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The title, Chief of Staff, identifies the leader of a complex organization, institution, or body of persons and it also may identify a Principal Staff Officer (PSO), who is the coordinator of the supporting staff or a primary aide-de-camp to an important individual, such as a president. In general, a chief of staff provides a buffer between a chief executive and that executive's direct-reporting team. The chief of staff generally works behind the scenes to solve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with issues before they bubble up to the Chief Executive. Often Chiefs of Staff act as a confidante and advisor to the Chief Executive, acting as a sounding board for ideas. Ultimately the actual duties depend on the actual position and the people involved.



  • The chief of staff in a hospital is the primary leader of all divisions and staff, including divisions that have chiefs as well, such as, leadership over chief of surgery, chief of obstetrics, chief of orthopedics, etc. as divisions that each are headed by a leader in that specialty. The chief of staff is inevitably a physician, as opposed to the chief administrator, who is often a non-medical professional.


  • Chief of Staff to the President of Brazil
  • Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister (Canada)
  • Chief of Staff (Philippines), a former position in the Cabinet of the Philippines, serving under the President of the Philippines
  • Downing Street Chief of Staff (United Kingdom)
  • White House Chief of Staff (United States)
  • Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States
  • Chief of staff (United States Congress), the most senior staff member in the office of a member of the United States Congress
  • Principal Staff Officer to the Prime Minister (Pakistan)


In general, the positions listed below are not "chiefs of staff" as defined at the top of this page. In general, they are the heads of the various forces/commands. Note that, in general, they tend to have subordinates that do fulfill the "chief of staff" roles.

In general

In Australia

In Azerbaijan

In Canada

In France

In Ghana

In Ireland

In Italy

  • Chief of the Defence Staff
    • Chief of the Army Staff
    • Chief of the Navy Staff
    • Chief of the Air Force Staff

In Pakistan

In the Philippines

In the United Kingdom

The Sovereign is the Commander-in-Chief. The CDS heads the Chiefs of Staff Committee and is assisted by the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff. The Queen is not the ceremonial head of each branch of the British Armed Forces.

In the United States

In former states

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