Who was the most effective Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

Discussions on other historical eras.
Sufyan Hadi
Member
Posts: 11
Joined: 15 Sep 2020 15:22
Location: Singapore

Who was the most effective Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

Post by Sufyan Hadi » 19 Feb 2021 14:15

Putting this question out since from viewing experience I mostly see rankings and assessments of wartime leaders.

For those not in the know, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest-ranking officer in the United States Armed Forces. In this position, they serve as chief military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and Homeland Security Council, but (as of the Goldwater-Nichols Act) does not have operational command authority of armed forces.

As the top uniformed member of the US Armed Forces, the CJCS has a heavy hand in military policy and decision-making, and thus contributes a lot to conflicts and peacetime administration of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense, serving as a leading representative for both.

Therefore, I'd like to know your thoughts on who are your top 3-5 most effective Chairmen with brief reasons why and what conflicts they helped manage. They are to be judged based on their performance as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, not beforehand or afterwards.

The current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is US Army GEN Mark A. Milley, the former Army Chief of Staff succeeding Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford in 2019.

Notable CJCS:
  • FADM William D. Leahy
  • GA Omar Bradley
  • ADM Arthur W. Radford
  • GEN Maxwell D. Taylor
  • GEN Earle Wheeler
  • ADM William J. Crowe
  • GEN Colin Powell
  • GEN Martin Dempsey
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chairman_ ... s_of_Staff

I will be doing similar topics on the Army Chief of Staff, Chief of Naval Operations, Air Force Chief of Staff, Commandant of the Marine Corps and Secretary of Defense soon, so stay tuned!

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: Who was the most effective Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 09:32

It's an interesting question, but effective in terms of wartime or peacetime? WW II or the Cold War? Pre- or post-USSR collapse? Pre- or post-Goldwater-Nichols?

Very different responsibilities, authorities, and missions.

Sufyan Hadi
Member
Posts: 11
Joined: 15 Sep 2020 15:22
Location: Singapore

Re: Who was the most effective Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

Post by Sufyan Hadi » 03 Apr 2021 16:24

I'd say how effective they were within the scope of each of their tenures. Whether they were good at doing their job during their tenures would be how I'd judge them. In terms of wartime or peacetime, WW2 or the Cold War, pre or post Goldwater-Nichols, they are contextual.

If simply saying "most effective" isn't able to cover a position of this scope, I'm interested to see how you'd judge the best CJCS based on each of those criteria, i.e. who was the most effective in wartime/peacetime, during or after the Cold War, best in political ability or military ability, or even which CJCS would be effective in any scenario you throw at him.

Return to “Other eras”