A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces. Some country's commander-in-chief does not need to have been a soldier or involved in the military. The term was first used by King Charles I of England in 1639.
Commanders-in-Chief is sometimes referred to as Supreme Commander, which is sometimes used as a specific term.
United Kingdom change
The title Commander-in-Chief is rarely used by the King or Queen of England, but usually refers to local commanders-in-chief.
After independence from Britain on August 15, 1947, each Service was given its own Chief Commander (navy, army, airforce).
In Ireland, the commander-in-chief of the army is the President.
In Pakistan, the President is by law the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, however the elected Prime Minister has the real power.
Hong Kong change
When Hong Kong was a British colony the Governor was also the Commander-in-Chief of Hong Kong.
United States of America change
Commander-in-chief is one of the many roles given to the president of the United States
- Dupuy, Trevor N., Curt Johnson, and Grace P. Hayes. "Supreme Commander." Dictionary of Military Terms. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1986.
- Address by HE the Rt Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, on the occasion of the graduation of course no. 27/83 of the Joint Services Staff College, Canberra, on Tuesday, 12 June 1983: The Governor-General as Commander-in-Chief[permanent dead link]