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Army Commanding Officer 2023

Army Commanding Officer
Army Commanding Officer

An Army commanding officer, also known simply as the commander, is the officer in command of a military unit.

A commanding officer has authority and responsibility for their unit. 

Commanding Officers (CO) are officers of the Army, as the name suggests. 

COs can be of the following ranks:

  • Captain
  • Major
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Colonel
  • Brigadier General
  • Major General
  • Lieutenant General
  • General

Army Commanding Officer Ranks

RankTypically Commands
LieutenantSmall Tactical Unit
(infantry platoon)
CaptainCompany-Sized Unit
(100 to 200 Soldiers)
MajorLarger company or a Battalion
(300 to 1,000 Soldiers)
Lieutenant ColonelBattalion
(3,000 to 5,000 Soldiers)
Brigadier General:
1-Star General
Brigade or a Division
(10,000 to 15,000 Soldiers)
Major General:
2-Star General
Lieutenant General:
3- Star General
(20,000 to 45,000 Soldiers)
4-Star General
Field Army
(50,000+ Soldiers)
General of the Army
5-Star General
(Only During War Time)
Theater of Operations

Responsibilities of an Army Commanding Officer

  • Provide Leadership and Guidance: Commanding officers provide guidance and leadership in their units; they ensure soldiers in their unit understand their roles, duties, and responsibilities effectively.
  • Ensure Unit Readiness: Army Commanding Officers ensure their units are ready for missions, whether combat or humanitarian, as soon as orders have been issued.
  • Decision Making: Army Commanding Officers make decisions on behalf of their units; they make critical military operation decisions, and the CO is ultimately responsible for all outcomes of their choices. 
  • Soldier Welfare: An effective CO ensures their soldiers are well cared for. They are responsible for their soldiers’ welfare, whether it’s salaries, living conditions, discipline, or overall morale in their unit.
  • Regulation Adherence: In addition to providing leadership for their units, Army Commanding Officers are responsible for ensuring soldiers within their units adhere to military law, the code of conduct, and overall regulations.

Army Staff Officers – Roles and Support of Commanding Officers

Army Staff Officers are referred to as “Army S Shops”; the S means support, and they support Commanding Officers in the execution of their duties.

Below is a list of the staff officers assigned to COs.

  • S1 – Personnel
  • S2 – Intelligence
  • S3 – Operations
  • S4 – Logistics
  • S5 – Plans
  • S6 – Communications

Army S1 – Personnel

Staff Officers One (S1) helps COs manage their unit’s human resource matters. They are responsible for promotions, awards, causality operations, and replacement operations.

Army S2 – Intelligence

As the name suggests, Army S2 staff officers are responsible for their units intelligence and security. 

They help with the collection, evaluation, and analysis of intelligence reports. 

The safety and security of the unit are also S2’s responsibility; they advise the COs on enemy positions and provide effective action plans. 

Army S3 – Operations

Army S3 Staff Officers are responsible for all matters of operations. 

They manage the operations of their units by planning, coordinating, and executing all training and mission operations.

They help and advise the commanding officers on the operational preparedness of their unit.

Army S4 – Logistics

Army S4 staff officers are in charge of the logistics of their unit. 

They manage all logistical operations of their team, such as equipment supplies, maintenance of the unit’s weapons, vehicles, and equipment, and general transportation of their unit.

Army S5 – Plans 

Army S5 Staff Officers are responsible for long-range planning for any future operations. 

They plan months or years ahead for their units and advise the commanding officer on the same.

Army S6 – Communications

Army S6 Staff Officers handle all communication matters for their unit. 

They are in charge of setting up and providing communications devices as well as providing and maintaining information systems within their unit.

Army Unit Structure

Commanding OfficerCO
Executive OfficerXO
Personnel OfficerS1
Intelligence OfficerS2
Operations OfficerS3
Logistics OfficerS4
Plans OfficerS5
Communications OfficerS6
Army Unity Hierarchy

  • Commanding Officer (CO)
    • Executive Officer (XO)
      • S1: Personnel Officer
      • S2: Intelligence Officer
      • S3: Operations Officer
      • S4: Logistics Officer
      • S5: Plans Officer
      • S6: Communications Officer

The unit’s Executive Officer (XO) is the second-in-command Officer; they assist the CO and take charge of the unit in their absence.


As I finalize, the Army Commanding Officer is the person in charge of an Army unit; they play an essential role in ensuring the effective functioning of the unit and the successful completion of its missions.

Commanding Officers don’t work alone; they receive support and advice from staff officers who are responsible for more specific aspects of the unit, such as human resources, planning, operations, logistics, and communications.

George N.