Red is a short man who wears an eye patch on his right eye (red in the manga and black in the anime), a black suit, large hair (white in the manga and ginger in the anime).
Commander Red is shown to be a terrible leader of the Red Ribbon Army, yet also a very ruthless one as well. He often abuses his minions, and enjoys insulting Assistant Black. Red is also very cold, willingly kills off his minions for his selfish goals and for petty reasons, even implying that he often sends his cat after his soliders in order to test their speed. It's eventually revealed that he only wants to become taller instead of ruling the world, which further highlights his pettiness.
Coming from a wealthy family, Red had a complex of inferiority because of him being a midget. He was always picked on when a kid, and the girls disliked him, and because of this he always hated hanging around people taller than him.
He then decided to find the Dragon Balls and wish to Shenlong to become taller. Using his vast resources, he built a military-styled crime organization called the Red Ribbon Army, complete with skilled soldiers, advanced armament and technology.
Searching for the Dragon Balls
Everyone believed he wanted the Dragon Balls to conquer the world, especially his right-hand man, Assistant Black. He commanded his soldiers from his headquarters, while they were searching for the balls. However, things did not go as he planned, as Son Goku started to beat all of his officers to retrieve the Dragon Balls, since he was looking for the four-star ball. When things got out of control, he hired Tao Pai Pai to kill the boy, but even he was defeated. In order to retrieve the remaining balls to revive Bora and get revenge on the army for their role in his death, Goku attacked the Red Ribbon HQ in a frontal assault.
Desperately, with the Red Ribbon falling completely, Red accidentally reveals to Black his true intentions, that he wanted to become taller and that world domination was just a matter of time. Black gets furious with Red and pleads that the army had done so much that it was not worth it.
But Red refused to listen, and goes as far as to mock his assistant for being a mere lackey, so Black proceeded to shoot his former boss in the head, killing him and assuming control of the fallen organization. Black then procceds to attempt to kill Goku before dying himself after nearly destroying an entire city in the process.
Dragon Ball Online
In the video game Dragon Ball Online, Commander Red is revealed to be alive, having been resurrected as Android 9.
Heh heh. So he's right there in our master thief's hometown. How unfortunate.
I don't pay ya ta guess, now do I? Your second-rate speculations won't get me the Dragon Balls.
General Blue is a brilliant tactician. I'm supposedly surrounded by the best minds of every conceivable industry, yet I'm still chasin' a child for what should've been in my possession months ago!
~ Red about General Blue.
Ya know how it works around here. Those who cannot achieve results are punished. And severely.
~ Red to General Blue.
I've told ye before! An underling should never look down at his leader!
~ Commander Red to Assistant Black.
You blasted morons! You're all about as useful as snow shoes in summer!
~ Commander Red angry.
Idiots! Hundreds of trained professionals and they can't even handle one child! (Assistant Black: But sir. The kid does display extraordinary powers.) I can see that! I'm only missing one eye! I don't need you to point out the obvious, you imbecile! (Assistant Black: Yes, sir.) If you had trained those men properly in the first place, we wouldn't be having this problem!
~ Red's villainous breakdown.
(Assistant Black: Commander, it looks as though the rest of the soldiers are evacuating as well.) What!? This isn't a Democracy! Get them back here!
~ Red and Assistant Black.
Maybe you don't believe this army is unstoppable, but I'd bet my life on it!
I am the Red Ribbon Army! What's good for me is good for everyone and I want to be taller! All my life, I've drawn the short straw; I've had to contend with being a mere pebble in a land of giants. It is the curse of my existence. You couldn't possibly understand what it's like; the nightmare of being a genius, yet trapped inside this ugly little body!
What’s really eating you is there’s no commander in front of your name, and there never will be! You want to know why? Because your small time. You’re just a lackey! My errand boy, and your age is PATHETIC!
~ Commander Red’s last words before he was killed by Assistant Black.
In the first few episodes of the Red Ribbon Army Saga, Red's face was not shown, and his hand is seen petting his cat. This is obviously a reference to the James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
In the Great Saiyaman Saga of Dragon Ball Z, a director is seen looks exactly like Commander Red, only without an eyepatch. While it is obviously reused design for filler purposes, it is unknown if those two characters has any in-universe connection.
A running gag throughout Dragon Ball is how whenever he is not watching the radar he is playing some sort of game to show how "good of a leader he is."
Out of all of the villains of Dragon Ball (major and minor), Commander Red is the only one as of yet who isn't confronted by Goku (though he is aware of Goku's existence, and Goku might have a vague idea about who he is).