Officer (armed forces)

A commissioned officer and a non-commissioned officer of the British Army prepare for a mission in Afghanistan.
NaviesArmiesAir forces
Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Field marshal or
General of the army
Marshal of
the air force
AdmiralGeneralAir chief marshal
Vice admiralLieutenant generalAir marshal
Rear admiralMajor generalAir vice-marshal
CommodoreBrigadier or
brigadier general
Air commodore
CaptainColonelGroup captain
CommanderLieutenant colonelWing commander
Major or
Squadron leader
LieutenantCaptainFlight lieutenant
junior grade
Lieutenant or
first lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign or
Second lieutenantPilot officer
Officer cadetOfficer cadetFlight cadet
Enlisted grades
Warrant officer or
chief petty officer
Warrant officer or
sergeant major
Warrant officer
Petty officerSergeantFlight sergeant
Leading seamanCorporal or
SeamanPrivate or
gunner or
Aircraftman or

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

In its broadest sense, the term "officer" refers to commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, and warrant officers. However, when used without further detail, the term almost always refers to only commissioned officers, the more senior portion of a force who derive their authority from a commission from the head of state.


An Indonesian army officer serving as a ceremonial field commander

The proportion of officers varies greatly. Commissioned officers typically make up between an eighth and a fifth of modern armed forces personnel. In 2013, officers were the senior 17% of the British armed forces,[1] and the senior 13.7% of the French armed forces.[2] In 2012, officers made up about 18% of the German armed forces,[3] and about 17.2% of the United States armed forces.[4]

Historically, however, armed forces have generally had much lower proportions of officers. During the First World War, fewer than 5% of British soldiers were officers (partly because World War One junior officers suffered very high casualty rates). In the early twentieth century, the Spanish army had the highest proportion of officers of any European army, at 12.5%, which was at that time considered unreasonably high by many Spanish and foreign observers.

Within a nation's armed forces, armies (which are usually larger) tend to have a lower proportion of officers, but a higher total number of officers, while navies and air forces have higher proportions of officers, especially since military aircraft are flown by officers and naval ships and submarines commanded by officers. For example, 13.9% of British Army personnel and 22.2% of the RAF personnel were officers in 2013, but the British Army had a larger total number of officers.[1]

Other Languages
العربية: ضابط
azərbaycanca: Zabit
Bân-lâm-gú: Kun-koaⁿ
башҡортса: Офицер
беларуская: Афіцэр
български: Офицер
bosanski: Oficir
català: Oficial
čeština: Důstojník
dansk: Officer
Deutsch: Offizier
eesti: Ohvitser
Ελληνικά: Αξιωματικός
Esperanto: Oficiro
français: Officier
Frysk: Ofsier
한국어: 장교
հայերեն: Սպա
Արեւմտահայերէն: Սպայ
hrvatski: Časnik
Ido: Oficiro
Bahasa Indonesia: Perwira
עברית: קצין
ქართული: ოფიცერი
қазақша: Офицер
kurdî: Efser
lietuvių: Karininkas
македонски: Офицер
Nederlands: Officier
日本語: 士官
norsk: Offiser
occitan: Oficièr
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Ofitser
پنجابی: فوجی افسر
português: Oficial (militar)
română: Ofițer
Runa Simi: Awqaq pusaq
русский: Офицер
slovenčina: Dôstojník
slovenščina: Častnik
српски / srpski: Официр
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Oficir
suomi: Upseeri
svenska: Officer
татарча/tatarça: Офицер
тоҷикӣ: Афсар
Türkçe: Subay
українська: Офіцер
Tiếng Việt: Sĩ quan
Võro: Ohvitsiir
粵語: 軍官
中文: 軍官