It is currently Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:47 pm
Change font size

AMERICA - MILITARY BRANCH & RANK INSIGNIA

Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines

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

Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby jrichardn2 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:13 am

Not about rank insignia exactly ...

I was reading about William "Kip" Ward, who was the first commander of the U.S. Africa Command (2007-11), at the rank of General (O-10). He is now under investigation for (I gather) misuse of funds and his staff. While the investigation is under way, he's been retained on active service, working as a staff officer - at the rank of Major General (O-8).

I read this explanation in Stars and Stripes (http://www.stripes.com/news/former-afri ... e-1.178786):

"Because Ward is serving as a special assistant, he no longer qualifies to serve in a four-star capacity, Wright said. Wright said the downgrade is not a demotion.

"'Appointments to lieutenant general and general are temporary, and if an officer is not filling a position designated by the president . . . the officer reverts to his last permanent grade,' Wright said in a statement. 'General Ward’s last permanent grade is major general.'

This is fascinating to me. And it leads to some questions:

- Are all U.S. Army Lieutenant and full Generals (O-9 and O-10) really "just" Major Generals (O-8)?
- Does this apply to the other services?
- Has this been true since the Civil War (when Major General was the highest rank until Grant broke that ceiling)?
jrichardn2
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby gghbisa » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:38 am

Various appointments were more permanent than others, but for the most part the answer to all three questions in yes.
gghbisa
VISITOR
VISITOR
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:25 am

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby Luke » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:04 pm

Its the same in the French Army; see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A9n%C3%A9ral
User avatar
Luke
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
 
Posts: 1636
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 6:06 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby Caim_Dubh » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:01 am

I had thought this went out the door years ago, at least before or immediately after WWII. It's interesting to see that the U.S. Military still holds to this policy. I wonder why 2-star was picked for the highest permanent grade, as opposed to 1-star or colonel.
SFC, USA
BAMFETS
User avatar
Caim_Dubh
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 8:04 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby venqax » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:19 pm

You probably thought 0-9 and 0-10 were permanent ranks now because usually they end up being granted permanently, as retirement ranks, to those who hold them. That's been pretty much true since WWII. Really, though, they are originally granted as temporary position-specific ranks to those who hold the permanent ranks of major general or rear admiral upper half. In order to hold a 3 or 4 star rank an officer has to hold a position that is specifically designated as such. The guy referrenced lost his 4-star position, therefore also his 4-star rank.
venqax
VISITOR
VISITOR
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:04 pm

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby Caim_Dubh » Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:56 pm

Yeah, he was having some legal issues at the time, and chances are they were high-profile enough that his cronies couldn't bail him out. Interesting how they were able to twist the knife by taking some stars away. I'll have to look him up and see if he retired as a two-star.
SFC, USA
BAMFETS
User avatar
Caim_Dubh
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 8:04 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby venqax » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:20 pm

Good idea. I recall that Vice Admiral (3-star) John Poindexter of Iran-Contra fame was retired as a 2-star. He held the higher rank as National Security Advisor to the President which is a 3-star position, but lost it due to the fallout of the scandal. Colin Powell was a 3-star as NSAd, too, but held the rank already because he was a Corps commander-- also a 3 star billet-- before he was appointed.
venqax
VISITOR
VISITOR
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:04 pm

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby Caim_Dubh » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:50 am

As an additional note, I was reading through Title 10 US Code the other day on an unrelated note and came across the information regarding permanent promotion to major general and appointment as a lieutenant general or general, basically outlining the legal limitations therein. It is interesting that this arbitrary limit that dates back to the founding of our country is still in effect today.

Again, I wonder why major general was selected as the highest permanent rank and not colonel or full general. Marshal or field marshal may have had some of the stink of the aristocracy that the Founding Fathers were so keen to avoid (at least some of them), but major general still seems arbitrary.
SFC, USA
BAMFETS
User avatar
Caim_Dubh
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 8:04 pm
Location: Belgium

The Promotion Process for GO selection and getting to 4-star

Unread postby DarthGaddafi » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:56 pm

How one general interprets the Army’s selection of new one-stars: Too much infantry, and way too many exec assts. By Lt. Gen. David Barno, USA (Ret.)

After a bit of reflection, here's my two cents on the Army's newest one-star list, released on May 24, plus a few thoughts on finding the right people to become our most senior strategic military leaders, as well.

Here are the raw numbers: 34 selectees, including 8 Infantry, 2 Armor, 2 SF, 1 Air Defense, 3 Aviation, 2 Signal, 2 Engineer, 2 Intell, 1 Chemical, 3 Logistics, 2 AG, 1 Space Ops, 1 ORSA, 1 Strategic Plans, and 3 Acquisition.

Some thoughts:

First, at 34 names, the new Brigadier General list is very small -- the BG list chaired by General Petraeus in 2008, for example, had forty selectees, a fairly typical number. My guess is that at least 3-4 additional officers have been selected but are "held up" for public release due to ongoing investigations -- often the case, but seemingly more so in recent years. A slowing of senior GO retirements since the 2007 advent of 40-year/100 percent base pay retirement for generals may also be stopping up the upper end of the pipeline, providing fewer options to bring on new one-stars.

Second, the published list has zero Field Artillery officers and zero Foreign Area Officers -- amazing! Again, I suspect FA might have one or more officers "held up" who will pop later.

Third, eight Infantry officers out of 34 is a big number this year --likely in keeping with the prevalence of infantry brigade commands in our two COIN-dominated conflicts. Even though I am a former career infantry officer, I find this troubling -- and the two Armor officers selected represent a branch has become more and more infantry-centric. Even more so, the Army apparently selecting no FA officers is unsettling.

Finally, it's jaw-dropping to see the number of selectees who are serving in all manner of "executive assistant to" one of the four-stars or their civilian equivalents among the names on this list. This is never uncommon, but this year it seems almost dominant.

Some perspective: Only about one half of these officers, no more, will be promoted in the coming years to Major General. Ten years from now -- unless the culture and norms of the Army change -- the ten or so future Army four-stars will come from this list, or ones very much like it.

More precisely, those future four stars will come from the remaining combat arms, logistics (for maybe one four star), and intelligence (maybe one) officers on this BG list who have made it up to three stars. But the new generals who were chosen as staff specialists (foreign area, acquisition) and have left the combat arms or other branches to become career staff officers pretty much need not apply for future 4-star positions.

So from this group of 34 brigadiers ten years hence (and in joint jobs, from their Navy, USAF and USMC contemporaries) must come the 10-12 four star combatant commanders, CSA, VCSA, perhaps a CJCS or VCJCS, AMC commander, CYBERCOM, FORSCOM, and TRADOC commanders. Big thinking strategic leaders, all.

But note: not only will half of these newly minted brigadiers never be promoted again, but those that pick up a second star will only continue on to the highest levels if they get to command. And BTW, no "functional area" staff officer types -- FA59 Army Strategists included -- are going to be able to get key commands that will inevitably go to the "operators." And in truth, in today's Army if you don't command a division or a corps, you simply don't make four stars. This bench narrows very quickly at two-star level, starting from an already pretty small lineup at BG.

So, I would hypothetically challenge those with in-depth knowledge of this new BG group: Who among this newly anointed one-stars has the kind of experiences in their first 25 years service that will equip him or her for those future 4-star jobs? The developmental education? The broadening assignments? Evidence of vision and strategic aptitude?

Who among them -- especially in combat arms -- is postured by dint of their first 25 years to be competitive for those very different strategic roles demanded of our future four-stars? And given the relentless tactical assignment pattern for our maneuver types, how many officers with strategic talent even survived to make this BG list? How many of that very small group will survive 2-and 3-star command and staff jobs to be sitting on that "bench" of potential strategic talent ten years from now? More importantly, will they be the right ones?

How should the Army leadership broaden its bench of future strategic leaders? Can it change the command track to bring back those that have been "off ramped" into being permanent (if very bright) staff officers? Or can the Army figure out how to avoid "brain drain" from the combat arms into these esoteric staff specialties? (It's the one reason I tell my FA59 friends I don't like their specialty: "Every one of you smart folks going into 59 drops the combat arms IQ average by one point.")

To connect this question to our discussion of the new Army BG List: We remain a military and a nation at war. Our combat commanders are carrying great weight in this long conflict, and their skills deserve our utmost respect and recognition. But their battlefield talents may not identically correlate with those skills that we will need in our future strategic leaders. Skilled tacticians are highly prized in the military culture, but they may or may not have the right "strategic DNA." These groups -- great tacticians and great strategic leaders -- are not identical, and they may not even overlap a great deal. And I'm not sure anyone knows.

As I scroll though this latest BG list, I hope that its members were not chosen primarily to recognize those who are our best warfighters and "gunslingers." In CSA Marty Dempsey's football analogy, these are the top-notch "Linebackers," and they have mostly dominated the recent selections for Brigadier. Yet it's increasingly apparent that our future requirements for strategic leaders will demand three- and four-star generals who include a spread of skilled tight ends, deep safeties -- and a couple of agile quarterbacks. And we quite frankly haven't figured out how to convert a cast of Linebacker generals into these vastly more complicated positions on the 4-star football field.

A final stray thought: the last-minute shuffle that vaulted the talented, but brand-new, Army Chief Dempsey into backfilling the Chairman's position should give us pause. Its ad hoc feel suggests that we may need a much deeper bench of strategic leaders across all the services, and a more deliberate and resilient succession process. How we arrive at that objective, and where both this year's Army BG list and later GO selection and development processes fit into that goal ought to be given some very serious thought.

But in the meantime, my very best wishes to each of these 34 new Army Brigadiers. The Army's future is entirely in your hands -- and you are in for a very exciting ride!
DarthGaddafi
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:50 pm

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby gghbisa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:47 am

I don’t think Major General was chosen as the highest rank, it just sort of worked out that way.

The Continental Congress probably had a fear of high ranking military officers, the specter of Oliver Cromwell was always present. George Washington requested at least twice that some Lieutenant Generals be appointed to command higher formations but congress ignored him. The fear of senior officers leading a coup may have played a part.

In addition Washington’s own rank could have played a part. Washington’s commission in the Continental Army gave him the rank and or title of General and Commander-in-Chief. How this relates to modern ranks is not clear, nor will it ever be. The intention was just to put him in charge. If the Lieutenant Generals had been appointed, it would have made things easier, Washington would have been a full general. There is also confusion due to paintings of him wearing three stars on his epaulets. It is sometimes said that because he wore three stars he was a Lieutenant General. This is a some what annoying trend, even used by some professional historians, that assumes that rank insignia was always the same as it is now. Major Generals wore two stars and Washington, holding the next rank up, wore three.

The confusion over Washington’s rank gets set in stone with the quasi war period. In 1798 Washington was given command of the army with the rank of Lieutenant General. The next year congress changed the rank to General of the Armies of the United States but the rank was never bestowed on Washington as the threat of war was receding. When he died George Washington was an active duty Lieutenant General.

Respect for Washington was probably the motivation for the lack of higher officers than Major Generals before the Civil War. However Winfield Scott was given a brevet as a Lieutenant General in 1855.

It is always dangerous to assume that congress knows what it is doing. When Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to the rank above Lieutenant General in 1866, the statute refers to “reviving” the rank of General of the Army (note the singular) of the United States. Is this the same rank as the one created in 1799? Was Grant, as well and Sherman and Sheridan after him, the first five star General of the Army, the rank used in World War II? Or were Grant, Sherman and Sheridan just full generals (as they were listed in the army register)? There will never be any answers. The 1976 law that promoted Washington to General of the Armies of the United States states that he was a Lieutenant General in the Continental Army, enshrining the misconception in law.
gghbisa
VISITOR
VISITOR
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:25 am

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby Caim_Dubh » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:51 am

It seems the basic intent with the "General of the Army/Armyies (of the United States)" was less to signify what insignia the general should wear and more to signify that these guys had the biggest britches on the block. To many guys get hung up on the five-star versus six-star wrangling when the actual insignia was likely never really thought about by the guys making policy.
SFC, USA
BAMFETS
User avatar
Caim_Dubh
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 8:04 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby DarthGaddafi » Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:25 pm

Nice place to post a work in progress. Curret US Army Blues
Attachments
ArmyBlueOff.jpg
Current USA Blues
DarthGaddafi
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:50 pm

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby Dorward_Bis » Sun Jun 07, 2015 10:09 pm

Great job, Darth - actually as always))
I suppose its a time to create a separate section on Uniforminsignia devoted to such performance of uniforms as ranking lines.
aka Dorward and Dmitry Belokurov
User avatar
Dorward_Bis
ADMINISTRATOR
ADMINISTRATOR
 
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:57 pm
Location: Ukraine, Kiev

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby Torg003 » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:04 am

Darth, first off, looks good BTW.
Secondly, I was wondering what the Lieutenant General is wearing on his pocket under his nametag? Looks like 4 green maple leaves joined at the stem (which seems strange for a US general to wear, but then, with the large gold braid around the cuffs for generals, look a lot like old style CF generals, so might be appropriate). smilies-29
Torg003
VISITOR
VISITOR
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:28 pm

Re: Highest permanent grade in U.S. Army is Major General?

Unread postby DarthGaddafi » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:56 am

Torg003 that is the war-time service service unit badge, or the unit with which the general went to war. In this case the 4th Infantry Division.
DarthGaddafi
COMMUNICANT
COMMUNICANT
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:50 pm

Advertisement

Email Converter - our sponsor


Return to AMERICA - MILITARY BRANCH & RANK INSIGNIA

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

Search

User Menu