In the [[United States]], the status of commanding officer is duly applied to all commissioned officers who hold lawful command over a military unit, ship, or installation.
The commanding officer of a [[ company (military unit)|company]], usually a [[ Captain (land)|captain]], is referred to as the [[company commander]] (or the [[battery (artillery)|battery]]/troop commander for [[artillery]]/[[cavalry]]). The commanding officer of a [[battalion]] (or [[squadron (army)|squadron]] of [[cavalry]]), is usually a [[lieutenant colonel]]. The commanding officer of a [[brigade]], a [[Colonel (United States)|colonel]], is the [[brigade commander]]. At the [[Division (military)|division]] level and higher, however, the commanding officer is referred to as the [[general officer|commanding general]], as these officers hold [[general|general officer]] rank.
Although holding command in the same sense as other officers, the individual in charge of a [[platoon]], the smallest unit of soldiers led by a [[commissioned officer]], typically a [[lieutenant|second lieutenant]], is referred to as the [[platoon leader]], not the platoon commander. This officer does have command of the soldiers under him but does not have many of the command responsibilities inherent to higher echelons. For example, a platoon leader cannot issue [[non-judicial punishment]].