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 rank of rear admiral in the United States Navy. The United States Code explicitly limits the number of general officers that may be on active duty at any given time. The total number of active duty general officers is capped at 231 for the Army,61 for the Marine Corps, some of these slots are reserved or finitely set by statute. This promotion board then generates a list of officers it recommends for promotion to general rank and this list is then sent to the service secretary and the Joint Chiefs of Staff for review before it can be sent to the President, through the Secretary of Defense for consideration. The President nominates officers to be promoted from this list with the advice of the Secretary of Defense, the secretary, and if applicable. The President may nominate any eligible officer who is not on the recommended list if it serves in the interest of the nation, the Senate must then confirm the nominee by a majority vote before the officer can be promoted. Once confirmed, the nominee is promoted to rank on assuming a position of office that requires an officer to hold the rank. For positions of office that are reserved by statute, the President nominates an officer for appointment to fill that position, since the grade of major general is permanent, the rank does not expire when the officer vacates a two-star position. Tour length varies depending on the position, by statute, and/or when the officer receives a new assignment or a promotion, in the case of the Air National Guard, they may also serve as The Adjutant General for their state, commonwealth or territory. Other than voluntary retirement, statute sets a number of mandates for retirement of general officers, all major generals must retire after five years in grade or 35 years of service, whichever is later, unless appointed for promotion or reappointed to grade to serve longer. Otherwise, all officers must retire the month after their 64th birthday. However, the Secretary of Defense may defer a general officers retirement until the officers 66th birthday, because there are a finite number of General Officer positions, one officer must retire before another can be promoted. As a result, general officers typically retire well in advance of the age and service limits. The rank of general was abolished in the U. S. Army by the Act of March 16,1802. Major general has been a rank in the U. S. Army ever since, to address this anomaly, Washington was posthumously promoted by Congress to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States in 1976. The position of Major General Commanding the Army was entitled to three stars according to General Order No.6 of March 13,1861
Lafayette in a uniform of a major general of the Continental Army.
Shoulder two-star rank insignia of major general for the above services.
Rank flag of a major general in the United States Army. The flag of a major general of the Army Medical Department has a maroon background; the flag of a chaplain (major general) has a black background.