The Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-2016

The Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-2016
The Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-2016
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The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer. He presides over the Joint Chiefs and provides military advice to the civilian leadership. This revised fifth edition examines the development of the chairmanship as an institution over the last sixty-seven years. It presents an expanded historical essay and four additional career biographies, with associated updates to the supplementary sections and appendices.


Table of Contents

The Role of the Chairman

World War II: Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief 4

Postwar Reorganization and a Temporary Appointment 6

Creation of the Position of Chairman 7

The First Chairman 8

The Eisenhower Chairmen: Advocates and Exemplars 10

The 1960s: Civilian Encroachment 15

The 1970s: Dealing with the Impact of Vietnam 23

The Road to JCS Reform 28

The Goldwater-Nichols Act 33

Principal Military Adviser 35

Expanded Influence: The Vice Chairman’s Role 41

Into the Twenty-First Century 47

Conclusion 60

The Chairmen

Omar Nelson Bradley 65

Arthur William Radford 73

Nathan Farragut Twining 81

Ly man Louis Lem n itzer 91

Maxwell Davenport Taylor 101

Earle Gilmore Wheeler 109

Thomas Hinman Moorer 117

George Scratchley Brown 127

David Charles Jones 137

John William Vessey, Jr. 147

William James Crowe, Jr. 157

Colin Luther Powell 167

John Malchase David Shalikashvili 179

Henry Hugh Shelton 189

Richard Bowman Myers 199

Peter Pace 211

Michael Glenn Mullen 223

Martin Edward Dempsey 237

Joseph Francis Dunford, Jr. 249

The Vice Chairmen

Robert Tralles Herres 257

David Elmer Jeremiah 267

William Arthur Owens 277

Joseph W. Ralston 287

Richard Bowman Myers 297

Peter Pace 299

Edmund Peter Giambastiani, Jr. 301

James Edward Cartwright 315

James Alexander Winnefeld, Jr. 327

Paul Joseph Selva. 339

The JCS Conference Room: “The Tank” 347

The Flag of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 353

The Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge 357

Quarters Six: The Chairman’s Residence 361


1.Extracts of Public Law 81–216, 10 August 1949, National Security Act Amendments of 1949 369

2. Extracts of Public Law 99–433, 1 October 1986,

Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 371

3. Chronological Listing of Presidents of the United States, Secretaries of Defense, and Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 377

Notes 383


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Defense Dept., Office of the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint History Office
  • Lowrey, Nathan S.
Key Phrases:
  • Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-2016
  • Military History
  • Department of Defense
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-2016
  • United States, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chairmen
  • Generals, United States, Biography
  • Admirals, United States, Biography
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