What is Protocol?

Precedence, according to Webster is, “priority in place, time or rank.” In the government
and military, precedence of individuals is usually fixed by rank, but may also be
assigned based on other criteria such as position.

The precedence of senior officials in government agencies is not always fixed, however,
and may change from time to time depending on several factors, the most significant
being the current administration.

There is only one official precedence list and that is maintained by the Chief of
Protocol, Department of State. The Department of Defense and service precedence lists
reflect the precedence established by the State Department. These latter two lists, however,
are expanded to include DoD and service-specific positions.

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