As a generic mode of address, "commander" was appropriate to many military officers - almost anyone holding a distinct unit or ship command could be called "commander" in this way, although the commanding officers of capital ships usually preferred to be addressed as "Captain". Alongside this generic usage, "Commander" was also used as a specific rank, with several different meanings depending on the context.
- In many naval hierarchies, including those of the Old Republic, the Imperial Navy, the Rebel Alliance, the New Republic and the Galactic Alliance, a Commander ranked below a Captain.
- In Imperial Starfighter and Army units, a Commander apparently ranked between a Captain and a Major.
- In Rebel Alliance and New Republic Starfighter Command organizations, references exist to a rank of Commander, sometimes specifically Flight Commander or Wing Commander, covering at least one tier of the hierarchy between Captain and Colonel; by the time of the Galactic Alliance, these titles had apparently been replaced by Major and Lieutenant Colonel.
- The promotion of Commander Eldo Davip to Major General after the Battle of Borleias suggests that in some elements of the New Republic or Galactic Alliance military, a rank of Commander may replace Brigadier.
- In the GAR, the rank of Commander was borne by senior clone officers, and some Jedi, including many padawans.
- Among the Yuuzhan Vong, most warship captains and a few taskforce commanders bore a rank of Commander, and superior officers were known as Supreme Commanders.
- In the armed forces of the Chiss Ascendancy, variations on "Commander" were used as ranks or titles in a variety of different contexts. In the years before the Clone Wars, a frontier patrol group of the Expansionary Fleet could be commanded by an officer with the title of Force Commander, often simply styled "Commander" (Crahsystor in Cheunh). Much later, in c. 19–22 BBY, examples are also known of a Phalanx Commander leading a Household Phalanx and a Station Commander commanding a defense platform, while the title Cadet Commander was given to the senior cadet in a Chiss training squadron, who could also be addressed as "Lieutenant". By the time of the Swarm War in 37 ABY, the term "Commander" was used in Basic to translate the rank analogous to a naval Commander in the Galactic Alliance, one grade below Captain, but is not clear whether this usage corresponded to any of the earlier terminology.
- The title "Commander-in-Chief" was used by some civilian heads of state in their capacity as head of their government's military forces - for instance, the Chief of State of the Alliance to Restore the Republic was also, ex officio, Allied Forces Commander-in-Chief.
- The position of Supreme Commander was borne by very senior officers serving various regimes, including the Grand Admiral who was effectively the head of state of Imperial Space after 19 ABY.