The Chairmanship of The Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-2019

The Chairmanship of The Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-2019
The Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-2019
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Seventy years ago, on 10 August 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed into law an act that created the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The fact that this occurred two years after Congress had established the Joint Chiefs of Staff reflects the need at that time for an independent presiding officer to referee interservice deliberations and to communicate sometime conflicting advice to the Secretary of Defense and the President.

This revised sixth edition of The Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the story of the twenty Chairmen and how they addressed these and other challenges during their tenures, and provides an updated perspective on the historical development of the institution. While focusing on the roles of the Chairman and Vice Chairman in formulating and implementing national policy, it also examines civil-military relations at the highest levels from World War II through the second decade of the twenty-first century. It reminds us that our commitment to support and defend the Constitution is ongoing and ever challenging.




Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Preface ix

The Role of the Chairman

World War II: Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief 3

Postwar Reorganization and a Temporary Appointment 5

Creation of the Position of Chairman 6

The First Chairman 7

The Eisenhower Chairmen: Advocates and Exemplars 10

The 1960s: Civilian Encroachment 14

The 1970s: Dealing with the Impact of Vietnam 21

The Road to JCS Reform 25

The Goldwater-Nichols Act 29

The Chairman as Principal Military Adviser and the Vice Chairman’s Expanding Role 30

Into the Twenty-First Century 36

The Long War 37

Global Integration and Beyond 46

Conclusion 55

The JCS Conference Room: “The Tank” 315

The Flag of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 317

The Flag of the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 319

The Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge 321

Quarters Six: The Chairman’s Residence 323


Students of military history and national security affairs will find this publication a useful tool and convenient reference point for further research and study of U.S. military leadership.

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Department of Defense (DOD)Joint Chiefs of Staff
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