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lieutenant general

This is a list of lieutenant generals in the United States Army since 2020. 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 specific number of authorized positions for it set by statute. It ranks above major general (two-star general) and below general (four-star general).

There have been 63 lieutenant generals in the United States Army since 1 January 2020, four of whom were promoted to four-star general. All 63 achieved that rank while on active duty in the U.S. Army. Lieutenant generals entered the Army via several paths: 39 were commissioned via Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at a civilian university, 17 via the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), four via ROTC at a senior military college, two via Officer Candidate School (OCS), and one via direct commission (direct).

List of generals

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]

List of U.S. Army lieutenant generals since 2020
# Name Photo Date of rank[a] Position[b] Yrs[c] Commission[d] YC[e] Notes[f]
1 Douglas M. Gabram 22 Jan 2020[1] 2 1984 (ROTC) 36
* Randy A. George 4 Feb 2020[2] 2 1988 (USMA) 32 (1964–        )[g][h] Promoted to general, 5 Aug 2022.
2 Robert L. Marion 2 May 2020   4 1988 (ROTC) 32
3 David G. Bassett 4 Jun 2020   3 1988 (ROTC) 32
4 Flem B. Walker Jr. 2 Jul 2020[3] 2 1987 (ROTC) 33
5 Thomas H. Todd III 13 Jul 2020  
  • Deputy Commanding General, Acquisition and Systems Management, U.S. Army Futures Command/Director, Combat Systems Directorate (DCG-ASM/DIRCSD), 2020–2022.
  • Deputy Commanding General, Acquisition and Systems/Chief Information Officer, U.S. Army Futures Command/Director (DCG-A&S/CIO), 2022–2023.
3 1989 (Citadel) 31
6 Michael L. Howard 21 Jul 2020[4] 2 1986 (ROTC) 34
7 Jody J. Daniels 28 Jul 2020   4 1983 (ROTC) 37 (c. 1962        ) First woman to lead the U.S. Army Reserve.[5]
* Gary M. Brito 2 Aug 2020[6] 2 1987 (ROTC) 33 (1964–        ) Promoted to general, 8 Sep 2022.
8 Jon A. Jensen 3 Aug 2020[i] 4 1989 (OCS) 31 (1963–        )
9 Roger L. Cloutier Jr. 4 Aug 2020[7] 2 1988 (ROTC) 32 (1965–        )
10 John B. Morrison Jr. 4 Aug 2020  
  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Cyber, Army Staff (DCS G-6), 2020–present.
4 1986 (ROTC) 34
11 John S. Kolasheski 4 Aug 2020   4 1989 (ROTC) 31
12 Paul T. Calvert 9 Sep 2020   4 1987 (NGC)[j] 33
13 Scott A. Spellmon 10 Sep 2020   4 1986 (USMA) 34 (1963–        )
14 Laura A. Potter 14 Sep 2020  
  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Army Staff (DCS G-2), 2020–2024.
  • Director, Army Staff (DAS), 2024–present.
4 1989 (ROTC) 31 (c. 1971        )
* James J. Mingus 1 Oct 2020   4 1985 (ROTC) 35 (1964–        )[g] Promoted to general, 3 Jan 2024.
15 Willard M. Burleson III 2 Oct 2020   4 1988 (USMA) 32 (1965–        )
16 D. Scott McKean 2 Nov 2020  
  • Deputy Commanding General, Futures and Concepts, U.S. Army Futures Command/Director, Futures and Concepts Center (DCG-FC/DIRFCC), 2020–2024.
4 1990 (USMA) 30 (1968–        )
17 A. C. Roper Jr. 4 May 2021   3 1983 (ROTC) 38 (1963–        ) First African-American in the U.S. Army Reserve to achieve the rank of lieutenant general.[8]
18 Maria R. Gervais   28 May 2021[9] 3 1987 (ROTC) 34
19 Erik C. Peterson 2 Jun 2021   3 1986 (ROTC) 35
20 Antonio A. Aguto Jr. 8 Jul 2021   3 1988 (USMA) 33 (1966–        )
21 Stuart W. Risch 12 Jul 2021   3 1984 (ROTC) 37
22 Paul A. Chamberlain 2 Aug 2021   3 1988 (ROTC) 33
23 Ronald P. Clark 4 Aug 2021   3 1988 (USMA) 33 (1966–        )
24 Jonathan P. Braga 13 Aug 2021   3 1991 (USMA) 30 (1969–        )
25 Donna W. Martin 2 Sep 2021   3 1988 (ROTC) 33 (c. 1966        ) Provost Marshal General, U.S. Army, 2020–2021. First woman to be Inspector General of the United States Army.[10]
26 John R. Evans Jr. 9 Sep 2021   3 1988 (ROTC) 33
27 Xavier T. Brunson 1 Oct 2021   3 1990 (ROTC) 31
28 Antonio M. Fletcher 15 Oct 2021  
  • Commander, NATO Special Operations Headquarters (CDRNSHQ), 2021–present.
3 1989 (USMA) 32
29 Michael R. Fenzel 2 Nov 2021   3 1989 (ROTC) 32 (1967–        )
30 Christopher T. Donahue 11 Mar 2022   2 1992 (USMA) 30 (1969–        )
* Charles R. Hamilton 6 Apr 2022  
  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Army Staff (DCS G-4), 2022–2023.
1 1988 (OCS) 34 (1967–        ) Promoted to general, 16 Mar 2023.
31 Maria B. Barrett 3 May 2022  
  • Commanding General, U.S. Army Cyber Command/Commander, Joint Force Headquarters - U.S. Army Cyber Command (CG ARCYBER/CDRJFHQ-ARCYBER), 2022–present.
2 1988 (ROTC) 34
32 Douglas A. Sims II 10 Jun 2022   2 1991 (USMA) 31 (1968–        )
33 Steven W. Gilland 27 Jun 2022   2 1990 (USMA) 32 (1968–        )
34 John P. Sullivan 30 Jun 2022   2 1987 (ROTC) 35
35 Omar J. Jones IV 5 Jul 2022   2 1992 (USMA) 30
36 Patrick D. Frank 7 Jul 2022   2 1989 (ROTC) 33 (1967–        )
37 James B. Jarrard 28 Jul 2022   2 1988 (NGC)[j] 34 (1966–        )
38 Andrew M. Rohling 2 Aug 2022   2 1989 (ROTC) 33
39 Douglas F. Stitt 5 Aug 2022   2 1990 (Norwich) 32
40 Robert A. Rasch Jr. 2 Sep 2022   2 1989 (ROTC) 33
41 Kevin Vereen 21 Sep 2022  
  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Installations, Army Staff (DCS G-9), 2022–present.
2 1988 (ROTC) 34 (c. 1970        ) Provost Marshal General, U.S. Army, 2019–2020.
42 Patrick E. Matlock 3 Oct 2022   2 1988 (USMA) 34 (1965–        ) Son-in-law of Army four-star general Tommy Franks.
43 Milford H. Beagle Jr. 4 Oct 2022   2 1990 (ROTC) 32
44 Richard R. Coffman 4 Oct 2022   2 1989 (ROTC) 33
45 Sean C. Bernabe 4 Oct 2022   2 1992 (USMA) 30 (1970–        )
46 Christopher O. Mohan 30 Nov 2022   2 1989 (ROTC) 33
47 Telita Crosland 3 Jan 2023   1 1993 (USMA) 30
48 Thomas L. James 5 Dec 2023   1 1990 (ROTC)[k] 33 (c. 1968        ) Served seven years in the enlisted ranks before receiving his commission in 1990.
49 Heidi J. Hoyle 5 Dec 2023  
  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Army Staff (DCS G-4), 2023–present.
1 1994 (USMA) 29
50 David T. Isaacson 15 Dec 2023  
  • Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Cyber and Chief Information Officer, Joint Staff, J6, 2023–present.
1 1988 (ROTC) 35
51 Anthony R. Hale 3 Jan 2024  
  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Army Staff (DCS G-2), 2024–present.
0 1990 (ROTC) 33
52 Robert M. Collins 3 Jan 2024   0 1992 (ROTC) 32
53 Michele H. Bredenkamp 4 Jan 2024   0 1990 (ROTC) 34
54 David M. Hodne 9 Jan 2024  
  • Deputy Commanding General, Futures and Concepts, U.S. Army Futures Command/Director, Futures and Concepts Center (DCG-FC/DIRFCC), 2024–present.
0 1991 (USMA) 33 (1969–        )
55 Sean A. Gainey 9 Jan 2024   0 1990 (ROTC) 33
56 William J. Hartman 16 Jan 2024   0 1989 (ROTC) 35
57 Mary V. Krueger 25 Jan 2024   0 1991 (direct)[l] 33
58 Mark T. Simerly 1 Feb 2024   0 1984 (ROTC) 30
59 Karl H. Gingrich 2 Feb 2024   0 1990 (ROTC)[12] 34



Karl GingrichMark SimerlyMary KruegerWilliam J. HartmanSean GaineyDavid HodneMichele BredenkampRobert M. CollinsAnthony R. HaleDavid IsaacsonHeidi J. HoyleThomas L. JamesTelita CroslandChristopher MohanSean BernabeRichard R. CoffmanMilford Beagle Jr.Patrick MatlockKevin VereenRobert A. RaschDouglas StittAndrew RohlingJames JarrardPatrick FrankOmar J. Jones IVJohn P. Sullivan (general)Steven W. GillandDouglas A. Sims IIMaria B. BarrettCharles R. HamiltonChris Donahue (general)Michael R. FenzelAntonio M. FletcherXavier T. BrunsonJohn R. Evans Jr.Donna W. MartinJonathan P. BragaRonald P. ClarkPaul A. ChamberlainStuart W. RischAntonio AgutoErik C. Peterson (general)Maria GervaisA. C. RoperScott McKeanWillard BurlesonJames J. MingusLaura A. PotterScott A. SpellmonPaul T. CalvertJohn S. KolasheskiJohn B. MorrisonRoger CloutierJon A. JensenGary BritoJody J. DanielsMichael L. HowardThomas H. Todd IIIFlem WalkerDavid BassettRobert L. MarionRandy GeorgeDouglas GabramWar in Afghanistan (2001–2021)


See also: List of lieutenant generals in the United States Army before 1960


George Washington

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.[13]

Mexican War

Winfield Scott

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.[14] 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.[15]

Civil War

John M. Schofield

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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

Spanish–American War

Henry C. Corbin

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.[19]

Arthur MacArthur Jr.

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.[20] Eight months later, the 1901 Army reorganization bill replaced this ex officio rank with the permanent grade of lieutenant general of the line.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25] 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.[26]

World War I

Hunter Liggett

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.[27]

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.[28] 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.[29]

Edgar Jadwin

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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

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.[33]


Walter C. Short

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.[34] 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.[35]

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.[36] 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.[37]

World War II

Delos C. Emmons

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.[38]

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.[39]

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.[40]


John W. O'Daniel

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.[41]

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.

Senator John C. Stennis

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.[42]

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.[43] 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.[44]

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.[45] 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.[46]

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.[47] The same became true for the two-star chiefs of service reserve commands in 2001[48] and service judge advocates general in 2008,[49] courtesy of the annually passed National Defense Authorization Acts.

War on Terror

Peter W. Chiarelli

The national emergency declared by President George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11 attacks[50] 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.[51] 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,[52] Raymond Odierno and Lloyd Austin.

In anticpation 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.[53][54] The latest of these cuts, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017,[55] reduces the present cap[m] further to 220 for the Army, 151 for the Navy, 187 for the Air Force, and 62 for the Marine Corps.[56]

Modern use

Lt. Gen. A.C. Roper and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Charles D. Luckey unveil Roper's three-star flag on 14 May 2021.
Lt. Gen. Thomas L. James is pinned with his new rank by his family on 15 December 2023.

Aside from the conventional role of lieutenant generals as corps or field army commanders, said billets 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[n] like the judge advocate general,[57] chief of engineers,[58] surgeon general[58] and chief of Army Reserve,[59] deputy commanders of four-star Army commands and the commanders of the Army service component commands.[o] 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[60] since 2001.[61]

About 20 to 30 joint service three-star billets exist at any given time that can be occupied by an Army lieutenant general, 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.[62] All deputy commanders of the unified combatant commands are of three-star rank,[p] as are directors of Defense Agencies not headed by a civilian such as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIRDIA).[63] Internationally-based three-star positions include the United States military representative to the NATO Military Committee (USMILREP), the commander of Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), 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.[64]

Statutory limits, elevations and reductions

The U.S. Code states that no more than 38 officers in the U.S. Army may be promoted beyond the rank of major general and below the rank of general on the active duty list.[65] However, the President[65] may designate up to 15 additional three-star appointments, with the condition that for every service branch allotted such additional three-star appointments, an equivalent number must be reduced from other service branches. Other exceptions exist for non-active duty or reserve appointments, as well as other circumstances.[46] As such, three-star positions can be elevated to four-star grade or reduced to two-star grade when necessary, either to highlight their increasing importance to the defense apparatus (or lack thereof) or to achieve parity with equivalent commands in other services or regions. Few three-star positions are set by statute, leading to their increased volatility as they do not require congressional approval to be downgraded.

Senate confirmations

Lt. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. (right) is sworn into his new rank by TRADOC commanding general Gen. Gary M. Brito (left) on 4 October 2022.

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.

See also


  1. ^ "Lieutenant General Douglas M. Gabram (USA)". General Officer Management Office. Archived from the original on 8 July 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Lieutenant General Randy A. George (USA)". General Officer Management Office. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Lieutenant General Flem B. Walker Jr. (USA)". General Officer Management Office. Archived from the original on 30 August 2022. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Lieutenant General Michael L. Howard (USA)". General Officer Management Office. Archived from the original on 11 August 2022. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  5. ^ Brading, Thomas (25 March 2021). "Army Reserve chief blazing trail for women". U.S. Army. Fort Bragg, North Carolina: U.S. Army News Service. Archived from the original on 21 April 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Lieutenant General Gary M. Brito (USA)". General Officer Management Office. 30 August 2022. Archived from the original on 30 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Lieutenant General Roger L. Cloutier, Jr. (USA)". General Officer Management Office. Archived from the original on 30 August 2022. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Former Police Chief A.C. Roper First Black Promoted to Army Reserve Lieutenant General". Birmingham Times. Birmingham, Alabama: MSN News. 18 May 2021. Archived from the original on 30 December 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Lieutenant General Maria R. Gervais (USA)". General Officer Management Office. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  10. ^ Lacdan, Joseph. "Secretary of the Army swears in first female inspector general". U.S. Army. Washington, D. C.: U.S. Army News Service. Archived from the original on 14 February 2022.
  11. ^ "Brigadier General Thomas L. James". Schriever Space Force Base. Archived from the original on 21 June 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  12. ^ Gingrich, Karl (13 February 2012). "Making It Personnel: The Need for Military Compensation Reform" (PDF). Brookings Institution. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 January 2024. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  13. ^ Acts of May 28, 1798, and March 3, 1799. Wiener, "Three Stars and Up," Part One.
  14. ^ Senate Journal, 33rd Congress, 2nd session, 28 February 1855, 409: Nomination of Winfield Scott
  15. ^ Acts of March 3, 1857, and August 3, 1861. Fry, pp. 208–209; Wiener, "Three Stars and Up," Part Five.
  16. ^ Acts of July 28, 1866; July 15, 1870; and June 1, 1888. Bell, p. 24.
  17. ^ Act of February 5, 1895. Connelly, p. 313.
  18. ^ "Our Military Needs—Set Forth by General Miles to House Military Committee", The Daily Review, p. 1, 13 December 1898; Connelly, p. 331.
  19. ^ For statutory definitions of "general officer of the line" and "general officer of the staff," see Sec. 4, Act of June 3, 1916.
  20. ^ Act of June 6, 1900.
  21. ^ Act of February 2, 1901.
  22. ^ "Sumner And Wood To Be Major Generals; Thirty-three Officers to be Promoted and Retired", The New York Times, p. 3, 18 July 1903; "Bates To Succeed Chaffee; He Will Be Retired Soon to Make Way for Corbin", The New York Times, p. 3, 18 June 1905.
  23. ^ "The Chief Of Staff", The New York Times, p. 6, 17 December 1905; "Gen. Corbin", The New York Times, p. 10, 22 April 1906.
  24. ^ "Corbin And MacArthur Win - Plan to Abolish Grade of Lieutenant General Is Defeated", The New York Times, p. 3, 28 February 1906.
  25. ^ Wiener, "Three Stars and Up," Part Three.
  26. ^ Act of March 2, 1907. "Gen. MacArthur Plans To Retire; Ranking Officer of the Army Tires of His Anomalous Position", The New York Times, p. 6, 30 March 1907; Young, The General's General, pp. 332–334.
  27. ^ Acts of July 15, 1870, and October 6, 1917. "Pershing To Be Given Rank Solely Of "General"—Measure Providing for Chief of Staff and Other Promotions—Need Prestige—American Officers in Europe Now Too Far Outranked", The Fresno Morning Republican, p. 1, 3 October 1917.
  28. ^ "Liggett Promoted, Bullard Also - Commanders of First and Second Field Armies to be Lieutenant Generals", The New York Times, p. 10, 22 October 1918.
  29. ^ Act of June 4, 1920. Coffman, pp. 194–195.
  30. ^ "Chamberlain Wants Wood and Goethals Made Lieutenant Generals With Crowder", The New York Times, p. 21, 7 October 1919; "Senate Votes Rank To Crowder Only - Rejects Chamberlain's Amendment to Promote Other Army Leaders Also", The New York Times, p. 5, 8 October 1919; "Pershing For His Generals - Asks Higher Rank for Liggett, Bullard, Harbord, McAndrew, Dickman", The New York Times, p. 12, 6 November 1919; "Six Lieutenant Generals; House Bill Names Liggett, Bullard, Dickman, Crowder, Wood, Morrison", The New York Times, p. 48, 10 January 1923.
  31. ^ Act of March 4, 1915. "Jadwin To Get Pay Of Obsolete Rank - Retired Officer Is on List as Lieutenant General; Grade Abolished", The Washington Post, p. R9, 22 September 1929.
  32. ^ Act of June 21, 1930. "Promotion Deserved And Withheld", The New York Times, p. 12, 10 August 1929; "Retired Officers Get Army War Rank - Under Law Passed in June 695 Are Advanced Without Increased Pay", The New York Times, p. 37, 20 August 1930.
  33. ^ Acts of June 13, 1940, and July 9, 1942. Army Register.
  34. ^ Act of February 23, 1929. "Proposes Rankings Of General In Army; War Secretary Submits Bill to Raise Chief of Staff and Territorial Heads", The New York Times, p. 12, 22 January 1928; Wiener, "Three Stars and Up," Part Four.
  35. ^ Acts of August 5, 1939, and July 31, 1940. "Army Renews Rank of Lieutenant General; H.A. Drum, S.H. Ford, S.D. Embick and A.J. Bowley Advanced to World War Grade", The New York Times, p. 38, 8 August 1939.
  36. ^ Act of August 7, 1947 [Officer Personnel Act of 1947]. Army Register.
  37. ^ Acts of June 29, 1943, and June 29, 1948 [Army and Air Force Vitalization and Retirement Equalization Act of 1948]. Army Register; Anderson, pp. 193–197; Dorn, p. I-1.
  38. ^ Act of September 9, 1940. Wiener, "Three Stars and Up," Part Four.
  39. ^ Acts of June 29, 1943; August 7, 1947 [Officer Personnel Act of 1947]; and June 24, 1948 [Army and Air Force Vitalization and Retirement Equalization Act of 1948].
  40. ^ "Knudsen the Only Civilian To Enter Army at His Rank", The New York Times, p. 9, 17 January 1942.
  41. ^ Acts of July 27, 1947 [National Security Act of 1947], and August 7, 1947 [Officer Personnel Act of 1947].
  42. ^ Mylander, pp. 26–27.
  43. ^ Norris, John G. (16 December 1947), "Truman Picks Five Generals For High Command Promotion", The Washington Post, p. 1
  44. ^ Eckhardt, p. 11; "'Iron Mike' O'Daniel Gets Back Third Star", Associated Press, 6 September 1954
  45. ^ Acts of November 5, 1990 [National Defense Authorization Act Year 1991], October 23, 1992 [National Defense Authorization Year 1993], February 10, 1996 [National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996], September 23, 1996 [National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997], October 17, 1998 [Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999], October 5, 1999 [National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000], December 2, 2002 [Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003] and January 2, 2012 [National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013].
  46. ^ a b 10 U.S.C. § 526 - Authorized strength: general and flag officers on active duty.
  47. ^ A History of the Defense Intelligence Agency. DIA Office of Historical Research, 2007. Retrieved: September 25, 2013.
  48. ^ Act of October 30, 2000 [National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2001]
  49. ^ Act of April 14, 2008 [National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008], Section 543
  50. ^ Bush, George W. (12 September 2001). "Declaration of National Emergency by Reason Of Certain Terrorist Attacks". The White House, Washington, D. C. Office of the White House Press Secretary. Archived from the original on 20 February 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  51. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 527 - Authority to suspend sections 523, 525, and 526.
  52. ^ David Cloud, Greg Jaffe (13 October 2009). The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army. ISBN 978-0307409072.
  53. ^ Whitlock, Craig (28 December 2011). "Pentagon trimming ranks of generals, admirals". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  54. ^ Clark, James (16 May 2016). "Does The US Military Have Too Many Generals?". Task & Purpose. Archived from the original on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  55. ^ Act of December 23, 2016 [National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017], Div A., Title V, Section 501
  56. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 526a - Authorized strength after December 31, 2022: general officers and flag officers on active duty.
  57. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 7037 - Judge Advocate General, Deputy Judge Advocate General, and general officers of Judge Advocate General’s Corps: appointment; duties.
  58. ^ a b 10 U.S.C. § 7036 - Chiefs of branches: appointment; duties.
  59. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 7038 - Office of Army Reserve: appointment of Chief.
  60. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 10506 - Other senior National Guard Bureau officers.
  61. ^ "PUBLIC LAW 106–398—OCT. 30, 2000, National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2001" (PDF). U.S. Government Publishing Office. 30 October 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  62. ^ Woodward, Bob (2006). State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III. Simon and Schuster. pp. 22, 40. ISBN 978-0-7432-7223-0. scott fry joint staff.
  63. ^ "On Raising the Rank of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau" (PDF). Library of Congress. Library of Congress. February 2007.
  64. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 601 – Positions of importance and responsibility: generals and lieutenant generals; admirals and vice admirals.
  65. ^ a b 10 U.S.C. § 525 - Distribution of commissioned officers on active duty in general officer and flag officer grades.
  66. ^ "PN762 — Maj. Gen. Ryan F. Gonsalves — Army, 115th Congress (2017-2018)". U.S. Congress. 13 July 2017. Archived from the original on 16 March 2022. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  67. ^ a b Myers, Meghann (6 January 2018). "Army 2-star loses promotion after calling congressional staffer 'sweetheart'". Army Times. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  68. ^ Bryant, Kevin (10 January 2018). "Army general now 'special assistant' after 'sweetheart' comment to female staffer". KDH News. Archived from the original on 23 May 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  69. ^ Vandiver, John (3 May 2018). "General retires 6 months after IG chastised his behavior toward congressional staffer". Stars and Stripes. Archived from the original on 11 January 2021. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  70. ^ "PN1329 — Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi — Army, 114th Congress (2015-2016)". U.S. Congress. 14 April 2016. Archived from the original on 16 March 2022. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  71. ^ "Rossi confirmed for appointment to SMDC". U.S. Army. Redstone Arsenal, Alabama: USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs. 3 May 2016. Archived from the original on 17 April 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  72. ^ "Army: Two-star general committed suicide on Alabama military base". CBS News. Washington, D. C.: Associated Press. 28 October 2016. Archived from the original on 16 March 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  73. ^ "PN1823 — Maj. Gen. James H. Dickinson — Army, 114th Congress (2015-2016)". U.S. Congress. 15 November 2016. Archived from the original on 21 March 2022. Retrieved 10 August 2021.


  1. ^ a b Dates of rank are taken, where available, from the U.S. Army register of active and retired commissioned officers, the General Officer Management Office, or the National Guard Senior Leader Management Office. The date listed is that of the officer's first promotion to lieutenant general. If such a date cannot be found, the next date substituted should be that of the officer's assumption of his/her first three-star appointment. Failing which, the officer's first Senate confirmation date to lieutenant general should be substituted. For officers promoted to lieutenant general on the same date, they should be organized first by date of promotion to four-star rank, and then by the tier of their first listed assignment upon promotion to lieutenant general.
  2. ^ a b Positions listed are those held by the officer when promoted to lieutenant general. Dates listed are for the officer's full tenure, which may predate promotion to three-star rank or postdate retirement from active duty. Positions held in an acting capacity are italicized.
  3. ^ a b The number of years of active-duty service at three-star rank is approximated by subtracting the year in the "Date of rank" column from the last year in the "Position" column. Time spent between active-duty three-star assignments is not counted.
  4. ^ a b Sources of commission are listed in parentheses after the year of commission and include: the United States Military Academy (USMA); Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at a civilian university; ROTC at a senior military college such as the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Norwich University (Norwich), Pennsylvania Military College (PMC), University of North Georgia (UNG), Widener University (Widener), or The Citadel (Citadel); Officer Candidate School (OCS); the aviation cadet program (cadet); the Army National Guard (ARNG); direct commission (direct); and battlefield commission (battlefield).
  5. ^ a b The number of years in commission before being promoted to three-star rank is approximated by subtracting the year in the "Commission" column from the year in the "Date of rank" column.
  6. ^ a b Notes include years of birth and death; awards of the Medal of Honor, Congressional Gold Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, or honors of similar significance; major government appointments; university presidencies or equivalents; familial relationships with significant military officers or government officials such as U.S. Presidents, cabinet secretaries, U.S. Senators, or state governors; and unusual career events such as premature relief or death in office. Officers who served as enlisted soldiers for 7 years or more prior to commissioning are also noted.
  7. ^ a b Served as Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army (VCSA).
  8. ^ Served as Chief of Staff, U.S. Army (CSA).
  9. ^ Jensen's effective date of rank is 3 August 2020, which is seven days before he assumed the office of director of the Army National Guard.
  10. ^ a b Graduated from North Georgia College & State University, which merged with Gainesville State College in 2013 and is now the University of North Georgia.
  11. ^ Enlisted in 1983, commissioned as aviation officer in 1990.[11]
  12. ^ Directly commissioned via the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).
  13. ^ see "Modern use" section
  14. ^ For officers in specialty career paths such as the JAG Corps, Medical Corps, or Army Reserve, these positions are the highest they can attain. There have been exceptions, such as when Maryanne Miller was promoted to general in 2018, becoming the first Air Force Reserve officer to reach four-star rank.
  15. ^ with the exception of U.S. Army Europe and Africa (a four-star billet) and U.S. Army South (a two-star [one-star promotable] billet)
  16. ^ The deputy commander of U.S. European Command was a four-star position until 2007, when it was reduced in rank to make way for the establishment of U.S. Africa Command, commanded by a four-star officer. The last four-star deputy commander of USEUCOM, General William E. Ward, also became the first commander of USAFRICOM.