgeon General
 
Surgeon General of the United States (SG)
 
Vice Admiral
Vivek H. Murthy
 
U.S. Public Health Service

List of pending appointmentsEdit

Appointments should be listed in order of service branch,[a] and thereafter by the assigned position, identical to the above list. Promotions with no announced position should be listed below those with such positions by qualification of initial or lateral promotion[b] and thereafter by alphabetical order of surname.

Current position Designated position insignia Designated position Photo Name Service branch Status and date
Joint assignments
Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel (DCNP) and
Commander, Navy Personnel Command (NPC)
 
Military Deputy Commander, U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM)
 
Rear Admiral
Alvin Holsey
 
U.S. Navy
Nomination sent to the Senate
22 September 2022[6][7]
Scheduled to assume office
November 2022[8]
Director, Communication Directorate, Office of the Deputy Commandant for Information[9]
 
Vice Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
 
Major General
Francis L. Donovan
 
U.S. Marine Corps
Nomination sent to the Senate
6 September 2022[10][11]
In transit
 
Deputy Commander, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)
 
Rear Admiral
Richard A. Correll
 
U.S. Navy
Confirmed by the Senate
23 June 2022[12][13]
Scheduled to assume office
October 2022[8]
United States Army
In transit
 
Deputy Commanding General for Combat Development, U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC)
 
Major General
Richard R. Coffman
 
U.S. Army
Confirmed by the Senate
23 June 2022[14][15]
In transit
 
 
 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (USACAC),
Commandant, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC)
Executive Vice Chancellor, Army University (ArmyU) and
Commanding General, Fort Leavenworth
 
Major General
Milford H. Beagle Jr.
 
U.S. Army
Confirmed by the Senate
26 May 2022[16][17]
Date of rank
4 October 2022[18]
Deputy Surgeon General of the United States Army (DSG) and
Chief, Medical Corps (MC)
 
 
 
Surgeon General of the United States Army (TSG),
Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) and
Chief, Army Medical Department (AMEDD)
 
Major General
Telita Crosland
 
U.S. Army
Confirmed by the Senate
29 September 2022[19]
In transit
 
Commanding General, III Armored Corps and
Commanding General, Fort Hood
 
Major General
Sean C. Bernabe
 
U.S. Army
Confirmed by the Senate
28 April 2022[20][21]
Scheduled to assume office
4 October 2022[22][23]
United States Marine Corps
Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Marine Corps Training and Education Command (TECOM)
 
Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (DC M&RA)
 
Major General
James F. Glynn
 
U.S. Marine Corps
Confirmed by the Senate
29 September 2022[11][24]
United States Navy
In transit
 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5)
 
Vice Admiral
Eugene H. Black III
 
U.S. Navy
Confirmed by the Senate
23 June 2022[25][26]
Scheduled to assume office
7 October 2022[8]
United States Air Force
Vice Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
 
Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)
 
Lieutenant General
Tony D. Bauernfeind
 
U.S. Air Force
Confirmed by the Senate
1 August 2022[27][28]

Statutory limitsEdit

 
Lt. Gen. James M. Rockwell is pinned with his third star during his promotion ceremony at the Pentagon, June 29, 1984.

As with four-star officers, the U.S. Code explicitly limits the number of three-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 231 for the Army, 162 for the Navy, 198 for the Air Force, and 62 for the Marine Corps.[29] From December 31, 2022, the cap will be reduced further to 220 for the Army, 151 for the Navy, 187 for the Air Force, and 62 for the Marine Corps.[30] For the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force, no more than about 21%[c] of each service's active-duty general or flag officers may have more than two stars,[31] and statute sets the total number of three-star officers allowed in each service.[31] This is set at 38 three-star Army generals,[31][d] 27 three-star Navy admirals,[31][e] 30 three-star Air Force generals,[31][f] 15 three-star Marine generals[31][g] and 5 three-star Space Force generals.[h]

 
Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, updates the media at a briefing on Operation Odyssey Dawn from the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2011.

While a number of these positions are set by statute, most do not have the accompanying statutory three-star grade. By convention, however:

 
Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting has his third star pinned on by his family during his promotion ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, October 21, 2020.
  • For the Space Force, lieutenant generals constitute the deputy chiefs of staff of the Space Staff and commanders of high-level field commands.
  • For the Coast Guard, vice admirals constitute the deputy commandants for operations and mission support,[51] as well as the operational area commanders of the Atlantic and Pacific region.[51] By statute, there may not be more than five three-star positions in the Coast Guard[52] and, if there are five, one must be the chief of staff of the Coast Guard.[52]
  • For the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the surgeon general of the United States is a three-star vice admiral by statute, equivalent in grade to the surgeon general of the Army.[53]

The President may also designate positions of importance and responsibility to other agencies in the executive branch aside from the Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to be held by an officer with the grade of vice admiral, with corresponding pay and allowance.[52]

ExceptionsEdit

Exceptions exist that allow for the promotion of three-star officers beyond statutory limits. The secretary of defense can designate up to 49[i] three-star officers,[29] who do not count against any service's general- or flag-officer limit,[29] to serve in one of several joint positions.[54] For three-star officers, these may include senior positions on the Joint Staff such as the director of the Joint Staff,[55] vice chief of the National Guard Bureau,[56] and deputy commanders of unified combatant commands. Officers serving in certain intelligence positions are not counted against statutory limit, including the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency,[57] associate director for military affairs of the Central Intelligence Agency,[57] and the advisor for military affairs to the director of National Intelligence.[54][57] The President may also add up to 15 three-star slots to one service if they are offset by removing an equivalent number from other services.[31] Finally, all statutory limits may be waived at the President's discretion during time of war or national emergency.[58]

AppointmentEdit

 
Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in Washington D.C. on February 4, 2014.

Like four-star ranks, three-star ranks are temporary in nature, being tied to positions where the officeholder is authorized to assume said rank.[59] The officeholder's rank expires with the expiration of their term of office, which is normally set by statute.[59] The president nominates three-star officers from any eligible officers holding a one-star grade and above who also meets the other requirements for the position, under the advice and/or suggestion of their respective executive department secretary, service secretary, and if applicable the joint chiefs.[59] The nominee must be confirmed via majority by the Senate before the appointee can take office and thus assume the rank.[59] The Senate (normally in committee[j]) may hold hearings to consider any nominee for appointment to three-star grade,[60] but usually only convene for nominations of selected four-star positions.

While it is rare for three-star or four-star nominations to face even token opposition in the Senate, nominations that do face opposition due to controversy surrounding the nominee in question are typically withdrawn.[61]

 
Maj. Gen. Scott D. Berrier presents a Buffalo Soldier statue to Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, during the Intelligence Senior Leaders Conference (ISLC) at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, December 9, 2015.
  • For example, the nomination of Major General Ryan F. Gonsalves to be commanding general of U.S. Army Europe in 2017 was withdrawn[62] after an investigation was launched into the general's inappropriate comment to a female Congressional staffer.[63]
  • The President withdrew the nomination of Lieutenant General Susan J. Helms to become vice commander of Air Force Space Command in 2013 after eight months of inaction in the Senate,[66] owing to concerns[67] about her overturning the ruling in a sexual assault case under her command.[68][69]
  • Lieutenant General Mary A. Legere was widely considered a leading candidate to succeed Michael T. Flynn as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, but her name was removed from consideration[70] following House backlash over her involvement in several controversial Army intelligence projects.[71]
  • Major General Raphael J. Hallada was withdrawn from consideration to become commanding general of Fifth Army in 1991,[72][73] relating to a decision he made not to prosecute the two soldiers responsible for an artillery accident at his command of Fort Sill.[74][75]
  • And Rear Admiral Elizabeth A. Hight's nomination to be director of the Defense Information Systems Agency in 2008 was withdrawn[79] due to concerns about a possible conflict of interest with her husband, a retired Air Force general who was employed by a prominent Defense contractor.[80]
 
Vice Adm. Scott Stearney (left) relieves Vice Adm. John C. Aquilino (right) as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command on May 6, 2018.

Nominations that are not withdrawn are allowed to expire without action at the end of the legislative session, with said nominations being returned to the President.[61][60]

  • The nomination of Rear Admiral Thomas P. Ostebo for promotion to vice admiral and assignment as deputy commandant for mission support of the Coast Guard in 2014[84] was returned to the President,[85] due to a hold from a senator who opposed the closure of two Coast Guard facilities in response to sequestration cuts.[86]

Additionally, events that take place after Senate confirmation may still delay or even prevent the nominee from assuming office, necessitating that another nominee be selected and considered by the Senate. Even after the nominee assumes command, various events can occur that alter his or her circumstances in holding the office.

  • For example, Major General John G. Rossi, who had been confirmed for appointment as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in April 2016[87][88] committed suicide two days before his scheduled promotion.[89] As a result, the incumbent commander, Lieutenant General David L. Mann, remained in command beyond statutory term limits until another nominee, Major General James H. Dickinson was confirmed by the Senate.[90]
  • Vice Admiral Scott A. Stearney assumed command of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Fifth Fleet, and Combined Maritime Forces in May 2018.[91] His death in December 2018 resulted in the speedy confirmation[92] of Rear Admiral James J. Malloy in the same month for appointment to three-star rank as his replacement.[93]

Command elevation and reductionEdit

 
Lt. Gen. Thomas J. Plewes (center), following his promotion ceremony, stands with living former chiefs of the Army Reserve on June 13, 2001.
 
Lt. Gen. Kevin M. Iiams stands at attention during the TECOM change of command ceremony on Aug. 2, 2021.
 
Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh (left) is relieved as AETC commander by Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson (right) on July 21, 2015.

Any billet in the armed forces may be designated as a position of importance requiring the holder of the position to be of three-star or four-star rank.[59] One-star and two-star billets may be elevated to three-star or four-star level as appropriate, either by act of Congress, or within statutory limits by the services at their discretion. Congress may propose such elevations or reductions to the President and U.S. Department of Defense.[94] Due to the higher number of three-star appointments available by statute compared to four-star appointments, shuffling of such billets within services and between services occurs at a relatively steady pace, with significant changes on average every two to three years, compared to those at four-star grade which shuffle on average every four to five years.

The existing commander of a lower-level command or office elevated to three-star rank can be appointed to grade in their present position, reassigned to another office of equal grade, or face retirement if another nominee is selected as their relief.

  • For example, Major General Scott C. Black became judge advocate general of the Army in October 2005. With the elevation of the office to three-star rank in 2008, Black was nominated for promotion to lieutenant general,[95] and assumed said rank in December 2008.
  • Vice Admiral Henry H. Mauz Jr., commander of U.S. Seventh Fleet, was dual-hatted as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in August 1990.[96] The incumbent commander, Captain Robert Sutton did not receive appointment to three-star grade and was thus reassigned as commander of the U.S. Naval Logistics Support Force under Mauz's command.[97]

A two-star billet may be elevated to three-star level, in accordance to being designated as a position of importance, to highlight importance to the defense apparatus as a whole or achieve parity with equivalent commands in the same area of responsibility or service branch.

A four-star billet may also be reduced to three-star level, usually to compensate for another billet being elevated to four-star level and thus remain within statutory limits. Congressional approval must be obtained if it is determined that a new three-star appointment beyond statutory limits is necessary.

Tour lengthEdit

 
Incoming surgeon general Vivek Murthy is pinned with his vice admiral's rank insignia by his sister Rashimi as Vice President Joe Biden looks on at his swearing-in ceremony at Conmy Hall, April 22, 2015.

The standard tour length for a three-star officer is three years, specifically a two-year term with a one-year extension. Unlike with grade, many three-star positions do have stipulated term lengths in the U.S. Code, which may not necessarily equate to the standard term length:

  • Deputy commanders of unified combatant commands, as a joint duty assignment, serve for one to two years.
  • Inspectors general of the Army, Navy, and Air Force serve for a nominal four-year term.
  • Judge advocates general of the Army, Navy, and Air Force serve for a nominal four-year term.
  • Three-star chiefs of service reserve components serve for a nominal four-year term in office, but may serve for up to eight years if reappointed to serve for a second term. Typically, a reserve component chief serves for two to three years.
  • Three-star chiefs of Army branches,[q] (except the judge advocate general) serve for a nominal four-year term.[36]
  • Heads of service academies[r] serve for a nominal three-year term, though it is common for them to serve for four to five years.
  • The surgeon general of the United States serves for a nominal four-year term.[113]

All appointees serve 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.[114][115] Three-star ranks may also be given by act of Congress but this is extremely rare.

RetirementEdit

 
Gen. Mark A. Milley, Army chief of staff, presents Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen with a certificate authorizing his presentation of the Army Distinguished Service Medal at Caslen's relinquishment of command ceremony on June 22, 2018.
 
Lt. Gen. Ronald C. Marcotte (right), is presented his formal retirement certificate by Gen. John W. Handy (left), during his retirement ceremony held at Heritage Park on March 8, 2002.

Besides voluntary retirement, statute sets a number of mandates for retirement. A three-star officer may serve for a maximum of 38 years of commissioned service unless reappointed to grade to serve longer or appointed to a higher grade.[118] Three-star officers on reserve active duty must retire after five years in grade or 30 days after completion of 38 years of commissioned service, whichever is later, unless reappointed to grade to serve longer.[119] Three-star reserve officers of the Army and Air Force can have their retirements deferred by their service secretary until the officer's 66th birthday,[120] which the secretary of defense may do for all active-duty officers,[121] and the president can defer it until the officer's 68th birthday.[121] Otherwise all general and flag officers must retire the month after their 64th birthday.[121] Officers that served several years in the enlisted ranks prior to receiving their commission typically don't make it to the 38 years in commission mark, because they are still subject to the age restrictions for retirement. As holders of the second-highest grade, three-star officers rarely receive deferment to serve beyond their 64th birthday, a more common case for officers who are promoted to four-star rank.

 
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark (left), delivers remarks at the retirement ceremony of Vice Adm. Patricia Tracey (center), as she listens in on September 2, 2004.

By statute, any three-star officer assigned as superintendent of the United States Military Academy,[122] superintendent of the United States Naval Academy,[123] and superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy[124] must retire upon completion of their assignment,[125][123][126] unless a waiver is granted by the secretary of defense[127][128][129] with the approval of the House and Senate Armed Services committees,[127][128][129] and a written notification of intent from the president to nominate the officer for reassignment.[127][128][129]

  • Lieutenant General Sidney Bryan Berry is the last superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy not subject to the mandates for retirement, serving as commanding general of V Corps from 1977 to 1980 after his tenure as superintendent from 1974 to 1976.[130] His successor, General Andrew J. Goodpaster is the latest retired officer recalled to serve as superintendent, serving from 1977 to 1981.
  • Rear Admiral Thomas C. Lynch is the last superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy not subject to the mandates for retirement, serving as director of the Navy staff from 1994 to 1995 after his tenure as superintendent from 1991 to 1994. His successor, Admiral Charles R. Larson is the last four-star admiral to serve as superintendent, from 1994 to 1998.[131]
  • Major General Robert E. Kelley is the last superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy not subject to the mandates for retirement, serving as the vice commander of Tactical Air Command from 1983 to 1986 after his tenure as superintendent from 1981 to 1983.
 
Outgoing Coast Guard vice commandant, Vice Adm. John P. Currier is thanked by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson at his retirement ceremony on May 20, 2014.

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. The higher number of available three-star slots overall (ranging from around 100 to 200) means that lateral promotion is more likely for officers at grade before they either retire or are appointed to a higher grade.[s] An officer who vacates a position bearing that rank has no more than 60 days to be appointed or reappointed to a position of equal or greater importance, including positions of four-star grade, before involuntary retirement.[59]

  • For example, Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum was appointed as deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command in 2009. The incumbent deputy commander, Lieutenant General William G. Webster Jr., was appointed as commanding general of U.S. Army Central, whose incumbent commanding general, Lieutenant General James J. Lovelace Jr., received no further appointment and retired at the age of 60, with 39 years of service and six years in grade.
  • Rear Admiral Ronald A. Route was promoted to vice admiral and appointed as naval inspector general in 2004. The incumbent inspector general, Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, was appointed as director of the Navy staff, whose incumbent director, Vice Admiral Patricia A. Tracey, received no further appointment and retired at the age of 52, with 34 years of service and six years in grade.
  • Major General William H. Etter was promoted to lieutenant general and appointed as commander of First Air Force in 2013. The incumbent commander, Lieutenant General Stanley E. Clarke III, was appointed as director of the Air National Guard, whose incumbent director, Lieutenant General Harry M. Wyatt III, received no further appointment and retired at the age of 63, with 42 years of service and four years in grade.
  • Rear Admiral Steven D. Poulin was promoted to vice admiral and appointed as commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area in 2020. The incumbent commander, Vice Admiral Scott A. Buschman, was appointed as deputy commandant for operations; the incumbent deputy commandant, Vice Admiral Daniel B. Abel, received no further appointment and retired at the age of 59, with 37 years of service and two years in grade.
 
From left to right: Debbie Paxton; Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn; and the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., pose for a photo after Flynn's retirement ceremony, May 9, 2013.

A three-star officer may also be reduced to their permanent rank pending circumstances that delay appointment to another three-star position of importance. Historically, officers leaving three-star or 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, Lieutenant General Timothy J. Kadavy reverted to his permanent rank of major general while awaiting confirmation as vice chief of the National Guard Bureau in 2019,[132] as he had not been assigned to another three-star position within 60 days of his relief as director of the Army National Guard.[t] After his nomination was returned to the president without action,[133] he was certified to retire as a lieutenant general in 2020.[134]
  • Vice Admiral John Poindexter reverted to his permanent rank of rear admiral in 1986, as he was not appointed by the Senate to another three-star post within 90 days after resigning as national security advisor to the President due to controversy surrounding the Iran-Contra scandal,[135] and was reassigned to the Navy staff[136] until retirement in 1987. His request to retire as a vice admiral[137] was deferred by the secretary of the Navy due to expected congressional opposition.[136]
 
Lt. Gen. Lawson W. Magruder III accepts a shell casing from a U.S. Army military police honor guard officer at his retirement ceremony, February 27, 2003.

To retire at three-star grade, an officer must accumulate at least three years of satisfactory active-duty service in that grade, as determined by the secretary of defense.[138] The president and Congress must also receive certification by either the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, or the secretary of defense that the retiree served satisfactorily in grade.[138] The secretary of defense may reduce this requirement to two years, but only if the officer is not being investigated for misconduct.[139] The president may also reduce these requirements even further, or waive the requirements altogether, if he so chooses.[138][139] Three-star officers who do not meet the service-in-grade requirement will retire at the last permanent rank satisfactorily held for six months.[138] The retiree may also be subject to congressional approval by the Senate before the retiree can retire in grade.[u] It is extraordinarily rare for a three-star or four-star officer not to be certified to retire in grade or for the Senate to seek final approval.

  • For example, Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft was certified by the Senate in 1975 to retire as a lieutenant general[140] despite holding said rank for only a year as national security advisor to the President. Scowcroft could have been reappointed to grade to serve as national security advisor while on active duty, but instead held the office as a civilian.[141]
  • Lieutenant General Craig A. Franklin retired on April 1, 2014,[142] with two years and two days in grade, in response to charges of partiality in overseeing cases of sexual assault in Third Air Force.[143] Despite not being penalized for misconduct, his retirement before accumulating statutory time in grade resulted in his reduction to major general on the retired list.[144]
  • Lieutenant General Ronald F. Lewis was relieved as senior military assistant to the secretary of defense on November 12, 2015, with approximately four months in grade.[145] He subsequently reverted to his permanent rank of major general[v] pending an investigation by the Department of Defense inspector general[146] for misconduct.[147] His certification of satisfactory service as a major general was revoked,[148] thus reducing his retirement rank to brigadier general.[149]
 
Gen. Lew Allen, Air Force chief of staff, presents the Defense Distinguished Service Medal to Lt. Gen. Benjamin N. Bellis during his retirement ceremony on July 17, 1981.

Officers who are under investigation for misconduct typically are not allowed to retire until the investigation completes, so that the secretary of defense can decide whether to certify that their performance was satisfactory enough to retire in their highest grade.[138]

  • For example, Lieutenant General Lee K. Levy II relinquished his three-star command in 2018,[150] but remained on active duty for over a year after his retirement ceremony[151] in his permanent rank of major general[w] pending an investigation by the Air Force inspector general,[152] before being allowed to retire as a major general.[153]
  • Vice Admiral Michael H. Miller relinquished his three-star command as scheduled in 2014,[154] but remained on active duty for almost a year in his permanent grade of rear admiral[x] while under investigation for the Fat Leonard corruption scandal.[155] He was permitted to retire at three-star grade after being censured by the secretary of the Navy.[156]

Furthermore, all retired officers may still be subjected to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and disciplinary action, including reduction in retirement rank, by the secretary of defense or the president if they are deemed to have served unsatisfactorily in rank, post their retirement.[157]

  • Lieutenant General Philip R. Kensinger Jr., who retired from the Army as a lieutenant general, faced court martial and demotion[158] nearly two years after his retirement date of February 1, 2006,[159] for making false statements regarding the Pat Tillman friendly fire incident.[160] He was allowed to retain his three-star rank[161] after the secretary of the Army opted not to pursue the heavier punishment, instead issuing Kensinger an official reprimand and censure.[161]

Officers holding a temporary three-star or four-star rank 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, Lieutenant General Donald C. Wurster was relieved as commander of Air Force Special Operations Command on June 24, 2011,[162] and held his retirement ceremony the same day, but remained on active duty until his official retirement date on August 1, 2011.

A statutory limit can be waived by the president with the consent of Congress if it serves national interest. However, this is extremely rare. Only two four-star officers have been granted such a waiver in American history: General Lewis B. Hershey, who served as director of the Selective Service System from 1941 to 1970, and Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, who served as director of Naval Reactors from 1949 to 1982.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ First joint assignments, then service assignments ordered identically to the above list.
  2. ^ An officer being reappointed to three-star grade takes precedence over a two-star officer being selected for promotion to three-star grade.
  3. ^ Dividing the total number of general and flag officers above two stars (138) from the total number of general and flag officers overall (653) is 21.13%.
  4. ^ The remainder after subtracting the allotted number of 8 four-star generals from the 46 permitted appointment above the grade of major general.
  5. ^ The remainder after subtracting the allotted number of 6 four-star admirals from the 33 permitted appointment above the grade of rear admiral.
  6. ^ The remainder after subtracting the allotted number of 9 four-star generals and 5 three-star Space Force generals from the 44 permitted appointment above the grade of major general.
  7. ^ The remainder after subtracting the allotted number of 2 four-star generals from the 17 permitted appointment above the grade of major general.
  8. ^ Excluding joint duty assignments.
  9. ^ The remainder after subtracting 19 four-star officers from the 68 officers above two-star rank permitted exclusionary joint duty assignments is 49.
  10. ^ Department of Defense nominees are considered by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Coast Guard nominees are considered by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the director of the National Security Agency is considered by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
  11. ^ Rear Admiral John B. Totushek, chief of Navy Reserve, was promoted to vice admiral in June 2001.[99]
  12. ^ Major General James E. Sherrard III, chief of Air Force Reserve, was promoted to lieutenant general in May 2001.[100]
  13. ^ Major General Thomas J. Plewes, chief of Army Reserve, and Major General Roger C. Schultz, Army National Guard director were promoted to lieutenant general in June 2001.[101]
  14. ^ Major General Dennis M. McCarthy was promoted to lieutenant general on June 1, 2001, one day prior to assuming command of Marine Forces Reserve on June 2.[102]
  15. ^ Lieutenant General Daniel James III became the first three-star Air National Guard director in June 2002.[103]
  16. ^ as Air Training Command, before consolidating with the Air University
  17. ^ Refers to the chief of engineers and surgeon general
  18. ^ Refers to the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, and U.S. Air Force Academy. The superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy is a two-star office.
  19. ^ This is less likely for officers in specialized career paths, as few appointments at that level exist for them to occupy. A majority of these appointments are the singular leadership positions of the career path, such as the Judge Advocate General of the Navy which is the highest position a Navy judge advocate can attain.
  20. ^ Served as a special assistant to the chief of the National Guard Bureau from 2019 to 2020 as a major general.
  21. ^ The U.S. Constitution gives Congress oversight over retirement of military personnel if they so choose.
  22. ^ Served as a special assistant to the vice chief of staff of the Army as a major general from 2015 to his retirement in 2016.
  23. ^ Served as a special assistant to the Air Force vice chief of staff as a major general from 2018 to his retirement in 2019.
  24. ^ Served as a special assistant to the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy as a rear admiral from 2014 to his retirement in 2015.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "EC4697 — Executive Communication, 117th Congress (2021-2022)". U.S. Congress. 2022-07-28. Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  2. ^ "Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense (JFCC IMD)". Archived from the original on 2021-05-04. Retrieved 2021-05-04.
  3. ^ "PN2510 — Lt. Gen. James E. Rainey — Army, 117th Congress (2021-2022)". U.S. Congress. 2022-09-29. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  4. ^ Stoner, Cameron (2021-09-11). "Submarine Force Holds Change of Command". DVIDS.
  5. ^ "PN2403 — Lt. Gen. Bradley C. Saltzman — Space Force, 117th Congress (2021-2022)". U.S. Congress. 2022-09-29. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  6. ^ "PN2669 — Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey — Navy, 117th Congress (2021-2022)". U.S. Congress. 2022-09-22. Retrieved 2022-09-23.
  7. ^ "Flag Officer Announcement". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
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