Autobots’ Military Structure
For Generation One, at least. The Autobots do seem to follow a strict military structure. With references to officers, special operations units, intelligence, as well as various specialist in their fields.
I am going to attempt to explain how this structure works and how many of the top ranking Autobots fall into and their actual positions other than the generic “officer” title.
Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.
Enlisted personnel: E1 - E6
These would be your more basic soldiers. You’re “frontliner” if you will. These are the ranks where most of the grunt work comes from. They often have no say in the command they are assigned and are strictly there to follow orders and do their job. Not to say there is no authority within these position, but they are the most common.
E1s are the fresh from bootcamp soldiers. Which Grimlock and his team would be. Making them the lowest ranking Autobots right next to the Aerialbots. Though with their own unique cybertronian military structure, the Aerialbots’ gestalt leader would likely have been advanced to that of an E6, without the usual preamble of time in rank and qualification tests. Same with the Dinobots’ Grimlock. As an E6 is typically put in charge of small groups, squadrons or units. One step below and actual Chief/Gunnery Sargeant. Which we will get to next.
Enlisted personnel: E7 - E9
These are your Chiefs/First Sergeants/Master Gunnery Sergeant/Marines have too many names for the same rank. They are held in high regard and are positions of authority. They are often tasked with the real work of the . Making decisions and commanding the army on a more personal level than that of an officer. They take a direct role with the lower enlisted personnel.
It also explains why a seasoned veteran like Kup would take direction from someone as seemingly inexperienced as Hot Rod. As while a Master Chief/Master Gunnery Sergeant ( E9 ) is one of the most respected and revered of ranks. As they are titles earned by only the best of the best and only after putting in many, many years of service. Even a fresh to the service Ensign would outrank him. As all officers outranks all enlisted personnel regardless of time spent serving.
Also, yes Bumblebee is a Chief.
Warrant Officers: W1 - W5
Warrant officers are rare, as it it more difficult to become a Warrant Officer than any other rank. Barring that of the highest officer ranks. They do not hold actual sway over the direction the army goes unless it pertains to their own specialization. Within the army itself, Warrant Officers are highly respected and revered for their skill.
They are subject experts in their chosen field. No one knows more than they do about their particular topic. With Ironhide, it would be weapons. Meaning he is the point of reference for all things involving weaponry within the Autobot army. The same would be for Wheeljack within the scientific side of the war effort. Blaster for communications, etc. This explains that while they obviously hold authority and their opinions are so highly regarded by the Prime. While they don’t hold an actual command over the army as a whole. Though this does vary for cybertronians. As Ironhide has been placed in charge due to the high death rate of the Autobot army officers and there being a lack of qualified officers to fill a command role.
Officers: O1 - O4
These would be the Junior Officers. Your Ensigns to your Lieutenant Commanders. Not much experience is needed for theses ranks and they joined by way of contract and specialized schooling. This is not to say those who have these ranks are to be disrespected. They hold authority over even the most senior of enlisted soldiers. They also can be appointed positions of higher authority than their rank would typically allow. Depending on skill set and how they present themselves as an asset to the command they are assigned.
Officers: O5 - O6
Your Captains and Commanders. Captain does not automatically mean they are in charge of a ship. They hold that capability, but do not always act as the XO (Executive Officer) of a vessel. These are the second rarest next to Warrant Officers. Usually, they are the highest ranking at a command. With the exception of a Flag Ship, which the Ark arguably is. The hold the utmost Authority over a command. With Ratchet this would be the medbay of the Ark. Though with within the medical field reaching such a high rank is rare, meaning he would be the point of contact and set standards as far as all medbays within the army are to uphold.
Officers: O7 - O11
The leaders. Admirals. Though with cybertronian variants of the term. They take ultimate responsibility over the entire army. Their orders are not questioned and their authority absolute. With Fleet Admiral (O11) being the rank of Prime. Giving Optimus Prime a special kind of authority, though only during times of war. Where their call is the ultimate call, even over other Admiral’s.
Elita-1 would be a Four Star Admiral. Giving her command over the war effort still ongoing on Cybertron. Then there is Prowl and Jazz, who fall in the middle. With Prowl being a three star and Jazz either two or one. This would make them report and be accountable to none other except Optimus Prime, as they are part of the Ark crew and the command on earth. However were they to be reassigned to Cybertron, it would still be Optimus Prime, but also Elita-1 right after him.
Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen: S.W.C.C
The all-stars. Especially the Wreckers, which could be equated to that of a Navy Seal. So when they have the lower ranked bots excited for the Wreckers, treating them like celebrities. It’s actually a fairly accurate representation. These are the soldiers with the strongest wills and best skill sets to carry out a mission. They still have to adhere to rank, same as the enlisted soldiers, but they are given their own specific commander. And when an enlisted soldier meets one, even if it’s only for a few minutes, it’s all that soldier will talk about for the next several weeks. (Not an exaggeration)
Then you have the HUMINT agents, the ones who gather the intelligence and spy. Though the army wouldn’t actually call it spying. Though they cybertronian equivalent would likely be called CYBINT. As this stands for cybertronian intelligence gathering. Meaning they get up close and personal with the enemy. Their identities are often not known. Though even an agent with a blown cover can still be useful. Especially if they have the unique ability to become invisible or create holograms.
Now, if there are any questions regarding this, mun is free to answer them. This wasn’t overly detailed, as there are special nuances to each rank, within that rank. Such as rates. Which seem cybertronians seem to differentiate from conventional norms on that front. There is no “science” rate. Though the officer’s positions being mostly political outside times of war they got spot on.