It is currently Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:32 pm
Change font size

AMERICA - MILITARY BRANCH & RANK INSIGNIA

Use of 5-star grades in US Armed Forces

Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines

Moderators: Miklós Lovász, kaldi, Chuck Anderson, Pavel Močoch, Erskine Calderon, Lukasz Gaszewski, ChrisWI, Zdzislaw Rudzki

Use of 5-star grades in US Armed Forces

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:54 pm

I have just posted a comment on use of 5-star grades in US Armed Forces under "6-star insignia US Armed Forces" post that I thought would be of interest.
ELSUPREMO
 

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:28 pm

A useful link for more info on the subject of the insignia themselves...

http://www.military-historians.org/company/journal/five-star/fivestar.htm
Medic_in_Uniform
ADMINISTRATOR
ADMINISTRATOR
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:33 pm

6-star insignia

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:14 pm

I read this 1984 article many years ago, and sadly it is both incomplete and out of date but does raise some useful points, but I appreciate your suggesting it.
ELSUPREMO
 

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:55 pm

To be honest, I was thinking of it more as a general information piece for other folks who might look in on this subject - I guess I kinda suspected you'd be familiar with it!
smilies-01

(in fact, it crossed my mind that you may even have been the author...! smilies-02 )
Medic_in_Uniform
ADMINISTRATOR
ADMINISTRATOR
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:33 pm

6

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:51 pm

Thanks for the compliment! In fact, I have more than enough material both textual and visual for a full color, hard cover book, which I am planning to write!
ELSUPREMO
 

Goldwater-Nichols command structure

Unread postby ryanemilia » Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:54 pm

Here is a chart I keep to track 4-star Billets. The top row is the Joint Chiefs and the the second row is the Unified Combatant Commanders. Under each is the component 4-star officers that are under that combatant commander. In the inset box are some seperate 4-star officers that do not fit directly into a command structure-most are under the service chief or are dept heads.

I try to keep this up-to-date for the individuals, but I have been really busy lately so it may be somewhat out of date.

Image

Ryan M.
ryanemilia
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:22 pm

Unread postby dcfowler » Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:42 am

Interesting chart!

A couple of notes: The nine unified command commanders are senior to the four vice chiefs of staff, so they should be above them. (CJCS, VCJCS, the five chiefs of staff and the nine unifed commanders are all paid at the higher "O-10S" grade with special pay. The other four stars are paid at the lower "O-10" grade.

A tenth unifed commander will be named soon for USAFRICOM.

You do not show ADM Thad Allen, USCG, Commandant of the Coast Goard (O-10S)

You do not show ADM John Agwunobi, USPHS, Assistant Secretary of HHS for Health (O-10)

Commandant of the Marine Corps is now Gen James Conway

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps is now Gen Robert Magnus

Gen Victor Renuart, USAF is incoming COMNORTHCOM/NORAD
ADM Timothy Keating is incoming COMPACOM

Dave
dcfowler
CORRESPONDENT
CORRESPONDENT
 
Posts: 197
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:06 am
Location: Eugene, OR

Unread postby BW » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:57 pm

Because there are so much 4-star-gens, I think the most important positions really should better be occupied by 5-star-persons. To my opinion those most important positions are at least the CJCS and the two NATO Supreme Commanders.

Greets, BW
BW
VISITOR
VISITOR
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:42 am
Location: Vienna, Austria

Use of 5-star grades in US Armed Forces

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:25 am

The 5-star grades were created to put the senior World War II American commanders on equal level of grade with their British counterparts. The actual elevation of 4-star officers to 5-star grade was very limited, and intended to both achieve equivalency and to reward commanders for brilliance of command in global conflict. In the end, only nine officers were promoted to the various 5-star grades. Legislation was briefly considered after World War II that, de facto, any officer serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should automatically be promoted to 5-stars. However, this proposed legislation did not go anywhere and the World War II recipients of 5-stars remain the only persons to achieve it. Although it is interesting in concept that certain positions should automatically receive 5-stars, the grade was never intended for use that way, and if actually used in this way, I think it would cheapen the extraordinary command achievements of the only recipients. Apparently Congress agreed, as the attempt to consider position as the criterion for promotion failed to become law.
ELSUPREMO
 

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:00 pm

The use of five stars (as appropriate to whichever service) as an honor for, say, the CJS alone would seem to be a be a logical extrapolation of the WWII introduction of the rank. The US armed forces are, on a global scale, very large organizations and I can understand why it seems reasonable to consider the use of an additional grade for very senior commanders.

At the same time, however, such a use would also take the use of the five-star grade off at something of a tangent to the original intent of Congress when the grade was established and I guess that's El Supremo's key point here. On a slightly more flippant note, I suppose it would also complicate the appointment of a USMC General to the CJS role as there is, as far as I know, no provision for a five-star USMC grade. (El Supremo...?)

It's actually very interesting that the US military have adopted a "first amongst equals" approach for their senior billets. Clearly there is some differentiation, if only by the application of the "O-10S" pay-grade, but the regular use of a higher rank is felt to be unnecessary. Let's face it, at that level of seniority, the officers of four-star rank already know each other and their respective roles without the need for different metalwork - and those subordinate to those roles really don't need any further info anyway!

smilies-15
Medic_in_Uniform
ADMINISTRATOR
ADMINISTRATOR
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:33 pm

Use of 5-star grades in US Armed Forces

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:54 pm

It is an important point that has been raised that if the 5-star grades are based just on position or office held that in the case of a USMC 4-star general appointed Chariman, JCS, unless Congress makes a specific exception for the Marine Corps (doubtful) or separates the Marine Corps from the Navy (doubtful) then a Marine Corps General could not be promoted to a grade non-existant in the Marine Corps. Perhaps he could be transferred to the US Navy and made a Fleet Admiral of the US Navy (doubtful).
ELSUPREMO
 

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:01 pm

That's pretty much what I was thinking too.
Medic_in_Uniform
ADMINISTRATOR
ADMINISTRATOR
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:33 pm

Unread postby BW » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:24 am

Can't be very complicated to create a 5*rank for the USMC ...

By the way, let's look from the other side: does the US need so much 4*Officers?

Greets, BW
BW
VISITOR
VISITOR
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:42 am
Location: Vienna, Austria

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:50 pm

Yes, that would also be a fair comment; the alternative approach would be to limit the number of four-star billets to very specific posts and then re-prioritise the allocation of the one-star through three-star billets.

Can't see that happening either though! smilies-04
Medic_in_Uniform
ADMINISTRATOR
ADMINISTRATOR
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:33 pm

Use of 5-star grades in US Armed Forces

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:35 pm

Such great ideas on the use of the US 5-star grades. Remember also that these officers are expensive. They never have to retire unless they desire it and always remain on the active list and have wonderful perks and benefits (costly) including, I believe, two personal aides each, not to mention plush housing and pentagon offices. They are expensive to feed and water, though all earned it. Quite simply put, despite the probable need for more of them, the grades will remain an historical curiosity and I strongly believe that no more 5-star officers will be created. In reality, the military has better things to do and while ego must figure into the equation, I think the fiscal impacts, let alone the intense personal scruitny, and no one could evade some dirt from their past which would not be desired for these exalted officers, would probably make Congress shy away from the intensity and criticism more 5-star officers would probably generate.
ELSUPREMO
 

Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:37 pm

Legislation re-authorizing a 5-star grades for the CJCS would no doubt also create a new Marine rank. However, as others have said, such legislation is very unlikely in the forseeable future. There are still many in Congress that remember the Second World War, and current levels of potential conflict are not seen to be on the same scale as that war, nor any officers considered comparable to such legendary figures as Eisenhower, MacArthur and Nimitz.

By the way, let's look from the other side: does the US need so much 4* Officers?


That's a good question. The US armed forces kept a large organization through the Cold War years, and though the size of the forces has been reduced sinificantly there are still a lot of top level posts. There are more 4-star officers on active duty now than it took to run World War II (see below). But officers on that level are in the best positions to lobby for keeping their posts, it may be an example of what my Grandfather used to say, "Them who has more, gets more!"

--Justin


World War II four star officers (not counting officers on the retired list but serving on active duty):

Generals, US Army:
MARSHALL, George C., Army Chief of Staff (later General of the Army)
MACARTHUR, Douglas, CinC Southwest Pacific Area (later General of the Army)
EISENHOWER, Dwight D., Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (later General of the Army)
ARNOLD, Henry H., Commanding General, Army Air Forces (later General of the Army)
STILWELL, Joseph W., Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, SE Asia
KRUEGER, Walter, CG 6th Army
SOMERVELL, Brehon B., CG Army Service Forces
MCNARNEY, Joseph T., Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean
DEVERS, Jacob L., CG 6th Army Group
KENNEY, George C., CG Far Eastern Air Forces
CLARK, Mark, CG 15th Army Group
SPAATZ, Carl, CG Strategic Air Forces
BRADLEY, Omar N., CG 12th Army Group (later General of the Army)
PATTON, George S., CG 3rd Army
HANDY, Thomas T., Vice Chief of Army Staff
HODGES, Courtney H., CG 1st Army

Admirals, US Navy:
LEAHY, William D., Chief of Staff to the President (later Fleet Admiral)
HART, Thomas C., CinC Asiatic Fleet
STARK, Harold R., Chief of Naval Operations, later Commander US Naval Forces Europe and Commander Twelfth Fleet
KIMMEL, Husband E., CinC Pacific Fleet
KING, Ernest J., CinC US Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations (later Fleet Admiral)
NIMITZ, Chester W., CinC Pacific Fleet and CinC Pacific Ocean Areas (later Fleet Admiral)
INGERSOLL, Royal E., CinC Atlantic Fleet
HALSEY, William F., Commander Third Fleet (later Fleet Admiral)
SPRUANCE, Raymond A., Commander Fifth Fleet
INGRAM, Jonas H., Commander Fourth Fleet
HORNE, Frederick J., Vice Chief of Naval Operations
EDWARDS, Richard S., Deputy CinC US Fleet and Deputy CNO
HEWITT, H. Kent, Commander Eighth Fleet
KINKAID, Thomas C., Commander Seventh Fleet
TURNER, Richmond K., Commander Amphibious Forces Pacific

General, US Marine Corps:
VANDEGRIFT, Alexander A., Commandant, USMC

Admiral, US Coast Guard:
WAESCHE, Russell R., Commandant, USCG
J.T. Broderick
CORRESPONDENT
CORRESPONDENT
 
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 4:33 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Use of 5-star grades in the US Armed Forces

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:19 am

I think it is quite understated to say that it is unlikely that any 5-star grade would be created in the US Marine Corps in any legislation re-activating the 5-star grades for all the reasons previously discussed. Chief among these would probably be that the USMC is and has always been a subordinate specialty branch of the US Navy. Even during World War II when the military services were so much larger than today and globally spread out far beyond what exists now, the USMC remained a branch of the US Navy. I have a hard time believing that Congress would make the USMC a separate military service department. And, I think that the fact that more 4-star officers exist now than during World War II cheapens the elevation of officers to that grade, shows the need for more selectivity in appointing officers to them based on much more than mere positional command, and is a situation that would only be worsened by just bumping those officers up to the 5-star level. That itself would then cheapen the 5-star grades, which would run the risk of overcrowding, then requiring lots of 6-star officers to break the log-jam of positional promotions. The cycle could be endless. The clear message to me is that while obviously difficult to attain high grade, it is, relatively speaking, and beyond the personal merit required, too easy to become a 4-star officer, despite the positional necessity for doing so. After all, in all of World War II, with an enormously larger world-wide US military presence, many fewer 4-star officers sufficed. This made the creation of and promotion to the 5-star level an exalted honor for those heroic recipients.
ELSUPREMO
 

Unread postby dcfowler » Sat Mar 10, 2007 6:36 am

"I think it is quite understated to say that it is unlikely that any 5-star grade would be created in the US Marine Corps in any legislation re-activating the 5-star grades for all the reasons previously discussed. Chief among these would probably be that the USMC is and has always been a subordinate specialty branch of the US Navy. Even during World War II when the military services were so much larger than today and globally spread out far beyond what exists now, the USMC remained a branch of the US Navy."

First of all, the Marine Corps is not now, nor has it ever been a "subordinate speciality branch of the US Navy." It was established as one of two distinct armed services within the Department of the Navy. One is the Navy, the other is the Marine Corps. This is what the USCode states.

Second, while the USMC had had a sort of "junior status" to the Navy within the DON historically, in the post-war years, that fiction has been essentially shed. Plus there is the ever-increasing numbers of USMC 4-stars in joint commands as well, which pretty much puts that to rest.

Should legislation ever be enacted to revive the 5-star rank, the fact that Pace has been chairman would make it politically impossible for Congress to not create a USMC 5-star rank. And did I mention the very influential Marine Corps mafia that exists in Congress?

D
dcfowler
CORRESPONDENT
CORRESPONDENT
 
Posts: 197
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:06 am
Location: Eugene, OR

Use of 5-star grades in US Armed Forces

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:30 am

Obviously there is much interest in and deeply passionate feelings about the further use of 5-star grades in the US Armed Forces. But the fact remains that the USMC is a part of the Department of the Navy, and unless Congress changes that, or finds extraordinary reasons to re-activate other 5-star grades, it is far-fetched that a 5-star USMC officer will exist. History shows that anything is possible, and perhaps if a global conflict were to occur requiring higher command, this would be justified. Present circumstances of country and history do not seem to warrant such action. Regardless of the number of 4-star officers, 4-star egos, or 4-star political cliques, I think new 5-star grades in any service are a dream. Only history will answer this question.
ELSUPREMO
 

Unread postby kaldi » Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:11 pm

Hi all
I cant help but wonder after having looked all the posts on this subject, how big or how many individuals are in the US armed forces so the need of four star officers is so big?
smilies-08

Kaldi
kaldi
Olafur B Olafsson CEO and owner of Kaldi Security, Explosive specialist, and Rescue Team Member (ICESAR).
User avatar
kaldi
ADMINISTRATOR
ADMINISTRATOR
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 7:06 pm
Location: Keflavik - Iceland

Unread postby ryanemilia » Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:46 pm

The US Armed Forces is not quite big enough for all the missions, or operations tempo that is being asked of it lately. Let me amend that the Marines and the Army are running out of units to rotate into Iraq and Afghanistan. Literally some are on their train-up to go on their 4th tour.

Having said that the US Armed Forces is roughly 1.5 million Active duty and 1.3 million in the reserves.

It sounds like alot, but really it must be compared to the obligations that have been tasked to the force.

On another note, Congress controls all promotions to 3 and 4 star grades. Now in reality this is mostly formality as these officers picked have been chosen by a board of Generals and Admirals respectively. But as I have worked in D.C. for Senators and Congressmen in the past I can honestly say that these guys will do anything to gain a political outcome that they favor. So the idea of creating 5-star Generals and Admirals is but a poll away for them. They would have no problems creating a Marine 5-star. Second it is the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Act that created the set number of 4-star billets. The Armed Services are now more a creature like a corporation in management style. So for all those who want to know more about why this many 4-stars or what they are needed for please research Goldwater-Nichols.

Ryan M.
ryanemilia
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:22 pm

Unread postby dcfowler » Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:02 am

One reason for the increase in the number of 4- and 3-star billets in the US military, is a large increase in the number of joint commands that have been introduced in the postwar years, that did not exist in WW2 (unified commands, joint internatioal commands, etc.).

Yes, there were some of these during WW2, but not to the institutionalized extent they are today.

Dave
dcfowler
CORRESPONDENT
CORRESPONDENT
 
Posts: 197
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:06 am
Location: Eugene, OR

Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:58 pm

I am in agreement with Dave. If five-star ranks were re-authorized, there is no question that the JCS chairman would be one of the first to receive it. Thus there would have to be a USMC O-11 rank, unless Marine generals are legally barred from the position of CJCS. With the precedent of Gen. Pace now estalished, this doesn't seem likely.

The position of the Marines in the Department of the Navy used to be somewhat ambiguous, but beginning with the "Unification" battles of 1946-47 the Marines began to secure a place as an indepndent and equal branch of the armed forces. The seating of the Commandant as a permanent member of the Joint Chiefs in the late '70s was a significant step, and the confirmation of USMC generals as Unified Commanders and especially of Peter Pace as chairman seems to indicate that the Marines have "arrived" as far as Congress is concerned. A long way from the World War II situation when army officers maintained that Marine officers were unsuited to command anything larger than a regiment, and caused a major uproar when Holland Smith replaced an army general on Saipan!

The Department of the Navy is still somewhat unique as it handles two services rather than one, but its nomenclature may be addressed by a bill now in the House Armed Services Committee which would change the department's name to "Department of the Navy and Marine Corps:"
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.346.IH:

best regards,
Justin
J.T. Broderick
CORRESPONDENT
CORRESPONDENT
 
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 4:33 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:13 am

Just a reminder that the concept of positional entitlement to the five-star grades was debated by Congress in the past. It was suggested in a Bill that, de facto, the Chairman JCS would automatically become a five-star officer simply by being appointed Chairman, JCS. This was soundly defeated and rejected. Thus, it is suspect that Congress, with this precedent, would re-consider the concept. Anything is possible, of course, especially when first tried, and the fact it was very carefully considered in the past, and rejected on a number of logical grounds, casts suspicion and doubt that Congress would find it necessary, advisable or prudent to change its historic decision on this matter. History alone will decide the issue.
ELSUPREMO
 

Advertisement

Email Converter - our sponsor


Return to AMERICA - MILITARY BRANCH & RANK INSIGNIA

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest

cron

Search

User Menu