In Armored Warfare, Commanders are a special type crew member who progress differently than the rest of the crew, and each commander come with their own sets of skills and specialty.
The player starts off with Philipp Holzklau and Sabrina Washington already unlocked. More Commanders can be unlocked via vehicle progression. There are also Commanders who can only be acquired by purchasing from online shop, participating in events or Battle Paths, or are no longer available due to exclusivity.
With the exception of Olivia Bouchard and Jorge Alvarez, Commanders earn Commander Experience (also known as Commander XP) by participating PVE or PVP battles in vehicles that they crew. Earning enough Commander XP will make a commander eligible for promotion to a higher rank. The rank promotion is not automatic at first; each commander has to be promoted manually on the Commanders screen in Garage.
It is also possible to convert Reputation into Commander Experience, or purchase a set amount of Commander Experience for Gold, but both options are only available for Commanders with total accumulated Commander Experience up to the equivalence of Lieutenant (Rank 10).
All Commanders can progress independently up to the rank of Lieutenant (Rank 10). Once a commander reaches Lieutenant, however, a system called Chain of Command dictates the requirement of further promotions up to Colonel (Rank 15). Commanders between Rank 10 and Rank 14 can only promote if there is at least one other Commander available at the same rank, hence forming a ladder of ranks. In other words, in order to unlock Rank 11, players will have to own at least two Rank 10 Commanders. To unlock Rank 12, players will have to own at least two Rank 11 Commanders and so on.
When two Commanders reach the rank of Colonel, the Chain of Command restriction no longer applies, and all other Commanders can progress independently to the top rank. Rank promotions will also become automatic.
A Commander's skills are organized into a Skill Field - a grid containing a variety of skill slots and empty spaces. Most commanders start with one basic skill already unlocked, which becomes more powerful as the Commander progresses up the rank. Upon every promotion, a commander receives a skill point that can be used to unlock new skill slots, but only those adjacent to already unlocked spaces can be unlocked. The goal is to configure skills by making a path through the field the way suited best for the player's own play style.