General (United States)

In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, general (abbreviated as GEN in the Army or Gen in the Air Force and Marine Corps) is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an established grade above general. General is equivalent to the rank of admiral in the other uniformed services. Since the grades of General of the Army and General of the Air Force are reserved for wartime use only, and since the Marine Corps has no five-star equivalent, the grade of general is currently considered to be the highest appointment an officer can achieve in these three services.

General
US-O10 insignia
Army, Air Force and Marine Corps four-star insignia of the rank of general.
USN-USMC O10 insignia
Shoulder four-star rank insignia of general for the above services.
Country United States
Service branch
AbbreviationGEN (Army) or Gen (Air Force and Marine Corps)
RankFour-star
NATO rankOF-9
Non-NATO rankO-10
Next higher rank
Next lower rankLieutenant general
Equivalent ranks

Address

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

Statutory limits

Army-USA-OF-09
U.S. Army insignia of the rank of General. Style and method of wear may vary between the services.
US Marine 10 shoulderboard
U.S. Marine Corps insignia of the rank of General. Style and method of wear may vary between the services.
US Air Force O10 shoulderboard rotated
U.S. Air Force insignia of the rank of General. Style and method of wear may vary between the services.
Flag of a United States Army general
Rank flag of a general in the United States Army. The flag of a general of the Army Medical Department has a maroon background; the flag of a chaplain (general) has a black background. The Marine Corps equivalent has 4 stars in a circular manner; the Air Force equivalent has a blue background rather than red.
Flag of a United States Marine Corps general
Flag of a United States Marine Corps general.
Flag of a United States Air Force general
Flag of a United States Air Force general.

The United States Code explicitly limits the total number of general officers (termed flag officers in the Navy and Coast Guard) that may be on active duty at any given time. The total number of active duty general officers is capped at 231 for the Army, 62 for the Marine Corps, 198 for the Air Force, and 162 for the Navy.[1] No more than about 25% of a service's active duty general or flag officers may have more than two stars,[2] and statute sets the total number of four-star officers allowed in each service.[2] This is set at 7 four-star Army generals, 9 four-star Air Force generals, 2 four-star Marine generals, and 6 four-star Navy admirals.[2]

Several of these slots are reserved by statute. For example, the two highest-ranking members of each service (the service chief and deputy service chief) are designated as four-star generals. For the Army the Chief of Staff and the Vice Chief of Staff are four-star generals; for the Marine Corps, the Commandant and the Assistant Commandant are both four-star generals; and for the Air Force, the Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff are four-star generals. In addition, for the National Guard, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau[3] is a four-star general under active duty in the Army or Air Force.

There are several exceptions to these limits allowing more than allotted within the statute.[4]

Finally, all statutory limits may be waived at the President's discretion during time of war or national emergency.[7]

Appointment and tour length

Four-star grades go hand-in-hand with the positions of office to which they are linked, so the rank is temporary; the active rank of four-star general can only be held for so long- though upon retirement, if satisfactory service requirements are met, the general or admiral is normally allowed to hold that rank in retirement, rather than reverting to a lower position, as was formerly usually the case.[8] Their active rank expires with the expiration of their term of office, which is usually set by statute.[8] Generals are nominated for appointment by the President from any eligible officers holding the rank of brigadier general or above who meet the requirements for the position, with the advice of the Secretary of Defense, service secretary (Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, or Secretary of the Air Force), and if applicable the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[8] For some positions, statute allows the President to waive those requirements for a nominee deemed to serve national interests.[9] The nominee must be confirmed by the United States Senate before the appointee can take office and assume the rank.[8] Four-star ranks may also be given by act of Congress but this is extremely rare. The standard tour 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, or Congress but these are rare, as they block other officers from being promoted. Some statutory limits can be waived in times of national emergency or war.

Retirement

Other than voluntary retirement, statute sets a number of mandates for retirement. A four-star general must retire after 40 years of service unless he or she is reappointed to serve longer.[10] Otherwise all general officers must retire the month after their 64th birthday.[11] However, the Secretary of Defense can defer a four-star officer's retirement until the officer's 66th birthday[11] and the President can defer it until the officer's 68th birthday.[11]

General officers typically retire well in advance of the statutory age and service limits, so as not to impede the career paths of more junior officers. Since only a limited number of four-star slots are available to each service, typically one officer must leave office before another can be promoted.[12] 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 or greater importance before he or she must involuntarily retire.[8][12] 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.

To retire at four-star grade, an officer must accumulate at least three years of satisfactory active duty service in that grade, as certified by the Secretary of Defense.[13] The Secretary of Defense may reduce this requirement to two years, but only if the officer is not being investigated for misconduct. Officers who do not meet the service-in-grade requirement revert to the next highest grade in which they served satisfactorily for at least six months. It is extraordinarily rare for a four-star officer not to retire in that grade.

Four-star officers 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.

See also

References

  1. ^ 10 USC 526. Authorized strength: general and flag officers on active duty.
  2. ^ a b c d 10 USC 525. Distribution of commissioned officers on active duty in general officer and flag officer grades.
  3. ^ 10 USC 10502 Chief of the National Guard Bureau: appointment; adviser on National Guard matters; grade; succession.
  4. ^ 10 U.S. Code § 526. Authorized strength: general and flag officers on active duty
  5. ^ a b 10 USC 604 Senior joint officer positions: recommendations to the Secretary of Defense
  6. ^ 10 USC 528 Officers serving in certain intelligence positions: military status; exclusion from distribution and strength limitations; pay and allowances
  7. ^ 10 USC 527 Authority to suspend sections 523, 525, and 526
  8. ^ a b c d e 10 USC 601 Positions of importance and responsibility: generals and lieutenant generals; admirals and vice admirals
  9. ^ 10 164 Commanders of combatant commands: assignment; powers and duties
  10. ^ 10 USC 636 Retirement for years of service: regular officers in grades above brigadier general and rear admiral (lower half)
  11. ^ a b c 10 USC 1253 Age 64: regular commissioned officers in general and flag officer grades; exception
  12. ^ a b DoD News Briefing on Thursday, June 6, 1996 Retirement of Admiral Leighton W. Smith, Jr.
  13. ^ 10 USC 1370 Commissioned officers: general rule; exceptions
Brigadier general (United States)

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Lieutenant general

Lieutenant general, lieutenant-general and similar (abbrev Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star military rank (NATO code OF-8) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a captain general.

In modern armies, lieutenant general normally ranks immediately below general and above major general; it is equivalent to the navy rank of vice admiral, and in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air marshal. A lieutenant general commands an army corps, made up of typically three army divisions, and consisting of around 60,000–70,000 soldiers (U.S.).

The seeming incongruity that a lieutenant general outranks a major general (whereas a major outranks a lieutenant) is due to the derivation of the latter rank from sergeant major general, which was also subordinate to lieutenant general. In some countries (e.g. France and Italy), the ranks of corps general or lieutenant colonel general are used instead of lieutenant general, in an attempt to solve this apparent anomaly – these ranks are often translated into English as lieutenant general.However, some countries of Latin America such as Brazil and Chile use divisional general as the equivalent of lieutenant general. In addition, because no brigadier general rank is used in Japan, lieutenant general is the rank of divisional commander. Therefore, it corresponds to divisional general of these countries. In a number of smaller states which employ NATO and western style military organizational structures, because of the limited number of soldiers in their armies, the rank of lieutenant general is the highest army rank in use. In Latvia, Lithuania and Singapore, the chief of defence is a lieutenant general, and in the Irish Defence Forces and Israel Defense Forces, the Chief of Staff holds this rank.

Lieutenant general (United States)

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Most estimates of German deaths in these camps range from 3,000 to 6,000. Many of these died from starvation, dehydration and exposure to the weather elements because no structures were built inside the prison compounds.

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United States uniformed services commissioned officer and officer candidate ranks
Pay grade / branch of service Officer
candidate
O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 O-9 O-10 O-11 Special
grade
Officer Candidate[1] Second lieutenant / Ensign First lieutenant / Lieutenant (junior grade) Captain / Lieutenant[6] Major / Lieutenant commander Lieutenant colonel / Commander Colonel / Captain Brigadier general / Rear admiral (lower half) Major General / Rear admiral[6] Lieutenant general / Vice admiral[6] General / Admiral[6] General of the Air Force / General of the Army / Fleet Admiral General of the Armies / Admiral of the Navy[2]
CDT / OC 2LT 1LT CPT MAJ LTC COL BG MG LTG GEN GA[3] GAS[3]
Midn / Cand 2ndLt 1stLt Capt Maj LtCol Col BGen MajGen LtGen Gen [5] [5]
MIDN / OC ENS LTJG LT LCDR CDR CAPT RDML RADM VADM ADM FADM[3] AN[3]
Cadet / OT / OC 2nd Lt 1st Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Gen Maj Gen Lt Gen Gen GAF[3] [5]
CDT / OC ENS LTJG LT LCDR CDR CAPT RDML RADM VADM ADM [5] [5]
[OC] ENS LTJG LT LCDR CDR CAPT RADM RADM VADM ADM [5] [5]
OC ENS LTJG LT LCDR CDR CAPT RDML RADM VADM [4] [5] [5]
W-1 W-2 W-3 W-4 W-5
US-Army-WO1.svg
WO1
US-Army-CW2.svg
CW2
US-Army-CW3.svg
CW3
US-Army-CW4.svg
CW4
US-Army-CW5compare.svg
CW5
USMC WO1.svg
WO1
USMC CWO2.svg
CWO2
USMC CWO3.svg
CWO3
USMC CWO4.svg
CWO4
USMC CWO5.svg
CWO5
US Navy WO1 insignia.svg
WO1
US Navy CW2 insignia.svg
CWO2
US Navy CW3 insignia.svg
CWO3
US Navy CW4 insignia.svg
CWO4
US Navy CW5 insignia.svg
CWO5
USAF-WO1.svg
WO1[1]
USAF-CW2.svg
CWO2[1]
USAF-CW3.svg
CWO3[1]
USAF-CW4.svg
CWO4[1]
USAF CW5.png
CWO5[1]
USCG WO1 insignia.svg
WO1[1]
USCG CW2 insignia.svg
CWO2
USCG CW3 insignia.svg
CWO3
USCG CW4 insignia.svg
CWO4
[2]
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[3] [3] [3] [3] [3]

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