As with every organization the VFW has a chain of command. Modeled after the formation of military units dating back to the American Civil War where members of a local militia would choose their leaders, the members of the VFW also choose their leadership at every level.
It should be noted that as long as a member is in good standing (Membership current) that each member has an equal say, regardless of how long they have been in the VFW or positions held.
The VFW is a close to a true Democracy as there is where the majority rules and the membership has final say with elected officers enforcing the rules established by the membership at the Post, District, State and National levels.
Post Officers - This is where the real work of the VFW happens, at the Post level. Post officers conduct the day to day affairs of the VFW following the guidelines as established by the By-Laws of the Post, District, Department and National as well as lawful directives of the Post membership. The Post is the direct link to the local community and plays a vital part within the community. VFW Programs are designed to augment and help every Post willing to do the work be a successful Post. Post officers are the voice of the veterans in the community. Post Commanders or their representative are required to attend every duly called District meeting and represent the concerns of the Post at the district level.
Post Meetings - The final authority of all Post related business rests in the hands of the assembled Post members. Every Post is considered a corporation with a President/CEO (Commander) Chief Financial Officer (Quartermaster) and Secretary (Adjutant) along with other officers who must answer to the shareholders (Members) who are required to hold a meeting (Stockholders meeting) at least once a month where every member has an equal share and say into how, what and when the Post conducts its operations. Whatever lawful actions the Post membership wants done the officers must ensure happens. Each Post also must elect delegates to represent the concerns of the Post at the District, State and National Conventions.
District Officers - Districts are comprised of several Posts within a geographic area. The individual Posts within this area establish and elect District Officers who are the primary liaison between the Post and the State. The District Commander is considered a State Officer and represents the concerns of the District on the State Council of Administration.
District Meetings & Convention - Every District is required to meet several times a year, one of those meetings has to be a School of Instruction and another has to be a convention for the purpose of electing new officers.
County Council - While not commonplace the National By-Laws allow for the creation of a County Council in accordance with Department By-Laws. A County Council is comprised of Posts within a county who may be in the same District or multiple Districts. At the present time Texas VFW has no County Council.
State Officers - Of primary importance is the State or Department Commander. The State Commander is the only person within the state that can interpret the State and National By-Laws and can issue a ruling and can suspend a Post and remove people from office, subject to appeal to the National Commander.
State Council of Administration - In between state conventions business decisions have to be made that state officers do not have the authority to make. Several times a year the State Council of Administration meets to make these decisions. It is comprised of the elected and appointed state officers and every District Commander.
State/Department Conventions - This is where the Post Delegates elect State Officers and pass or reject resolutions, By-Law changes, amendments and other such business as presented.
Area Conferences - Are comprised of four conferences, Eastern Conference, Southern Conference, Big 10 Conference and Western Conference. Texas is in the Southern Conference. Conferences are much like Districts except they are comprised of states. Through informal agreement each conference is allowed to nominate a candidate for National office every year. These positions rotate from conference to conference.
National Officers - Commander-in-Chief, Senior Vice Commander, Junior Vice Commander, Adjutant General, Quartermaster General, Chaplain General, Surgeon General, and Judge Advocate General.
National Council of Administration - Between conventions decisions have to be made in regards to the business concerns of the VFW that the National Officers do not have the authority to make. Several times a year this body meets to make decisions about the VFW subject to approval at the National Convention.
National Membership Convention - The annual membership meeting (National Convention) is the supreme authority of the VFW. At this meeting the VFW Post Delegates present make decisions on the By-Laws, Resolutions, Policies and Procedures of the VFW and elect National Officers for the ensuing year.