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four-star general

This is a complete list of four-star generals in the United States Space Force. The rank of general (or full general, or four-star general), ranks above lieutenant general (three-star general) and is the highest rank achievable in the U.S. Space Force.

There have been five four-star generals in the history of the U.S. Space Force. All achieved that rank while on active duty. Generals entered the Space Force via several paths: Two were commissioned via the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) and three were commissioned via the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).

List of generals

The following lists of four-star generals are sortable by last name, date of rank. The date listed is that of the officer's first promotion to general, and may differ from the officer's entry in the U.S. Space Force register. The year commissioned is taken to be the year the officer was commissioned which may precede the officer's actual date of commission by up to two years. Each entry lists the general's name, date of rank, active-duty position held while serving at four-star rank, number of years of active-duty service at four-star rank (Yrs), year commissioned and source of commission, number of years in commission when promoted to four-star rank (YC), and other biographical notes.

No. Name Photo Date of rank Position(s) Yrs. Commission YC. Notes
1 raymondJohn W. Raymond 2016-10-2525 Oct 2016   6 1984 (AFROTC) 32 (born 1962)[2]
2 thompsonDavid D. Thompson 2020-10-011 Oct 2020[3] 3 1985 (USAFA) 35 (born 1963)[2]
3 saltzmanB. Chance Saltzman 2022-11-022 Nov 2022   2 1991 (AFROTC) 31 (born 1969)[4]
4 guetleinMichael A. Guetlein 2023-12-2121 Dec 2023   1 1991 (AFROTC) 31 (born 1967)[5]
5 whitingStephen N. Whiting 2024-01-1010 Jan 2024   0 1989 (USAFA) 35 (born 1967)[6]


Four-star positions

Structure of the United States Space ForceUnified combatant command


The modern rank of general was established by the Officer Personnel Act of 1947, which authorized the President to designate certain positions of importance to carry that rank. Officers appointed to such positions bear temporary four-star rank while so serving, and are allowed to retire at that rank if their performance is judged satisfactory.[7] The total number of active-duty four-star generals in the Space Force is limited to a fixed percentage of the number of Space Force general officers serving at all ranks.[8]

Within the Space Force, the chief of space operations (CSO) is a four-star general by statute. Other four-star generals can occupy positions of designated importance; including the vice chief of space operations (VCSO) and the commander of the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM).

The Space Force also competes with the other services for a number of joint four-star positions, such as the chairman (CJCS) and vice chairman (VJCS) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Other joint four-star positions have included unified combatant commanders, sub-unified combatant commands, and certain NATO staff positions.

Stephen WhitingMichael GuetleinB. Chance SaltzmanDavid D. ThompsonJohn W. RaymondWar in Afghanistan (2001–2021)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Held this four-star position(s) while serving in the U.S. Air Force.
  2. ^ a b Served 35 years in the U.S. Air Force before being unilaterally transferred to the Space Force.
  3. ^ Thompson's effective date-of-rank is October 1, 2020, which is one day before he assumed the office of vice chief of space operations.
  4. ^ Served 29 years in the U.S. Air Force before being unilaterally transferred to the Space Force.
  5. ^ Served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force before being unilaterally transferred to the Space Force.
  6. ^ Served 31 years in the U.S. Air Force before being unilaterally transferred to the Space Force.
  7. ^ 10 USC 601, Positions of importance and responsibility: generals and lieutenant generals; admirals and vice admirals((citation)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ 10 USC 525, Distribution of commissioned officers on active duty in general officer and flag officer grades((citation)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)