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Four-star rank

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A US general's rank insignia[a]
A US general's rank insignia[a]

A four-star rank is the rank of any four-star officer described by the NATO OF-9 code. Four-star officers are often the most senior commanders in the armed services, having ranks such as (full) admiral, (full) general, or air chief marshal. This designation is also used by some armed forces that are not North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members.

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  • ✪ A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General
  • ✪ General Ann Dunwoody - Former Commanding General of U.S. Army Materiel Command


>> David Ferriero: Good afternoon to all of you here in the William G. McGowan Theater and those of you who are joining us on our YouTube channel and special welcome to our friends viewing us on C-SPAN. I'm David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States. And it is a real treat to have you here in my house this afternoon. Today we have a guest author, a woman who made her history during 27 plus years in the United States Army and tells us about in her new book, "A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General." The book draws on our military experience to provide insights to large organizations of any kind so they can remain relevant and meet the challenges of the future. Before we begin with today's program, I'd like to tell you about two programs coming up soon in this theater. On Tuesday, May 5th at noon, our guest will be Robert Grenier, former CIA station chief in Islamabad who will discuss his book, "88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary." In the book, Grenier describes the problems he faced as he directed the first Afghan war, the CIA's war in response to 9/11. And a book signing will follow that lecture. Thursday, May 7th at 7:00 p.m., we'll present "Lincoln and the Jews, A History." Jonathon Sarna will tell the story of Abraham Lincoln's relationship with Jews in America, befriended Jews and appointed them to public office and had Jewish advisors and supporters during his presidential campaigns. And a book signing will also provide that program. If you want to know more about these programs and all exhibitions, pick up a copy of our monthly calendar events. There are copies in the lobby as well as a sign-up sheet or you can receive it in physical mail or email. Another way to get more involved in the National Archives is to become a member of the foundation for the National Archives. The foundation supports all of our education and outreach activities and there are also applications for membership in the lobby. Our guest today, General Ann Dunwoody, has scored a number of firsts. She is the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve the four-star rank. She was the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd airborne division. She was Fort Bragg's first female general officer and command the combined support command. Now retired, she was in charge of the largest global logistics command in the Army comprising of 59,000 military and civilians located in all 50 states and more than 140 countries. She managed a budget of $60 billion. I'm jealous. And was responsible for oversight of approximately $70 billion in service contracts. Army chief of Staff Ordeorna called Ann quite simply the best logistician the Army has ever have. And she passes on skills in her new book. Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute has said that Ann's book shows that the General's commitment and zeal for service haven't ended with her military retirement. And retired Army General Stanley McCrystal, author of "My Share of the Task and Team of Teams," calls the book an inspirational guidebook for anyone trying to make their team or organization better. Please welcome Ann Dunwoody. (applause). >> Ann Dunwoody: Well, good afternoon. Good afternoon. >> Good afternoon. (laughter). >> Ann Dunwoody: I want to start by saying thanks for the invitation to be here with you today. I know this great institution is such an integral part of our free society, a place where ideas of every variety and expression from historical documents from our founding fathers to my humble presentation today find a home. In the military, I didn't spend my time in the city. That less impressive building on the other side of the river, known to us as the Pentagon is where I spent my time. David, thank you for that kind introduction. If my mom was here, she would have believed every word of it. My brothers and sisters, on the other hand, would be wondering who the heck you're talking about. Now, I really appreciate the opportunity to be here today to introduce my new book, "The Higher Standard." Over two years in the making, over 40 years of living. I'm just curious to know, how many of you have written a book? How many of you are thinking of writing a book? These words are for you. For the ones that have completed a book, congratulations, because I now know how hard that is. For those who are thinking about it, you might want to talk to those who have before you dig in because quite frankly I never thought I was going to write a book. And when I was selected to promotion for general, writing a book almost seemed to be a foregone conclusion because everywhere I went people said "when are you going to tell your story, when are you going to write your book?" And over time, this reluctant author had to admit that I did have a unique vantage point and also had a great story to tell. But writing a book is no cake walk. It is no easy task. It takes a serious commitment, a personal investment of time, your heart, and your soul. And without that personal investment, you may have a book. It's just a book. You might have your name on it. But it won't be yours. And shortly after I retired, I was approached by a very successful writer from Los Angeles who was very enthusiastic about telling my story and help me write the book. And he had helped one of my friends write his biography and his memoirs. When we talked, he was so enthusiastic to help me tell the story. He told me it would take 80, 100 hours of interviews. He would tape those interviews and that would be our source document. From there he would create chapters and then a proposal. Once the proposal was completed, we'd do the editing, send it out to literary agents, select a signature and hopefully sell the book to a publisher. Well, after that is correct he said writing the book, that would be relatively easy and we would be done in no time. Since he really did want to tell the story, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Anyone want to guess how that story ends? Well, the first draft and outline comes in. It was a proposal of a version of my life seen through someone else's eyes, someone else's voice, and I barely recognized myself as the main character. We tried again. Different approach, same result. And so the calendar pages kept turning. Deadlines approached. And I never thought we were any closer to writing a book. So my husband and I finally decided that there would be no book unless we wrote it. So we set out on our own personal journey joining hands with a different writer and different editor, Collins, to produce this book, a book in our own words, recounting our own experiences, and drawing our own conclusions. But I didn't want to write a biography or a memoir per se because this book really isn't about me. The story I wanted to share was about leadership. Today I want to talk a little bit about my journey and share some of the few leadership strategies that I believe contributed in some measure to my success and spur organizational change and improvement. And I want to share those experiences, obviously truncated from the book, that helped define those leadership lessons. And in the book, I tried to choose leadership lessons that were not only fundamental to my success but had the broadest applications to larger organizations, large, small, battlefields or board rooms, lessons for leaders who never wanted to stop learning. In "A Higher Standard," I tried to capture what I learned, how I learned it, and how these things made me a better leader. Now, this is not a book in how to become a General. I'm not sure I could write that book. Nor is it a book on the ten steps to being a good leader because I don't think there's any magic recipe for leadership. If there were, everyone would buy the recipe and that would be it. What I tried to do is share the leadership strategies supported by stories in my life that work for me with hopes that the others might find them useful in their lives and in their careers. It's based on things I learned as a kid, as an athlete, as a sibling, as a daughter, as a wife, as a soldier, as a business person, and as a leader. And my hope is that my remarks and this book will challenge people to dream big and find ways to make a difference, even in spite of obstacles, imperfect bosses, or traditions that have outlived our usefulness. Now, I chose "A Higher Standard" as a title because less than 1% of the American population will ever serve in the military. I think most citizens don't realize that men and women in uniform are held to a higher standard. In our profession, we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution. We're held to a strict code of conduct that governs our behavior in and out of uniform. And we have to meet certain standards in just about everything we do. And these standards range anywhere from adherence to strategic gent code of ethics, the military justice, the respect for authority and chain of command, to how fast you run, how many pushups you can do, and how you wear your uniform, including your hair, and how many times you can hit a target with a variety of weapons. But most importantly, the reason I chose" a Higher Standard "is because the good leaders that I served withheld themselves to higher standards. When I joined the Army, I just assumed that I was going to have to prove myself and exceed the standards to be accepted and I strove to do just that. But what I realized during my journey is that all the good leaders I served withheld themselves to a higher standard and they consistently applied leadership principles meant to improve, not degrade or debase. In the Army, we call it leading from the front. In the book, I spent some time talking about the difference between leaders and soldiers who just met the standards and those who always tried to exceed the standards. And it is kind of like the difference between being an A student and a C student, except in the Army lives depend on our performance and our leadership. The leader who is satisfied with just meeting the standard, never striving to a higher standard, will probably never lead a high-performing organization. Now, when I joined the Army back in 1975, I joined the Women's Army Corps. It was kind of like a separate branch for women who desired to serve. And to be honest, I never dreamed about joining the Army. I always knew from the time I was in elementary school that I was going to be a coach and a physical education teacher. As a kid, I was a tomboy. I don't even know if they use that word anymore. But I loved sports, and I went to one of the top physical education colleges in the country, Cortland in upstate New York. Now, during my junior year in college, the Army offered high-potential women $500 a month during their senior year in return for a two-year commitment and a commission as a second lieutenant. Well, 500 bucks was a lot of money back then. Even with five generations of West Pointers in my family, the thought of joining the Army had never crossed my mind. But it was an offer I couldn't refuse, so I joined and began my two-year journey in the Army. A two-year journey that turned into five years, ten years, 20 years and, yes, 38 years. So when people ask me if I always knew I was going to be a General, I tell them "not in my wildest dreams." When it happened, there was no one more surprised than I was, except, of course, my husband. And now you know why they say behind every successful woman, there's an astonished man. (laughter). In 2008, when the President of the United States nominated me for my fourth star, I was not prepared for the enormity of the event. It was a first, but I had been blessed with a lot of firsts in my life. But being nominated for four-star general was a different kind of first. And I didn't appreciate the significance of the promotion until the tidal wave of cards and letters and emails started coming my way. I heard from moms and dads who saw this promotion as a beacon of hope for their own daughters, an affirmation that in America anything is possible with hard work and commitment. And when I was nominated, I heard from women veterans of all wars, many who just wanted to say congratulations. Some just wanted to say thanks. And still others just wanted to say how happy they were this day had finally arrived. It was a humbling experience to say the least. When the promotion ceremony finally happened, I said "I might be the first, but I certainly won't be the last." And today I'm happy to report there are three other female four-star officers, two in the Air Force and one in the Navy, with more in the making. But this is not just about more promotions. What's really exciting is women are flying jet fighters in combat. Women are commanding CHIPs in the Navy. And now the first highly qualified group of women are starting Ranger school. As readers will see in my book, the leadership journey begins with an introduction by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. She's author of the national best seller "Lean in" and a true champion of women's equality. You might say we sound a bit like the odd couple. Two people from different world, Sheryl, from the West Coast, high-tech superstar and me East Coast, low-tech, muddy-boots soldier. The reality is that we had more -- that the things we had in common outweighed anything we didn't. And the principal thing among those things we had in common was the desire to make a difference in organizations and the lives of people. And I'm glad to call her my friend and kindred spirit. Sheryl Sandberg has championed several national champions to get women to achieve greater positions in the workplace and getting men to recognize the support -- to support these talented women. And I've been in support of both campaigns. And I've been fortunate that I have such a supportive husband who is a hero in his own right with 26 years in the Air Force as a combat controller. He's been a linchpin in my journey. I can assure you it is a lot easier to lean in when you have someone to lean on. On my toughest days, my husband was right there. Kind of like a coach in the corner of a boxing ring. He would pick me up, dust me off, push me back in the ring and say "go give them hell." And when Craig's mother finished reading the book "A Higher Standard," she told Craig, "I get the impression Ann really likes you." Now, the number one question I always get is: Why you? Why were you the first female to attain the rank of four-star general? And the second question I get is: How did you succeed in this male-dominated profession? How did you manage to claw your way to the top in this man's Army? And I try to answer both of these questions in the book. And I think most of you would be surprised by the answer. My journey to the top was far more interesting than a career of struggling and fighting my way through the ranks. It would have been easy and probably expected by some that I would write a book on how I like Wonder Woman kicked my way to the top, shattered glass ceilings and broke down doors. But the reality is my journey was more about leadership than gender, not just leadership for people in the Army, not just leadership for women, but leadership for people, period. I didn't just skip along the yellow brick road in the land of Oz and find myself at the end of the journey, the end of the rainbow as a four-star general. There were bumps in the road. There were obstacles in the road. But there were people all along the road that wanted to help. And many of these were men. But I think these bumps, these obstacles, and these people that are willing to help can be found in all walks of life and in any profession. Like many of you, my leadership skills initially came from my family, my education and from fitness. When I say "fitness," I mean mental fitness, physical fitness, emotional fitness and spiritual fitness. These form the foundation that allow immediate to achieve things I never thought possible. I came from a values-based family. I had the best mom and dad a kid could ever ask for. In fact, I know much of who I am today is based on what I learned from them. My dad, proud soldier, father, patriot, who served his country for 31 years and fought in three wars. He just celebrated nice 96th birthday. Mom is the unsung hero in our family. She raised six kids on her own while dad was serving our country. Mom was a devout Catholic. She was the most selfless, gracious, and caring person I ever knew. She taught me the glass was always going to be half full, never half empty. And no matter what the weather forecast, she said it's never going to rain on our parade. My participation in sports was character building to say the least. I competed in both tennis and gymnastics in college. And I learned as much from losing as I did from winning. And I learned that team performance was far more important than individual performance. And I learned that performing in front of large crowds can be scary and intimidating. But competing in sports taught me priceless lessons and how to turn surprises into experiences and challenges into opportunities. And my education gave me the intellectual skills to be technically competent and credible. A Bachelor's degree and two Master's degrees only sharpen my creative and my strategic-thinking skills. Family, fitness, and education, the cornerstones of who I am. In the book I tried to be as honest and candid about the challenges I faced as well as the opportunities I was given. I tried to put a human face on leadership. I remembered back in the '80s, I think 1984, I was stationed in Germany and I had just been selected to command a parachute rigger detachment. I was a young captain and this was my dream job. But since the primary function of a parachute rigger detachment was to rig parachutes and load supplies for an air drop, one of the requirements of the commander was to be certified jump master. Now, jump master is the person who is responsible to check equipment, check parachutes, and make sure that there will be no malfunctions during the drop. Well, at the time, I only had 12 parachute jumps and I'm not sure if there were any female jump masters in the Army at the time or not. But my boss said, hey, you are the best qualified and as long as I pass jump master school, the job was mine. Well, as it turned out, the only play to go to jump master school in Europe was with Special Forces in Bad Tolz, Germany. When I received my orders, I was so excited. Bad Tolz is a beautiful town in Bavaria, south of Munich, surrounded by the mountains and I was going to get to go to jump master school. Bad Tolz was the training center for Hitler's SS officer corps, the most trusted and ruthless of the Third Reich. In 1984 was the headquarters for the 10th Special Forces group. I showed up on a Sunday afternoon, ready for training for Monday morning. When I reported in, I handed my orders to the duty officer. He looked at me, looked at my orders, looked back at me. Then he handed me a room key and pointed me down the hallway. Never said a word. Off I went to find my room. When I find it and opened the door, there was this young male para trooper lying on the other bed. Now, he looked at me, I looked at him, we looked back at each other and we were both stunned. In those days there is always two to a room. It was not co-ed. It's still not co-ed. I marched bank down to the office and now there are sergeants in anxious conversation. They said, we thought your orders had a typo. We were expecting Andy Dunwoody. Well, no one was smiling. No one was laughing. It was like, what are we going to do about her? As you can imagine, that was the only type something like that happened in my career. But I did get my own room. I did attend the training. And I'm also happy to report that I graduated from the course, something only 40% of the jump master students do on the first try. Now, in my book, I talk about my very first sergeant. One of the things he told me was never to talk by a mistake. He said, If you walk by a mistake, you just set a new lower standard. A mistake could be something as simple as picking up a piece of paper or trash off the ground instead of just walking by or picking it up. Or it could be something serious as failing to properly clean and maintain your combat equipment. Now, in the Army, failing to enforce the standards can be a slippery slope that leads to poor performance and people getting hurt. The same principal can be found in the civilian life. Think about it. If people at general motors hadn't turned away when they discovered the defective ignition switch in the cars, they may have saved billions of dollars for investors and lives from the crashes cause bid the faulty ignitions. If the Veterans Administration employees had highlighted the patient backlog versus trying to cover it up, they may have been able to help more veterans, not delay or prevent the care they needed. Now, never walking by a mistake reads well and it is easy to say, but it is hard to do. It takes courage, it takes resolve, and it takes consistency. Those who doggedly refuse to walk by a mistake sometimes thought of as grumpy or inflexible but the principle can help everyone. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Another principle I learned early on is that big dreams can come true with hard work and commitment. You can be anything you want. Now, I know I said I always wanted to be a phys ed teacher and a coach. I didn't realize it at first, that's exactly what I ended up doing. I just ended up doing it in a different classroom. I ended up teaching and coaching soldiers in a very physically demanding environment on and off the battlefield. Now, many folks are surprised when I tell them I never worked for a woman. I worked for men that either believed in me or didn't, male leaders who saw something in me and gave me opportunities that if left to the institution may have never happened. That said, I've had many women role models. One sitting in the front row and mentors along the way, women who were pioneers in their own right, women I looked up to. When I was growing up, my mom and my coaches were at the top of the list. Now, as you can imagine, I witnessed a lot of change during the last four decades. It's hard for millennials to feather an all-male West Point, or ROTC programs that excluded women. I witnessed the disestablishment of the WAC and the integration of women into the regular Army. It truly helped facilitate the major diversification of our ranks, but policy change alone didn't necessarily immediately mean a change of mindset. 20 years ago I had the opportunity to accompany the chief of staff of the Army to our communications and electronic command in New Jersey. That was a very high-tech command, as you can imagine. Mostly scientists, engineers and communication experts. I was lieutenant colonel back then and was there to take notes for the General's trip report. We talked into the conference room and I couldn't help but notice that everyone sitting around the table was a white male. The only women in the room besides myself were serving coffee or refreshments. I thought, what's wrong with this picture? Last year Sheryl Sandberg gathered over 1500 women from her company for a leadership conference. Imagine, 1500 women from Facebook offices around the country and the world. And I had the privilege of talking to this group about leadership. Now, I couldn't help but think about the room with zero woman in the engineering business in 1995 to an auditorium filled with women who are writing software programs, developing engineering applications, and this new and exciting business. It gave me goose bumps actually. But then I recently read a newspaper article that reported that talented, well-educated women in high technology careers were deciding to leave because of a hostile work environment. Their male counterparts didn't think they belonged. As you can imagine, my journey wasn't without similar confrontation. Not everyone was glad to see Ann Dunwoody when I showed up and reported airborne school in Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the infantry in 1976. I was one of the first females to go to airborne school when I reported into the 82nd Airborne Division in 1988 as the first female field grade officer. It was usually the same ole, What are you going to do with this woman? But I believed by staying on the moral high ground, by not lowering my own standards or stooping the counterproductive tactics like name calling, gossip, or innuendos that I would prevail. And I truly believe whether you're male or female, that if we let others unduly influence or make decisions for us, they win. If we let others drive us away from our passion or something that we believe in, they win. Would there have been times when it would have been easy to run in the face of adversity? You bet. But at the end of the day, I'd ask myself the question: If I quit, if I take the easy road and don't continue to try and make a difference, who's a real winner and who's a real loser? And for me the seemingly unsurmountable opportunities turned into challenges and at the end of the day it was all about leadership. While, juicy gossip stories and throwing people under the bus makes for good reading and sells a lot of book, I tried to do neither. I tried to give credit to those who served as role models for me and I tried to describe leadership styles that were effective as well as those that no one would want. The truth is, we learn from both good and bad leaders. When I was serving as the commander of Army Materiel Command, I had the opportunity to meet Kent, the President and Korea of Coca-Cola. And he invite immediate to talk to his workforce. I was surprised how much his organization and mine had in common. We both had over 60,000 employees. We both had organizational footprints in 140 countries. And we're both in the distribution business. The main difference between our missions of that the good people of Coca-Cola weren't normally operating under the threat of getting ambushed, shot at, or blown up while distributing their product. But we faced similar leadership challenges. How do you diversify your workforce? Not just in race and gender but diversity of thought? How do you build a bench and develop future leaders? How do you create a positive working climate, one where everyone gets a fair chance? How do you execute succession planning? Or how do you create a vision for the organization and its future? I talk about all of these leadership strategies because I think these are the kind of things that contributed to my own success. When I became the commander of Army Materiel Command, I remember thinking, if all 69,000 employees came to work every day clearly understanding how important he or she was to the accomplishment of the mission, and if I could reach out and get the next generation of leaders to believe they could be anything they want with hard work and commitment, what a powerful thing that would be. Creating the strategic vision, one that empowered people, made them feel important, made them feel good about themselves and their role in the organization allowed me to do just that. And by the time I left command, I believed there wasn't anything that my employees couldn't do. As I said during my nearly four decades in the service, I witnessed a lot of change and a lot of doors opening. But the conversation shouldn't stop there because there will always be more to be done. You'll see in this book, if not from my remarks today, I loved being a soldier, and I loved leading soldiers. I never sought to be the first female anything. I sought to serve my nation and the Army the best way I could. I always wanted to be the best officer I could be, not the best female officer. And I guarantee you one thing, if I ever thought I was selected for a job or promotion simply on being female and not being the best qualified for the job, I would have turned it down in a heartbeat. Things I learned along the way, along my journey made me a better leader and a better person. But if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Regardless of your profession or your life's work, I hope this book will assist you in accomplishing whatever it is you set out to do. Much more set out in the book, but in order to know what those things are, you're going to have to read the book or ask me a question right now. Thank you very much. (applause). Very first brave one. >> I am a little nervous. But thank you, General Ann Dunwoody, thank you for your insight. I look forward to reading your book. I have a question about power and arrogance and issues that you experienced as you made your way through your career, how you deal with people that you need to manage who don't respect you, how to earn their respect. It is probably in the book but anything on that that you can elaborate on without being -- or catching the disease yourself, staying grounded as you progress in your career. >> Ann Dunwoody: Thank you. That's a great question. And I do talk about it in the book because it's something most people experience. In my book, I describe three groups of people that I kind of categorized folks that I dealt with in the Army. That was advocates, people who believe in you and support you and advocate for you and try to see your worth and your value and they're advocates throughout your career. There's people I call genis facers or patronizers. We all have them. People who are real nice to you to your face and say, hey, what a good job and behind the scenes they are different. And the final category is detractors. Those are people that don't like you no matter what. Some people think women don't belong, what's the Army coming to? You are not going to change their mind. And the first thing is to recognize how are dealing with. The second thing is to stay on the moral high ground. Don't stoop to back stabbing or name calling but deal with them as an individual. Stay on the moral high ground. Show that you're profession and strive to lead the higher standard. What I found is those who strive to exceed the standard, you gain credibility and support from folks. People don't know. Some just haven't had the experience to work with you before. And when I say "you," I mean all of us. You are coming to a new organization. People wonder if he's good or she's good or she's bad. And you have to prove yourself. Staying on the high ground, there is a section of the book that talks about people that start believing how wonderful they are, what is written about them and there is a phenomenon called hubris. They think they are above the law. It is not organic to the military. It is population general. People start believing they are better than and they get away with and laws don't apply to them. It is unfortunate, but it happens. You have to deal with that as well or talk to those folks. I believe you can't ignore the stuff and you always should people aside when you see this behavior, good, bad, or ugly because you can't correct if you don't know. We all have blind spots. That's how I try to stay on the moral high ground. Don't get hooked into the bad behavior and exhibit it yourself. >> General, in recent days, it's come out in the news that the military is planning -- or thinking about lowering the standards for the Special Forces, Navy SEALs, along those lines, to make it easier to get more women involved into those sections. Is this something that you would agree with it? >> Ann Dunwoody: Beat your boots. There is no lowering the standards. (chuckles). The guidance was that the services would lift the band on previously prohibited occupations for women and that they would have to do their homework and determine what the standards were for those occupations. And there's not standards. We have requirements, but it doesn't necessarily mean those have been studied and those requirements are the absolute necessary standards for each profession. And so there's a lot of work being done, a lot of studies being done. The last thing we could do, the worst thing we could do is lower the standards to accommodate what I would then call a social experiment. We are a dangerous profession. And each occupation has requirements, has standards that must be met. Now, I tell people when I went to airborne school, I was one of the first women going to airborne school. It wasn't a popular decision. I had the black hats yelling at me and the five finger tattoos on my behind. I ended up being an honor graduate. Now, I didn't want to be a ranger. I didn't want to be Special Forces. I wanted to do my job in peace and war. But there are women today that believe and want to enter the combat arms, go to Ranger school, be in the SEALs, and I believe that if they're capable of doing that without lowering the standards, that can meet the standards and normally exceed the standards, then we should allow them to do that because had I not had the opportunity to go to airborne school, I would never had the opportunity to command a parachute rigger detachment, serve in the 82nd airborne division, and I probably wouldn't be standing here today. That badge, that master blaster, that allowed me to do things that non-airborne people would not have been able to do. And today, we have eight women in ranger school right now that have qualified. I understand the attrition rate is about the same as men. But that badge is more about leadership. These are leadership schools. And if women are capable of doing that, I think they should be allowed. But I do have full faith in the leadership of the military that once the analysis, investigation and the studies are done that we'll come up with the right answer, whatever that is. >> Thank you, General, for your service to America. We're all so incredibly proud of you and your leadership. So having said that and all the grade things that you've done, what's in your future? Where are you going to make a difference next time? >> Ann Dunwoody: Well, thanks. That's a good question. And I think we always want to continue to try to make a difference in our lives, and the military is a place that the opportunity and privilege of leading soldiers and serving with soldiers, I don't know if I will ever find something I'm as passionate about in my next life. But I do want to try to make a difference. And I hope through this book that it inspires young, whether they're in elementary school thinking about what they want to dream to be, or deciding what their whole life in high school is going to be, that this book inspires them to dream big and not be dissuaded from whatever it is that they want to do and this they have the personal courage to pursue that. So I think through the book, I'm trying to reach a different population of folks that share my experience from the military that worked for me. As I said, it's not a recipe. It's no secret. It's what worked for me and I hope works for other folks. The other area I'm hopefully trying to make a business is serving on boards, governance of defense companies, nondefense companies, not for profits, to share leadership experiences, business experiences from running organizations as did I in the military and how they complement and can be transposed into the civilian world. Thank you for the question. >> Good afternoon. When tourists come to Washington, D.C., one of the most visible presence of the United States Army is the tomb guards at the national cemetery. I have never seen a woman as a tomb guard, despite the fact we have been told there have been four in the past. What answer would you give to 8th grade girl that asks why there hasn't been a female tomb guard? >> Ann Dunwoody: When I was in uniform, I wanted to be -- look like a soldier. I didn't want to look like a female soldier. When I looked at my formations, I saw soldiers. I didn't see black, white, men, women. I saw soldiers. I don't know if it was Army time of a female who was wearing the same cap as a man, hair pulled back pulling guard duty at the tomb of the unknown soldier at a time when I entered the Army. We couldn't have women in the 82nd course. Really? You couldn't be in the band. So the doors, what I have seen, continue to open. I will tell those 8th graders what I witnessed through my journey is the doors continue to open from a WAC corps. My niece is a pilot in the Air Force dropping bombs on Afghanistan. The doors continue to open. I believe that with hard work and compassion and dedication that they can be anything they want to be. I have to share one more story. I have two pictures in my office. One's of a 6th grader and one's a 5th grader. They wrote me a letter and did a book report on me. And they sent me a picture of themselves. One in her ACUs, four stars, U.S. Army Dunwoody and black beret and the other one ACUs, Dunwoody four-star U.S. Army and ball cap with four stars up there saluting. I thought, my God, I couldn't even imagine that growing up. I couldn't even dream that. Here's these young kids that now know they can be anything they want to be and things we can't even imagine in this room just like I couldn't have imagined being where I am. >> Thank you. >> Ann Dunwoody: You're welcome. My friend and hero -- (applause). >> To my friend and hero. Did you keep a diary? And was it any help to you when you wrote your book? And do you still go out and run every day (laughter). >> Ann Dunwoody: Good question. I didn't keep a diary. That's one of the reasons I wanted to do a book on leadership because I thought I didn't really want to do a memoir. And I didn't really want to do -- have one of those big books that people use to hold the doors open. That's just my take on it. I really wanted to talk about the things I thought more relevant that helped me be successful which is why I spent a lot of time talking about, thinking about what do you want to take away and what do you want to share on leadership with individuals. There's so many. There are thousands of books written on leadership as I realized as I started on this journey. How do you make it different? And I tried to pick those leadership lessons that I thought were most relevant but also put a human face on with the stories behind those leadership lessons, that my first story was about my first time I had to stand in front of an audience as a lieutenant and read an award citation for a battalion commander and I first lieutenant. I was sitting there reading, and I started shaking and I was hanging on to the thing. It took me forever to get this citation -- I didn't think I would get through it. It seemed like three hours. It was three minutes. Those things happen but you learn from those things. This commander, he could have fired me. He said, that was your first time. You will get better. Nothing like that ever happened in my life. It just caught me so off guard. I thought I was history. But you learn from these things when you have leaders that don't fire you, don't yell at you, they say you get better on that, you practice. I never had that happen again but I think about it. The human face of leadership, I think, General is revealing. Tons of mistakes I have made and tons of things I have learned along the way. We are human. We learn from our mistakes and we learn from others. Running every day, I got a new hip for Christmas. (laughter). Doctor told me no running right away. If I'm smart, I will go biking and swimming and treadmilling and those other things. I miss my running right now. So I can't -- I don't know if I can keep my promise to the doc. I do something every day. Thanks for your question. And your service. Thank you. It's great being here. Have great day. Enjoy this wonderful Washington, D.C. weather. (applause)



In the Australian Defence Force the following ranks of commissioned officers are awarded four-star ranks:

The four-star rank is reserved in Australia for the Chief of the Defence Force, the highest position in peacetime.

In times of major conflict, the highest ranks are the five-star ranks: admiral of the fleet, field marshal, and marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force.


Brazilian general de exército
Brazilian general de exército

The four-star rank is reserved in Brazil for the highest post in the military career. The officers in this position take part of the high command of their corporations. The commanders of army, navy and air force are also four-star generals, but they have precedence to all the others military in this rank.



General/admiral is the highest rank within the Canadian Armed Forces as defined within the National Defence Act.[1] Usually, only one officer, the Chief of the Defence Staff, carries the rank of full admiral or general at any one time. However, the crown may authorize additional officers at that rank for special cases such as for Canadian officers in the position of Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, who are usually former Chiefs of the Defence Staff seconded to NATO for that duty.

The Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II, is Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.[2] However, in line with the Letters Patent, 1947, the duties and title of commander-in-chief are normally exercised by the Governor General of Canada.[3] The Minister of National Defence, since not a member of the Canadian forces nor within the military chain of command, has no rank. Prince Philip holds the four-star rank of admiral in the Royal Canadian Navy in an honorary capacity as of 2011.

Before unification in 1968, the rank of air chief marshal (maréchal en chef de l'air) was the four-star equivalent for the Royal Canadian Air Force.


The equivalent modern German four-star ranks (OF-9) of the Bundeswehr are as follows:

Not to be confused with Generaloberst, the Wehrmacht equivalent until 1945, or Armeegeneral, the National People's Army (East Germany) equivalent until 1990.


The Chiefs of the Army (COAS), Navy (CNS) and Air Force (CAS) hold these Four Star ranks. The newly-created post of Chief of Defence Staff is also a Four-Star appointment.



  • Generale di Corpo d'Armata con Incarichi Speciali (General with Special Duties) - Chief-of-Staff of the Italian Army
  • Ammiraglio di Squadra con Incarichi Speciali (Admiral with Special Duties) - Chief-of-Staff of the Italian Navy
  • Generale di Squadra Aerea con Incarichi Speciali (General with Special Duties) - Chief-of-Staff of the Italian Air Force
  • Generale di Corpo d'Armata Comandante Generale (Commander General) - Commander of the Carabinieri



United Kingdom

See also:

United States

See also:

Former USSR and Russia

While the general armii wore shoulder insignia with four small stars, the marshal and admiral flota wore one single large star on their shoulder boards, and the glavnii marshal the same large star with a laurel wreath, very similar to the modern army general insignia of the Russian Army.

Upon their formation, the Russian armed forces discontinued the ranks of marshal and glavnii marshal.

See also


  1. ^ This rank insignia is not worn by all NATO officers.


  1. ^ Canada - Department of Justice "Laws of Canada: National Defence Act, Schedule I"
  2. ^ Lagassé, Philippe (December 2013). "The Crown's Powers of Command-in Chief: Interpreting Section 15 of Canada's Constitution Act, 1867" (PDF). Review of Constitutional Studies. 18 (2): 189–220.
  3. ^ The Governor General, Commander-in-Chief "[1]"
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-21. Retrieved 2012-08-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ RAF Glossary Archived 2008-04-13 at the Wayback Machine, "Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation",
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