Lieutenant colonel (United States)

In the United States Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, lieutenant colonel is a field-grade officer rank, just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.

Lieutenant colonel
Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force garrison insignia of the rank of lieutenant colonel. Style and method of wear may vary between the services.
Country United States
Service branch
AbbreviationUS Army: LTC
USMC: LtCol
USAF: Lt Col
RankLieutenant colonel
NATO rank codeOF-4
Non-NATO rankO-5
Next higher rankColonel
Next lower rankMajor
Equivalent ranks
U.S. Army insignia of the rank of lieutenant colonel for the dress blue uniform.
U.S. Marine Corps insignia of the rank of lieutenant colonel as shown on the coat of winter uniform Alpha.
U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force insignia of the rank of lieutenant colonel as shown on the coat of the dress blue uniform.

The pay grade for the rank of lieutenant colonel is O-5. In the United States armed forces, the insignia for the rank are a silver oak leaf, with slight stylized differences between the version of the Army and the Air Force and that of the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Promotion to lieutenant colonel is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) of 1980, for officers in the Active Component, and its companion Reserve Officer Personnel Management Act (ROPMA), for officers in the Reserve Component (e.g., Reserve and National Guard). DOPMA guidelines suggest that 70 percent of majors be promoted to lieutenant colonel after serving at least three years at their present rank and after 15–17 years of cumulative commissioned service.