A Brigadier General
, or one-star general
, is the lowest rank of general
officer in the United States
and some other countries, ranking just above Colonel
and just below Major General
. The rank is equivalent to the US Navy rank Rear Admiral
(lower half), formerly and still in many other navies known as Commodore
A brigadier general will generally command a brigade, although the rule does not seem to be strict.
In the Australian Imperial Force during World War I, the rank of Brigadier General was always temporary and held only while the officer was posted to a particular task, typically the command of a brigade. When posted elsewhere, the rank would be relinquished and the former rank resumed. This policy prevented an accumulation of high-ranking general officers brought about by the relatively high turnover of brigade commanders.
The rank of Brigadier General in the British Army was abolished in 1922 (for its insignia refer to General). It was replaced initially by the rank of Colonel Commandant and then in 1928 by the rank of Brigadier. The old name of Brigadier General has since been reintroduced in Canada and some other Commonwealth countries.
Strictly speaking a brigadier (in the British army) is the highest ranked field officer; hence the dropping of the word general from the rank, whereas a Brigadier General (in the American and other armies) is the lowest General rank. In NATO, both ranks and their roles are the same. The difference between field and general officers is how they command. A field officer is in direct control and contact with junior field officers and the troops in the field, while a General officer is in direct control and contact with senior field officers (e.g., colonels) rather than the junior officers and troops in the field.
In the Royal Air Force and many other airforces that do not use ranks based on those of the army, the equivalent rank is an Air Commodore.
In the Israeli Defense Forces a Brigadier General is called Tat Aluf and it is the third highest rank. It is followed by Aluf (Major General) and Rav Aluf (Lieutenant General) or General).
The modern day German rank of Brigadier General is known as Brigadegeneral. The concept of a Brigadier German General rank is relativly new, as prior to 1950 the first German General rank was known as Generalmajor.