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United States order of precedence

The United States order of precedence is a nominal and symbolic hierarchy of important positions within the government of the United States. The order is established by the President of the United States and can be changed at his direction. It has no legal standing and is instead used to dictate ceremonial protocol.

The Order of Precedence of the United States of America

  1. President of the United States (George W. Bush)
  2. Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate (Richard B. Cheney)
  3. Governor (in his state)
  4. Mayor (in his city)
  5. Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (Dennis Hastert)
  6. Chief Justice of the United States (William Rehnquist)
  7. Former Presidents of the United States:
    1. Gerald Ford
    2. Jimmy Carter
    3. Ronald Reagan
    4. George H. W. Bush
    5. Bill Clinton
  8. American ambassadors at their post
  9. Secretary of State (Colin Powell)
  10. Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of foreign states
  11. Widows of former Presidents of the United States (Lady Bird Johnson)
  12. Ministers of foreign powers
  13. Associate Justices of the Supreme Court:
    1. John Paul Stevens
    2. Sandra Day O'Connor
    3. Antonin Scalia
    4. Anthony Kennedy
    5. Clarence Thomas
    6. David Souter
    7. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    8. Stephen Breyer
  14. Retired Chief Justices (None living)
  15. Retired Associate Justices of the Supreme Court
  16. Members of the United States Cabinet:
    1. Secretary of the Treasury (John W. Snow)
    2. Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld)
    3. Attorney General (John Ashcroft)
    4. Secretary of the Interior (Gale Norton)
    5. Secretary of Agriculture (Ann M. Veneman)
    6. Secretary of Commerce (Donald Evans)
    7. Secretary of Labor (Elaine Chao)
    8. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Tommy Thompson)
    9. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (VACANT)
    10. Secretary of Transportation (Norman Mineta)
    11. Secretary of Energy (Spencer Abraham)
    12. Secretary of Education (Roderick Paige)
    13. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Anthony Principi)
    14. Secretary of Homeland Security (Tom Ridge)
  17. Chief of Staff to the President (Andrew Card)
  18. Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Josh Bolten)
  19. Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (George Tenet)
  20. US Representative to the United Nations (John Negroponte)
  21. President Pro Tempore of the Senate (Ted Stevens)
  22. Senators (by length of term served)
  23. Governors of the States when outside home states (by order of admission of State to Union)
  24. Acting heads of executive departments
  25. Former Vice-Presidents of the United States:
    1. Walter Mondale
    2. Dan Quayle
    3. Al Gore
  26. Members of the United States House of Representatives (by length of term served)
  27. Non-Voting Members of the House of Representatives
  28. Governor of Puerto Rico (Sila María Calderón)
  29. National Security Advisor (Condoleezza Rice)
  30. Counsellors and Assistants to the President
  31. Charges d'Affaires of Foreign Countries
  32. Deputy Secretaries of Executive Departments
  33. Solicitor General (Theodore Olson)
  34. Administrator of the International Development Cooperation Agency
  35. Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  36. Director of the United States Information Agency
  37. Under Secretaries of State and Counsels
  38. Under Secretaries of Executive Departments
  39. U.S. Ambassadors at Large
  40. Secretaries of the Armed Forces:
    1. Secretary of the Army (Vacant)
    2. Secretary of the Navy (Gordon England)
    3. Secretary of the Air Force (James Roche)
  41. Postmaster General (John Potter)
  42. Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Alan Greenspan)
  43. Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality
  44. Chairman of the United States Export-Import Bank
  45. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Richard Myers)
  46. Under Secretaries of Defense
  47. Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (Peter Pace)
  48. Chiefs of Staff of the Four Services (in order of appointment):
    1. Commandant of the Marine Corps (James Jones)
    2. Chief of Naval Operations (Vern Clark)
    3. Air Force Chief of Staff (John Jumper)
    4. Chief of Staff of the Air Force (Peter Schoomaker)
  49. Commandant of the Coast Guard (Thomas Collins)
  50. Commanders-in-Chief of Unified and Specified Commands of Four-Star Grade
  51. Five-Star Generals and Admirals
  52. Lieutenant Governorss of the States (by admission of State to Union)