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Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a panel comprising the highest-ranking members of each major branch of the armed services in any particular country. The following information refers to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States armed forces, but similar arrangements are common in other nations.

The current (March 2003) Joint Chiefs of Staff are:

After the 1986 reorganization of the military undertaken by the Goldwater-Nichols Act[?], the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have operational command of U.S. military forces. Responsibility for conducting military operations goes directly from the Secretary of Defense to the head of the United States regional commands[?] and the chain of command bypasses the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely.

Rather their primary responsibility is to insure the readiness of their respective military services. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also act in an advisory military capacity for the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense[?]. In addition, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff[?] acts as the chief military advisor to the President.

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