Flag of the vice admiral of the Unrestricted Line, United States Navy.
The stars, shoulder boards, and sleeve stripes of a U.S. Navy vice admiral of the "line".
|Next higher rank||Admiral|
|Next lower rank||Rear admiral|
|Equivalent ranks||Lieutenant general (uniformed services of the United States)|
Vice admiral (abbreviated as VADM) is a three-star commissioned naval officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, with the pay grade of O-9. Vice admiral ranks above rear admiral and below admiral. Vice admiral is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant general in the other uniformed services.
The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world, with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the country's seven uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set. It operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the U.S. Department of the Navy by the U.S. President at any time, or by the U.S. Congress during times of war. This has happened twice: in 1917, during World War I, and in 1941, during World War II.
The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), also referred to as the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, is the federal uniformed service of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), and is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
U.S. Code of law explicitly limits the total number of vice admirals that may be on active duty at any given time. The total number of active-duty flag officers is capped at 162 for the navy.For the navy, no more than 16.7% of the service's active-duty flag officers may have more than two stars. Some of these slots can be reserved by statute. Officers serving in certain Defense Agency Director positions such as the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), when filled by a naval officer, are vice admirals. The Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy is usually a vice admiral, either upon nomination or shortly thereafter. The President may also add vice admirals to the Navy if they are offset by removing an equivalent number of three-star officers from other services. Finally, all statutory limits may be waived at the President's discretion during time of war or national emergency.
A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which the officer exercises command.
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is a combat support agency in the United States Department of Defense, with more than 26,000 civilian and military personnel throughout the world. Located in 48 states and 28 countries, DLA provides supplies to the military services and supports their acquisition of weapons, fuel, repair parts, and other materials. The agency also disposes of excess or unusable equipment through various programs.
The Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy is its commanding officer. 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 Naval Academy. However, this is not an official requirement for the position.
The three-star grade goes hand-in-hand with the position of office it is linked to, so the rank is temporary. Officers may only achieve three-star grade if they are appointed to positions that require the officer to hold such a rank.Their rank expires with the expiration of their term of office, which is usually set by statute. Vice admirals are nominated for appointment by the President from any eligible officers holding the rank of rear admiral (lower half) or above, who also meet the requirements for the position, under the advice and/or suggestion of the Secretary of Defense, the applicable service secretary, or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The nominee must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate before the appointee can take office and thus assume the rank. The standard tour length for most vice admiral positions is three years but some are set four or more years by statute.
The President of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is, by U.S. law, the highest-ranking and senior-most military officer in the United States Armed Forces and is the principal military advisor to the President, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff outranks all other commissioned officers, they are prohibited by law from having operational command authority over the armed forces; however, the Chairman does assist the President and the Secretary of Defense in exercising their command functions.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives — the lower chamber — comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.
Extensions of the standard tour length can be approved, within statutory limits, by their respective service secretaries, the Secretary of Defense, the President, and/or Congress but these are rare, as they block other officers from being promoted. Some statutory limits under the U.S. Code can be waived in times of national emergency or war. Three-star ranks may also be given by act of Congress but this is extremely rare.
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Other than voluntary retirement, statute sets a number of mandates for retirement. Three-star officers must retire after 38 years of service unless appointed for promotion or reappointed to grade to serve longer.Otherwise all flag officers must retire the month after their 64th birthday. The Secretary of Defense, however, can defer a three-star officer's retirement until the officer's 66th birthday and the president can defer it until the officer's 68th birthday.
Flag officers typically retire well in advance of the statutory age and service limits, so as not to impede the upward career mobility of their juniors. Since there is a finite number of three-star slots available to each service, typically one officer must leave office before another can be promoted.Maintaining a three-star rank is a game of musical chairs; once an officer vacates a position bearing that rank, he or she has no more than 60 days to be appointed or reappointed to a job of equal or higher importance before he or she must involuntarily retire. Historically, officers leaving three-star positions were allowed to revert to their permanent two-star ranks to mark time in lesser jobs until statutory retirement, but now such officers are expected to retire immediately to avoid obstructing the promotion flow.
A career is an individual's metaphorical "journey" through learning, work and other aspects of life. There are a number of ways to define career and the term is used in a variety of ways.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the highest-ranking officer and professional head of the United States Navy. The position is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral who is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy. In a separate capacity as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the CNO is a military adviser to the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The current Chief of Naval Operations is Admiral John M. Richardson.
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.
The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VJCS) is, by U.S. law, the second highest-ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces, ranking just below the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Vice Chairman outranks all respective heads of each service branch, with the exception of the Chairman, but does not have operational command authority over their service branches. The Goldwater–Nichols Act of 1986 created the position of VCJCS to assist the Chairman in exercising his or her duties. In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman presides over the meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all other duties prescribed under 10 U.S.C. § 153 and may also perform other duties that the President, the Chairman, or the Secretary of Defense prescribes.
In the United States Navy, officers have various ranks. Equivalency between services is by pay grade. United States Navy commissioned officer ranks have two distinct sets of rank insignia: On dress uniform a series of stripes similar to Commonwealth naval ranks are worn; on service khaki, working uniforms, and special uniform situations, the rank insignia are similar to the equivalent rank in the US Army or US Air Force.
Fleet admiral, officially known as "Fleet Admiral of the United States Navy", is a five-star flag officer rank in the United States Navy. Fleet admiral ranks immediately above admiral and is equivalent to General of the Army and General of the Air Force. Although it is a current and authorized rank, no U.S. Navy officer presently holds it, with the last living U.S. Navy fleet admiral being Chester W. Nimitz, who died in 1966.
The Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) is the second highest-ranking commissioned United States Navy officer in the Department of the Navy and functions as the principal deputy of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO); and by statute, the VCNO is appointed as a four-star admiral.
Admiral is a four-star commissioned naval flag officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below fleet admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health Service do not have an established grade above admiral. Admiral is equivalent to the rank of general in the other uniformed services. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps has never had an officer hold the grade of admiral. However, 37 U.S.C. § 201 of the U.S. Code established the grade for the NOAA Corps, in case a position is created that merits the four-star grade.
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an established grade above general. General is equivalent to the rank of admiral in the other uniformed services. Since the grades of General of the Army and General of the Air Force are reserved for wartime use only, and since the Marine Corps has no five-star equivalent, the grade of general is currently considered to be the highest appointment an officer can achieve in these three services.
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Air Force, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general. Lieutenant general is equivalent to the rank of vice admiral in the other uniformed services.
Patricia Ann Tracey was the first American woman to be promoted to the rank of vice admiral. She retired as a vice admiral in 2004. She held the positions of chief of naval education and training (CNET) (1996–98), Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy (1998–2001), and director of navy staff from 2001 until the time of her retirement on October 1, 2004. At that time, she was also the all-time senior-ranking female officer in the United States military.
In the United States Armed Forces, brigadier general is a one-star general officer with the pay grade of O-7 in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. The rank of brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed services. The NATO equivalent is OF-6.
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general. A major general typically commands division-sized units of 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers. Major general is equivalent to the two-star rank of rear admiral in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard, and is the highest-permanent rank during peacetime in the uniformed-services. Higher ranks are technically-temporary ranks linked to specific positions, although virtually-all officers promoted to those ranks are approved to retire at their highest earned rank.
The Judge Advocate General of the Navy (JAG) is the highest-ranking uniformed lawyer in the United States Department of the Navy. The Judge Advocate General is the principal advisor to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations on legal matters pertaining to the Navy. The Judge Advocate General also performs other duties prescribed to them under 10 U.S.C. § 5148 and those prescribed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Rear admiral in the United States refers to two different ranks of commissioned officers — one-star flag officers and two-star flag officers. By contrast, in most nations, the term "rear admiral" refers to an officer of two-star rank.
|Pay grade / branch of service||Officer|
|CDT / OC||2LT||1LT||CPT||MAJ||LTC||COL||BG||MG||LTG||GEN||GA ||GAS |
|Midn / Cand||2ndLt||1stLt||Capt||Maj||LtCol||Col||BGen||MajGen||LtGen||Gen|||||
|MIDN / OC||ENS||LTJG||LT||LCDR||CDR||CAPT||RDML||RADM||VADM||ADM||FADM ||AN |
|Cadet / OT / OC||2nd Lt||1st Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig Gen||Maj Gen||Lt Gen||Gen||GAF |||
|CDT / OC||ENS||LTJG||LT||LCDR||CDR||CAPT||RDML||RADM||VADM||ADM|||||
| No universal insignia for officer candidate rank; Navy candidate insignia shown|
Official 1945 proposal for General of the Armies insignia; John J. Pershing's GAS insignia:
 Rank used for specific officers in wartime only, not permanent addition to rank structure
 Grade is authorized by the U.S. Code for use but has not been created
 Grade has never been created or authorized
 USAF and U.S. Army insignia shown
United States warrant officer ranks
| Army |
| Marine Corps |
| Navy |
| Air Force |
| Coast Guard |
| PHS Corps |||||||||||
| NOAA Corps |||||||||||
Grade is authorized for use by U.S. Code but has not been created
Grade never created or authorized