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Gustaf Mannerheim as regent of Finland (sitting) and his adjutants (from the left) Lt.Col. Lilius, Cap. Kekoni, Lt. Gallen-Kallela, Ensign Rosenbröijer.

Adjutant is a military rank or appointment. In some armies, including most English-speaking ones, it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while in other armies, especially Francophone ones, it is an NCO (non-commissioned officer), normally corresponding roughly to a Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.

An Adjutant General is commander of an army's administrative services.

Austrian federal president Rudolf Kirchschläger and commander Karl von Wohlgemuth. The president's adjutant in the background.


Adjutant comes from the Latin adjutans, present participle of the verb adjuvare, "to help"; the Romans actually used adiutor for the noun.

Military and paramilitary appointment

In various uniformed hierarchies, the term is used for number of functions, but generally as a principal aide to a commanding officer.

A Regimental Adjutant, Garrison Adjutant etc. is a staff officer, who assists the commanding officer of a regiment, battalion or garrison in the details of regimental, garrison or similar duty. In United States Army squadrons, the adjutant is often the officer-in-charge (OIC) of the administrative platoon.

Britain and the Commonwealth

In the British Army, the Adjutant (Adj; sometimes actually referred to as this) is usually a senior captain (sometimes a major). As the colonel's personal staff officer, he was once in charge of all the organization, administration and discipline for a battalion or regiment, although now the bulk of administrative work is carried out by the Regimental Administrative Officer (RAO). Until the 1970s the adjutant was also the regimental operations officer, although this job is now filled by a separate officer. In the British Army adjutants are given field rank and as such are senior by appointment to all other captains, ranking just behind the majors. Unlike the RAO (who is an officer of the Adjutant General's Corps), the adjutant is a member of the corps or regiment of which their unit is a part. The adjutant's job is not solely a 'backroom' one, since he usually accompanies the colonel - Captain David Wood, the adjutant of 2 Para, was killed in action at the Battle of Goose Green, for example. Normally, in a British Infantry battalion, the Adjutant controls the battle whilst the CO commands it. As such, the Adjutant is usually a man of significant influence within his battalion.

In the Australian Army, and most other Commonwealth armies, the Adjutant performs much the same role as in the British Army although no such RAO position exists within the Australian Army and as such the Adjutant continues the administrative role.

United States

In the US Army, historically the Adjutant was generally a member of the branch or regiment of the parent unit (e.g. in an infantry battalion, the adjutant was usually an infantry officer). In 2008, as a result of the Army's transformation, the Human Resources community implemented the Personnel Services Delivery Redesign, which recoded the adjutant position in battalions to an officer from the Adjutant General branch.[1] The Adjutant General at the battalion-level is generally a junior captain or senior first lieutenant and, in conjunction with the S-1 section, manages the administrative functions of the unit. The Adjutant General, particularly in a battalion, also works closely with the unit's command sergeant major for awards ceremonies, traditional ceremonial functions, casual events (hails and farewells), evaluation reports, and management of correspondence and other secretarial functions. Based upon the needs of the commander, an adjutant typically from the combat arms branches may still be specially appointed in modern day to assist a brigade commander to ease his/her burden of command. There is a bugle call announcing the adjutant that is still used in military ceremonies today.

In the USMC, the adjutant serves as the senior administrator for their unit, and is the OIC of the S-1 or admin shop. Per the USMC MOS handbook:

"Adjutants coordinate administrative matters for Marine Corps staff sections and external agencies at the staff level. They ensure that every Marine in their command has administrative resources both for day-to-day tasks and long-term career progression.Adjutants supervise the execution of administrative policies. They receive and route correspondence, preparing responses to any special correspondence. They also manage their unit's legal matters and monitor fitness reports, among other administrative duties."

Non-Commissioned rank

In some armies, Adjutant is a rank similar to a commonwealth Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.


In the Belgian Army and Luxembourg Army, the ranks are Adjudant, Adjudant-Chef and Adjudant-Major (or Adjudant-Majoor in Dutch). In Dutch, they are collectively known as Keuronderofficier ("elite NCOs"). Adjudant-Onderofficier is the only grade of warrant officer in the Royal Netherlands Army.


In the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force, Adjudant is the French form of the English "Warrant Officer", and as such can refer to both the cadre of Warrant Officers, and the specific ranks of Adjudant (Warrant Officer), Adjudant-maître (Master Warrant Officer), and Adjudant-chef (Chief Warrant Officer). In English, the term adjutant is used in common with other English-speaking armies, and the corresponding French term is Capitaine-adjudant.


adjudant-chef insignia. Top : infantry. Bottom : chasseurs alpins

adjudant insignia. Top : infantry. Bottom : chasseurs alpins

Adjutant (adjudant in French) is a class of NCO ranks in French Army, Air Force and Gendarmerie. These ranks are senior to the rank of sergeant and junior to the rank of major.[2] Like the officers, the adjudants are entitled to the mon before their rank, as in "mon adjudant"[3]

The adjutant ranks are, in order of seniority :

  • Adjutant (adjudant) : equivalent to a U.S. master sergeant or a British Commonwealth Warrant Officer 2
  • Chief Adjutant (adjudant-chef) : equivalent, but slightly junior, to a U.S. Sergeant Major or a British/Commonwealth Warrant Officer 1

In France, each corps has a colour (gold[4] or silver[5]). A French adjutant wears a band, with thin red line, in the opposite colour to that of his corps. A chief adjutant wears a band, with thin red line, in the colour of his corps. In order to distinguish an adjutant from a chief adjutant[6] it is therefore necessary to know the arm's colour: This will be the colour of the cap badge e.g. gold cap badge for the infantry, silver cap badge for armoured cavalry.


The Indian Army has the position of Adjutant, which is based on the old British system. The Adjutants in most cases are Captains but in some cases hold the rank of Major (especially in Regimental Centres). Subedar Adjutant (SA) is a position unique to the Indian Army. He is a Subedar who acts as deputy to the Adjutant. On all formal parades, the standard procedure is for the Company Havildar Major to first report to the Subedar Adjutant, and the Subedar Adjutant in turn to report to the Adjutant. In the British Indian Army, the equivalent position was the Jemadar Adjutant, who held the lower rank of Jemadar.

Adjutant General

An Adjutant General is a rank and a role that may represent the principal staff officer of an army; through him, the commanding general receives communications and issues military orders.

In the United States, the Adjutant General is the chief military officer of the National Guard units in any one of the American States. This use of the term reflects the early history of the US where each of the 50 States retains partial sovereignty, including the right to maintain military forces; the Army and Air National Guard are state units that can be called to federal duty in case of national emergency.

See also


  1., retrieved June 05, 2010.
  2. Major is the senior NCO rank in the french military, shortened from sergeant-major.
  3. Mon is in fact shortened from monsieur, similar to the "Sir" in anglo-Saxon military tradition.
  4. Most Infantry units, artillery, all the Air Force, Engineers...
  5. Most cavalry units, materiel...
  6. It must be crucial because cavalry adjudants-chefs are called by tradition "lieutenants" whereas the mere adjutants stay "adjudant"

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