Welcome to the first of three craft posts this week. Yes, that’s right you read that correctly. There will be three. I never posted the last two weeks due to trying to get the 2nd draft of Seeing Through the Veil completed. Now that it is, I must come through on what I promised. This post will focus on Ranks of a Military but can be used to help create ranks for your Law Enforcement. Let’s dive in.
The first thing you need to know about ranks is that currently rank is directly tied to a soldier’s pay grade. To give you an example of this, if you are Major (Officer) your pay grade is O-4. You make what an O-4 is structured to make. Sure there are many other things that go into that, like deployment pay, combat pay, special skills pay, special units, etc. Some apply to all pay grades while others apply only to specific jobs. Depending on your world and what you want to do, you may want to link rank to pay.
Tim, why did you start with telling us about ranks being linked to pay? Good question. It’s simple, a King or President has to pay their armies. You might think well if they don’t fight I will kill them. You can do that unless your emperor has god-like power and can put the fear into them, what do you do when the most or all of your army refuse to fight? It’s something I never really even thought about until recently. Mostly, thanks to Game of Thrones and other fantasy series that have brought it up. Soldiers get paid.
What is a Commander?
What? Isn’t that a rank? I thought so for a very long time. I was wrong. It can be a rank, but when you look up the word you get this definition:
Commander is also a generic term for an officer commanding any armed forces unit, for example, “platoon commander”, “brigade commander” and “squadron commander”. In the police, terms such as “borough commander” and “incident commander” are used. Wikipedia
They are the boss, but they too have a commander above them. The commander of the base is an example. If you want you could use this as a rank, but it is more of a title depending on the job you’re doing.
Next is how is your Military structured?
I though that is what you were going to go over in this post? Nope, I am going to ranks. How the military is structured is different. I guess I need to cover this some. Does your military have one branch or ten? Do they work together or separate depending on their purpose. Right now, most countries have three branches. Army, Navy, and Air Force. Special recognition to the Coast Gaurd and the Marines that seen as branches but technically are under the Navy. Except during times of peace, which the Coast Guard is under Homeland Security. These two could easily be made into full branches, but aren’t.
Depending on your branches and how many determine how each one works. Each branch can have its own Chain of Command be different but in the end all answer to the King or President. While our military has three branches, an E-3 (Enlisted) is the same level across all three branches, though the name may be different. If you have multi branches crossovers and have different chains of command and ranking systems, you need to know who has the highest rank. Also, to add more to it, that highest rank may not be the one in command of that unit. That’s there if you want to cause conflict.
If you haven’t gotten it, yet, ranks like Captain, Colonel, etc. mean nothing. It’s your pay-grade. You can have a high ranking officer who got that job due to his battle experience and is a great warrior but also have, a young nonbattle experienced Lieutenant who is a genius at the same time. This Lieutenant could be making more money, put in command due to his intelligence over the much more experienced warrior due to the times (times of peace). Or it could be reversed. It’s all how you want to structure your military.
If you want ranks to mean something and have power and no one with a rank below can order someone above them around than structure it that way. Tie ranks into fighting levels and only if you can meet these high standards (which all branches like to say they have, which they do. They train and push you to meet them) but you have to get there on your own. That’s fine. There is no wrong way to come up with your ranks and structure for your military. It just needs to seem like it works. Or doesn’t work if that is what you’re going for.
The way you structure your military doesn’t have to work in reality. In many ways, the way our Military is structure, it doesn’t work. Sure it’s not like it doesn’t work to the point that it costs us wars, it could be better and run more fluently. Everything can. As for names of the ranks, that’s up to you. It is easy for people to know what level someone is if you use the names and titles we are all familiar with, but part of developing your own military is making it unique. More importantly, resemble the people you use it.
That’s all I got for this post. I thought for sure this was going to be more about rankings and names for them. Nope. Names for ranks is just the base of it. It all comes down to structure and the chain of command. Tomorrow, we will move on to the Causes of War. Check back tomorrow and then Friday for the next two Craft Posts.