Commissioned ranks

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Commissions and warrants were documents that developed as feudal armies in Europe evolved into modern armies. The "commission" would be a document, signed by a ruling king, or ruling prince, that would lay out the responsibilities and authority of the individual to whom it was addressed.

The responsibilities and authority of "warrant officers" were also laid out in documents -- the "warrants" -- but those documents would be issued by a board or agency, not directly from the sovereign. For instance, Surgeons and Sailing Masters in the Royal Navy were warrant officers whose warrants were issued by professional bodies, and those warrants implied their technical competence had been evaluated and endorsed, prior to receiving their warrant.

See also