Military organization
Latvian platoon at Camp Lejune.jpg
Typical units Typical numbers Typical commander
fireteam 2–4 lance corporal/
8–14 sergeant
platoon 15–45 second lieutenant/ lieutenant
company 80–150 captain/ major
300–800 lieutenant colonel
1,000–5,500 colonel/
brigadier general
division 10,000–25,000 major general
corps 30,000–50,000 lieutenant general
field army 100,000–300k general
army group
2+ field armies field marshal/
five-star general
4+ army groups Six-star rank/
Navies Armies Air forces
Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the Fleet
Field Marshal or
General of the Army
Marshal of
the Air Force
Admiral General Air Chief Marshal
Vice Admiral Lieutenant General Air Marshal
Rear Admiral Major General Air Vice-Marshal
Commodore Brigadier or
Brigadier General
Air Commodore
Captain Colonel Group Captain
Commander Lieutenant Colonel Wing Commander
Major or
Squadron Leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight Lieutenant
Junior Grade
Lieutenant or
First Lieutenant
Flying Officer
Ensign or
Second Lieutenant Pilot Officer
Officer Cadet Officer Cadet Flight Cadet
Enlisted grades
Warrant officer Warrant officer or
sergeant major
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal or
Seaman Private or
gunner or
Aircraftman or
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A commander-in-chief, also sometimes called supreme commander, or chief commander, is the person or body that exercises supreme operational command and control of a nation's military forces. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a nation-state's executive leadership—a head of state, a head of government.

Often, a given country's commander-in-chief (if held by an official) need not be or have been a commissioned officer or even a veteran. In these countries this follows the principle of civilian control of the military.


The role of commander-in-chief derives from the Latin, imperator. Imperatores of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire possessed imperium (command) powers. In its modern use, the term first applied to King Charles I of England in 1639.[ citation needed] It continued to be used during the English Civil War. [1] A nation's head of state (monarchical or republican) usually holds the nominal position of commander-in-chief, even if effective executive power is held by a separate head of government. In a parliamentary system, the executive branch is ultimately dependent upon the will of the legislature; although the legislature does not issue orders directly to the armed forces and therefore does not control the military in any operational sense. Governors-general and colonial governors are also often appointed commander-in-chief of the military forces within their territory.

A commander-in-chief is sometimes referred to as supreme commander, which is sometimes used as a specific term. The term is also used for military officers who hold such power and authority, not always through dictatorship, and as a subordinate (usually) to a head of state (see Generalissimo). The term is also used for officers who hold authority over an individual military branch, special branch or within a theatre of operations. [2]

Other Languages
العربية: رئيس الأركان
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Вярхоўны галоўнакамандуючы
čeština: Vrchní velitel
한국어: 총사령관
Bahasa Indonesia: Panglima tertinggi
Kiswahili: Amirijeshi mkuu
Bahasa Melayu: Panglima Tertinggi
Nederlands: Opperbevelhebber
日本語: 最高指揮官
संस्कृतम्: सेनापतिः
Simple English: Commander-in-Chief
slovenščina: Vrhovni poveljnik
српски / srpski: Врховни командант
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Vrhovni komandant
Türkçe: Başkomutan
Tiếng Việt: Tổng tư lệnh
粵語: 軍師統帥
中文: 總司令