NATO Military Hierarchy

NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is normally termed as North Atlantic Alliance which is an inter-governmental military association. This alliance is truly based upon the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed in 1949 on the day April 4th. NATO was initiated with a purpose of Collective Defense, a union where the members of the group abide to Joint Defense in reply to any violent attack by any peripheral body to any member of union.

NATO upholds a ‘standard rank scale’. This is done with an objective to match all the military ranks of a member (country) of union to analogous military ranks that are used by all of the other members (countries).

The NATO military hierarchy is broadly divided into three levels – Officer, Warrant Officers and Enlisted Ranks. The Officer category includes all the high level professionals while Warrant Officer includes middle level and all the entry level as well as low level military professionals are included in enlisted rank officers. The categorization of all the ranks is done by the some codes that NATO provides. The NATO codes are of three types – ‘OF’ for officers, ‘WO’ for Warrant Officers and ‘OR’ for enlisted ranks. The NATO Military hierarchy is divided into categories as follows.

NATO Military Hierarchy

Officers – This category in the NATO military hierarchy is reserved for all the high level military professionals and is entitled with the title ‘Officer’. The NATO code is provided to differentiate among the ranks. The rank with highest authority & status in the military is provided NATO code OF – 10 while the lower most in the Officer category is provided NATO code OF – 1. Total 10 ranks are enrolled under this category. These are always commissioned officers in the military. These ranks are:

  • OF – 10
  • OF – 9
  • OF – 8
  • OF – 7
  • OF – 6
  • OF – 5
  • OF – 4
  • OF – 3
  • OF – 2
  • OF – 1

Warrant Officers – These are middle level rank holder professionals. Some of these are commissioned officers in some countries while some are not. This category has got 5 NATO codes. The highest Warrant officer in NATO is provided with code WO – 5 while lowest one with code WO – 1. These are as follows:

  • WO – 5
  • WO – 4
  • WO – 3
  • WO – 2
  • WO – 1

Enlisted Ranks – This is the lowermost military professionals and sometimes also referred to as entry level in the military in majority of countries. Total 9 ranks are included under this level and hence 9 NATO codes are used. NATO code OR – 9 is used for highest military officer of this level while OR – 1 is used for lower most one which most of the times is the soldier cadet in some countries. These are:

  • OR – 9
  • OR – 8
  • OR – 7
  • OR – 6
  • OR – 5
  • OR – 4
  • OR – 3
  • OR – 2
  • OR – 1