This is a list of lieutenant generals in the United States Army from 2000 to 2009. The rank of lieutenant general (or three-star general) is the second-highest rank normally achievable in the U.S. Army, and the first to have a specified number of appointments set by statute. It ranks above major general (two-star general) and below general (four-star general).
There have been 131 lieutenant generals in the United States Army from 2000 to 2009, 27 of whom were promoted to four-star general. All 131 achieved that rank while on active duty in the U.S. Army. Lieutenant generals entered the Army via several paths: 57 were commissioned via the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), 53 via Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at a civilian university, 13 via Officer Candidate School (OCS), seven via ROTC at a senior military college, and one via direct commission (direct).
Entries in the following list of lieutenant generals are indexed by the numerical order in which each officer was promoted to that rank while on active duty, or by an asterisk (*) if the officer did not serve in that rank while on active duty in the U.S. Army or was promoted to four-star rank while on active duty in the U.S. Army. Each entry lists the general's name, date of rank,[a] active-duty positions held while serving at three-star rank,[b] number of years of active-duty service at three-star rank (Yrs),[c] year commissioned and source of commission,[d] number of years in commission when promoted to three-star rank (YC),[e] and other biographical notes.[f]
|#||Name||Photo||Date of rank[a]||Position[b]||Yrs[c]||Commission[d]||YC[e]||Notes[f]|
|1||Timothy J. Maude||16 May 2000||1||1967 (OCS)||33||(1947–2001) Killed in action. Highest ranking officer killed in the September 11 attacks.|
|2||Peter M. Cuviello||27 Jun 2000||
|3||Paul T. Mikolashek||29 Jun 2000||4||1969 (ROTC)||31||(1947– )|
|4||Robert W. Noonan Jr.||17 Jul 2000||
|*||Dan K. McNeill||20 Jul 2000||4||1968 (ROTC)||32||(1946– )[g] Promoted to general, 1 Jul 2004.|
|5||Freddy E. McFarren||12 Aug 2000||
||3||1966 (USMA)||34||(1943– )|
|6||James B. Peake||7 Sep 2000||4||1966 (USMA)||34||(1944– ) U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 2007–2009.|
|7||Daniel R. Zanini||28 Sep 2000||2||1966 (OCS)||34||(1946– )|
|*||John P. Abizaid||2 Oct 2000||3||1973 (USMA)||27||(1951– )[h] Promoted to general, 27 Jun 2003. U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 2019–2021. Father of National Counterterrorism Center director Christine Abizaid.|
|8||Charles S. Mahan Jr.||6 Oct 2000||3||1968 (USMA)||32||(1946– )|
|*||Bryan D. Brown||11 Oct 2000||3||1970 (OCS)||30||(1948– )[h] Promoted to general, 25 Aug 2003.|
|9||Robert B. Flowers||23 Oct 2000||4||1969 (VMI)||31||(1947– )|
|10||Joseph K. Kellogg Jr.||24 Oct 2000||
||3||1967 (ROTC)||33||(1944– ) National Security Advisor to the U.S. Vice President, 2018–2021.|
|11||Joseph M. Cosumano Jr.||30 Apr 2001||2||1968 (ROTC)||33||(1946– )|
|12||Roy E. Beauchamp||24 May 2001||
||1||1966 (OCS)||35||(1945– )|
|13||Roger C. Schultz||24 May 2001||
||4||1967 (OCS)||34||(1945– ) First Army National Guard director to achieve the rank of lieutenant general.|
|14||William J. Lennox Jr.||8 Jun 2001||
||5||1971 (USMA)||30||(1949– ) President, Saint Leo University, 2015–2018.|
|15||Thomas J. Plewes||13 Jun 2001||1||1967 (OCS)||34||(1940– ) First Army Reserve officer to achieve the rank of lieutenant general.|
|*||Benjamin S. Griffin||29 Jun 2001||3||1970 (OCS)||31||(1946– ) Promoted to general, 5 Nov 2004.|
|*||William S. Wallace||18 Jul 2001||
||4||1969 (USMA)||32||(1946– ) Promoted to general, 13 Oct 2005.|
|*||Burwell B. Bell III||14 Aug 2001||
||1||1969 (ROTC)||32||(1947– )[k] Promoted to general, 3 Dec 2002.|
|16||John B. Sylvester||7 Sep 2001||3||1968 (OCS)||33||(1946– )|
|17||Colby M. Broadwater III||26 Sep 2001||5||1972 (Citadel)||29||(1950– ) President, American College of the Building Arts, 2008–present.|
|18||John M. LeMoyne||16 Oct 2001||2||1968 (ROTC)||33||(1943– )|
|19||Joseph R. Inge||16 Oct 2001||6||1969 (Virginia Tech)||32||(1947–2023)|
|20||John S. Caldwell Jr.||29 Oct 2001||
||2||1967 (USMA)||34||(1944– )|
|*||George W. Casey Jr.||31 Oct 2001||2||1970 (ROTC)||31||(1948– )[l][m][n] Promoted to general, 1 Dec 2003.|
|*||David D. McKiernan||6 Nov 2001||
||4||1972 (ROTC)||29||(1950– )[g] Promoted to general, 14 Dec 2005.|
|21||Dennis D. Cavin||16 Jan 2002||2||1970 (ROTC)||32||(1947– )|
|22||James R. Helmly||29 May 2002||4||1967 (OCS)||35||(1947– )|
|*||Richard A. Cody||31 Jul 2002||2||1972 (USMA)||30||(1950– )[l] Promoted to general, 24 Jun 2004.|
|23||Edward Soriano||12 Aug 2002||
||2||1970 (ROTC)||32||(1946– ) First Filipino-American promoted to general officer rank.|
|*||Bantz J. Craddock||21 Aug 2002||
||3||1971 (ROTC)||31||(1949– )[h][o] Promoted to general, 1 Jan 2005.|
|24||Philip R. Kensinger Jr.||29 Aug 2002||
|*||William E. Ward||8 Oct 2002||
||4||1971 (ROTC)||31||(1949– )[h][p] Promoted to general, 3 May 2006.|
|25||Richard A. Hack||21 Oct 2002||3||1972 (VMI)||30||(1950– )|
|26||James L. Campbell||4 Nov 2002||6||1971 (ROTC)||31||(1949– )|
|*||Charles C. Campbell||5 Nov 2002||5||1970 (ROTC)||32||(1948–2016) Promoted to general, 9 Jan 2007.|
|27||Robert W. Wagner||Jan 2003||5||1970 (USMA)||33|
|28||Thomas F. Metz||7 Feb 2003||
||6||1971 (USMA)||32||(1948– )|
|*||Walter L. Sharp||10 Mar 2003||5||1974 (USMA)||29||(1952– )[k] Promoted to general, 2 Jun 2008.|
|29||H. Steven Blum||13 Apr 2003||6||1971 (OCS)||32||(1946– )|
|30||Jerry L. Sinn||23 May 2003||
|31||Anthony R. Jones||6 Jun 2003||
||2||1970 (ROTC)||33||(1948– )|
|32||Ricardo S. Sanchez||14 Jun 2003||3||1973 (ROTC)||30||(1953– )|
|33||James J. Lovelace Jr.||22 Jun 2003||
||6||1970 (USMA)||33||(1948– )|
|34||William G. Boykin||27 Jun 2003||
||4||1971 (Virginia Tech)||32||(1948– )|
|35||Claude V. Christianson||Jul 2003||5||1971 (ROTC)||32|
|*||Keith B. Alexander||1 Aug 2003||7||1974 (USMA)||29||(1952– )[h] Promoted to general, 21 May 2010. Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, 2010–2014.|
|36||John R. Vines||26 Aug 2003||3||1971 (ROTC)||32||(1949– )|
|37||Steven W. Boutelle||27 Aug 2003||
|38||Franklin L. Hagenbeck||8 Nov 2003||7||1971 (USMA)||32||(1949– )|
|39||David W. Barno||18 Nov 2003||3||1976 (USMA)||27||(1954– ) Director, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, 2006–2010.|
|40||Joseph L. Yakovac Jr.||18 Nov 2003||
||3||1971 (USMA)||32||(1949– )|
|41||Robert T. Clark||5 Dec 2003||3||1970 (ROTC)||33||(1948– )|
|42||John M. Curran||12 Dec 2003||4||1974 (ROTC)||29|
|43||Larry J. Dodgen||16 Dec 2003||
|*||David H. Petraeus||18 May 2004||
||3||1974 (USMA)||30||(1952– )[m][h][g] Promoted to general, 10 Feb 2007. Director, Central Intelligence Agency, 2011–2012. Son-in-law of Army four-star general William A. Knowlton.|
|44||Carl A. Strock||1 Jul 2004||3||1972 (OCS)||32||(1948– )|
|45||Russel L. Honoré||15 Jul 2004||4||1971 (ROTC)||33||(1947– )|
|46||John M. Brown III||25 Aug 2004||
||4||1971 (OCS)||33||(c. 1947– )|
|47||Robert T. Dail||30 Sep 2004||4||1975 (ROTC)||29||(1953– )|
|48||David F. Melcher||30 Sep 2004||
||4||1976 (USMA)||32||(1954– )|
|49||Kevin C. Kiley||30 Sep 2004||3||1976 (ROTC)||28||(1950– )[r]|
|50||R. Steven Whitcomb||13 Oct 2004||5||1970 (ROTC)||34||(1948– )|
|51||James M. Dubik||3 Nov 2004||4||1971 (ROTC)||33||(1949– )|
|52||Robert L. Van Antwerp Jr.||21 Nov 2004||
||7||1972 (USMA)||32||(1950– )|
|*||Raymond T. Odierno||1 Jan 2005||3||1976 (USMA)||29||(1954–2021)[m][h][n] Promoted to general, 16 Sep 2008.|
|53||Stanley E. Green||17 Mar 2005||
||3||1971 (OCS)||34||(1947– )|
|54||Dell L. Dailey||28 Apr 2005||
||2||1971 (USMA)||34||(1949– ) U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism, 2007–2009.|
|55||Karl W. Eikenberry||4 May 2005||4||1973 (USMA)||32||(1951– ) U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, 2009–2011.|
|56||Clyde A. Vaughn||15 Jun 2005||
||4||1974 (OCS)||31||(1946– )|
|57||Ronald L. Burgess Jr.||Aug 2005||
||7||1974 (ROTC)||31||(1952– ) Chief Operating Officer, Auburn University, 2018–2019; Executive Vice President, Auburn University, 2019–present.|
|58||William E. Mortensen||2 Sep 2005||
||3||1973 (ROTC)||32||(c. 1952– )|
|*||Martin E. Dempsey||8 Sep 2005||3||1974 (USMA)||31||(1952– )[n][s] Promoted to general, 8 Dec 2008.|
|*||Ann E. Dunwoody||30 Sep 2005||3||1975 (direct)||30||(1953– ) Promoted to general, 14 Nov 2008.|
|59||John F. Kimmons||21 Oct 2005||
||5||1974 (Citadel)||31||(c. 1952– )|
|60||John R. Wood||18 Nov 2005||
|61||Keith W. Dayton||18 Nov 2005||5||1970 (ROTC)||35||(1949– )[t] Director, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, 2011–2021.|
|62||Michael D. Maples||29 Nov 2005||
||4||1971 (USMA)||34||(1949– )|
|*||Peter W. Chiarelli||19 Jan 2006||2||1972 (ROTC)||34||(1950– )[l] Promoted to general, 4 Aug 2008.|
|*||Stanley A. McChrystal||16 Feb 2006||3||1976 (USMA)||30||(1954– )[g] Promoted to general, 15 Jun 2009.|
|63||Gary D. Speer||3 Apr 2006||
|64||David P. Valcourt||11 Apr 2006||4||1973 (USMA)||33||(1951– )|
|65||Jack C. Stultz Jr.||25 May 2006||6||1974 (ROTC)||32||(1952– )|
|66||Michael D. Rochelle||Jun 2006||3||1972 (ROTC)||34||(1950– )|
|67||Robert Wilson||23 Jun 2006||3||1972 (ROTC)||34|
|68||Douglas E. Lute||21 Jul 2006||
||4||1975 (USMA)||31||(1952– ) U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, 2013–2017. Husband of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute.|
|69||N. Ross Thompson III||1 Sep 2006||
||4||1974 (ROTC)||32||Son of Army lieutenant general N. Ross Thompson Jr.|
|70||Thomas R. Turner II||4 Dec 2006||
||3||1974 (USMA)||32||(1955– )|
|*||Lloyd J. Austin III||8 Dec 2006||4||1975 (USMA)||31||(1953– )[w][l][h] Promoted to general, 1 Sep 2010. U.S. Secretary of Defense, 2021–present.|
|71||Stephen M. Speakes||9 Dec 2006||3||1974 (USMA)||32||(1952– )|
|72||Joseph F. Peterson||11 Dec 2006||
||4||1972 (ROTC)||34||(c. 1954– ) First Hawaiian-American to attain the rank of lieutenant general in the Army.|
|73||Kevin T. Campbell||18 Dec 2006||
||4||1973 (ROTC)||33||(1950– )|
|*||James D. Thurman||19 Jan 2007||
||3||1975 (ROTC)||32||(1953– )[k] Promoted to general, 3 Jun 2010.|
|74||Benjamin C. Freakley||18 May 2007||5||1975 (USMA)||32||(1953– )|
|75||William G. Webster Jr.||29 May 2007||4||1974 (USMA)||33||(1951– )|
|*||Charles H. Jacoby Jr.||31 May 2007||4||1978 (USMA)||29||(1954– )[x] Promoted to general, 3 Aug 2011.|
|76||William B. Caldwell IV||11 Jun 2007||
||6||1976 (USMA)||31||(1954– ) President, Georgia Military College, 2013–present. Son of Army lieutenant general William B. Caldwell III.|
|77||Richard P. Zahner||28 Jun 2007||
|78||Francis H. Kearney III||28 Jun 2007||4||1976 (USMA)||31||(1954– )|
|79||David P. Fridovich||8 Jul 2007||4||1974 (ROTC)||33|
|80||John D. Gardner||11 Jul 2007||5||1976 (USMA)||31|
|*||Carter F. Ham||6 Aug 2007||
||1||1976 (ROTC)||31||(1952– )[h] Promoted to general, 28 Aug 2008.|
|81||Kenneth W. Hunzeker||8 Aug 2007||3||1975 (USMA)||32||(1952– )|
|82||Michael A. Vane||20 Aug 2007||4||1975 (USMA)||32|
|83||Jeffrey A. Sorenson||16 Nov 2007||
|84||Eric B. Schoomaker||11 Dec 2007||4||1970 (ROTC)||37||(1948– ) Brother of Army four-star general Peter Schoomaker.|
|85||Thomas G. Miller||11 Jan 2008||
|86||David H. Huntoon Jr.||25 Jan 2008||5||1973 (USMA)||35||(1951– ) Commandant, U.S. Army War College, 2003–2008.|
|87||Benjamin R. Mixon||1 Feb 2008||
||3||1975 (NGC)[y]||33||(1953– )|
|88||Joseph F. Fil Jr.||18 Feb 2008||2||1976 (ROTC)||32||(1953– )[z][aa]|
|89||Kathleen M. Gainey||13 Mar 2008||5||1978 (ROTC)||30||(1956– )|
|90||Mitchell H. Stevenson||Jun 2008||
||3||1974 (ROTC)||34||(1952– )|
|91||Frank G. Helmick||3 Jul 2008||
||4||1976 (USMA)||32||(1953– )|
|92||Robert E. Durbin||23 Jul 2008||3||1975 (USMA)||33|
|93||Edgar E. Stanton III||24 Jul 2008||
|94||Rick Lynch||25 Jul 2008||3||1977 (USMA)||31|
|*||David M. Rodriguez||29 Jul 2008||3||1976 (USMA)||32||(1954– )[h] Promoted to general, 12 Sep 2011.|
|95||John F. Mulholland Jr.||7 Nov 2008||
||8||1978 (ROTC)||30||(1955– )|
|96||Patrick J. O'Reilly||21 Nov 2008||
||4||1978 (USMA)||30||(c. 1959– )[ac]|
|97||Scott C. Black||11 Dec 2008||
||1||1974 (ROTC)||31[ad]||(1952– ) First three-star judge advocate general of the Army.|
|98||James H. Pillsbury||15 Dec 2008||
|99||Carroll F. Pollett||17 Dec 2008||4||1975 (OCS)||33|
|*||Dennis L. Via||3 Aug 2009||3||1980 (ROTC)||29||(1958– ) Promoted to general, 7 Aug 2012.|
|100||P. Kenneth Keen||Sep 2009||4||1974 (ROTC)||35||(1952– )|
|101||Mark P. Hertling||19 Sep 2009||
||3||1975 (USMA)||34||(1953– ) Chairman, American Battle Monuments Commission, 2021–present.|
|*||Robert W. Cone||22 Sep 2009||2||1979 (USMA)||30||(1957–2016) Promoted to general, 29 Apr 2011.|
|102||Dana K. Chipman||1 Oct 2009||
||4||1980 (USMA)||29||(1958– ) Republican counsel, U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi, 2014–2016.|
|103||Michael D. Barbero||7 Oct 2009||
||4||1976 (USMA)||33||(1955– )|
|104||Robert P. Lennox||2 Nov 2009||3||1977 (USMA)||32|
|105||Keith M. Huber||10 Nov 2009||4||1975 (USMA)||34|
|106||Guy C. Swan III||15 Dec 2009||
||2||1976 (USMA)||33||(1954– )|
|107||Michael L. Oates||30 Dec 2009||
The rank of lieutenant general in the United States Army was established in 1798 when President John Adams commissioned George Washington in that grade to command the armies of the United States during the Quasi-War with France. The next year, Congress replaced the office of lieutenant general with that of General of the Armies of the United States but Washington died before accepting the new commission, remaining a lieutenant general until posthumously promoted to General of the Armies in 1976.
In 1855 Congress rewarded the Mexican War service of Major General Winfield Scott by authorizing his promotion to brevet lieutenant general, to rank from 29 March 1847, the date of the Mexican surrender at the Siege of Veracruz. As a lieutenant general only by brevet, Scott remained in the permanent grade of major general but was entitled to be paid as a lieutenant general from the date of his brevet commission, resulting in a public tussle with Secretary of War Jefferson Davis over the amount of backpay Scott was owed. Congress resolved all issues in Scott's favor once Davis left office in 1857, and allowed Scott to retire at full pay in 1861.
The grade of lieutenant general was revived in February 1864 to allow President Abraham Lincoln to promote Major General Ulysses S. Grant to command the armies of the United States during the American Civil War. After the war, Grant was promoted to general and his vacant lieutenant general grade was filled by Major General William T. Sherman. When Grant became President in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as general and Major General Philip H. Sheridan succeeded Sherman as lieutenant general. Congress suspended further promotions to general and lieutenant general in 1870, but made an exception in 1888 to promote Sheridan on his deathbed by discontinuing the grade of lieutenant general and merging it with the grade of general.
In 1895 Congress briefly revived the grade of lieutenant general to promote Sheridan's successor as commanding general of the Army, Major General John M. Schofield. Schofield had lobbied for the grade to be permanently reestablished in order to cement the primacy of all future commanding generals over the Army's other major generals. However, Congress regarded the lieutenant generalcy as the penultimate military accolade, second only to promotion to full general, and refused to devalue the title's significance by conferring it on any future commanding general less eminent than previous recipients. Instead, Schofield himself was promoted to lieutenant general as a one-time personal honor eight months before he retired. In retirement Schofield argued that the rank of lieutenant general ought to be permanently associated with the office of commanding general, not the individual officers occupying it, and that an officer serving as commanding general should hold the ex officio rank of lieutenant general while so detailed but revert to his permanent grade of major general upon leaving office. Over the next five decades, Schofield's concept of lieutenant general as temporary ex officio rank would slowly prevail over the concept of lieutenant general as permanent personal grade.
The question of whether the lieutenant generalcy should be a permanent personal grade or a temporary ex officio rank was phrased in terms of the line of the Army, whose officers commanded combat formations, and its staff, whose officers performed specialized support functions. Permanent personal promotions to general officer grades were only available in the line, but staff officers could temporarily acquire general officer rank while detailed to an office bearing that statutory rank, so officers holding the permanent grade of general officer were called general officers of the line and ex officio general officers were called general officers of the staff.
In June 1900 Schofield's successor as commanding general, Major General Nelson A. Miles, was made a lieutenant general of the staff by an amendment to the United States Military Academy appropriations bill that granted the rank of lieutenant general to the senior major general of the line commanding the Army. Eight months later, the 1901 Army reorganization bill replaced this ex officio rank with the permanent grade of lieutenant general of the line. When Miles retired in 1903, the senior major general was Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin, but as a staff corps officer Corbin was ineligible to command the Army, so the lieutenant generalcy went instead to the senior major general of the line, Samuel B. M. Young. Young reached the statutory retirement age five months later and was succeeded by Adna R. Chaffee. Seniority and scheduled retirements suggested that Chaffee would be succeeded in 1906 by Arthur MacArthur Jr., but both Corbin and Major General John C. Bates were scheduled to retire for age that year and it was decided that MacArthur's ascension would not be materially delayed by first promoting Bates and Corbin to lieutenant general for the few months of active duty remaining to them.
Corbin's promotion became controversial when he declined to be detailed as chief of staff of the Army. Corbin felt the chief of staff should be a younger officer with the time and energy to enact a long-range program, not a superannuated placeholder on the cusp of retirement, so when Bates retired Corbin became lieutenant general but Brigadier General J. Franklin Bell became chief of staff. However, by divorcing the Army's highest grade from its highest office, Corbin had again reduced the lieutenant generalcy to a personal honor. Many in Congress believed Corbin was not in the same class as Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Schofield, and pressed to abolish the lieutenant generalcy immediately, but after a heated debate MacArthur's supporters managed to preserve the grade until after MacArthur's promotion.
MacArthur was promoted to lieutenant general in August 1906. Since he was the last Civil War officer expected to succeed to the grade, Congress stopped further promotions to lieutenant general in March 1907 and stated that the active-duty grade would be abolished when MacArthur retired. Later that month, MacArthur asked to be relieved of his duties, disgruntled at his anomalous position of being the ranking officer of the Army yet consigned to the command of a mere division and subject to orders from an officer he outranked, Chief of Staff Bell, whose four-year term extended beyond MacArthur's statutory retirement date. MacArthur returned home to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he marked time writing up travel reports until he retired in 1909.
In October 1917, Congress authorized the President to appoint as generals the chief of staff of the Army and the commander of the United States forces in France, and as lieutenant generals the commanders of the field armies and army corps, so that they would not be outranked by their counterparts in allied European armies. Unlike previous incarnations, these new grades were time-limited, authorized only for the duration of the World War I emergency, after which their bearers would revert to their lower permanent grades. The commander of the American Expeditionary Force, Major General John J. Pershing, was immediately appointed emergency general, as were two successive Army chiefs of staff, but no emergency lieutenant generals were named for over a year because the armies they would command had not yet been organized.
On 21 October 1918, Major Generals Hunter Liggett, commander of the First Army, and Robert L. Bullard, commander of the Second Army, were nominated to be emergency lieutenant generals, less than three weeks before the Armistice. With victory imminent, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker sought legislation to reward the Army's high commanders by making their emergency grades permanent. However, Army Chief of Staff Peyton C. March had alienated many members of Congress by unilaterally reorganizing the Army without their input and his enemies blocked every effort to honor any officer but Pershing with higher rank. In the end, Pershing was promoted to permanent General of the Armies, but March, Liggett, and Bullard reverted to their permanent grades of major general when their emergency grades expired on 1 July 1920.
After the war, there were a number of unsuccessful attempts to retire as lieutenant generals a list of officers that variously included Major Generals March, Liggett, Bullard, Enoch H. Crowder, Joseph T. Dickman, Leonard Wood, John F. Morrison, James G. Harbord, James W. McAndrew, Henry P. McCain, Charles P. Summerall, Ernest Hinds, Harry F. Hodges, William Campbell Langfitt, and George W. Goethals; Surgeon General Merritte W. Ireland; and Colonel William L. Kenly. Finally, on 7 August 1929, the Army chief of engineers, Major General Edgar Jadwin, was retired as a lieutenant general by a 1915 law that automatically promoted officers one grade upon retirement if they had helped build the Panama Canal. There was some consternation that a peacetime staff corps officer had secured more or less by chance a promotion deliberately withheld from the victorious field commanders of World War I, so the year after Jadwin's promotion all World War I officers were advanced to their highest wartime ranks on the retired list, including Liggett and Bullard.
In 1942, Congress allowed retired Army generals to be advanced one grade on the retired list or posthumously if they had been recommended in writing during World War I for promotion to a higher rank which they had not since received, provided they had also been awarded the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, or the Distinguished Service Medal; retired Major Generals James G. Harbord and William M. Wright were both advanced to lieutenant general under this provision.
After Pershing retired in 1924, the rank of the Army chief of staff reverted to major general, the highest permanent grade in the peacetime Army. However, the Navy continued to maintain three ex officio vice admirals and four ex officio admirals, including the chief of naval operations, so in 1929 Congress raised the ex officio rank of the Army chief of staff to full general. In 1939 Congress also assigned the ex officio rank of lieutenant general to the major generals of the Regular Army specifically assigned to command each of the four field armies, allowing President Franklin D. Roosevelt to appoint the first new active-duty lieutenant generals since World War I: First Army commander Hugh A. Drum, Second Army commander Stanley H. Ford, Third Army commander Stanley D. Embick, and Fourth Army commander Albert J. Bowley. Congress extended similar rank in July 1940 to the major generals commanding the Panama Canal and Hawaiian Departments.
As general officers of the staff, these new lieutenant generals bore three-star rank only while actually commanding a field army or department, and reverted to their permanent two-star rank upon being reassigned or retired. However, during World War II most lieutenant generals of the staff received concurrent personal appointments as temporary lieutenant generals in the Army of the United States so that they could be reassigned without loss of rank. Postwar legislation allowed officers to retire in their highest temporary grades, so most lieutenant generals of the staff eventually retired at that rank. Of the lieutenant generals of the staff who were never appointed temporary lieutenant generals, Albert J. Bowley, Stanley H. Ford, Charles D. Herron, Daniel Van Voorhis, Herbert J. Brees, and Walter C. Short retired as major generals upon reaching the statutory retirement age; and Lloyd R. Fredendall qualified to retire in grade due to physical disability incurred during his term as lieutenant general. After the war, Brees and Short both applied to be advanced to lieutenant general on the retired list under a 1948 law; Brees was promoted but the administration specifically declined to advance Short, who had been relieved of command of the Hawaiian Department a few days after the defeat at Pearl Harbor.
In September 1940, Congress authorized the President to appoint Regular Army officers to temporary higher grades in the Army of the United States during time of war or national emergency. The first temporary lieutenant general appointed under this authority was Major General Delos C. Emmons, Commander, General Headquarters Air Force; followed by Major General Lesley J. McNair, Chief of Staff, General Headquarters, U.S. Army. In July 1941, retired four-star general Douglas MacArthur was recalled to active duty and appointed temporary lieutenant general as Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the Far East.
Dozens of officers were promoted to temporary lieutenant general during World War II. Lieutenant generals typically commanded one of the numbered field armies or air forces; served as deputy theater commanders; or headed major headquarters staffs, administrative commands, or support organizations. Officers were only allowed to retire in their temporary grades if they were retired due to disability incurred in the line of duty, but those compelled by good health to retire in a lower grade were eventually restored to their highest wartime ranks on the retired list.
Subject to Senate approval, anyone could be appointed temporary lieutenant general, even a civilian. In January 1942, the outgoing Director General of the Office of Production Management, William S. Knudsen, was commissioned temporary lieutenant general in the Army of the United States, the only civilian ever to join the Army at such a high initial rank.
The modern office of lieutenant general was established by the Officer Personnel Act of 1947, which authorized the President to designate certain positions of importance and responsibility to carry the ex officio rank of general or lieutenant general, to be filled by officers holding the permanent or temporary grade of major general or higher. Officers could retire in their highest active-duty rank, subject to Senate approval. The total number of positions allowed to carry such rank was capped at 15 percent of the total number of general officers, which worked out initially to nine generals and thirty-five lieutenant generals, of whom four generals and seventeen lieutenant generals were required to be in the Air Corps. All Air Corps personnel were transferred in grade to the United States Air Force by the National Security Act of 1947.
Lieutenant generals typically headed divisions of the General Staff in Washington, D.C.; field armies in Europe, Japan, and the continental United States; the Army command in the Pacific; the unified command in the Caribbean; the occupation force in Austria; and senior educational institutions such as the National War College, the Army War College, and the Armed Forces Staff College. During the Korean War, the commanding general of the Eighth Army was elevated to full general, and the Eighth Army deputy commanding general and subordinate corps commanders were elevated to lieutenant general.
By mid-1952, the number of active-duty general officers had swelled to nearly twice its World War II peak. In response, Congress enacted the Officer Grade Limitation Act of 1954, which tied the maximum number of generals to the total number of officers. However, the real limit was the so-called Stennis ceiling imposed by Mississippi Senator John C. Stennis, whose Senate Armed Services Committee refused to confirm general or flag officer nominations beyond what he considered to be a reasonable total, which typically was much lower than the statutory limit. The Stennis ceiling remained in effect from the mid-1950s until the post-Vietnam War drawdown.
Unlike the temporary general and flag officer ranks of World War II, the 1947 ranks were attached to offices, not individuals, and were lost if an officer was reassigned to a lesser job. Army generals almost always preferred to retire rather than revert to a lower permanent grade. A rare exception was Lt. Gen. John W. O'Daniel, who temporarily relinquished his third star upon becoming chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group in French Indochina so that he would not outrank the theater commander in chief, French lieutenant general Henri Navarre. O'Daniel got his star back five months later when France withdrew from Indochina following Navarre's defeat at Dien Bien Phu.
The rules dictating appointment of lieutenant generals, including the role of the Senate in confirming nominees, have remained largely consistent since the passing of the 1947 act, only changing periodically with congressionally dictated amendments to general and flag officer distributions. Section 526 of the United States Code codifies the limits placed on general and flag officer appointments, specifying further for appointments above two-star grade.
The formation of a series of new agencies directly under the Department of Defense in the 1960s and succeeding decades due to interservice deficiencies between the military departments necessitated an increase in joint duty three-star appointments. The same became true for the two-star chiefs of service reserve commands in 2001 and service judge advocates general in 2008, courtesy of the annually passed National Defense Authorization Acts.
The national emergency declared by President George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11 attacks effectively removed all statutory limits for general officers in the Army, resulting in a disproportionate number of lieutenant general billets being created for operations against extremist groups in the Middle East as part of the War on Terror, as land warfare was predominant against the guerilla tactics of groups such as al-Qaeda, ISIL and the Taliban. It thus became commonplace for corps or field army commanders in the United States to be dual-hatted as the commander of a coalition force in support of such campaigns, such as Multi-National Corps – Iraq. A majority of eminent generals in the 2000s and 2010s either served as three-star field commanders or coalition commanders in the Middle Eastern theater of operations, including John Abizaid, David Petraeus, Peter Chiarelli, Raymond Odierno and Lloyd Austin.
In anticipation of the end of the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2021 respectively, Congress moved to sharply reduce general and flag officer caps in directly preceding years, coinciding with the deactivations or American withdrawal from the respective campaigns' attached three-star and four-star commands.
Lieutenant generals in the United States Army typically serve as corps or field army commanders, but also include senior staff positions under the authority of the four-star chief and vice chief of staff (such as the director of the Army staff), high-level specialty positions[ae] like the judge advocate general, chief of engineers, surgeon general and chief of Army Reserve, deputy commanders of four-star Army commands and the commanders of most Army service component commands. The superintendent of the United States Military Academy has also been a lieutenant general without interruption since 1981, as has been the director of the Army National Guard since 2001.
About 20 to 30 joint service three-star billets exist at any given time that can be occupied by a three-star officer, among the most prestigious being the director of the Joint Staff (DJS), principal staff advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and historically considered a stepping stone to four-star rank. All deputy commanders of the unified combatant commands are of three-star rank (except the deputy commander of U.S. European Command until 2007), as are directors of Defense Agencies not headed by a civilian such as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIRDIA). Internationally-based three-star positions include the United States military representative to the NATO Military Committee (USMILREP) and the security coordinator for the Palestinian National Authority in Israel. All nominees for three-star rank must be confirmed via majority by the Senate before the appointee can take office and thus assume the rank.
Several new joint duty positions eligible to be held to be held by an Army officer, in addition to existing Army officers, were created at the appointed grade of lieutenant general, or elevated to grade between 2000 and 2010. In particular, a multitude of new positions were created in support of the war in Afghanistan and the Iraq War, which began in 2001 and 2003 respectively.
At least three joint duty positions within the Department of Defense were created or restored, with one leading a new Defense agency, the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization. Additionally, all deputy commanders in chief of the unified combatant commands would be retitled as deputy commanders, by order of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on 24 October 2002.
Two new three-star Army commands were stood up between 2000 and 2010, and two Army major commands received new three-star positions. Additionally, all directorates of the Army Staff were redesignated in accordance with the Continental staff system in 2002, receiving the prefix "G".[af]
Several positions in the Army in charge of specialty branches and functional areas received elevations to three-star grade, either by statute or Army regulation.
Military nominations are considered by the Senate Armed Services Committee. While it is rare for three-star or four-star nominations to face even token opposition in the Senate, nominations that do face opposition due to controversy surrounding the nominee in question are typically withdrawn. Nominations that are not withdrawn are allowed to expire without action at the end of the legislative session.
Additionally, events that take place after Senate confirmation may still delay or even prevent the nominee from assuming office.
The following list of Congressional legislation includes all acts of Congress pertaining to appointments to the grade of lieutenant general in the United States Army from 2000 to 2009.[ah]
Each entry lists an act of Congress, its citation in the United States Statutes at Large, and a summary of the act's relevance, with officers affected by the act bracketed where applicable. Positions listed without reference to rank are assumed to be eligible for officers of three-star grade or higher.
|Act of October 30, 2000
[Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001]
| 114 Stat. 1654A–103
114 Stat. 1654A–105
114 Stat. 1654A–106
114 Stat. 1654A–122
|Act of December 2, 2002
[Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003]
| 116 Stat. 2487
116 Stat. 2525
|Act of January 6, 2006
[National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006]
|119 Stat. 3226||
|Act of January 28, 2008
[National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008]
| 122 Stat. 94
122 Stat. 114
122 Stat. 115
122 Stat. 501
|Act of October 14, 2008
[Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009]
| 122 Stat. 4433
122 Stat. 4435
122 Stat. 4436
|Act of October 28, 2009
[National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010]
|123 Stat. 2273||
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