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Colonel is a high military officer title that is used in a variety of different nations. It is also used by a number of law enforcement agencies and paramilitary groups.

Historical precedent indicates that a colonel was normally in command of a regiment in an army throughout the 17thand 18th centuries. Currently, the phrase is used as an honorific title that may or may not have any direct connection to military service, depending on where you live. In most cases, the rank of colonel is higher than the rank of lieutenant colonel. The position immediately preceding colonel is often referred to as brigadier, brigade general, or brigadier general. When it comes to tiny militaries, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank available.

Captain and ship-of-the-line captain are two terms used to refer to equivalent naval positions. The corresponding position in the Commonwealth's air force is group captain, according to their ranking structure.