Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS)

The Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986 identifies the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the senior ranking member of the Armed Forces. As such, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President. He may seek the advice of and consult with the other JCS members and combatant commanders. When he presents his advice, he presents the range of advice and opinions he has received, along with any individual comments of the other JCS members.

Under the DOD Reorganization Act, the Secretaries of the Military Departments assign all forces to combatant commands except those assigned to carry out the mission of the Services, i.e., recruit, organize, supply, equip, train, service, mobilize, demobilize, administer and maintain their respective forces. The chain of command to these combatant commands runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the commander of the combatant command. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may transmit communications to the commanders of the combatant commands from the President and Secretary of Defense but does not exercise military command over any combatant forces.

The Act also gives to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff some of the functions and responsibilities previously assigned to the corporate body of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The broad functions of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are set forth in Title 10, United States Code, and detailed in DOD Directive 5100.1. In carrying out his duties, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff consults with and seeks the advice of the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the combatant commanders, as he considers appropriate.

The Chairmen

1st

General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley
 

General of the Army
Omar Nelson Bradley

Aug. 16, 1949 - Aug. 15, 1953

2nd

Admiral Arthur William Radford
 

Admiral
Arthur William Radford

Aug. 15, 1953 - Aug. 15, 1957

3rd

General Nathan Farragut Twining
 

General
Nathan Farragut Twining

Aug. 15, 1957 - Sept. 30, 1960

4th

General Lyman Louis Lemnitzer
 

General
Lyman Louis Lemnitzer

Oct. 1, 1960 - Sept. 30, 1962

5th

General Maxwell Davenport Taylor
 

General
Maxwell Davenport Taylor

Oct. 1, 1962 - July 1, 1964

6th

General Earle Gilmore Wheeler
 

General
Earle Gilmore Wheeler

July 3, 1964 - July 2, 1970

7th

Admiral Thomas Hinman Moorer
 

Admiral
Thomas Hinman Moorer

July 2, 1970 - July 1, 1974

8th

General George Scratchley Brown
 

General
George Scratchley Brown

July 1, 1974 - June 20, 1978

9th

General David Charles Jones
 

General
David Charles Jones

June 21, 1978 - June 18, 1982

10th

General John William Vessey, Jr.
 

General
John William Vessey, Jr.

June 18, 1982 - Sept. 30, 1985

11th

Admiral William James Crowe, Jr.
 

Admiral
William James Crowe, Jr.

Oct. 1, 1985 - Sept. 30, 1989

12th

General Colin Luther Powell
 

General
Colin Luther Powell

Oct. 1, 1989 - Sept. 30, 1993

13th

General John Shalikashvili
 

General
John Shalikashvili

Oct. 25, 1993 - Sept. 30, 1997

14th

General Henry Hugh Shelton
 

General
Henry Hugh Shelton

Oct. 1, 1997 - Sept. 30, 2001

15th

General Richard Bowman Myers
 

General
Richard Bowman Myers

Oct. 1, 2001 - Sept. 30, 2005

16th

General Peter Pace
 

General
Peter Pace

Oct. 1, 2005 - Sept. 30, 2007

17th

Admiral Michael Glenn Mullen
 

Admiral
Michael Glenn Mullen

Oct. 1, 2007 - Sept. 30, 2011

18th

General Martin Edward Dempsey
 

General
Martin Edward Dempsey

Oct. 1, 2011 - Sept. 30, 2015

19th

General Joseph Francis Dunford, Jr.
 

General
Joseph Francis Dunford, Jr.

Oct. 1, 2015 - Sept. 30, 2019

20th

General Mark Alexander Milley
 

General
Mark Alexander Milley

Oct. 1, 2019 - Present