An Adjutant, abbreviated to Adj., is a military rank or appointment. In some armies, including most English-speaking ones, it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while in other armies, especially Francophone ones, it is a non-commissioned officer (NCO), normally corresponding roughly to a Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer. An Adjutant General is commander of an army's administrative services.
The word comes from the Latin adjutans, present participle of the verb adjuvare, which means "to help"; the Romans actually used adiutor for the noun.
In the British Army, an Adjutant is usually a senior Captain (sometimes a Major). As a Colonel's personal staff officer, an Adjutant was once in charge of all the organisation, administration and discipline for a battalion or regiment, although now the bulk of administrative work is carried out by the Regimental Administrative Officer (RAO). Until the 1970s the adjutant was also the regimental operations officer, although this job is now filled by a separate officer. In the British Army adjutants are given field rank and as such are senior by appointment to all other captains, ranking just behind the majors. Unlike the RAO (who is an officer of the Adjutant General's Corps), the adjutant is a member of the corps or regiment of which their unit is a part. The adjutant's job is not solely a 'backroom' one, since he usually accompanies the colonel - Captain David Wood, the adjutant of 2 Para, was killed in action at the Battle of Goose Green, for example. Normally, in a British Infantry battalion, the adjutant controls the battle whilst the CO commands it. As such, the adjutant is usually a man of significant influence within his battalion. In the Foot Guards, the adjutant of the unit in charge of Trooping the Colour is one of three officers on horseback.
In many Commonwealth armies, the adjutant performs much the same role as in the British Army. There is no RAO position within the Australian Army, where an adjutant performs the administrative role with the assistance of a Chief Clerk, who usually has a rank of Warrant Officer Class Two.
References / notes
- Adjutant. Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed 20 April, 2017.
Glossary of terms and customs
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