2023 U.S. Military Salaries By Ranks & Responsibilities

Enlisted Ranks: E-1 and E-2

E-1 Private

Salary: $1,917.60 / month

1. A Private in the U.S. Army is the starting position.

2. They go through Basic Combat Training (often called "Basic").

3. Their main goal is to learn, follow instructions, and do their assigned soldier tasks.

4. Privates with the rank of E-1 are newcomers.

5. They don't have any badges on their uniforms.

E-2 Private Second Class

Salary: $2,149.20 / month

1. The next rank after Private in the U.S. Army is "PV2."

2. PV2s are more experienced than initial Privates and have a single chevron on their uniform.

3. Among all active Army soldiers, E-2 ranked Privates are the foundation.

4. Following orders from superiors is a crucial part of their role.

5. They continue to develop their skills and contribute to the team.

E-3 Private First Class

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

1. Private First Class (PFC) is the highest-ranking Private in the Army.

2. They are known for their strong sense of personal responsibility and dedication to tasks and orders.

3. PFCs are considered the backbone of the team, setting high standards and leading by example.

4. Both new recruits and experienced soldiers can enter at the Private First Class rank.

5. They make up the largest group among the ranks in the U.S. Army.

6. In this role, they become experts at their duties, preparing to move up and take on leadership positions.

7. They guide and oversee fellow soldiers in their military journey.

E-4 Ranks

E-4 Specialist

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

1. When a soldier in the Army becomes a Specialist, they take on leadership responsibilities.

2. They lead a small group of lower-ranking soldiers, which can include privates from various classes.

3. Specialists are considered experts themselves and have in-depth knowledge of each soldier's unique skills and responsibilities.

4. This rank is common in the Army and is earned after at least two years of service and consistently outstanding performance in their duties.

E-4 Corporal

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

1. Corporals in the Army are the first level of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs).

2. NCOs have important responsibilities, including overseeing soldiers' training, performance, appearance, and well-being.

3. Corporals lead a small group of soldiers, typically two to five, and are in charge of all aspects of their military lives.

4. While Specialists often take on this role because they are more common, Corporals are officially responsible for leadership duties.

5. They also provide support for their soldiers in their personal lives, ensuring everything is going well and helping when issues arise.

E-5 Sergeant

E-5 Sergeant

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

1. Sergeants serve as squad leaders, leading groups of around eight to fourteen soldiers.

2. Sometimes, they might lead smaller teams if there are many non-commissioned officers (NCOs) with the rank of Sergeant or higher.

3. In the Army's organization plan, Sergeants are meant to be team leaders, while Staff Sergeants are squad leaders.

4. Sergeants have important responsibilities, including taking care of their soldiers' daily needs, training, gear, appearance, and fitness.

5. They also provide support to their soldiers in their personal lives, ensuring their well-being and helping resolve any issues that come up.

E-6 Staff Sergeant

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

1. Staff Sergeants are significant non-commissioned officers (NCOs) in the United States Army.

2. They typically lead a squad of about 9 to 10 soldiers.

3. In some cases, they may lead a larger group, like a platoon, consisting of two to four squads and totaling 16 to 50 soldiers.

4. Staff Sergeants often work alongside Sergeants in their leadership roles.

5. They evaluate their subordinates' performance through regular Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Reports.

E-7 Sergeant First Class

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

1. Sergeant First Class (SFC) is the initial senior non-commissioned officer rank, ranked seventh among enlisted ranks (E-7) in the U.S. Army.

2. They often serve as platoon sergeants in companies or take on roles as battalion operations noncommissioned officers at the battalion level.

3. In combat arms, they lead groups ranging from 18 soldiers and four tanks to 40 soldiers in rifle platoons.

4. Their responsibilities include training and mentoring lieutenants, handling tactical logistics, coordinating casualty evacuations, and serving as senior tactical advisors to platoon leaders.

5. They may even act as platoon leaders if no suitable officer is available.

6. While commonly addressed as "sergeant," they might be called "smoke" in cannon artillery units or informally referred to as "platoon daddy."

7. As the first senior non-commissioned officer, they enjoy benefits and recognition, including protection against demotion through standard non-judicial punishment.

E-8 Sergeants

E-8 Master Sergeant

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

1. A Master Sergeant (MSG) in the United States Army is the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer (NCO) at the battalion level or higher.

2. They share the same pay grade as First Sergeants but usually have fewer direct leadership responsibilities.

3. Promotion to the rank of First Sergeant is based on a competitive point system.

4. An NCO must have at least eight years of Time in Service (TIS) to be eligible for promotion to the higher rank of First Sergeant. 

E-8 First Sergeant

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

1. First Sergeants in the U.S. Army are senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs).

2. They have at least 15 years of Army experience, often more.

3. They hold the same rank as Master Sergeants.

4. First Sergeants usually lead around 150 soldiers in a company-sized unit.

5. They are the top authority at the company level, responsible for enforcing standards and discipline.

6. They are considered the experts on all aspects of Army life and are relied upon for guidance and expertise.

Enlisted E-9 Ranks

E-9 Sergeant Major

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

1. Sergeants Majors hold the highest enlisted rank in the military.

2. They serve in critical staff roles at the battalion level or higher.

3. They play a significant role in mission planning and resource allocation.

4. Sergeants Majors typically have at least eighteen years of Army service.

5. They have extensive experience and expertise, offering valuable insights and guidance to improve operational efficiency.

E-9 Command Sergeant Major

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

1. Command Sergeants Major share the highest enlisted rank with Sergeants Major but have distinct responsibilities.

2. They hold leadership positions from the battalion level up to higher echelons like brigades, divisions, and even the highest role of Sergeant Major of the Army.

3. They collaborate closely with unit commanders, offering crucial insights and advice that influence training and mission decisions.

4. They represent the highest level of achievement among enlisted soldiers in the U.S. Army.

E-9 Sergeant Major of the Army

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

1. The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) holds the most prestigious position among enlisted soldiers in the entire United States Army.

2. This role is unique, with only one enlisted soldier serving in it at a time, and it carries the highest honor and prestige among all ranks and roles within the enlisted ranks.

3. The SMA works closely with the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA), the highest-ranking and most senior general officer in the Army.

4. They serve as a trusted advisor to the CSA and are the ultimate authority on standards and discipline for all soldiers, both enlisted and officers.

5. The SMA addresses and advises on issues concerning all Army members at the highest level.

6. While the CSA determines specific duties and responsibilities, certain aspects, such as those mentioned, are standard for all SMAs.

7. In addition to these responsibilities, SMAs carry out orders and tasks assigned to them by their respective CSA.

8. 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

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

1. Warrant Officers in the U.S. Army are specialists with high levels of skill and expertise.

2. They begin as Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) and continue to develop their technical and tactical proficiency.

3. Warrant Officers can have various roles, ranging from leading small teams of 7 to 25 soldiers to taking on leadership responsibilities at the battalion level, overseeing around 800 soldiers.

W-2 Chief Warrant Officer 2

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

1. Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) is an advancement from Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) and represents an experienced and highly skilled tactical and technical specialist.

2. CW2s are common among Warrant Officers and serve in unit-level positions across the Army, ranging from teams to battalions.

3. Their expertise and experience are valuable in supporting NCOs and contributing to the success of missions in their units.

W-3 and W-4

W-3 Chief Warrant Officer 3

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

1. Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3) is the next rank after CW2 and represents highly experienced tactical and technical specialists.

2. CW3s have the ability to operate effectively across a wide spectrum, from leading small teams of 7 to 25 soldiers to overseeing larger brigades with approximately 5000 soldiers.

3. Their extensive experience and expertise allow them to directly support operations at various levels, both within and between these levels.

W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4

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

1. Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) serves in diverse roles, including technical experts, system managers, sustainment specialists, and integrators within their units.

2. They can work at various levels, such as battalion, brigade, division, and beyond.

3. CW4s, with their extensive experience, are well-prepared to handle complex tasks like coordinating operations across different branches of the Army (combined operations) and even between different military units (joint operations).

W-5 Chief Warrant Officer 5

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

1. Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5) is an exceptionally rare and prestigious rank in the United States Army.

2. Soldiers achieve this rank by displaying unparalleled mastery of technical and tactical aspects of their military branch, along with strong leadership, understanding of combined and joint operations, and innovative thinking.

3. CW5s are recognized as top leaders in the Warrant Officer Corps, known for their expertise in their chosen field within their units.

4. They serve at various unit levels, from brigades to forces command, and their responsibilities are similar to those of CW4s, including technical expertise, leadership, systems management, sustainment, integration, advising, and maintenance.

5. In addition to their operational roles, CW5s provide valuable insights to senior Army leaders for optimizing the Army's functioning and role within the broader U.S. military.

6. While their contributions are often not widely recognized in the public eye, CW5s play an essential 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

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

1. A Second Lieutenant in the United States Army is an officer with important responsibilities.

2. They can either lead a platoon of 15 to 50 soldiers or serve as staff officers initially.

3. Second Lieutenants typically start as staff officers, preparing for the future responsibility of leading a platoon.

4. When they become platoon leaders, it's a prestigious role that usually lasts for 12 to 24 months and serves as a stepping stone to the rank of First Lieutenant.

O-2 First Lieutenant

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

1. A First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army is a commissioned officer.

2. They can lead a platoon of 15 to 50 soldiers or serve as staff officers.

3. Their main role is to command a platoon, known as a platoon leader.

4. Unlike Second Lieutenants, First Lieutenants often take on staff officer duties after their platoon leadership role, as they prepare for the next rank of Captain.

O-3 Captain

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

1. Captains in the U.S. Army are commissioned officers appointed by the Secretary of the Army.

2. Their primary duty is to command company-sized units, typically consisting of around 150 soldiers.

3. They are responsible for all aspects of their unit's operations and serve as the ultimate authority for company matters, discipline, and training.

4. Captains have financial authority at the company level to secure resources for mission success.

5. They can also serve as staff officers in larger units, contributing to planning and resource allocation.

6. Captains play a critical role in ensuring the readiness and effectiveness of their units.

7. They can invest in professional development, which may involve pursuing advanced degrees or specialized Army courses to prepare for higher-ranking roles with greater responsibilities.

O-4 Major

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

1. Majors in the U.S. Army are commissioned officers appointed by the Secretary of the Army.

2. Their primary role involves serving as staff officers for battalion or brigade-sized units, which can range from around 800 to 5000 soldiers.

3. Majors have the opportunity to attend graduate school in exchange for extended service to prepare for greater responsibilities in the future.

4. They often take on positions like operations officers (S-3) or executive officers (X.O.) within battalions or brigades.

5. Majors are well-prepared for these roles because of their extensive experience as platoon leaders and staff officers during their earlier tenures as lieutenants and captains.

6. Their diverse experience provides valuable insights into the needs of platoons and companies, along with a strategic understanding of how battalions and brigades can effectively meet these needs and contribute to mission success.

O-5 and O-6 Ranks

O-5 Lieutenant Colonel

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

1. O-5 officers, also known as Lieutenant Colonels, have a significant role in the U.S. Army and receive their commission through appointment by the Secretary of the Army.

2. They primarily lead battalion-sized units, typically consisting of around 800 soldiers.

3. They may also take on staff roles at the brigade level or higher, where they contribute to planning, resourcing, and unit functioning.

4. In their role as battalion commanders, they have ultimate authority over battalion activities, often supported by a Command Sergeant Major (E-9).

O-6 Colonel

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

1. Colonels in the U.S. Army receive their commission through appointment by the Secretary of the Army, reflecting their experienced leadership.

2. Their primary duty is to command brigade-sized units, typically consisting of around 5000 soldiers.

3. They can also serve as staff officers or lead specialized teams in fields like law or medicine.

4. Regardless of their unit's size or specialization, Colonels have ultimate authority and responsibility for all unit actions.

O-7 Brigadier General

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

1. Brigadier Generals in the United States Army hold the O-7 rank and play a crucial role as commissioned officers.

2. They receive their commission through presidential appointment, based on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Army.

3. Brigadier Generals are distinguished leaders known for their expertise in leadership, technical knowledge, and tactics, contributing to the broader scope of the Army.

4. Unlike branch-specific officers, they focus on overseeing multifaceted organizations, showcasing their versatile leadership capabilities.

5. They typically serve as deputy commanders in brigade or division-sized units, which can range from around 5000 to 14000 soldiers.

6. Brigadier Generals learn from Major Generals about the responsibilities of a general officer.

7. 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.

O-8 Major General

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

1. Major Generals are crucial commissioned officers in the United States Army.

2. They receive their commission through appointment by the President of the United States, based on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Army.

3. As O-8 grade officers, they hold significant leadership roles, particularly as division commanders.

4. Major Generals oversee divisions, which typically include around 14000 soldiers, a position of great honor and responsibility.

5. Their duties extend to commanding and leading the posts where these divisions are stationed, adding to their responsibilities.

6. Officers who attain the rank of Major General have gained increased experience as general officers, having previously served as Brigadier Generals, preparing them for the heightened responsibilities associated with their rank.

O-9 Lieutenant General

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

1. Lieutenant Generals (LTGs) are highly regarded commissioned officers in the United States Army.

2. They receive their commission through presidential appointment, based on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Army.

3. As O-9 grade officers, their role is pivotal in high-level command structures.

4. LTGs typically serve as commanders of significant commands, including combatant commands, or hold prominent staff positions at higher Army echelons like TRADOC or forces command.

5. They can also take on specialized roles, such as the United States Military Academy Superintendent at West Point.

6. Appointment to the rank of Lieutenant General comes with specific job requirements outlined in regulations (MTO&E), reflecting the prestigious nature of their roles.

7. 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.

8. In some cases, officers advance to the highest rank of full General (O-10).

O-10 General

Salary: $17,675.10 / month

1. 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.

2. This rank, marked by four stars on the uniform, signifies the highest level of military leadership and responsibility in the O-10 grade.

3. Generals hold the title of General and stand apart from other general officer grades, serving as commanders of the utmost authority and distinction.

4. They are commonly referred to as "four-star" generals due to the four stars emblematic of their rank.

5. 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.

6. 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

Salary: $17,675.10 / month

1. As of 2023, only nine people in the history of the U.S. Army have become General of the Army.

2. This rank is exclusive and given to those who show exceptional leadership, tactical skills, and military expertise throughout their careers.

3. It is typically awarded during times of war when the country's safety is at stake.

4. General of the Army is the highest rank in the military, and those who hold it have unparalleled authority.

5. They have control over all Army units and plan how to protect the nation's values and Constitution by defeating enemies.


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.