Chain of command

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The chain of command describes a linked system of officers in command of units and formations.

Command, discipline, and leadership are the essence of the military system. At the head of the system stands the commander, the officer from whom all authority radiates. Traditionally, command is defined as the legal authority to issue orders and to compel obedience. It must be clear in law, organization, and execution. Thus, command, decision, and organization are all highly integrated.


The chain of command is the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed within a military unit and between different units. Orders are transmitted down the chain of command, from a higher-ranked soldier, such as a commissioned officer, to lower-ranked personnel who either execute the order personally or transmit it down the chain as appropriate, until it is received by those expected to execute it.

In general, military personnel give orders only to those directly below them in the chain of command and receive orders only from those directly above them. A service member who has difficulty executing a duty or order and appeals for relief directly to an officer above his immediate commander in the chain of command is likely to be disciplined for not observing the chain of command.

The Chain

Soldier --> Squad Leader --> Platoon Sergeant --> Platoon Leader --> Executive Officer --> Company Commander --> Division XO --> Division CO --> Vice-Chief of Staff --> Chief of Staff --> Community Leader

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Further Reading

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