Difference Wiki

Admiral vs. Commodore: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 2, 2023
An admiral is a senior naval officer of flag rank, while a commodore is a rank below admiral, often commanding a squadron.

Key Differences

An admiral is a high-ranking officer in a navy, typically above a vice admiral and below a fleet admiral. A commodore, in some navies, is a rank above a captain and below a rear admiral, often responsible for a flotilla of ships rather than a single ship or base.
In terms of hierarchy, admirals will command larger units or varied fleets, while commodores are traditionally in command of a group of vessels within a fleet. Admirals also hold a higher level of strategic responsibility and may serve on joint chiefs of staff.
Commodores may also serve as a temporary rank, assigned to captains who are serving in a commodore's capacity. Admirals, however, hold their rank permanently once appointed and have broader authority within naval operations.
Admirals are often associated with the strategic leadership of a navy and may hold national-level positions or commands. Commodores, while still senior officers, may focus more on operational leadership within specific task forces or regions.
Commodores sometimes wear the same insignia as a rear admiral lower half in the U.S. Navy, creating some equivalence, whereas admirals have distinct insignia representing their rank. Admirals are often addressed formally by their rank, while commodores may still be addressed as captain, depending on the navy's tradition.

Comparison Chart


Above vice admiral, below fleet admiral
Below rear admiral, may be above captain

Command Size

Commands fleets, multiple ships, or bases
Commands a squadron or a flotilla of ships

Strategic vs. Operational

More strategic, broader in scope
More operational, focused on specific tasks

Permanency of Rank

Permanent once appointed
May be temporary, especially when at sea

National Level Roles

May serve on joint chiefs of staff
Less common to serve at the national level

Admiral and Commodore Definitions


The commander of a fleet.
The admiral devised a new naval strategy.


A senior officer below admiral.
Commodore Jones was in charge of the task force.


A naval officer of the highest rank.
The admiral inspected the naval academy.


An honorary title in some yacht clubs.
The commodore of the yacht club hosted the event.


A title given to senior officers.
Admiral Smith will attend the conference.


The first rank of flag officer.
He was promoted to commodore after 25 years of service.


A senior naval officer.
The admiral received the fleet's salute.


A naval rank.
The commodore led the squadron.


A butterfly.
A red admiral landed on the bush.


A title for an officer commanding more than one ship.
As commodore, he was responsible for the convoy.


The commander in chief of a fleet.


A commissioned rank formerly used in the US Navy that was above captain and below rear admiral. Abolished in 1899, it was restored temporarily during World War II and in the early 1980s.


A flag officer.


One who holds this rank.


Does an admiral have a broader command scope than a commodore?

Yes, admirals have broader strategic command responsibilities.

Are admirals involved in national defense decisions?

Admirals may be involved in high-level national defense decisions.

Can a commodore command a fleet?

A commodore typically commands a squadron, not a full fleet.

Do commodores participate in strategic planning like admirals?

Commodores are more focused on operational leadership.

Is the rank of commodore used in modern navies?

Yes, but its use and status vary by country.

Is admiral a higher rank than commodore?

Yes, an admiral is higher than a commodore.

Do all navies use the rank of commodore?

No, not all navies use the rank; some have equivalent ranks.

Is admiral a permanent rank?

Yes, once appointed, it's a permanent rank.

Can a commodore be a temporary position?

Yes, sometimes it's a temporary command rank.

Can the title of commodore be honorary?

Yes, it can be an honorary title, such as in yacht clubs.

How is a commodore addressed?

A commodore is often addressed as "Commodore" or sometimes as "Captain."

Do admirals wear distinct insignia?

Yes, admirals have distinct rank insignia.

Does the role of a commodore differ between navies?

Yes, the role and importance of a commodore can vary.

Can commodores serve on the joint chiefs of staff?

It's less common than for admirals.

Is the title "admiral" used outside of the military?

It's rarely used outside of the military, with a few exceptions like the "admiral butterfly."

Are admirals only found in the navy?

Yes, admiral is a naval rank.

Do admirals command individual ships?

Admirals usually do not command individual ships but fleets.

What's a common duty for a commodore?

A common duty is commanding a group of vessels or a squadron.

Can women hold the rank of admiral or commodore?

Yes, women can hold these ranks in the navies that permit it.

How many stars does an admiral typically have?

An admiral in the U.S. Navy typically has four stars.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons