NCO vs Commissioned Officer: Difference and Comparison

NCO and commissioned officers are two positions that army officials are given based on their competence and eligibility. Both have quite a few differences between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) hold enlisted leadership positions within the military and serve as the direct supervisors of lower-ranking enlisted personnel.
  2. Commissioned officers hold higher ranks, receive authority through a commission from the President, and are responsible for leading larger units and making strategic decisions.
  3. NCOs gain their positions through experience and promotion within the enlisted ranks. At the same time, commissioned officers obtain their commissions through officer training programs, such as Officer Candidate School or ROTC.

NCO vs Commissioned Officer

NCO is a senior-level officer that belongs to Group B or Class II categories of officials, and they are in charge of training junior soldiers. Commissioned officer is the highest-ranked officer that belongs to Class I or Group A. Their major duties are managing troops and giving lower officers tasks.

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NCO stands for a non-commissioned officer. These are officials who are the primary and most visible leaders of military soldiers. They work directly under commissioned officers and ensure the orders are followed on ground level.

The issuance of a formal document by the head of state appoints them. Their responsibility is to command anything from a company, division, battalion, brigade, or even the entire army.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNCOCommissioned Officer
PositionNCO is a senior-level officer but is ranked below commissioned officers.Commissioned officers hold the highest rank in the army.
CategoryNCOs belong to the Class-II or Group B category of officials.Commissioned officers belong to the Class-I or Group-A category of officials.
CollaringNCOs earn their position by being promoted from lower ranks.Commissioned officers earn their position through a commission from the head of state.
Major DutiesTraining junior soldiers and making sure that commission officers’ orders are followed at ground level.Managing listed troops and giving NCOs tasks, assignments, and instructions.
TrainingNCOs undergo leadership and management training.Their training involves leadership, management, service-specific coaching, and combat training.

What is NCO?

Their responsibility is to supervise within the field of trade specialty. For this, they receive rigorous leadership and management training.

While senior NCOs are given the responsibility of supervision, NCOs at lower levels are not yet considered part of management. Regardless, they are considered the ‘backbone’ of the army.

In maritime forces, NCOs are named petty officers and chief petty officers. This status means that the official is a seaman, airman, fireman, etc.

They are enlisted in ranks that are referred to as privates and airmen. In countries where service in the army is compulsory, NCOs are called professional soldiers and not officials.

commissioned officer 1

What is Commissioned Officer?

The formal document is referred to as a ‘commission.’ These officers comprise around one-eighth to one-fifth of the armed forces.

The training given to such officers involves education in leadership and management. They are also given service-specific coaching and combat training. Many countries even require officials to have a certain university degree.

In some cases, civilian professionals with reputable credentials are listed as commissioned officials. They are directly placed in their position but cannot command authority outside of service-specific branches.

They were directly commissioned. Their responsibility was to supervise and carry out material production for the army.

commissioned officer

Main Differences Between NCO and Commissioned Officer

  1. The responsibilities of NCOs include junior training soldiers and making sure that commission officers’ orders are followed at ground level. On the other hand, commissioned officers’ duties include managing listed troops and giving tasks, assignments, and instructions to NCOs.
  2. NCOs undergo leadership and management training, whereas commissioned officers undergo leadership, management, service-specific and combat training.
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References
  1. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/AD1117457
  2. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA226543

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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