Below I tabulate the military titles of the English language, adapted from various references on etiquette (eg. Titles and Forms of Address - A guide to their correct use; Collins Australian Pocket English Dictionary : military ranks), removing or adjusting terms which are geocentric or superfluous to the STAR WARS milieu. Seniority increases towards the top of the table; levels on the same row of the table are of equal status. The upper section consists of commissioned ranks; the lower section is non-commissioned.
American departures from international English terminology are reconciled with the usual system and noted as grey ammendments, intermediates and equivalent alternatives. It should be noted that the air forces of the USA actually originated within that country's army, which accounts for the confusing, anomalous and continuing use of army ranks. However the use of the ordinary air force ranks of Wing Commander and Squadron Leader in the canon as early as A New Hope supports the international English interpretation.
NAVY ARMY FIGHTER High Admiral Surface Marshal High Marshal? Fleet Admiral High General Force Marshal Admiral General Chief Marshal Vice-Admiral Lieutenant-General Marshal Rear-Admiral Major-General Vice-Marshal Commodore Brigadier-General Commodore Line Captain High Colonel - Captain Colonel Group Captain Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Wing Commander Lieutenant-Commander Major Squadron Leader Lieutenant Captain Flight Lieutenant Sub-Lieutenant First Lieutenant Flying Officer Acting Sub-Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Pilot Officer Midshipman/Ensign - -
The rank titles tabulated above are those used in a Sector Group. This is the gathered total of the Empire's naval and military forces assigned to a particular sector of space. Sectors are political regions defined so that they encompass several hunderd to several thousand inhabited worlds, and several million systems without permanent settlement.
The supreme commander of a Sector Group is a Moff, the military official who governs the sector politically as well as martially. Higher commands are given to Grand Moffs, who possess the equivalent of several sector groups for the purpose of pacifying temporary territories called Priority Sectors. These regions are composed of adjacent parts of one or more sectors where rebellion, piracy or organised crime are rife. More than a tenth of the Empire's armed forces are kept in reserve in the Galactic Core without attachment to any particular regional government. These forces are at the disposal of the Emperor, the twelve Grand Admirals or for deployment in elite roving commands such as those of Lord Darth Vader and Admiral Giel.
There are more possible combinations of the insignia units than there are realistic ranks. Therefore the Imperial officer rank plaque/cylinder insignia system provides enough flexibility to distinguish fine shades of seniority between officers of the same rank, and in some circumstances intermediate rank titles may be formally used. Alternatively, the choice of plaque configuration used to represent a given rank may be dictated by aesthetic regulations specific to local units, or may reflect an individual officer's history of promotion.
Naval officers ranking as Rear-Admiral or higher are addressed as "Admiral". An Acting Sub-Lieutenant is addressed as "Sub-Lieutenant", and use of the "Acting" prefix is impolite except in formal naval communications. Midshipmen, ensigns and naval Warrant Officers are addressed as "Mr", "Ms" or an equivalent. Other naval officers and personnel are addressed simply by their literal rank.
Army officers ranking as Major-General or above are verbally addressed as "General" A Lieutenant-Colonel is addressed as "Colonel". An army Lieutenant or 2nd Lieutenant is addressed as "Mr", "Ms" or an equivalent. Warrant Officers of first and second class are addressed as "Warrant Officer". Other army officers and personnel are addressed according to their literal rank.
Starfighter officers ranking as Vice-Marshal or higher are addressed as "Marshal". Flying Officers and Pilot Officers are addressed as "Mr", "Ms" or an equivalent. All other starfighter officers and personnel are addressed according to literal rank.
Commodores and brigadiers arguably could be addressed as "Admiral" and "General", but this would be considered highly informal. [This would accommodate the American identification of commodores and brigadiers with one-star admirals and one-star generals.]
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