In Heartwarming Display of Austerity and Restraint, Army Adds Another 4-Star Billet
In this new era of threatening furloughs for schoolteachers and slashing funding for the training of brigade combat teams, the Army has made a heartwarming gesture of solidarity with troops making do with less by creating an additional four-star billet – with the attendant headquarters and staff.
Lieutenant General Michael Brooks – a 1980 West Point graduate – has been tapped to take command of U.S. Army forces in the Pacific. He will receive a promotion to the four-star rank – the equivalent of a combatant command billet such as SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM and EUROCOM.
General Brooks will command about 65,000 troops – roughly the equivalent of a corps – which normally justifies three stars. U.S. Army Pacific currently includes the 25th Division in Hawaii and Alaska, U.S. Army Korea, U.S. Army Japan, and the 9th Regional Support Command.
Even more curiously, General Brooks will assume his post this summer at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, just a short distance away from Camp Smith, the home of USPACOM, or US Pacific Command, a unified combatant command currently headed by a full four-star Admiral, Samuel J. Locklear.
General Brooks would be senior to the deputy commander of the unified combatant that oversees his own troops, Marine Lt. Gen. Thomas Conant.
The chart shows the steadily increasing ratio of general and flag officers per 10,000 troops since WWII. Source.