Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffMarine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gives German Inspector Gen. Eberhard Zorn, chief of staff of the Federal Armed Forces, a tour of his office at the Pentagon.

The Role

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and the principal military advisor to the president, the secretary of defense and the National Security Council.


Get a glimpse of how the chairman spends his time: interacting with allies and partners and engaging with service members and families.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford shakes hands with a Marine as others gather around them.

The Person

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford recently told students, “To me, being a citizen is being engaged, being involved, having a stake in your local community and in your country, and then doing something personally for your community.” Before becoming the 19th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2015, Dunford was Commandant of the Marine Corps, the senior military officer in the Marine Corps. A Boston native, Dunford is a graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School, Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, and the U.S. Army War College. He also holds degrees from Georgetown University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Joint Chiefs of Staff

Established in January 1942 to expedite strategic coordination during World War II, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been at the center of U.S. military planning ever since.

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