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  • In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank immediately above the rank of lieutenant colonel and immediately below the rank of brigadier general. It is equivalent to the naval rank of captain in the other uniformed services, such as the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard and the commissioned corps of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and United States Public Health Service. The insignia of the rank of colonel, as seen on the right, is worn on the officer's left side. Promotion to colonel is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest 50% of lieutenant colonels should be promoted to colonel after serving a minimum of three years at their present rank and after attaining 21-23 years of cumulative commissioned service. The pay grade for the rank of colonel or naval captain in the United States is O-6.