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The Covenant Military are the armed forces branch of the Covenant Empire, incorporating the Covenant Navy, Covenant Army, and Covenant Special Operations divisions. It maintains the largest military force in the known Milky Way galaxy. Their technology was far more advanced than that of the United Nations Space Command, due to their adoption of Forerunner technology. The United Nations Space Command soon adopted Forerunner technology as well, making their tech superior to that of the Covenant. The Council of Deed and Doctrine is the governing force behind the Covenant military and aids the Hierarchs with military tactics and strategy. During major engagements the Council of Deed and Doctrine creates a Council of Masters to directly oversee the operation. The majority of the Covenant utilizes a caste type ranking system based on the color and type of armor worn for Sangheili, Mgalekgolo and Unggoy, shield color for Kig-Yar, accessories for Jiralhanae, and weapons carried by the Yanme'e. There is only one species within the Covenant that has no known ranking system, the Huragok. The San'Shyuum are part of the Covenant religious caste and so have their own ranking system.
In the early centuries of the Covenant, the Writ of Union established Sangheili personnel as the sole military force, with the San'Shyuum having little part in its day-to-day operation. As the Covenant conquered and assimilated various new species, members of each race were incorporated into the Covenant military to perform different functions, adding their own unique advantages and disadvantages.
The Covenant military lies under the jurisdiction of the High Council., formerly composed of Sangheili and San'Shyuum High Councilors who oversaw the operation of the military. With the Great Schism and the attack on High Charity by the Flood, it is unknown whether the High Council remains at all. However, with the Sangheili departure from the Covenant military, it is likely that the Hierarchs took direct control over the military.
- Sangheili - former dominant military caste prior to the Great Schism
- Jiralhanae - current dominant military caste
- Mgalekgolo - personal guards for Ship Masters, shock infantry, heavy weapons platforms
- Yanme'e - recent additions, airborne infantry, combat engineers
- Kig-Yar - scouts/snipers, police force
- Unggoy - majority of infantry, "cannon-fodder"
- Huragok - combat engineers, medics, and, in Halo 3: ODST, suicide bombers
- Navy - responsible for the coordination of the Covenant's numerous fleets and naval personnel. Primarily staffed by Sangheili with Unggoy, Yanme'e, and Huragok maintenance staff. After the Great Schism, the Hierarchs have taken direct control over Covenant military operations.
- Army - responsible for most ground-based combat operations, incorporating most of the Covenant's client races. Mostly comprised of Unggoy, Yanme'e, and Kig-Yar infantry, with Sangheili or Jiralhanae officers.
- Special Warfare Group - responsible for small-scale, high-priority high-risk operations against specific points of interest. Organizations with this group included Special Operations and Fleet Security. Its status after the Great Schism is unknown.