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Admiral (United States)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flag of a United States Navy admiral.svg
Flag of an admiral of the Unrestricted Line, United States Navy.
US Navy O10 insignia.svg
The stars, shoulder boards, and sleeve stripes of a U.S. Navy admiral of the "line".
Country United States of America
Service branch
NATO rankOF-9
Non-NATO rankO-10
FormationJuly 25, 1866
Next higher rankFleet admiral
Next lower rankVice admiral
Equivalent ranksGeneral (Uniformed services of the United States)

Admiral (abbreviated as ADM) is a four-star commissioned naval flag officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, 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 Service do not have an established grade above admiral. Admiral is equivalent to the rank of general in the other uniformed services. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps has never had an officer hold the grade of admiral. However, 37 U.S.C. § 201 of the U.S. Code established the grade for the NOAA Corps, in case a position is created that merits the four-star grade.

Since the five-star grade of fleet admiral has not been used since 1946, the grade of admiral is effectively the highest appointment an officer can achieve in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ US Nimitz Class vs Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier - Military / Navy Comparison
  • ✪ THIS WILL CHANGE YOU! Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven [MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH]
  • ✪ Admiral Scott H. Swift, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet address at ANU
  • ✪ Fleet Design in the Current Environment with Admiral Philip Davidson
  • ✪ Admiral Cecil D. Haney, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command


It is imperative for powerful countries to showcase their strength, and nations often like to flex their military might like bodybuilders posing in a mirror. And, why not? What would be the point of keeping such strength a secret? We thought it would be cool to compare the main aircraft carriers operating in the two most prominent navies of the world; The United States and Russia. Let’s take a closer look at these giants of the sea in this episode of The Infographics Show, The United States’ Nimitz Class vs Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov. The United States has a total of 10 identical aircraft carriers that all fall under the designation “Nimitz Class.” The USS Nimitz (CVN 68) was the first of the crew, deployed in 1975. The Russian aircraft carrier, named Admiral Kuznetsov, was launched in 1985 and is Russia’s only one. A sister ship for the Russian carrier, named the Varyag, was in the works, but the hull ended up being sold to China. It currently lives on in China’s navy as the Liaoning. Talk about playing for another team! Each country's aircraft carrier was built for slightly different reasons. The Nimitz class vessels were built primarily as a home for American aircrafts, while Admiral Kuznetsov was built to be its own offensive power in Russia’s navy. Due to their slightly different purposes, a direct comparison should be taken with a tiny grain of salt, but we’re going to pepper you with some more stats, nonetheless! The armaments for the Nimitz class carriers include several NATO Sea Sparrow, Phalanx CIWS and Rolling Airframe Missile mounts. Admiral Kuznetsov, on the other hand, is armed with ASW rocket systems, SA-N-9 “Gauntlet” eight-round vertical SAM launchers, combined gun/missile systems with twin 30mm Gatling guns, and SA-N-11 “Grison” missiles. The United States Nimitz Class carriers have a length of about 1,092 feet (333 meters), while The Admiral has a length of about 999 feet (305 meters), making it just a little bit shorter than its American counterpart. The American carriers have a beam of about 134 feet (41 meters), and weigh approximately 97,000 tons. The Russian carrier has a beam of 121 feet (37 meters) and weighs about 67,000 tons. Basically it's the reverse of Rocky IV, with Russia having a Rocky Balboa against the United States’ fleet of Ivan Dragos. The two nations have very different focuses when it comes to powering their ships. Admiral Kuznetsov is primarily powered by 8 turbo pressurized boilers, 4 turbines, 9 turbogenerators, and 6 diesel generators, while each Nimitz Class carrier is equipped with and powered by two nuclear reactors and four shafts located on board. Both the Nimitz Class carriers and the Admiral have speeds of around 30 knots, or about 34 miles per hour. Admiral Kuznetsov typically carries around 40 aircraft and has a crew of about 2,000. Each of the Nimitz Class carriers has about 60 flying vessels on them and crews upwards of 5,000. While the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and the Nimitz class carriers are the current aircraft carrier leaders in their respective country’s navies, it should be noted that the United States is in the works of replacing their Nimitz class ships with an improved fleet of Gerald R. Ford class carriers. The United States Navy recently reported that the first of its class is 98% complete, and it is set to be delivered sometime in 2017. This new class of carriers has many similarities with the older Nimitz class, but each of the newer carriers will save the United States $4 billion in total ownership costs during their 50-year service life. To put that in perspective, each ship would be saving the equivalent of over 83,000 Unites States salaries, based off the average wage of $48,098.63 for Americans in 2015. That’s quite a lot of cheddar, or in this case, Cap’n Crunch might be more appropriate! The new Gerald R. Ford class carriers also have the added benefits of operating with almost 700 fewer crew members than the carriers before, reduced standing and maintenance workload for the crew, and improved corrosion control throughout the ship. The Gerald R. Ford will be the first aircraft carrier designed with all electric utilities and will have better striking power than the older carriers. The seas of our world are about to have some shiny, new American ships on ‘em! We hope you enjoyed this comparison of The United States’ Nimitz Class aircraft carriers vs Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov. Do you think America really needs 10 aircraft carriers at $4.5 billion each, or is Russia making the right decision by sticking to just one? Let us know in the comments! And if you enjoy our videos and want to help us continue to make more of them, please head on over to our Patreon and show us some love; we’ll be sure to include your names in our next episode. Don’t forget to give this video a like, share with your friends, and make sure to subscribe so you can keep up with our show! Subtitles by the community



Formally, the term “Admiral” is always used when referring to a four-star admiral. However, a number of different terms may be used to refer to them informally, since lower-ranking admirals may also be referred to as simply “Admiral”. These may include “Full Admiral”, “Four-star Admiral” (or simply four-star), or “O-10” (in reference to pay grade).


The United States Navy did not have any admirals until 1862, because many people felt the title too reminiscent of royalty—such as the British Royal Navy—to be used in the country's navy.[1] Others saw the need for ranks above captain, among them John Paul Jones, who pointed out that the Navy had to have officers who "ranked" with army generals.[1] He also felt there must be ranks above captain to avoid disputes among senior captains.[1] The various secretaries of the navy repeatedly recommended to Congress that admiral ranks be created because the other navies of the world used them and American senior officers were "often subjected to serious difficulties and embarrassments in the interchange of civilities with those of other nations."[1] Congress finally authorized nine rear admirals on July 16, 1862, although that was probably more for the needs of the rapidly expanding navy during the American Civil War than any international considerations.[1] Two years later, Congress authorized the appointment of a vice admiral from among the nine rear admirals: David Farragut.[1] Another bill allowed the President of the United States to appoint Farragut to admiral on July 25, 1866, and David Dixon Porter to vice admiral.[1] When Farragut died in 1870, Porter became admiral and Stephen C. Rowan was promoted to vice admiral.[1] Even after they died, Congress did not allow the promotion of any of the rear admirals to succeed them, so there were no more admirals or vice admirals by promotion until 1915 when Congress authorized an admiral and a vice admiral each for the Atlantic, Pacific and Asiatic Fleets.[1]

There was one admiral in the interim, however. In 1899, Congress recognized George Dewey's accomplishments during the Spanish–American War by authorizing the President to appoint him Admiral of the Navy.[1] He held that rank until he died in 1917. Nobody has since held that title. In 1944, Congress approved the five-star grade of fleet admiral.[1] The first to hold it were William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, and Chester W. Nimitz.[1] The Senate confirmed their appointments December 15, 1944.[1] Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey got his fifth star in December 1945. None have been appointed since.

The sleeve stripes now used by admirals and vice admirals in the United States date from March 11, 1869, when General Order Number 90 specified that for their "undress" uniforms admirals would wear a two-inch stripe with three half-inch stripes above it and vice admirals the two-inch stripe with two half-inch stripes above it.[1] The rear admiral got his two-inch stripe and one half-inch stripe in 1866.[1]

The sleeve stripes had been more elaborate. When the rear admiral rank started in 1862 the sleeve arrangement was three stripes of three-quarter-inch lace alternating with three stripes of quarter-inch lace.[1] It was some ten inches from top to bottom.[1] The vice admiral, of course, had even more stripes and when Farragut became admiral in 1866, he had so many stripes they reached from his cuffs almost to his elbow.[1] On their dress uniforms the admirals wore bands of gold embroidery of live oak leaves and acorns.[1]

The admirals of the 1860s wore the same number of stars on their shoulders as admirals of corresponding grades do today.[1] In 1899, the navy's one admiral (Dewey) and 18 rear admirals put on the new shoulder marks, as did the other officers when wearing their white uniforms, but kept their stars instead of repeating the sleeve cuff stripes.[1]

During the 20th century, the ranks of the modern U.S. admiralty were firmly established. An oddity that did exist was that the navy did not have a one-star rank except briefly during World War II when Congress established a temporary war rank of commodore. The one-star rank was later established permanently in 1986.

Statutory limits

U.S. law limits the number of four-star admirals that may be on active duty at any time. The total number of active-duty flag officers is capped at 160 for the Navy.[2] For the Army, Navy, and Air Force, no more than about 25% of the service's active-duty general or flag officers may have more than two stars,[3] and statute sets the total number of four-star officers allowed in each service.[3] This is set at 6 four-star Navy admirals.[3]

Some of these slots are reserved by statute. For the Navy, the chief of naval operations, vice chief of naval operations; for the Coast Guard the commandant of the coast guard [4] and vice commandant of the coast guard are admirals; for the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the Assistant Secretary for Health [5] is an admiral if he or she holds an appointment to the regular corps.

There are several exceptions to these limits allowing more than allotted within the statute. A Navy admiral serving as Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff does not count against the Navy's flag-officer cap. A Navy admiral serving in one of several joint positions does not count against his or her service's four-star limit; these positions include the commander of a unified combatant command, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, and the deputy commander of U.S. European Command but only if the commander of that command is also the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.[6] Officers serving in certain intelligence positions are not counted against either limit, including the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[7] The President may also add admirals to the Navy if they are offset by removing an equivalent number of four-stars from other services.[3] Finally, all statutory limits may be waived at the President's discretion during time of war or national emergency.[8]

Appointment and tour length

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 the officer to hold such a rank.[9] Their rank expires with the expiration of their term of office, which is usually set by statute.[9] Admirals are nominated for appointment by the President from any eligible officers holding the rank of rear admiral (lower half) or above, who also meets the requirements for the position, under the advice and/or suggestion of their respective department secretary, service secretary, and if applicable the joint chiefs.[9] For some specific positions, statute allows the President to waive those requirements for a nominee whom he deems would serve national interests.[10] The nominee must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate before the appointee can take office and thus assume the rank.[9] 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:

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 under the U.S. Code can be waived in times of national emergency or war. Admiral ranks may also be given by act of Congress but this is extremely rare.[citation needed]


Other than voluntary retirement, statute sets a number of mandates for retirement. Four-star officers must retire after 40 years of service unless reappointed to grade to serve longer.[11] Otherwise all flag officers must retire the month after their 64th birthday.[12] However, the Secretary of Defense can defer a four-star officer's retirement until the officer's 66th birthday [12] and the President can defer it until the officer's 68th birthday.[12]

Flag 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.[citation needed] Since there are a limited number of four-star slots available to each service, typically one officer must leave office before another can be promoted.[13] 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 importance before he or she must involuntarily retire.[9] 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.


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2007-10-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) - Naval traditions: Names of ranks
  2. ^ [1] 10 USC 526. Authorized strength: general and flag officers on active duty.
  3. ^ a b c d [2] 10 USC 525. Distribution of commissioned officers on active duty in general officer and flag officer grades.
  4. ^ [3] 14 USC 44. Commandant; appointment.
  5. ^ [4] 42 USC 207. Grades, ranks, and titles of commissioned corps.
  6. ^ [5] 10 USC 604. Senior joint-officer positions: recommendations to the Secretary of Defense.
  7. ^ [6] 10 USC 528. Officers serving in certain intelligence positions: military status; exclusion from distribution and strength limitations; pay and allowances.
  8. ^ [7] 10 USC 527. Authority to suspend sections 523, 525, and 526.
  9. ^ a b c d e [8] 10 USC 601. Positions of importance and responsibility: generals and lieutenant generals; admirals and vice admirals.
  10. ^ [9] 10 164. Commanders of combatant commands: assignment; powers and duties
  11. ^ [10] 10 USC 636. Retirement for years of service: regular officers in grades above brigadier general and rear admiral (lower half).
  12. ^ a b c [11] 10 USC 1253 Age 64: regular commissioned officers in general and flag officer grades; exception
  13. ^ [12] DoD News Briefing on Thursday, June 6, 1996. Retirement of Admiral Leighton W. Smith Jr.
This page was last edited on 23 April 2019, at 05:34
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