Joint Chiefs of Staff

On this page: Related pages: Return to Sea Flags home page

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The flag of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was approved by the Secretary of Defense in 1949.  The diagonal division of the field is borrowed from the flag of the Chief of Staff of the Army, while the colors and the central device come from that of the Secretary of Defense.  The Chairman is by law the senior officer in the United States military service and the principal military adviser to the President, Congress, and the Secretary of Defense.  The Secretary's orders to the operating forces are passed through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but he has no command authority of his own.  The Navy Judge Advocate General ruled in the 1950s that the Chairmans's flag cannot be displayed aboard a ship of the Navy, even if he happens to be an admiral in the Navy, because the National Security Act of 1947 precludes the Chairman from exercising command and only an officer "eligible for command at sea" is entitled to fly his flag in a Navy ship.  Navy Regulations still do not permit the flying of this flag aboard ship; the national ensign rather than a personal flag is flown during honors to the Chairman during an official visit to a ship.  The flag is flown, however, aboard Navy shore facilities and there should be no objection to showing it in the bow of a boat carrying the Chairman.  For indoor and parade use, the Chairman's flag is trimmed with golden yellow fringe, cord, and tassels and mounted on a staff with a spearhead finial.  In a boat, his flagstaff would be topped with a spread eagle.



Return to top of page


Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Vice Chairman's flag was approved in 1986 shortly after the position of Vice Chairman was created in the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act.  The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is the second ranking officer in the U.S. armed forces.  The same rules governing the display of the Chairman's flag also apply to the Vice Chairman's.



Return to top of page

Return to Sea Flags home page



Sea Flags
Copyright 2000, 2001 by Joseph McMillan