The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking position in the White House staff. The chief of staff assists the President of the United States in many duties, including as a formal member of the Cabinet and often sits with the President in the Situation Room. The Chief of Staff is often referred to as the second most powerful person in Washington.

For most of the series, the Chief of Staff is Leo McGarry. For the last two years of the Bartlet Administration, C.J. Cregg is Chief of Staff, while McGarry starts tackling other roles, including senior counselor to the president, organizer of the 2006 Democratic National Convention, and candidate for Vice President. After Matt Santos is elected president, Josh Lyman is named Chief of Staff.

Within the West Wing universe, the Chief of Staff plays a much more powerful role than most real-life Chiefs of Staff play. For example, McGarry and Cregg are portrayed as senior national security officials, while the National Security Advisor herself serves a comparably minor role. In actuality, the White House Chief of Staff usually defers to the president's national security team on most foreign policy decisions.

Leo McGarry
"If I were to stand on high ground in Key West with a good pair of binoculars, I would be as informed as I am right now." - Leo McGarry

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List of Notable White House Chiefs of StaffEdit

Image Chief of Staff Party Timeline Served Under Source
Leo01 Leo Thomas McGarry Democratic January 20, 1999 — September 2005 Josiah Bartlet Pilot; The Birnam Wood
Glen Allen Walken
Josiah Bartlet
CJCregg Claudia Jean Cregg Democratic September 2005 — January 20, 2007 Third Day Story; Tomorrow
JoshLyman Joshua Lyman Democratic January 20, 2007 — Present Matt Santos Tomorrow