General Counsel of the Department of the Army
Seal of the Office of the General Counsel
Flag of the General Counsel and the Assistant Secretaries of the Army
James E. McPherson

since January 2, 2018
Department of the Army
Office of the Secretary
StyleThe Honorable
Reports toSecretary of the Army
Under Secretary of the Army
SeatThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, United States
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 3019
First holderKarl Bendetsen
DeputyPrincipal Deputy General Counsel (PDGC)
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level IV[1]

The General Counsel of the Army (also known as the Army General Counsel, abbreviated AGC) is the chief legal officer of the U.S. Department of the Army and senior legal advisor to the Secretary of the Army.

U.S. law provides that the General Counsel shall be appointed from the civilian life by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate, and that the Secretary of the Army prescribes the duties of the office.[2]

The Office of the General Counsel of the Army also provides legal advice to the Under Secretary of the Army and the five Assistant Secretaries of the Army, as well as other members of the Army Secretariat. The General Counsel of the Army also plays a role in supervising the Office of the Judge Advocate General and the Office of the Chief Counsel of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Partial list of General Counsels of the Army

Name Term start Term end President appointed by Secretary served under
Karl Bendetsen[3] 1949 1950 Harry Truman Gordon Gray
Francis Shackelford[4] 1950 1952 Frank Pace
Bernard A. Monaghan[4] 1952 1953 Frank Pace, Robert T. Stevens
John G. Adams[4] 1953 1955 Dwight Eisenhower Robert T. Stevens
Frank Millard[4] 1955 1961 Wilber M. Brucker
Powell Pierpoint[4] 1961 1963 John F. Kennedy Elvis Jacob Stahr Jr., Cyrus Vance
Joseph A. Califano Jr.[5] 1963 1964 Cyrus Vance
Alfred B. Fitt[6] 1964 1967 Lyndon B. Johnson Stephen Ailes, Stanley Rogers Resor
Robert E. Jordan III[7] 1967 1971 Stanley Rogers Resor
Robert W. Berry[8] 1971 1974 Richard Nixon Robert Frederick Froehlke, Howard Callaway
Charles D. Ablard[9] 1975 1977 Gerald Ford Martin Richard Hoffmann
Jill Wine-Banks[10] 1977 1980 Jimmy Carter Clifford Alexander, Jr.
Sara E. Lister[11] 1980 1980 Clifford Alexander Jr.
Delbert Spurlock[12] 1981[13] 1983 Ronald Reagan John Otho Marsh Jr.
Susan J. Crawford[14] 1983 1989
William J. Haynes II[15] 1990 1993 George H. W. Bush Michael P. W. Stone
William Thaddeus Coleman III[16] 1994[17] 1999 Bill Clinton Togo D. West Jr.
Charles A. Blanchard[18] 1999 2001 Louis Caldera
Steven J. Morello[19] 2001 2004 George W. Bush Thomas E. White, Francis J. Harvey
Brad Carson 2012 2014 Barack Obama John M. McHugh
Alissa Starzak 2015 2017 Eric Fanning, Patrick Murphy, Robert M. Speer
Earl G. Matthews (Acting) 2017 2018 Donald Trump Robert M. Speer, Mark Esper
James E. McPherson 2018 Mark Esper, Ryan McCarthy

See also


  1. ^ 5 U.S.C. § 5315
  2. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 3019
  3. ^ Profile from Truman Library
  4. ^ a b c d e James E. Hewes, Jr., From Root to McNamara: Army Organization and Administration (1975), pp. 381-382
  5. ^ Jessica Marcy, "Checking in with Joseph A. Califano, Jr.", Kaiser Health News, June 16, 2009
  6. ^ History of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1998), p. 134
  7. ^ Jordan's Resume
  8. ^ Obituary
  9. ^ From Dept. of the Army History Site
  10. ^ Profile from the Chicago Network
  11. ^ See Martin Binkin & Mark J. Eitelberg, Blacks and the Military (1982), p. 90, n. 11
  12. ^ Nomination of Spurlock to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army
  13. ^ Nomination of Delbert L. Spurlock, Jr., to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. June 29, 1983. p. 2.
  14. ^ George H.W. Bush nominates Crawford to be Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Nov. 9, 1989 Archived 2008-08-10 at WebCite
  15. ^ Bio from Dept. of Defense
  16. ^ Tamara Loomis, "Did Affirmative Action Really Hinder Clarence Thomas?",, 06/02/2008
  17. ^ He had served three and a half years as of March 28, 1998, according to "Army's Top Lawyer Cleared of Charges", Los Angeles Times, March 28, 1998
  18. ^ "Blanchard Bio from Air Force website". Archived from the original on 2011-06-28.
  19. ^ Michelle Bates Deakin, "The U.S. Armed Forces: Diversity Starts at the Top", Diversity and the Bar, Jan./Feb. 2003