2023 U.S. Army Salaries & Responsibilities By Ranks

Enlisted Ranks: E-1 and E-2

E-1 Private

A U.S. Army Private begins their journey in Basic Combat Training, where they learn the basics and follow instructions. Their responsibilities are minimal as they absorb essential training. Privates at the E-1 rank, much like new recruits, wear no badges on their uniforms and receive this rank upon joining. They head to basic training with enthusiasm, aiming to learn and grow.

Salary: $1,917.60 / month

E-2 Private Second Class

Stepping up E-1 Private in the U.S. Army, we encounter the rank of "PV2." These soldiers, marked by a single chevron on their uniform, have gained more experience and knowledge.  As foundational members of the active Army, E-2 Privates are responsible for themselves and have specific duties to perform, following orders from their superiors as they continue to develop their skills and contribute to the team.

Salary: $2,149.20 / month

E-3 Private First Class

Meet the Private First Class, the top-tier Private in the Army. These folks are known as experts in personal responsibility, tackling every task and order with their utmost effort. They're the team's backbone, leading by example and setting high standards.

Salary: $2,259.90 - $2,547.60 / month

Whether someone is just stepping into basic training or has military experience, they can jump in at the Private First Class rank. These soldiers are the heart of the U.S. Army, making up the most prominent group within the ranks. Throughout this position, they become pros at their duties, getting ready to level up and take on leadership roles, guiding and overseeing fellow soldiers in their journey.

E-4 Ranks

E-4 Specialist

As a Specialist in the Army, you take on a leadership role, guiding a small group of privates from various classes. Your official job is to make sure these soldiers excel in their specific tasks, and you're an expert in everyone's unique skills and responsibilities, which is why you're called a Specialist. This rank is common and earned after at least two years of excellent service performance.

Salary: $2,503.50 - $3,039.30 / month

E-4 Corporal

Corporals are the first level of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) responsible for overseeing soldiers' training, performance, appearance, and well-being. Corporals officially hold the leadership duty, leading a small group of soldiers, usually two to five, managing all aspects of their military and personal lives, ensuring their welfare, and offering support when needed.

Salary: $2,503.50 - $3,039.30 / month

E-5 Sergeant

E-5 Sergeant

Sergeants in the U.S. Army are crucial squad leaders, responsible for guiding groups of soldiers. Although they are supposed to be team leaders, due to promotions and the number of Sergeants, they often serve as squad leaders instead. Their vital duties include overseeing soldiers' needs, training, appearance, and personal support, ensuring their well-being, and addressing any issues.

Salary: $2,730.30 - $3,874.80 / month

E-6 Staff Sergeant

These capable non-commissioned officers (NCOs) typically lead a squad of about 9 to 10 soldiers, but in special cases, they might lead larger groups like platoons with 16 to 50 soldiers, often assisted by Sergeants. Staff Sergeants assess their subordinates' performance through regular evaluations and  guide soldiers and new NCOs effectively. They also play essential roles as "Staff NCOs" in headquarters-level support positions.

Salary: $2,980.50 - $4,616.40 / month

E-7 Sergeant First Class

The Sergeant First Class (SFC) is the initial senior non-commissioned officer rank, placed seventh among enlisted ranks (E-7) in the U.S. Army. They usually serve as platoon sergeants in companies or take up roles as battalion operations noncommissioned officers at the battalion level. In combat arms, they lead groups ranging from 18 soldiers and four tanks to 40 soldiers in rifle platoons. They might even step into the role of platoon leader if no suitable officer is available.

Their responsibilities include: Training and mentoring lieutenants, handling tactical logistics, co-ordinating casualty evacuations and serving as a senior tactical advisor to platoon leaders. While addressed as "sergeant" in most cases, they might be referred to as "smoke" in cannon artillery units or informally as "platoon daddy." As the first senior non-commissioned officer, they enjoy immunity to demotion through standard non-judicial punishment.

Salary:  $3,445.80 - $6,193.50 / month

E-8 Sergeants

E-8 Master Sergeant

A Master Sergeant (MSG) in the U.S. Army serves as the top non-commissioned officer (NCO) at the battalion level or higher. While they share the same pay grade as First Sergeants, MSGs typically have fewer direct leadership responsibilities. Promotion to the rank of First Sergeant is based on a competitive point system, and an NCO must have at least 8 years of Time in Service (TIS) to be eligible for promotion.

Salary: $4,957.20 - $7,069.80 / month

E-8 First Sergeant

They are senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs) with a minimum of 15 years of Army experience, often more. First Sergeants lead in the same grade as Master Sergeants and typically oversee around 150 soldiers in a company-sized unit. As the ultimate authority at the company level, they enforce standards, discipline, and serve as the go-to experts on all things related to Army life. 

Salary: $4,957.20 - $7,069.80 / month

Enlisted E-9 Ranks

E-9 Sergeant Major

Sergeants Majors hold the highest enlisted rank across the military. They serve in critical staff roles at the battalion level or higher, contributing significantly to mission planning and resource allocation. With at least eighteen years of Army service, they possess extensive experience and expertise, providing valuable insights and guidance to enhance operational efficiency. 

Salary: $6,055.50 - $9,402.30 / month

E-9 Command Sergeant Major

They share the highest enlisted rank with Sergeants Major but holding distinct responsibilities. They take on leadership roles from the battalion level up to higher echelons like brigades, divisions, and even the highest position of Sergeant Major of the Army. Working closely with unit commanders, they provide crucial insights and advice, shaping training and mission decisions. They represent the pinnacle of achievement among enlisted soldiers in the U.S. Army.

Salary: $6,055.50 - $9,402.30 / month

E-9 Sergeant Major of the Army

The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) holds the most esteemed position among enlisted soldiers in the entirety of the United States Army. This position is singular, maintained by one enlisted soldier at a time, and carries the utmost prestige and honor among all ranks, titles, and roles within the enlisted ranks. The SMA stands at the Chief of Staff of the Army's (CSA) side, the highest-ranking and most senior general officer in the Army.

Salary: $6,055.50 - $9,402.30 / month

This role entails being both a trusted advisor to the CSA and the ultimate authority on standards and discipline for all soldiers in the Army, whether enlisted or officers. Furthermore, the SMA addresses any or all issues concerning the Army's enrolled members at the highest echelon. Ultimately, they play a crucial role in ensuring senior officers, particularly the CSA, understand how policies and actions at the Army level impact soldiers in active units.

Warrant Officers: W-1 and W-2

W-1 Warrant Officer 1

Warrant Officers in the U.S. Army are highly skilled specialists, starting as Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) while maintaining their technical and tactical expertise. Their roles encompass responsibilities from team-level leadership, which can involve 7 to 25 soldiers depending on the team type, up to battalion-level leadership, covering approximately 800 soldiers. 

Salary: $3,555.00 - $6,143.40 / month

W-2 Chief Warrant Officer 2

Advancing from Warrant Officer 1 (WO1), Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) stands out as an experienced and highly skilled tactical and technical specialist in their military discipline. CW2s are prevalent among Warrant Officers, serving in unit-level positions throughout the Army, from teams to battalions. Their expertise and experience support NCOs in effectively carrying out their duties, contributing to mission success in their units.

Salary: $4,050.30 - $6,760.20 / month

W-3 and W-4

W-3 Chief Warrant Officer 3

Advancing from CW2, we reach Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3), who are highly experienced tactical and technical specialists in their military disciplines. These CW3s possess the capability to effectively operate across a wide spectrum, from small teams of 7 to 25 soldiers up to larger brigades with around 5000 soldiers. Their extensive experience and expertise enable them to directly support operations within and between these levels. 

Salary: $4,577.70 - $8,029.50 / month

W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4

Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) operate in diverse roles, serving as technical experts, system managers, sustainment specialists, and integrators within their units, and they can work at levels like battalion, brigade, division, and even beyond. With their extensive experience, CW4s are well-prepared to handle complex tasks like coordinating operations across Army branches (combined operations) and even across different military units (joint operations).

Salary: $5,012.40 - $9,336.30 / month

W-5 Chief Warrant Officer 5

The highest and exceptionally rare rank in the U.S. Army is Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5). These soldiers achieve this prestigious rank by showcasing unmatched expertise in their military branch's technical and tactical aspects, coupled with strong leadership, deep understanding of combined and joint operations, and a talent for innovation. CW5s serve as the foremost experts in their fields within units ranging from brigades to forces command. 

Salary: $8,912.10 - $11,662.50 / month

Their roles mirror those of CW4s, involving technical authority, leadership, systems management, sustainment expertise, system and unit integration, advisory roles, and maintenance responsibilities. In addition to operational duties, CW5s provide invaluable advice to senior Army leaders, contributing to the Army's efficiency and its role in the broader U.S. military landscape. They play an indispensable role in the Army's current operations and its ability to adapt to a changing world and uncertain future.

Officer Ranks: O-1 Second and O-2 First Lieutenants

O-1 Second Lieutenant

A Second Lieutenant in the United States Army plays a crucial role as an officer, either leading a platoon of 15 to 50 soldiers or serving as a staff officer. They usually start as staff officers, preparing for the responsibilities of leading a platoon. When they become platoon leaders, it's a prestigious role lasting 12 to 24 months and a stepping stone to the rank of First Lieutenant. 

Salary: $3,637.20 - $4,576.80 / month

O-2 First Lieutenant

A First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army is a commissioned officer who, like Second Lieutenants, leads a platoon of 15 to 50 soldiers or serves as a staff officer. Their primary goal is to command a platoon, known as a platoon leader. Unlike the Second Lieutenant rank, staff officer duties for First Lieutenants typically come after their platoon leadership role, allowing them time to prepare for the next rank of Captain.

Salary: $4,190.70 - $5,799.30 / month

O-3 Captain

Captains in the U.S. Army are commissioned officers appointed by the Secretary of the Army. Their primary duty is to command company-sized units, typically consisting of about 150 soldiers. They are responsible for every aspect of their unit's operations and serve as the ultimate authority for company matters, discipline, and training. Captains also have financial authority at the company level to secure resources for mission success. 

Salary: $4,849.80 - $7,890.60 / month

In addition to their command roles, captains can serve as staff officers in larger units, contributing to planning and resource allocation. They play a critical role in ensuring the readiness and effectiveness of their units.

Captains can also dedicate time to professional development, which may include pursuing advanced degrees or specialized Army courses to prepare for higher-ranking roles with greater responsibilities.

O-4 Major

Majors in the U.S. Army are commissioned officers appointed by the Secretary of the Army. Their primary role involves serving as staff officers for battalion or brigade-sized units, which can include approximately 800 to 5000 soldiers. In addition to their staff duties, majors have the opportunity to attend graduate school in exchange for extended service. This initiative aims to prepare officers for greater responsibilities in the future.

Salary: $5,516.40 - $9,210.30 / month

Majors often take on positions such as operations officers (S-3) or executive officers (X.O.) within battalions or brigades. They are well-equipped for these roles due to their extensive experience as platoon leaders and staff officers during their earlier tenures as lieutenants and captains. This diverse experience gives majors valuable insights into the needs of platoons and companies, as well as a strategic understanding of how battalions and brigades can effectively meet these needs and contribute to the success of missions.

O-5 and O-6 Ranks

O-5 Lieutenant Colonel

As O-5 officers, they hold a significant role and receive their commission through appointment by the Secretary of the Army. They primarily lead battalion-sized units, typically around 800 soldiers, and may also take on staff roles at the brigade level or higher, contributing to planning, resourcing, and unit functionality. In their role as battalion commanders, they have ultimate authority over battalion activities, supported by a Command Sergeant Major (E-9).

Salary: $6,393.30 - $10,861.80 / month

O-6 Colonel

Colonels also receive their commission through appointment by the Secretary of the Army, confirming their status as experienced leaders. Their primary duty is to command brigade-sized units, typically comprising around 5000 soldiers, but they can also serve as staff officers or lead specialized teams in areas like law or medicine. Regardless of their unit's size or specialization, Colonels have ultimate authority and responsibility for all unit actions. 

Salary: $7,669.20 - $13,576.50 / month

O-7 Brigadier General

Brigadier Generals, who hold the O-7 rank in the United States Army, play a crucial role as commissioned officers, receiving their commission through presidential appointment upon the Secretary of the Army's recommendation. These general officers are distinguished leaders known for their expertise in leadership, technical knowledge, and tactics, contributing to the broader scope of the Army.  Unlike branch-specific officers, they focus on overseeing multifaceted organizations, highlighting their versatile leadership capabilities

They typically serve as deputy commanders in brigade or division-sized units, which can include around 5000 to 14000 soldiers, learning from Major Generals about the responsibilities of a general officer. Securing a general officer position is exceptionally challenging and requires extensive experience, expertise, and leadership aptitude, making it a highly esteemed achievement in the military hierarchy.

Salary: $10,113.00 - $15,110.10 / month

O-8 Major General

Major Generals play a crucial role as commissioned officers within the United States Army, receiving their commission through appointment by the President of the United States upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Army. As O-8 grade officers, their significance lies in their leadership of divisions. Serving as division commander overseeing approximately 14000 soldiers is a remarkable honor intertwined with immense responsibility.

This elevated role includes commanding and leading the posts where these divisions are stationed, further amplifying the duties assigned to officers in such esteemed positions. As officers attain the rank of Major General, they garner increased experience as general officers, following their service as Brigadier Generals, positioning them to take on the heightened responsibilities associated with their rank confidently.

Salary: $12,170.70 - $17,545.80 / month

O-9 Lieutenant General

Lieutenant Generals (LTGs) are highly regarded commissioned officers in the United States Army, receiving their commission through presidential appointment upon the Secretary of the Army's recommendation. As O-9 grade officers, their role is pivotal in high-level command structures. LTGs typically serve as commanders of significant commands, including combatant powers, or hold prominent staff positions at higher Army echelons like TRADOC or forces command. 

Salary: $17,201.40 - $17,675.10 / month

They can also take on specialized roles, exemplified by positions such as the United States Military Academy Superintendent at West Point. Appointment to the rank of Lieutenant General comes with specific job requirements outlined in regulations (MTO&E), reflecting the prestigious nature of their roles. The duration of the LTG rank depends on the associated position, and officers may revert to their previous general officer rank, often Major General or Brigadier General. In some cases, officers advance to the highest rank of full General (O-10). 

O-10 General

A General in the U.S. Army is a distinguished officer who receives their commission through presidential appointment, endorsed by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army. This prestigious rank, marked by four stars on the uniform, signifies the highest level of military leadership and responsibility in the O-10 grade. Generals, holding the title of General, stand apart from other general officer grades and serve as commanders of the utmost authority and distinction. 

Salary: $17,675.10 / month

They are commonly referred to as "four-star" generals due to the four stars emblematic of their rank. Generals command critical positions like TRADOC or Forces Command at the highest levels of the Army and can assume roles as significant as the Chief of Staff of the Army or membership in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In terms of expertise, technical knowledge, tactical proficiency, and leadership ability, Generals are unmatched among Army personnel, except for Command Sergeants Major.

O-10 General of the Army

As of 2023, Throughout the history of the United States Army, only nine individuals have been granted the esteemed distinction of holding the rank of General of the Army. This elevated rank, marked by its exclusivity, is reserved for those who exhibit exceptional qualifications in leadership, tactical prowess, and technical proficiency across their military careers. Its conferment is made during wartime necessity, responding to the need to safeguard the nation's interests.

General of the Army designates the highest echelon of military command, signifying that its occupants stand unparalleled in authority within the Army's hierarchy. With control over all Army units, these individuals orchestrate the strategic deployment of forces to fulfill the paramount mission of safeguarding the nation's ideals and protecting its Constitution by vanquishing adversaries.

Salary: $17,675.10 / month


The U.S. Army is the largest branch of service, with a greater variety of units than the other services. Each team has a different organization and purpose, providing the combatant commander with an array of higher headquarters trained and equipped to apply land power. The theater Army, corps, and division work together to provide the necessary command and control for land operations.

With a comprehensive understanding of the ranks, qualifications, and responsibilities within the U.S. military, it becomes evident that every position plays a crucial role in the success and effectiveness of the armed forces. From the enlisted soldiers who carry out orders on the ground to the high-ranking officers who provide strategic leadership, each individual contributes to the collective strength of the military. Through their dedication, skills, and commitment, they ensure the safety and security of the nation.