Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, the White House national security adviser who resigned amid the controversy over U.S. weapons sales to Iran, is facing a reduction in rank.
Since his resignation, Poindexter, 50, has been serving as a special adviser to Adm. Carlisle A. H. Trost, chief of naval operations. Unless President Reagan takes action to prevent it, by early March, Poindexter will lose the three-star rank of vice admiral and fall back to rear admiral, a two-star rank.
Poindexter was unavailable to comment Monday.
The situation stems from a provision in federal law regarding "flag and general officers" of three-star and four-star rank.
Under the law, a three-star or four-star admiral or general must continue working in a job designated for that level in order to retain his stars. The law also says that an admiral or general officer must have spent at least three years "time in rank" in order to retire at the higher rank.
If a three-star or four-star admiral or general officer moves to a position that is below his rank, he automatically drops a grade, unless a new assignment is made within 90 days. Poindexter left the White House post on Nov. 25.