What Does XO Mean in the Military? (Detailed Explanation)

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

what does xo mean in the military

In the military, there is a different method of communicating. Men in uniforms use acronyms and words that have unique meanings.

One of these unfamiliar words is XO. Typically, the XO military acronym stands for the Detachment Executive Officer.

People, especially civilians, usually ponder about what does XO mean in the military. So, if you’re one of those who are eager to learn more about military languages, continue reading.

XO Meaning in Military

XO, for some, is defined as hugs and kisses. However, XO, as a military, is totally a different thing.

The XO military abbreviation stands for Detachment Executive officer or much known as the second-in-command officer. Sometimes, it is referred to as the commander.

The nature of the role may vary depending on the organization or branch. Usually, XO personnel handle administrative duties such as managing daily activities and assisting the commander.

Specific duties include the following;

  1. Passes pertinent data and information from the commander to the unit members and vice versa.
  2. Handles unit logistics and administrative duties such as inventory, supplies, payroll, and schedules.
  3. Ensures that unit members are well-trained.
  4. Can also make recommendations and handle some internal promotions.
  5. XO in the Marine

The executive officer fills an important role in the unit. As commander’s assistant, XO is in charge of logistics, administration and operations.

The executive officer responsibilities include staff supervision, chief trainer, mentor, and steward. Being the unit’s second in command, XO is expected to take place whenever the commanding officer is absent or incapable of doing his job.

1. XO in the Navy


Like the marine’s executive officer, the XO in the Navy is the direct representative of the commanding officer. His duty is to maintain the general efficiency of the ship.

At times, XO means Navy’s “captain-in-waiting”. As part of his obligation, it is important to ensure that the ship is cleared for action and investigate matters concerning the ship’s crew.

2. XO in the Army


The duty description of Army’s XO is still similar to the Navy and Marines’ XO. The executive officer army manages the day-to-day activities of the Army unit.

His tasks include administrative duties, logistics management, and training plans. Part of this also is making sure that the paperwork, such as payrolls, is completed on time.

3. XO in the Air Force


The XO meaning in Army, Marine, and Navy is somehow different when we talk about Air Force. XO in this branch does not stand for the second-in-command officer.

Instead, XO refers to the company grade or junior field grade officers who serve as administrative assistants to the senior officers. They are the ones who assist the commanding officers.

However, the Air Force still has its executive officer called “vice commander”. It is often the norm that most of Air Force commanders experienced being an XO at some point of their careers.

How Much Does an XO Get Paid?

The range of payment of any military branch may differ as it is based on two factors– rank and time in service.

The marine, army, air force, and XO navy salary depends on how long they have been in service and the XO military rank they belong to. There are also special allowances or payments that are given.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is XO higher than captain?

Captain is the one holding the highest rank in a ship. He is obliged to oversee all shipboard operations. While the executive officer or XO is usually labeled as the captain-in-waiting.

What naval rank is XO?

“Second-in-command”, this is what XO stands for in the navy. The naval Executive Officer is in charge of reporting to the Commanding Officer.

Why are commanders called XO?

Sometimes, XO is a way of calling the commander as he/she usually manages the day-to-day activities. Being the executive officer, they have been selected for command.


The military world has a lot to offer, including their mind-confusing language. Their words and acronyms have different meanings that are kinda unrelatable for civilians.

One of these acronyms that need further explanation is XO. Those who are new to military service or who are not completely part of it might wonder what does XO mean in the military.

To make it simple, XO means an executive officer or the second-in-command officer. If you want to learn more about the military, please let us know by sharing your thoughts with us.

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