Former military rank is not recognized in the American Legion, so there is no traditional chain of command. Former rank has no bearing on the election of National or State leaders.
American Legion members are not to be addressed by their military ranks, as the American Legion is a civilian organization, according to the Constitution of American Legion Post #21. A command structure is in place, consisting of elected and appointed officials, but military rank has no bearing on the fulfillment of these positions.
The National Commander, elected to a single-year term at the annual National Convention, serves as the Legion's executive. The elected members of the Legion's National Executive Committee serve as administrators for the entire American Legion. Former military rank has no bearing on the election of officials. Major decisions in the American Legion, such as changes to the constitution and by-laws, as well as the enactment of programs, are made at the National Convention. The 55 departments of the American Legion send a minimum of five delegates each to the convention. The five national vice-commanders, who are all elected, also serve as delegates. The individual departments are each led by a Department Commander, while the individual positions in each post within a department are led by Department Vice-Commanders.