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Galactic Empire Ranks 101

Galactic Empire Ranks 101

The Galactic Empire Military is made up of several different branches, each with its own unique military or civilian ranks.

Some of these ranks are awarded based on merit, while others are achieved through favoritism or political maneuvering.

This can include the assassination of your predecessor. 

Below is a detailed list of the ranks that each branch of the Imperial military uses.

Army Ranks

Let’s start by closely examining the ranking system the Army of the Galactic Empire uses. We’ll list them from highest rank to lowest. 

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Stormtroopers army

Rank Reports To Type Notable Examples Fun Facts
Grand General Emperor Palpatine Direct appointment by the Emperor Cassio Tagge, Ormeddon, and Kenner Loring This person is supreme commander of the entire military and is higher in rank than Darth Vader
Chief Emperor and other Joint Chiefs Direct appointment by the Emperor   This is a title that indicated a high-ranking officer that served on the Joint Chiefs Adviser cabinet
Major General Joint Chiefs/


Commissioned officer Cassio Tagge This person is the leader of the army
Vice General Major General  Commissioned officer Adambo  
Brigadier General A higher general Commissioned officer Nevar Rank used by both Imperial and Republic armies
General Varies Commissioned officer N/A Used as shorthand for all types of general
Colonel Generals Commissioned officer   Rank first used during the Clone Wars
Lieutenant Colonel Colonel or a General Commissioned officer Erle Hovlinn Each Lieutenant Colonel had direct control of 2 battalions worth of troops.
Major  Colonel Commissioned officer Staz Rank was used in nearly every division of the Imperial military
Commander Major Commissioned officer   Commanders were often in charge of specific military operations.
Captain Commander Commissioned officer, non-commissioned officer, or civilian   This is both a definitive rank as well as a generalized term for any person commanding a starship
Lieutenant  Captain Commissioned officer    
Staff Sergeant Lieutenant  Commissioned officer   Lowest commissioned officer rank
First Sergeant Any commissioned officer Non-commissioned officer   This person helps to carry out a commissioned officer’s orders
Sergeant Major First Sergeant or a commissioned officer Non-commissioned officer Myles Grint  
Sergeant Sergeant Major Non-commissioned officer Crest Clone Sergeant was an equivalent rank given to clones during the Clone Wars
Corporal Sergeant Non-commissioned officer Han Solo This was the highest Imperial rank achieved by Han Solo before he was kicked out of the Army
Specialist Any other officer Non-commissioned officer Odeffro Msern, Gillen Finders Often given to those with specialized jobs, i.e., technicians
Private Any officer Regular soldier   Lowest rank you could have in the army
Cadet Any officer Soldier in training   Unofficial rank given to all future troops undergoing training
The Grand General Of The Imperial Army (Cassio Tagge): Star Wars lore
Han Solo - From Smuggler to General | Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures

Navy Ranks

The Imperial Navy, who fought most of their battles in the sky, used a completely different rank structure than the Imperial Army. Below are the rankings they used from the highest officer to the lowest recruit. All ranks in the Imperial Navy were commissioned.

Imperial Navy: Overview
Rank Reports To Type Notable Examples Fun Facts
Admiral of the Navy (also referred to as Admiral of the Fleet) Joint Chiefs/


Direct appointment by the Emperor Conan Antonio Motti Conan Antonio Motti survived a Force-choke by Vader only to later die in the explosion of the Death Star
Naval Chief Emperor and other Joint Chiefs Direct appointment by the Emperor Tallatz This title indicated a high-ranking officer who served on the Joint Chiefs Advisory cabinet
Grand Admiral Joint Chiefs/


Direct appointment by the Emperor Thrawn,  Balanhai Savit, Rae Sloane The Galactic Empire had a total of 12 Grand Admirals serving at one time
Fleet Admiral Joint Chiefs/


Commissioned officer  Kendal Ozzel, Gallius Rax Kendal Ozzel was famously Force-Choked to death by Vader during the Battle of Hoth
Admiral Varies Commissioned officer N/A Used as shorthand for all types of Admiral
Vice Admiral Higher ranked Admirals Commissioned officer Rampart  Rank was also used in the Naval Intelligence division
Rear Admiral Vice Admiral Commissioned officer Conan Antonio Motti and Kendal Ozzel before they were promoted  
Sector Admiral ? Commissioned officer   Little is known about the exact hierarchy of this position
Commodore Admirals Commissioned officer Commodore Idel, Almudin Commodore Idel committed suicide when he failed the Emperor
Line Captain (or Captain of the Line) Commodore Commissioned officer Kendal Ozzel when he graduated the naval academy  This position was held by whoever controlled the frontline
Flag Captain The Admiral in charge Commissioned officer Albus Marinith, Firmus Piett  Rank was given to the individual who captained the flagship of an admiral
Commander A higher officer Commissioned officer Eli N. Vanto  
Lieutenant Commander Commander Commissioned officer   Rank is a stepping stone to full Commander
Gunnery Captain Commander or Lieutenant Commander Commissioned officer Bolvan This rank was only available on select warships
Chief Gunnery Officer Gunnery Captain Commissioned officer Hija  
Senior Lieutenant Captain or Commander Commissioned officer   Was considered a junior officer rank
Lieutenant Senior Lieutenant or Commander Commissioned officer   Rank is used in nearly all military divisions


Higher lieutenant Commissioned officer Frobb  
Junior Lieutenant Higher lieutenant Commissioned officer Jams   
Warrant Officer Any commissioned officer Commissioned officer   The lowest officer rank in the Navy
Ensign Any commissioned officer Commissioned   Lowest rank you could enter the Imperial Navy at
Cadet First Class Their Instructor Commissioned   Awarded to a cadet who has distinguished themselves
Yeoman Their Instructor Commissioned    
Cadet Their Instructor Commissioned   The most basic rank in the naval academy
The Imperial Navy: Organisation
Why Admiral Motti Thought He Could Disrespect Vader Without Consequences! (Legends)

Starfighter Corps

The Starfighter Corps was technically a division of the Navy, but they used a slightly different hierarchy that is a mashup of the Navy and Army rankings. Below are the Imperial Starfighter Corps ranks in order. 

  1. Colonel
  2. Major
  3. Second Lieutenant Commander
  4. Senior Lieutenant
  5. Lieutenant
  6. Flight Officer
Understanding the Role of Each Imperial Starfighter

Political Ranks

In addition to the dedicated Military rankings, a handful of political-type rankings were given to those with military training and civilians. Those given these ranks, even the civilians, had power over elements of the Imperial Military. 

Rank Reports To Type Notable Examples Fun Facts
Emperor No one Self-appointed Sheev Palpatine The Emperor is essentially the commander in chief of all military forces
Lord/Apprentice The Emperor and Grand General Self-appointed/appointed by the Emperor Darth Vader Darth Vader was not part of the military but could still command entire battalions
Grand Vizier The Emperor Direct appointment by the Emperor Mas Amedda Lead the Imperial Ruling Council
Imperial Adviser Grand Vizier and Emperor Direct appointment by the Emperor Yupe Tashu Senior Advisers served on the Imperial Ruling Council and wielded considerable power
Grand Moff The Emperor  Direct appointment by the Emperor Wilhuff Tarkin,  Randd, Lozen Tolruck, and Valco Pandion Tarkin was appointed as the first ever Grand Moff
Moff Grand Moff, Emperor, or Vader Direct appointment by the Emperor or an Adviser Jerjerrod Moffs were essentially governors over regions that displayed unrest. There were a total of 20 Moffs. 
Governor Moff, Emperor, and Advisers Direct appointment although many planetary governors had their predecessors killed Arihnda Pryce, Ubrik Adelhard Imperial Governors were in charge of maintaining imperial control over their planetary system
Lieutenant Governor Governor Direct appoint by governor   Assisted Governor
Acting Governor Moff Direct appointment by the Imperial Palace or a Grand Moff   Held the position of governor provisionally until instruction could be completed

Palpatine and Darth Vader

Other Ranks

There were many other military and pseudo-military institutions within the Galactic Empire that used a set ranking system. Below are some of these groups. 


Origin of the Inquisitors | Jedi Hunters of the Galactic Empire

These Force-sensitives trained in the dark side of the Force were in charge of hunting down errant Jedi and kidnapping young Force-Sensitives. They could take direct control of any military forces and reported only to Vader and the Emperor. 

Their ranks included Grand Inquisitor, who was in charge of all 12 Inquisitors, and Brother/Sister, the title used among the male and female inquisitors, respectively. 


This division was in charge of special investigations within the Galactic Empire. One unfortunate Inspector uncovered Vader’s plot to overthrow the Emperor and was subsequently killed by Vader. 

The ranking system the Inspectorate used is as follows:

  • Captain-Inspector
  • Lieutenant-Inspector
  • Inspector

Imperial Intelligence

The Imperial Intelligence Services used a wide variety of rankings. As they were originally 5 different institutions that merged, members of Military Intelligence (MI) used navy rankings, army rankings, and even civilian rankings such as Director

The leadership of the MI was the mysterious Ubiqtorate whose identities and rankings are unknown. 

Imperial Security Bureau (ISB)

This was the law enforcement branch of the Galactic Empire, and they focused on matters of state security, i.e., treason.

Their rankings followed the Army style, except that the top two ranked individuals of the ISB were a Bureau Chief followed by the Deputy Director

ISB vs Imperial Intelligence What's the Difference?

Imperial Academy

The various Imperial Academies scattered across the Stars Wars universe primarily used the rankings for cadets and training officers that belonged to the branch they served. For example, an Army school would use Army rankings. 

The exception is the rank of the leader of each academy. These academy leaders were given the special rank of Commandant. 

Battle Station Operations

This division was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the First and Second Death Star. Those that served in the BSO used an independent ranking system as many members were technicians or engineers. 

The whole BSO fell under the command of whichever Admiral or Moff was in charge of the station.

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