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The Structure of The Salvation Army

Current General André Cox, with headquarters in London, is the international leader of The Salvation Army. In the United States, the functions of The Salvation Army are coordinated by the national commander, whose office is at the national headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia

The Salvation Army is a participating member in various religious and human services associations, coalitions and conferences having similar principles and practices.  With its Christian heritage and motivation, The Salvation Army continues its unique service to all people in the name of Christ.

The nation is divided into four territories:

Each territory is under the leadership of a territorial commander, and legally functions as a tax-exempt corporation with the national commander as Chairperson of the Board.

Territories are made up of units known as divisions. There are 40 in the United States and each is headed by a divisional commander.  Divisions consist of centers for worship and service (also called "corps"), which are the basic units of The Salvation Army, and various specialized centers.  The functions of each center include religious and social services which are adapted to local needs.  Each center is under the supervision of an officer.

Salvation Army fund-raising campaigns are conducted on a local and regional basis. There is no fund-raising at the national level.  The normal sources of funds are the traditional Christmas kettle campaign, government contracts, grants, individual donors, corporate and foundation gifts and planned giving. In most areas, The Salvation Army is a member agency of local affiliates of the United Way of America.

Nationwide uniformity of policy is the responsibility of the Commissioners' Conference, whose membership includes the national commander, the four territorial commanders, the national chief secretary, and the four territorial chief secretaries

Standing commissions devise and evaluate strategic initiatives to further the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army and then make recommendations to the Commissioner's Conference. Advisory organizations, comprised of representative community, corporate and civic leaders, perform a valuable service by providing advice as liaison between The Salvation Army and the community.  The advisory organizations interpret community needs to The Salvation Army and facilitate the development of resources, enabling The Salvation Army to respond to critical community needs. A national advisory board makes its recommendations to the Commissioner's Conference.

The Salvation Army's membership consists of adherents, soldiers and officers:

  • Adherents are persons who have elected not to be enrolled as soldiers but consider The Salvation Army to be their place of worship.
  • Soldiers are persons who have signed a declaration of faith and practice known as A Soldier's Covenant and worship and serve through a local center.
  • Officers are the clergy of The Salvation Army; they have either completed training and have been ordained and commissioned to officership.  All officers are engaged in continuing education.