Is there a general term for a military officer serving "on loan", so to speak, with another military branch or another nation's military forces?

As an example, say that country A and country B are conducting a joint military exercise, and one of A's officers joins one of B's units to facilitate communication or offer advice.

Another example would be the installation of Soviet "military advisors" in communist countries that commonly occurred during the Cold War.

  • In the US it's generally "military adviser" (a la Iraq), and said person is not generally under the command of the foreign army. The only other circumstance for this would be UN military missions, and I don't know what terms the US uses for those.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 30, 2016 at 1:59
  • 2
    Would this not be a military liaison?
    – Tim Ward
    Jan 30, 2016 at 2:02
  • "Military advisor", at least for people who grew up during the Cold War, comes with a strong connotation of independent authority, so I'm looking for a somewhat more general term. Jan 30, 2016 at 2:08

3 Answers 3


seconded; See secondment at In Brief. Helping with Life's Legal Issues

The term secondment covers the situation whereby an employee or a group of employees is assigned on a temporary basis to work for another organisation or a different part of the organisation of their current employer

This source is from the UK.

In British English, one might say, for example: ""Major Brooks was seconded to the U.S. paratroopers because of his knowledge of the terrain."

  • It's not a term I've heard in the US. But then we've not had the situation of large numbers of US troops under foreign (or UN) control since the Korean War, if even that counts.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 30, 2016 at 2:13
  • @Hot Licks It is a British English term mainly, maybe exclusively. An officer can be seconded within the British armed services from one regiment (division, whatever) to another. (I'm not a Brit, but I read a lot of British fiction.)
    – ab2
    Jan 30, 2016 at 2:55
  • I'd come across it before ( < in Josh's answer, e.g.) but I didn't know what it meant.
    – Mazura
    Jan 30, 2016 at 3:46

A detachment.

a : the dispatch of a body of troops or part of a fleet from the main body for a special mission or service –MW

2 . Military: a group of troops, aircraft, or ships sent away on a separate mission –Google

Nearly two decades after the change in branches, he was part of a Psychological Operations detachment out of Fort Bragg, NC that was serving in Pakistan.fallenheroesproject.org


A Soviet overlord.

a person of great power or authority –Google

When [willing cooperation of the population] is lacking, local regimes and the Soviet overlords face agonizing choices. –Soviet Policy in Eastern Europe, Google Books

I'd hesitate to denote a Soviet overload as "serving with". More like, under the thumb of.

  • How is this an inappropriate interpretation of the second example?
    – Mazura
    Jan 30, 2016 at 3:03

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