Chairman of Joint Chiefs Resists Reducing Top Brass


By Debbie Gregory.

General Joseph Dunford, the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pushed back against critics who think the military is top heavy with high-ranking officers.

“No, right now it is not my sense that we have too many general officers,” Dunford said recently.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee wants to see the number of generals and admirals cut by 25 percent.  This may be one reason for a hold up on the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

Dunford is looking for a compromise that is less than the quarter McCain is looking for. Dunford feels that the current number is not excessive.

According to Pentagon personnel statistics, as of June, 2016, there were 418 one stars, 315 two stars, 136 three stars, and 37 four-star active generals and admirals, totaling 906.

“We’re still working with both the Senate Armed Services and House Armed Services Committees to come up with a proposal that meets their requirements for reform, right-sizes the force to include our general officer population, and at the same time allows us to maintain military effectiveness,” Dunford said.

“So we’re going to go back and look at this issue, and work with Senator McCain and others to make sure we get it right,” Dunford said of the dispute over how many generals and admirals the military actually needs, which dates back to World War II.

In May, the Senate Armed Services Committee proposed cutting 222 of the 886 generals and admirals, citing that over the past 30 years, the end-strength of the joint force has decreased 38 percent, but the ratio of four-star officers to the overall force has increased by 65 percent.

“Especially at a time of constrained defense budgets, the military services must right-size their officer corps and shift as many personnel as possible from staff functions to operational and other vital roles.”

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