Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters. The composition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is defined by statute and consists of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), and the Military Service Chiefs from the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Marine Corps, and the National Guard, all appointed by the President following Senate confirmation. Each of the individual Military Service Chiefs, outside of their Joint Chiefs of Staff obligations, works directly for the Secretary of the Military Department concerned, i.e. Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force.

Following the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986 the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have operational command authority, neither individually nor collectively, as the chain of command goes from the President to the Secretary of Defense, and from the Secretary of Defense to the Commanders of the Combatant Commands. Goldwater-Nichols also created the office of Vice Chairman, and the Chairman is now designated as the principal military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and to the President.

The Joint Staff (JS) is a headquarters staff in the Pentagon, composed of personnel from each of the four Department of Defense armed services, that assists the Chairman and the Vice Chairman in discharging their responsibilities and is managed by the Director of the Joint Staff (DJS) who is a Lieutenant General or Navy Vice Admiral.

Read more about Joint Chiefs Of Staff:  Roles and Responsibilities, Current Members of The Joint Chiefs of Staff, The Joint Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Civilian Awards, Coast Guard

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