Brigadier /brɪɡəˈdɪər/ is a military rank, the seniority of
which depends on the country. In some countries, it is a senior rank
above colonel, equivalent to a brigadier general, typically commanding
a brigade of several thousand soldiers. In other countries, it is a
non-commissioned rank (e.g. Spain, Italy, France, the
the Indonesian Police ranks).
1 Senior officer rank
1.2 British tradition
1.4 Latin America
2 Junior officer rank
2.1 United Kingdom
3 Non-commissioned rank
4 See also
Senior officer rank
As the head of the Polish Legions fighting on the Austrio-Hungarian
side in World War I,
Józef Piłsudski was given the rank of Brigadier
that otherwise did not exist in the Austro-Hungarian military.
Brigadier (United Kingdom)
In many countries, especially those formerly part of the British
Empire, a brigadier is either the highest field rank or most junior
general appointment, nominally commanding a brigade. It ranks above
colonel and below major general.
The rank is used by the British Army, the Royal Marines, the
Australian Army, the Indian Army, the Sri Lankan Army, the New Zealand
Pakistan Army and several others. Although it is not always
considered a general officer rank, it is always considered equivalent
to the brigadier general and brigade general rank of other countries.
NATO forces, brigadier is OF-6 on the rank scale.
"The grade of brigadier-general, also called, almost interchangeably,
brigadier, first appeared in the British army during the reign of King
James II. A warrant of 1705 placed the grade directly below
major-general, but the appointment was always considered temporary and
not continuous. The British were ambiguous over whether the holder was
considered a general officer or a senior field grade office".
The title is derived from the equivalent British rank of
brigadier-general, used until 1922 and still used in many countries.
"Brigadier" was already in use as a generic term for a commander of a
brigade irrespective of specific rank. Until the rank was dissolved in
1922, brigadier-generals wore a crossed sword and baton symbol on its
From 1922-28, the British rank title used was that of
colonel-commandant, with one crown and three 'pips', a rank which,
although reflecting its modern role in the
British Army as a senior
colonel rather than a junior general, was not well received and was
replaced with brigadier after six years. Colonel-commandant was only
ever used for officers commanding brigades, depots or training
establishments. Officers holding equivalent rank in administrative
appointments were known as "colonels on the staff", also replaced by
brigadier in 1928. Colonel-commandants and colonels on the staff wore
the same rank badge later adopted by brigadiers.
Until shortly after World War II, brigadier was an appointment
conferred on colonels (as commodore was an appointment conferred on
naval captains) rather than a substantive rank.
In Commonwealth countries, and most Arabic-speaking countries (in
which the rank is called amid), the rank insignia comprises a crown
(or some other national symbol) with three stars, (sometimes called
"pips"), which are often arranged in a triangle. A brigadier's uniform
may also have red gorget patches. It is otherwise similar to that of a
colonel (colonel's rank insignia have a crown/emblem with two
Canadian Army used the rank of brigadier (following British
tradition, with identical insignia) until the unification of the
Canadian Forces in 1968. The rank then became brigadier-general with
the insignia of
St. Edward's Crown
St. Edward's Crown surmounting a crossed sword and
baton over one gold maple leaf.
Until 1788, a rank of brigadier des armées ("brigadier of the
armies"), which could be described as a senior colonel or junior
brigade commander, was used in the French Army. The normal brigade
command rank was field marshal (maréchal de camp) (which elsewhere is
a more senior rank). During the French Revolution, the ranks of
brigadier des armées and maréchal de camp were replaced by brigade
general (général de brigade).
In common with many countries,
France now uses the officer rank of
brigade general instead of a "brigadier" rank; this was the rank held
by Charles de Gaulle. The brigadier des armées held a one-star
insignia, while the général de brigade inherited the maréchal de
camp two-stars insignia. The disparition of the brigadier rank is the
reason that there is no one-star insignia in the French Army.
Many countries in South and
Central America were formerly Spanish or
Portuguese (Brazil) possessions.
Brigadier [-general] is used in Latin
America, in the normal sense of brigade commander rank (e.g. Colombia,
Chile), although most Latin American nations instead use the rank of
brigade general. In Mexico, brigadier general is the rank below
brigade general, both ranks falling between colonel and divisional
However, both the Argentine and Brazilian Air Forces use a curious
system of variations on brigadier for all (Argentina) or most (Brazil)
general officers. The origin of this system is not entirely clear, but
in the case of
Argentina may be due to army air units being commanded
by brigade generals before the establishment of the Air Force as an
independent armed force.
Argentine Air Force
Argentine Air Force these ranks are, in decreasing order of
Brigadier-general (the highest rank, equivalent to the army's
lieutenant-general and the navy's admiral)
Brigadier-mayor ("brigadier-major", equivalent to the army's
divisional general and the navy's vice-admiral)
Brigadier (equivalent to the army's brigade general and the navy's
Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian Air Force these ranks are, in decreasing order of
Tenente-brigadeiro ("lieutenant-brigadier", equivalent to
almirante-de-esquadra (squadron admiral) and general de exército
(general of the army)).
Major-brigadeiro ("major-brigadier", equivalent to vice-almirante
(vice admiral) and general de divisão (divisional general))
Brigadeiro ("brigadier", equivalent to contra-almirante (rear admiral)
and general de brigada (brigade general))
Above these is the highest
Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian Air Force rank of marshal of the
air, used only in wartime.
The rank of a brigadier was established by
Felipe V in 1702 as an
intermediate rank between colonel and true generals. In some
Iberoamerican republics (see below), the rank survived after
independence. In Spain, brigadiers came to be considered full generals
in 1871, and in 1889 they were renamed general de brigada.The
historical rank is distinct from the current NCO rank of brigada,
although sometimes translators confuse the two. The name has survived
as a cadet rank at the Spanish Naval Academy.
Junior officer rank
In the UK, brigadier and sub-brigadier were formerly subaltern ranks
in the Royal Horse Guards.[when?]
Brigadier also exists as a non-commissioned rank. This usage derives
from the use of "brigade" to denote a squad or team, similar to the
occasional English civilian usage "work brigade".
In France, and some countries whose forces were structured based on
the method used in France, some branches of the army and the
gendarmerie use brigadier for a rank equivalent to caporal (corporal),
and brigadier-chef for a rank equivalent to caporal-chef.
used by arms of the army that are by tradition considered "mounted"
arms, such as logistics or cavalry units. A similar usage exists
In the French gendamerie, the brigadier ranks are used as in the army,
i.e. as junior enlisted ranks (gradés), while the French police use
brigadier ranks as their sub-officer (sous-officier) ranks. Since all
professional police and gendarmes have sub-officer status in France,
the gendarmerie brigadier ranks are rarely used, since they are used
only by auxiliaries. On the other hand, the police brigadier ranks,
which are used to indicate professional ranks, are common.
In the French gendarmerie and in "mounted" arms of the French army,
the brigadier ranks are:
Brigadier (brigadier) (OR-3)
Brigadier-chef (chief brigadier) (OR-4)
In the French National Police, the sub-officer variations are used for
non-commissioned officers are:
Sous-brigadier (OR-6, equal to gendarmerie maréchal-des-logis-chef)
Brigadier (OR-8, equal to gendarmerie adjudant)
Brigadier-chef (OR-9, equal to gendarmerie adjudant-chef)
Brigadier-major (OR-9, equal to gendarmerie major)
Indonesian National Police
Indonesian National Police § Ranks
See also: Police rank § Indonesia
Indonesian National Police
Indonesian National Police force, this rank is referred to as
Constable ranks in the regular police units. It is equivalent to
the "sergeant" rank in the military. This rank is the most junior rank
in the regular police units of Indonesia but is above the enlisted
ranks (Tamtama) of the special police units such as in the Mobile
Brigade corps and water police units. This rank is below the
"Assistant inspector" (Ajun Inspektur Polisi) ranks. The police
Brigadier ranks are as shown below:
Brigadir Polisi Kepala, abbreviated Bripka (Chief Police Brigadier)
Brigadir Polisi, not abbreviated (Police Brigadier)
Brigadir Polisi Satu, abbreviated Briptu (First Police Brigadier)
Brigadir Polisi Dua, abbreviated Bripda (Second Police Brigadier)
In addition, Police
General (Brigadir Jenderal Polisi) and
General (Brigadir Jenderal) are general officer ranks in the
Indonesian police and Army respectively.
In the Italian
Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza, the ranks of
vice-brigadier (vice brigadiere), brigadier (brigadiere), and chief
brigadier (brigadiere capo) correspond roughly to the army ranks based
on sergeant. The rank of brigade general (generale di brigata) is used
throughout the armed forces as the most junior general rank, and
corresponds to the British rank title of brigadier.
Brigadier is traditionally the most senior non-commissioned rank in
Netherlands police forces, for example the Korps landelijke
politiediensten and Gemeentepolitie. The rank has been continued by
the National Police Corps (Korps Nationale Politie) into which the
previous forces merged in 2013. The
Royal Marechaussee do not use this
In Spain, a brigada has a
NATO rank code of OR-8 (and is thus a senior
NCO). The Spanish rank brigada is distinct from the Spanish-language
brigadier [-general] used for senior officers in
Latin America (and
historically in Spain).
List of comparative military ranks
^ The Brigade: A History: Its Organization and Employment in the US
Army, Chapter 1, Brigades in the Continental Army, Brigades and
Brigadier-Generals, pp. 8-9.
Retrieved 21 December 2016.
^ a b "New Army Rank of Brigadier", The Times, 23 December 1997.
^ In Britain, Australia, and many other Commonwealth and
ex-Commonwealth countries, these are
Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath stars.
^ Les grades dans l’armée de terre Archived December 4, 2014, at
the Wayback Machine.
^ Cañete Paez, Francisco Angel : El brigadier. Empleo atípico
en el generalato español de los siglos XVIII Y XIX : Revista
Arbil: nº 105
^ Murray, L. (1821). The Young Man's Best Companion, and Book of