Commanding Officer

The Commanding Officer ( CO) (German literally commanding officer ) is in Anglo-Saxon forces of the officer who has the command of a military unit, agency or a ship.


The CO is usually the most senior officer of that unit and their disciplinary authority. Accordingly, it has high responsibility (eg compliance with the Geneva Conventions, the unit is used and oversight of the finances ), but also obligations (for example, order fulfillment and readiness of his unit ) and rights (eg punishment of personnel under his command). He can hold each officer rank. The CO is by his deputy (English: Executive Officer ), who is responsible for personnel matters and the daily service events.

Further uses of the term

Great Britain

In the British Army, the Royal Marines and other Commonwealth armed forces of the title of the commanding officers commanding officers of associations (from battalion size) is reserved. Here he has mostly held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The leader of a smaller unit, such as a company is usually as " Officer Commanding " (OC ) or " Officer in Charge" ( OiC ) refers. Officers and NCOs who hold command of trains or groups are called just " commander" ( leader ). In the Royal Air Force, the title of CO is provided for the commander of a squadron or squadron.

Naval forces

In the Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy, the commander of a ship, the commander of a vertex, or head of a unit is entitled. Given the close relationship of the two branches of the armed forces and the U.S. Marine Corps of this tradition served. Regardless of his rank, he is addressed as Captain or informal as skipper.