The 30-year-old Schweinsteiger takes over from his Bayern Munich teammate, who is also 30 but stepped back from international soccer after winning the World Cup.
''Schweinsteiger has always taken on responsibility when he had to. I could always rely on him,'' said Germany coach Joachim Loew, who said the combative midfielder would remain captain for at least two years. ''He is very well respected in the team and among the coaching staff. His immense experience is also important.''
Schweinsteiger has made 108 appearances for Germany since his debut in a friendly against Hungary on June 6, 2004.
''We have developed a trusting relationship over many, many years,'' said Loew, who took over as coach following the 2006 World Cup after serving two years as Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant.
Schweinsteiger will miss Germany's next two games because of a lingering knee injury and Loew said goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will lead the side in Wednesday's friendly against Argentina.
Loew also named former Stuttgart coach Thomas Schneider as his new assistant to replace Hansi Flick, who gave up the position he held since 2006 to become the German football federation's sporting director.
The 41-year-old Schneider takes up the job in October and has a contract through the 2016 European Championship.
''I believe he's the right man for the position,'' Loew said.
Loew paid tribute to Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose for their services to German football. All retired after the World Cup.
''I'd have liked to keep working with the three of them,'' Loew said, ''but their stepping down now gives young players the chance to establish themselves in the team.''