Imperial Military Uniforms

There are several basic types of uniform in the Imperial Forces and related organisations. Most of the uniforms in the films are easy to identify with particular roles within a branch of service. The uniforms detailed in these pages should not be regarded as the only Imperial military uniforms in existence; rather they are the only uniforms seen so far.

Realistically, each type of personnel must have more than one set of standard attire, for diverse working conditions. The diversity of Imperial military dress might not be as great as that of a nuclear age military force, since Imperial design and technology seem to emphasis all-purpose modularity, but there must at least be airtight, non-airtight, combat and casual versions of the common uniforms. The uniforms on display during the assembly to receive the Emperor aboard the second Death Star were the familiar operational costumes, which suggests that the Imperial Forces do not have distinct ceremonial dress. However a stormtrooper does not always wear his armoured spacesuit, and nor do high officers always wear the comfortable attire suited to the clinical and safe environment of a starship bridge or garrison command centre. A naval crewman who normally wears casual overalls on deck is likely to at least add a helmet and other gear before undertaking emergency work in vacuum or hard radiation zones. Army troops deployed in hostile climates are likely to fit their helmets with olive-grey hood-masks similar to the white versions worn by the stormtroopers who fought on Hoth.

The Imperial Army is responsible for holding territory on all the worlds of the Galactic Empire. The Imperial Navy provides the Army with transport and ensures the security of space against the Empire's enemies. Stormtroopers are the Empire's marines: elite troops trained for unswerving loyalty for efficient fighting in support of both Army and Navy. The Imperial Security Bureau is an intelligence and security organisation which also takes overt action to encourage the populace and military personnel to remain obedient to Imperial policy and ideals. It is an important branch of the political organisation known as COMPNOR - Commission for the Preservation of the New Order. Imperial Intelligence exists in competition with the ISB. It is a more secretive organisation which concentrates on incisive analysis and more subtle espionage methods.

Imperial Navy

Starfighter Forces

Imperial Army

Imperial Stormtroopers

Imperial Intelligence

Imperial Security Bureau

Unclassified Uniforms


1. Black-suited officers

One persistent point of uncertainty is the enigmatic class of officer who dress entirely in black and bear rank squares and cylinders like Army, Navy and ISB officers. There is more than one logical categorisation for these officers. In all cases, the uniform seems to indicate membership of an elite force separate from regular command. They have a fearsome reputation, as shown by the unusual alarm of New Republic leaders facing the prospect of a surviving black-uniformed Moff during the Black Fleet Crisis [Tyrant's Test pp.159,162].

Stormtrooper officers appear to be among the wearers of this uniform (eg. those associated with the capture of Tantive IV). Some were aides to Lord Vader. The recently-published STAR WARS Visual Dictionary confirms that stormtrooper officers do indeed wear the black garb, but whether they are the only officers to do so remains unsettled.

Detention block supervision and involvment in the search for the stolen Death Star plans suggest a role in security and analytic activity, perhaps as part of (or in conjunction with) Imperial Intelligence. Lieutenant Tanbris' reporting of the Yavin battle circumstances to Lord Vader may reflect a the security role, or otherwise indicates that some elite pilot officers also wear the black uniform. Black-clothed officers were also seen at a Devastator gunnery station. If these men are all stormtrooper officers then it seems that as well as serving as the marines of the Empire, stormtroopers have roles which include special political/security concerns.

2. jumpsuit / overalls

Eric Moody, who has inspected several uniforms at the Magic of Myth Smithsonian Exhibition in San Diego, observes:

It appears that almost all the jump suits worn by Imp[erial]s & Reb[el]s are the same as the orange one used by the rebel pilots, with only small changes made to the pockets. The TIE, AT-AT and perhaps a couple others have only two pockets on the leg's instead of four, and the flaps are chevron shaped instead of rectangular and the left sleave pocket has only two pen holders and a larger open area instead of the five pen holders of the Rebel pilots. (They are supposedly some sort of racing outfit.)

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Curtis Saxton.
Last updated on 12 February 2006.
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