Commander in chief

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A commander -in- chief ( OB , in NATO language English Commander-in-Chief , CinC for short ) is a military or civilian superior who

The term commander-in-chief is also used . On the other hand, a distinction was made in the German Reichswehr between command and command authority , and the leadership competencies were divided between the Reich President as commander in chief and the chiefs of the army command and the navy command as commanders in chief. Sometimes the term Oberkommandeur is used in public , but it is not militarily exact.

Often a head of state exercises the function of commander-in-chief over the armed forces of his country.


The Bundeswehr does not have any large formations of the order of magnitude of an army or army group. The commanders of the three branches of the army , air force and navy are called inspectors. The inspector of the army , the inspector of the air force , the inspector of the navy , the inspector of the medical service , the inspector of the armed forces base and the inspector of the cyber and information space are directly subordinate to the inspector general of the Bundeswehr .

In times of peace in Germany, according to Article 65a of the Basic Law (GG), the defense minister has the authority to command and control. The internal designation is therefore also IBuK (owner of command and command ). The Defense Minister is advised by the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr .

As soon as a state of defense is established according to Art. 115a GG , according to Art. 115b GG, the authority of command and command is transferred to the Federal Chancellor .


In Austria , according to Article 80 of the Federal Constitutional Act, the Federal President is in command of the Federal Army . However, he has no direct power of command and disposal. The Federal Defense Minister exercises the authority over the armed forces .


In times of peace, the chief of the army leads the Swiss army. He holds the degree of corps commander and is elected by the Federal Council. As soon as a larger troop contingent is planned or issued, the United Federal Assembly elects the general (commander in chief) who will lead the army for the duration of the war.

United States

Supreme Commander ( Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces ) of the United States Armed Forces is the President . While he is in command of the armed forces, the US Congress alone has the right to declare war.

The respective governors are in command of the National and State Guards of the US states .


When translating designations of NATO commanders, the exact designation is based on the level of command within the NATO command structure .

Until the current structure came into force, a distinction was made between Major NATO Commanders, Major Subordinate Commanders and Principal Subordinate Commanders.

In the current structure, there are supreme NATO commander on the (in military) strategic level with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe ( Supreme Allied Commander Europe - SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation ( Supreme Allied Command Transformation - SACT).

The leaders of the alliance (e.g. SACEUR), the allied regional armed forces (Joint Forces Commands), consisting of large formations of all branches of the armed forces and the multinational armies and army groups, consisting exclusively of large formations of one branch of the armed forces (CC-AIR, CC-Mar, CC -Land) are commanders in chief. The Supreme Allied Commander of NATO is often called the Commander in Chief .

Warsaw Treaty

The highest military commander of the Warsaw Pact was named Supreme Commander of the United Armed Forces .

Web links

Wiktionary: Commander-in-Chief  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  • Supreme Commander. In: Trevor Nevitt Dupuy, Curt Johnson, Grace P. Hayes: Dictionary of Military Terms. A Guide to the Language of Warfare and Military Institutions. The HW Wilson Company, New York NY 1986, ISBN 0-8242-0717-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Minister of Defense sets up a new Cyber ​​and Information Room Command . In: Website of the Federal Ministry of Defense (March 2017 archive) , March 30, 2017. Accessed April 7, 2017.
  2. Art. 84 ff. Military Law (MG)
  3. NATO-Handbuch 2001 ( Memento from September 15, 2001 in the Internet Archive ) on (PDF, 2.18 MB).