Superintendents of The United States Military Academy

Superintendents Of The United States Military Academy

The commanding officer of the United States Military Academy is its Superintendent. This position is roughly equivalent to the chancellor or president of an American civilian university. The officer appointed is by tradition a graduate of the United States Military Academy, commonly known as "West Point".

The Superintendency has often been often a stepping stone to higher prominence in the Army. Three Superintendents became Chief of Staff of the Army: Douglas MacArthur, Maxwell Davenport Taylor, and William Westmoreland. The list of Superintendents includes five Medal of Honor recipients: Oliver Otis Howard, Douglas MacArthur, Albert Leopold Mills, John McAllister Schofield, John Moulder Wilson. Many Superintendents later became Commanding Generals, such as Joseph Gardner Swift and Hugh L. Scott. The post is now a terminal assignment in the Army; as a condition for detail to the position, officers are required by law to acknowledge that they will retire at the end of their appointment. This formulation was meant to secure the independence of Superintendents from undue command influence; however, in practice the resulting "lame duck" status restricts their power and influence in the Army. There has been discussion about reverting to the previous system or recalling a retired officer to fill the post.

The billet carries the rank of lieutenant general, and is not counted against the Army's statutory limit on the number of active-duty officers above the rank of major general. For example, General Andrew Goodpaster originally retired from active duty as a full general, was recalled to assume the superintendency as a lieutenant general, and reverted to his four-star rank upon his second retirement.


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