Commanding officer

The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer, commanding general (CG), is the officer in command of a military unit. The commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as they see fit, within the bounds of military law. In this respect, commanding officers have significant responsibilities (for example, the use of force, finances, equipment, the Geneva Conventions), duties (to higher authority, mission effectiveness, duty of care to personnel), and powers (for example, discipline and punishment of personnel within certain limits of military law).

In some countries, commanding officers may be of any commissioned rank. Usually, there are more officers than command positions available, and time spent in command is generally a key aspect of promotion, so the role of commanding officer is highly valued. The commanding officer is often assisted by an executive officer (XO) or second-in-command (2i/c), who handles personnel and day-to-day matters, and a senior enlisted advisor. Larger units may also have staff officers responsible for various responsibilities.



In the British Army, Royal Marines, and many other Commonwealth military and paramilitary organisations, the commanding officer of a unit is appointed. Thus the office of CO is an appointment. The appointment of commanding officer is exclusive to commanders of major units (regiments, battalions and similar sized units). It is customary for a commanding officer to hold the rank of lieutenant colonel, and they are usually referred to within the unit simply as "the colonel" or the CO. "The colonel" may also refer to the holder of an honorary appointment of a senior officer who oversees the non-operational affairs of a regiment. However, the rank of the appointment holder and the holder's appointment are separate. That is, not all lieutenant colonels are COs, and although most COs are lieutenant colonels, that is not a requirement of the appointment.

Sub-units and minor units (companies, squadrons and batteries) and formations (brigades, divisions, corps and armies) do not have a commanding officer. The officer in command of such a unit holds the appointment of "officer commanding" (OC). Higher formations have a commander or a general officer commanding (GOC). Area commands have a commander-in-chief (e.g. C-in-C Land Army, C-in-C British Army of the Rhine). The OC of a sub-unit or minor unit is today customarily a major (although formerly usually a captain in infantry companies and often also in cavalry squadrons), although again the rank of the appointment holder and the holder's appointment are separate and independent of each other.

In some cases, independent units smaller than a sub-unit (e.g. a military police platoon that reports directly to a formation such as a brigade) will also have an OC appointed. In these cases, the officer commanding can be a captain or even a lieutenant.

Appointments such as CO and OC may have specific powers associated with them. For example, they may have statutory powers to promote soldiers or to deal with certain disciplinary offences and award certain punishments. The CO of a unit may have the power to sentence an offender to 28 days' detention, whereas the OC of a sub-unit may have the power to sentence an offender to 3 days' restriction of privileges.

Commanders of units smaller than sub-units (e.g. platoons, troops and sections) are not specific appointments and officers or NCOs who fill those positions are simply referred to as the commander or leader (e.g. platoon commander, troop leader, section commander/leader, etc).

Royal Air Force

In the Royal Air Force, the title of commanding officer is reserved for station commanders or commanders of independent units, including flying squadrons. As with the British Army, the post of a commander of a lesser unit such as an administrative wing, squadron or flight is referred to as the officer commanding (OC).

Royal Navy

In the Royal Navy and many others, commanding officer is the official title of the commander of any ship, unit or installation. However, they are referred to as "the captain" no matter what their actual rank, or informally as "skipper" or even "boss".

United States

In the United States, the status of commanding officer is duly applied to all commissioned officers who hold lawful command over a military unit, ship, or installation.


The commanding officer of a company, usually a captain, is referred to as the company commander (or the battery/troop commander for artillery/cavalry). The commanding officer of a battalion (or squadron of cavalry), is usually a lieutenant colonel. The commanding officer of a brigade, a colonel, is the brigade commander. At the division level and higher, however, the commanding officer is referred to as the commanding general, as these officers hold general officer rank.

Although holding a leadership position in the same sense as commanders, the individual in charge of a platoon, the smallest unit of soldiers led by a commissioned officer, typically a second lieutenant, is referred to as the platoon leader, not the platoon commander. This officer does have command of the soldiers under him but does not have many of the command responsibilities inherent to higher echelons. For example, a platoon leader cannot issue non-judicial punishment.

Non-commissioned officers may be said to have charge of certain smaller military units. They cannot, however, hold command as they lack the requisite authority granted by the head of state to do so. Those wielding "command" of individual vehicles (and their crews) are called vehicle commanders. This distinction in title also applies to officers who are aircraft commanders ("pilot in command"), as well as officers and enlisted soldiers who are tank and armored vehicle commanders. While these officers and NCOs have tactical and operational command (including full authority, responsibility, and accountability – especially in the case of aircraft commanders) of the soldiers and equipment in their charge, they are not accorded the legal authority of a "commanding officer" under the UCMJ or military regulations.

Warrant officers in the United States Armed Forces are single career-track officers that can, and occasionally do, hold command positions within certain specialty units, i.e. Special Forces and Army Aviation. However, warrant officers usually do not command if a commissioned officer is present; normally they serve as executive officer (2IC).

Marine Corps

The commanding officer of a company, usually a captain, is referred to as the company commander or the battery commander (for field artillery and low altitude air defense units). The commanding officer of a battalion or a squadron (Marine aviation), is usually a lieutenant colonel. The commanding officer of a regiment, aviation group, or Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), a colonel, is the regimental/group/MEU commander. At the Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), Marine Logistics Group (MLG), Marine Division (MARDIV), Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), and Fleet Marine Force (FMF) levels; however, the commanding officer is referred to as the commanding general, as these officers hold general officer rank.

The officer in charge of a platoon, the smallest tactical unit of Marines usually led by a commissioned officer, typically a first or second lieutenant, is referred to as the platoon commander. This distinction in title also applies to officers who are aircraft commanders, as well as officers, staff non-commissioned officers (staff sergeant – master sergeant), and non-commissioned officers (corporal and sergeant) who are tank and armored vehicle commanders. While these officers, SNCOs, and NCOs have tactical and operational command (including full authority, responsibility, and accountability—especially in the case of aircraft commanders) of the Marines and equipment in their charge, they are not accorded the legal authority of a "commanding officer" under the UCMJ or military regulations.


In the United States Navy, commanding officer is the official title of the commander of a ship, but they are usually referred to as "the Captain" regardless of their actual rank: "Any naval officer who commands a ship, submarine or other vessel is addressed by naval custom as "captain" while aboard in command, regardless of their actual rank."[1] They may be informally referred to as "Skipper", though allowing or forbidding the use of this form of address is the commanding officer's prerogative.

Air Force

In the United States Air Force, the commanding officer of a unit is similarly referred to as the unit commander, such as squadron commander, group commander, wing commander, and so forth.

See also


  1. ^ America's Navy: Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet: Navy Officer Titles: Captain,
2008 Karmah bombing

The 26 June 2008 Karmah bombing was a suicide attack on a meeting of tribal sheiks in the town of Al-Karmah. Three Marines from 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines (including the battalion's commanding officer), as well as twenty Iraqi sheiks and the mayor of Karmah, were killed when a suicide bomber dressed as an Iraqi Policeman detonated an explosive vest. Two interpreters were also killed in the blast. The aftermath of the attack was captured on film by photojournalist Zoriah Miller. The commanding officer of 2/3, LtCol Max Galeai and two other Marines (Captain Philip J. Dykeman and Cpl. Marcus W. Preudhomme) from the battalion were killed. In June 2008, it was announced that Anbar would be the tenth province to transfer to Provincial Iraqi Control, the first Sunni Arab region to be handed back. This handover was delayed due to the attack. The handover did occur on September 1, 2008. Two insurgents linked to the bombing were later caught in Tamariya.


Adjutant is a military appointment given to an officer who assists the commanding officer with unit administration. The term adjudant is used in French-speaking armed forces as a non-commissioned officer rank similar to a staff sergeant or warrant officer but is not equivalent to the role or appointment of an adjutant.

An adjutant general is commander of an army's administrative services.

Barbados Defence Force

The Barbados Defence Force (BDF) is the name given to the combined armed forces of Barbados. The BDF was established August 15, 1979, and has responsibility for the territorial defence and internal security of the island. The headquarters for the Barbados Defence Force is located at St. Ann's Fort base at The Garrison, Saint Michael. The Barbados Defence Force is headquartered at St. Anns Fort, where the administrative and logistical support for the entire Defence force is made.

There are three main components of the BDF:

The Barbados Regiment – This branch is commanded by the Commanding Officer Of The Barbados Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Lovell and is based at St Anns Fort and Paragon Base. This is the main land force component, and encompasses both regular and reserve units.

Barbados Coast Guard – This branch is commanded by the Commanding Officer Of The Barbados Coast Guard Commander Mark Peterson and is based at HMBS Pelican. This is the maritime element, with responsibility for patrolling Barbados' territorial waters as well as drug interdiction and humanitarian and life-saving exercises. It too encompasses both regular and reserve units.

Barbados Cadet Corps – This branch is commanded by the Commanding Officer Of The Barbados Cadet Corps Lieutenant Colonel Errol Brathwaite. This is the Military youth organisation of The Defence Force. Includes Infantry and Sea Cadets. This organisation was started in 1904. The first females joined the cadet corps in the 1970s to 1980s. The Cadet Corps has a pledge and also a song. It started with 3 normal units but today has expanded to 22. These units are grouped into Zones. There are also a band, sea cadet and medical units along with a shooting programme.

The Barbados air wing was formed in 1971, it operated 1 Beech Queen Air. In 1981 A Cessna 402C was acquired. Since 1985 all aircraft have been retired and the air wing ceased to exist but the BDF is looking to re-establish an air wing.

Battle of Guam (1944)

The Second Battle of Guam (21 July – 10 August 1944) was the American recapture of the Japanese-held island of Guam, a U.S. territory in the Mariana Islands captured by the Japanese from the U.S. in the 1941 First Battle of Guam during the Pacific campaign of World War II.

Captain (United States O-6)

In the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps), captain is the senior-most commissioned officer rank below that of flag officer (i.e., admirals). The equivalent rank is colonel in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

Reflecting its nautical heritage, the term "captain" also sometimes is used as a military title by more junior officers who are serving as the commanding officer (CO) of a commissioned vessel of the Navy, Coast Guard, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship of patrol boat size or greater, while officers below O-6 commanding aviation squadrons (typically O-5 commanders) will usually use the less formal title of "skipper". (see rank vs. title)

Command master chief petty officer

Command master chief petty officer (CMDCM) is an enlisted rating in the United States Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

In the U.S. Navy, the command master chief petty officer is the senior enlisted person at a command and as such works as a liaison between the commanding officer and the enlisted ranks, serving as the senior enlisted leader. In this capacity, the CMDCM assists the commanding officer in issues of quality of life, discipline, training, and morale. Collectively, the CMDCM, commanding officer, and executive officer are referred to as the "big three".


Commandant ( or ) is a title often given to the officer in charge of a military (or other uniformed service) training establishment or academy. This usage is common in English-speaking nations. In some countries it may be a military or police rank. It is also often used to refer to the commander of a military prison or prison camp (including concentration camps and prisoner of war camps).

Einsatzgruppen trial

The Einsatzgruppen trial (officially, The United States of America vs. Otto Ohlendorf, et al.) was the ninth of the twelve trials for war crimes the US authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before US military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal. They took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve US trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).

Fire chief

A fire chief is a top executive rank or commanding officer in a fire department.


Helicopter Maritime Strike Four Six (HSM-46), the "Grandmasters", are a United States Navy helicopter squadron based at Naval Station Mayport, Mayport, Florida. HSM-46 deploys aboard cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers in independent operations or in support of strike groups. The squadron was established on 7 April 1988 as Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) Forty Six (HSL-46)

Islamic Republic of Iran Navy

The Navy of Islamic Republic of Iran Army (Persian: نیروی دریایی ارتش جمهوری اسلامی ایران‎) acronymed NEDAJA (Persian: نداجا‎), is the naval warfare service branch of Iran's regular military, the Islamic Republic of Iran Army (Artesh).It is charged with the responsibility of forming Iran's first line of defense in the Gulf of Oman and beyond with the mission of acting as an effective blue-water navy. However, it is generally considered as a conventional green-water navy as it mostly operates at a regional level, in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman but also as far afield as the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and northwest quarter of the Indian Ocean. In July 2016, the Navy said that it would establish a presence in the Atlantic Ocean, of unspecified duration.One of Iran's two maritime military branches alongside the IRGC Navy, it overlaps functions and areas of responsibility with the other navy, but they are distinct in terms of military strategy and equipment. In contrast to the IRGC Navy, which is equipped with small fast-attack crafts, the backbone of the Artesh navy's inventory consists of larger surface ships, including frigates and corvettes, and submarines.

LORAN-C transmitter Nantucket

Nantucket LORAN-C transmitter was a LORAN-C transmitter at Siasconset, Massachusetts. It was built in 1963 with a 625 ft tall mast radiator. It operated in conjunction with the LORAN-A station on Nantucket from 1963-1981. It was closed in February 2010 when the United States discontinued the Loran system, and the tower was taken down in May 2013.

List of Star Trek characters

This article lists characters in the various canonical incarnations of Star Trek. This includes fictional main and major characters created for the franchise.

Organization of the New York City Police Department

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is structured into numerous bureaus and units. As a whole, the NYPD is headed by the Police Commissioner, a civilian administrator appointed by the Mayor, with the senior sworn uniformed officer of the service titled "Chief of Department". The Police Commissioner appoints a number of Deputy and Assistant Commissioners. The Department is divided into twenty bureaus, six of which are enforcement bureaus. Each enforcement bureau is further sub-divided into sections, divisions, and units, and into patrol boroughs, precincts, and detective squads. Each Bureau is commanded by a Bureau Chief (such as the Chief of Patrol and the Chief of Housing). There are also a number of specialized units (such as the Technical Assistance Response Unit) that are not part of any of the Bureaus and report to the Chief of the Department.

Philadelphia Daily News

The Philadelphia Daily News is a tabloid newspaper that serves Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The newspaper is owned by Philadelphia Media Network, which also owns Philadelphia's other major newspaper The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Daily News began publishing on March 31, 1925, under founding editor Lee Ellmaker. By 1930, the newspaper's circulation exceeded 200,000, but by the 1950s the news paper was losing money. In 1954, the newspaper was sold to Matthew McCloskey and then sold again in 1957 to publisher Walter Annenberg.

In 1969, Annenberg sold the Daily News to Knight Ridder. In 2006 Knight Ridder sold the paper to a group of local investors. The Daily News has won the Pulitzer Prize three times.

Royal Hungarian Honvéd

The Royal Hungarian Honvéd (Hungarian: Magyar Királyi Honvédség) or Royal Hungarian Landwehr (German: königlich ungarische Landwehr), commonly known as the Honvéd or in Hungarian, Honvédség (a plural term designating the whole army including all the Honvéd units), was one of the four armed forces (Bewaffnete Macht or Wehrmacht) of Austria-Hungary from 1867 to 1918. The others were its counterpart the Austrian Landwehr, the Common Army and the Imperial and Royal Navy. The word "honvéd" means and enlisted private without a rank, literally "Defender of the Homeland". "Honvédség" is degree of the noun and refers to the community, institution of these soldiers.

Ship's company

A ship's company comprises all officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel aboard a naval vessel. The size of the ship's company (the complement) is the number of people on board, excluding civilians and guests.

Ship commissioning

Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military forces. The ceremonies involved are often rooted in centuries old naval tradition.

Ship naming and launching endow a ship hull with her identity, but many milestones remain before she is completed and considered ready to be designated a commissioned ship. The engineering plant, weapon and electronic systems, galley, and multitudinous other equipment required to transform the new hull into an operating and habitable warship are installed and tested. The prospective commanding officer, ship's officers, the petty officers, and seamen who will form the crew report for training and intensive familiarization with their new ship.

Prior to commissioning, the new ship undergoes sea trials to identify any deficiencies needing correction. The preparation and readiness time between christening-launching and commissioning may be as much as three years for a nuclear powered aircraft carrier to as brief as twenty days for a World War II landing ship. USS Monitor, of American Civil War fame, was commissioned less than three weeks after launch.

The Commanding Officer

The Commanding Officer is a 1915 American silent drama film directed by Allan Dwan that was based upon a play by Theodore Burt. The film stars Alice Dovey, Donald Crisp, Marshall Neilan, Douglas Gerrard, Ethel Phillips, Russell Bassett, and Bob Emmons. The film was released on March 25, 1915, by Paramount Pictures.

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