Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
A three-star U.S. military officer (lieutenant general or vice admiral), the Assistant to the Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the senior liaison officer of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS). He oversees matters requiring close personal control by the Chairman with particular focus on international relations and politico-military concerns. "The Assistant to the Chairman represents the Chairman, as necessary, at all levels within interagency forums." One role is to accompany the U.S. Secretary of State on overseas trips to serve as a military advisor.
Complementary roles are the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concerned with more day-to-day decisionmaking, the Director of the Joint Staff, who heads the Chairman's planning organization, and the Executive Assistant to the Chairman, who runs the CJCS immediate office.
Established in 1968 at its present rank, the position is "career enhancing"; many of the incumbents have been promoted to four-star rank. The title is properly "the" Assistant to the Chairman; there are lower-ranking Assistants for specific matters, such as National Guard Matters.
Assistants have included:
- GEN William Fraser, USAF; currently commanding Air Combat Command
- GEN Ray Odierno, USA; currently commanding Multi-National Force-Iraq
- GEN Richard Myers, USAF; retired CJCS
- GEN John Shalikashvili, USA; retired CJCS