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Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vice Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Seal of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Flag of the Vice Chairman of the JCS
Admiral Christopher W. Grady, USN
since December 20, 2021
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Department of Defense
Member ofDefense Acquisition Board
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Requirements Oversight Council
Reports toPresident
Secretary of Defense
SeatThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length4 years
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 154
FormationFebruary 6, 1987
First holderRobert T. Herres

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VJCS)[1][2] is, by U.S. law, the second highest-ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces,[3] ranking just below the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The vice chairman outranks all respective heads of each service branch, with the exception of the chairman, but does not have operational command authority over their service branches.[3] The vice chairman assists the chairman in exercising their duties. In the absence of the chairman, the vice chairman presides over the meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and performs all other duties prescribed under 10 U.S.C. § 153 and may also perform other duties that the president, the chairman, or the secretary of defense prescribes.[3]

The 12th and current vice chairman is Admiral Christopher W. Grady, who assumed office on December 20, 2021.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Commencement Speaker Admiral James "Sandy" Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • NCLS 2017 General Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff



Although the office of Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is considered to be very important and highly prestigious, neither the vice chairman nor the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a body have any command authority over combatant forces. The operational chain of command runs from the president to the secretary of defense directly to the commanders of the unified combatant commands.[4] The vice chairman's primary duties include: "overseeing joint military requirements, representing the military in National Security Council deputies meetings, and performing other duties as directed by the chairman."[5]

Appointment and term limitations

The vice chairman is nominated by the president for appointment from any of the regular components of the armed forces, and must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate.[3] The chairman and vice chairman may not be members of the same armed force service branch.[3] However, the president may waive that restriction for a limited period of time in order to provide for the orderly transition of officers appointed to serve in those positions.[3] The vice chairman serves a single four-year term of office at the pleasure of the president,[3][6] and cannot be reappointed to serve additional terms unless in times of war or national emergency,[3][6] in which case there is no limit to how many times an officer can be reappointed.[3]

The vice chairman is also not eligible to be appointed for promotion to chairman, or any other four-star position in the armed forces, unless the president determines that it is necessary in the interest of the nation.[3][6] The vice chairman assumes office on October 1 of every odd-number year, except the assumption of that term may not begin in the same year as the term of the chairman.[6] By statute, the vice chairman is appointed as a four-star general or admiral.[3]


The position of vice chairman was created by the Goldwater–Nichols Act of 1986 in order to centralize the military advisory chain of command to the president, the secretary of defense, and to the National Security Council. Originally the vice chairman was not included as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, until the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1992 made him a full voting member.[7] Historically, the vice chairman has served two, two-year terms before the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 amended the vice chairman's term length, beginning on January 1, 2021.[6] The same act also set a statutory beginning term date.[6] Prior to that, the position was filled whenever the previous holder left office.

List of vice chairmen

General Richard B. Myers and General Peter Pace were later appointed to serve as chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2001 to 2005 and from 2005 to 2007, respectively.

No. Portrait Vice Chairman Took office Left office Time in office Service branch Chairman
1Herres, Robert T.General
Robert T. Herres
February 6, 1987February 28, 19903 years, 22 days

U.S. Air Force
William J. Crowe
Colin Powell
2Jeremiah, DavidAdmiral
David E. Jeremiah
March 1, 1990February 28, 19943 years, 364 days

U.S. Navy
Colin Powell
John Shalikashvili
3Owens, WilliamAdmiral
William A. Owens
(born 1940)
March 1, 1994February 27, 19961 year, 363 days

U.S. Navy
John Shalikashvili
4Ralston, JosephGeneral
Joseph W. Ralston
(born 1943)
March 1, 1996February 29, 20003 years, 365 days

U.S. Air Force
John Shalikashvili
Hugh Shelton
5Myers, RichardGeneral
Richard B. Myers
(born 1942)
February 29, 2000October 1, 20011 year, 215 days

U.S. Air Force
Hugh Shelton
6Pace, PeterGeneral
Peter Pace
(born 1945)
October 1, 2001August 12, 20053 years, 315 days

U.S. Marine Corps
Richard Myers
7Giambastiani, EdmundAdmiral
Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr.
(born 1948)
August 12, 2005July 27, 20071 year, 349 days

U.S. Navy
Richard Myers
Peter Pace
8Cartwright, JamesGeneral
James E. Cartwright
(born 1949)
August 31, 2007August 3, 20113 years, 337 days

U.S. Marine Corps
Peter Pace
Michael Mullen
9Winnefeld, JamesAdmiral
James A. Winnefeld Jr.
(born 1956)
August 4, 2011July 31, 20153 years, 361 days

U.S. Navy
Michael Mullen
Martin Dempsey
10Selva, PaulGeneral
Paul J. Selva
(born 1958)
July 31, 2015July 31, 20194 years, 0 days

U.S. Air Force
Martin Dempsey
Joseph Dunford
11Hyten, JohnGeneral
John E. Hyten
(born 1959)
November 21, 2019November 19, 20211 year, 363 days

U.S. Air Force
Mark Milley
12Grady, ChristopherAdmiral
Christopher W. Grady
(born 1962)
December 20, 2021Incumbent2 years, 111 days

U.S. Navy
Mark Milley
Charles Q. Brown Jr.


Christopher W. GradyJohn E. HytenPaul J. SelvaJames A. Winnefeld Jr.James E. CartwrightEdmund GiambastianiPeter PaceRichard MyersJoseph RalstonWilliam Owens (admiral)David E. JeremiahRobert T. Herres

Vice Chairmen by branch of service within the Department of Defense

  • Army: 0
  • Marine Corps: 2
  • Navy: 5
  • Air Force: 5
  • Space Force: 0

Positional color

VJCS flag with yellow fringe.

The positional color (flag) of the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is white with a diagonal medium blue strip from upper hoist to lower fly. Centered on the flag is an American bald eagle with wings spread horizontally, in proper colors. The talons grasp three crossed arrows. A shield with blue chief and thirteen red and white stripes is on the eagle's breast. Diagonally, from upper fly to lower hoist are four five-pointed stars, medium blue on the white, two above the eagle, and two below. The fringe is yellow; the cord and tassels are medium blue and white. The design was approved by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger on 20 January 1987.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Served as acting Chairman
  2. ^ a b Later served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs


  1. ^ Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman - DSD/VJCS NEWS CONFERENCE
  2. ^ Department of Defense - DSD/VJCS NEWS CONFERENCE
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 10 U.S.C. § 154 - Vice Chairman
  4. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 162 - Combatant commands: assigned forces; chain of command
  5. ^ "Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff".
  6. ^ a b c d e f Public Law 114–328 - The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 increased the term length Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from two years to four years and the Vice Chairman is no longer eligible to become Chairman.
  7. ^ "Joint Chiefs of Staff > About > The Joint Staff > Vice Chairman". Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  8. ^ Army Regulation 840-10, paragraph 3-14 (2 Apr. 1992).

External links

This page was last edited on 17 March 2024, at 21:58
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