At its formation in 1949, the Ceylon Army adopted the rank structures of the British Army.
The highest rank in the Sri Lanka Army is Field Marshal, though the rank has no appointment in the army, it was first awarded in 2015 as an honorary rank to Sarath Fonseka for his war time service, the rank has been awarded for his whole life.
The highest rank of a serving officer is that of Lieutenant General (three-star rank) which is held by the Commander of the Army. The rank of full general (four-star rank) is given to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), it is also awarded to the Commander of the Army on the day of his retirement (if the CDS is not appointed from the army). Commanders of the Army since the late 1980s have held the rank of lieutenant general with the exception of Sarath Fonseka and Shavendra Silva who were promoted to full generals while serving as commanders of the army, on the other hand, Shavendra Silva got the duty of the Chief of Defence Staff simultaneously holding the appointment of commander of the army.
|Rank group||General/flag officers||Field/senior officers||Junior officers||Officer cadet|
| Sri Lanka Army
|Field marshal||General||Lieutenant general||Major general||Brigadier||Colonel||Lieutenant colonel||Major||Captain||Lieutenant||Second lieutenant||Officer cadet|
|Rank group||Senior NCOs||Junior NCOs||Enlisted|
| Sri Lanka Army
|Warrant officer class I||Warrant officer class II||Staff sergeant||Sergeant||Corporal/
Retired officer's rankEdit
An officer of or above rank of captain when retired from service, may retain his/her rank and indicate that he/she is a retired officer with the use of the abbreviation (Rtd) immediately after his/her name.
- "General Sarath Fonseka promoted Field Marshal". ft.lk. 20 March 2015.
- "Three Service Commanders promoted". The Government of Sri Lanka. 19 May 2009. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
- Lahiru Pothmulla (28 December 2020). "Shavendra Silva promoted to the rank of General". themorning.lk.
- "Dress Regulation PDF - Part I" (PDF). army.lk. Sri Lanka Army. January 2019. pp. 10-4–10-11. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
- "Other Ranks". army.lk. Sri Lanka Army. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
- "Download Officers Service Regulation PDF". army.lk. Sri Lanka Army. Retrieved 28 May 2021.