- Military organization
Military organization is the structuring of the armed forces of a state so as to offer military capability required by the national defence policy. In some countries paramilitary forces are included in a nation's armed forces. Armed forces that are not a part of military or paramilitary organizations, such as insurgent forces, often mimic military organizations, or use ad hoc structures.
Military organization is hierarchical. The use of formalized ranks in a hierarchical structure came into widespread use with the Roman Army. In modern times, executive control, management and administration of military organizations is typically undertaken by the government through a government department within the structure of public administration, often known as a Department of Defense, Department of War, or Ministry of Defence. These in turn manage Armed Services that themselves command combat, combat support and service support formations and units.
Executive control, management and administration of military organizations
The usually civilian or partly civilian executive control over the national military organization is exercised in democracies by an elected political leader as a member of the government's Cabinet, usually known as a Minister of Defence. (In presidential systems, such as the United States, the president is the commander-in-chief, and the cabinet-level defense minister is second in command.) Subordinated to that position are often Secretaries for specific major operational divisions of the armed forces as a whole, such as those that provide general support services to the Armed Services, including their dependants.
Then there are the heads of specific departmental agencies responsible for the provision and management of specific skill- and knowledge-based service such as Strategy advice, Capability Development assessment, or Defence Science provision of research, and design and development of technologies. Within each departmental agency will be found administrative branches responsible for further agency business specialization work.
In most countries the armed forces are divided into three or four Armed Services (also called branches): an army, a navy, and an air force. Gendarmeries (including equivalents such as Internal Troops, Paramilitary Forces, etc.) are an internal security service common in most of the world but are uncommon in Anglo-Saxon countries. In fact in the United States the armed forces are prohibited from enforcing the law.
Many countries have a variation on the standard model of three or four basic Armed Services. Some nations also organize their marines, special forces or strategic missile forces as independent armed services. A nation's coast guard may also be an independent armed service of its military, although in many nations the coast guard is a law enforcement or civil agency. A number of countries have no navy, for geographical reasons, and some other variations include:
- Brazil: Army, Navy, Air Force
- Canada: Army, Navy, Air Force
- Chile: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police
- Egypt: Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense
- Germany: Army, Navy, Air Force, Joint Support Service, Joint Medical Services
- Hungary: Army, Air Force
- India: Army, Navy, Air Force, Strategic Missile Force, Coast Guard, Paramilitary Forces
- Italy: Army, Navy, Air Force, Military Police
- Poland: Army, Navy, Air Force, Special Forces
- People's Republic of China: Army, Navy, Air Force, Strategic Missile Force
- South Africa: Army, Navy, Air Force, Military Health Service
- The Netherlands: Army, Navy, Air Force, Military Police
- United States: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard
- Venezuela: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, National Militia
- Vietnam: Army, Navy, Air Force, Border Guard, Coast Guard, Air Defense, Police Force, Militia
In larger armed forces the culture between the different Armed Services of the armed forces can be quite different.
Most smaller countries have a single organization that encompasses all armed forces employed by the country in question. Third-world armies tend to consist primarily of infantry, while first-world armies tend to have larger units manning expensive equipment and only a fraction of personnel in infantry units.
It is worthwhile to make mention of the term joint. In western militaries, a joint force is defined as a unit or formation comprising representation of combat power from two or more branches of the military.
Commands, formations, and units
It is common, at least in the European and North American militaries, to refer to the building blocks of a military as commands, formations and units.
In a military context, a command is a collection of units and formations under the control of a single officer. Although during the Second World War a Command was also a name given to a battle group in the US Army, in general it is an administrative and executive strategic headquarters which is responsible to the national government or the national military headquarters. It is not uncommon for a nation's services to each consist of their own command (such as Land Force Command, Air Command, and Maritime Command in the Canadian Forces), but this does not preclude the existence of commands which are not service-based.
A formation is a composite military organization that includes a mixture of integrated and operationally attached sub-units, and is usually combat-capable. A formation is defined by the US Department of Defense as 'two or more aircraft, ships, or units proceeding together under a commander.' The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a formation as an 'arrangement or disposition of troops.' Formations include brigades, divisions, wings, etc.
A typical unit is a homogeneous military organization, either combat, combat support or non-combat in capability, that includes service personnel predominantly from a single Arm of Service, or a Branch of Service, and its administrative and command functions are integrated (self-contained). Anything smaller than a unit is considered a "sub-unit" or "minor unit".
Different armed forces, and even different branches of service of the armed forces may use the same name to denote different types of organizations. An example is the "squadron". In most navies a squadron is a formation of several ships; in most air forces it is a unit; in the U.S. Army it is a battalion-sized cavalry unit; and in Commonwealth armies a squadron is a company-sized sub-unit.
Table of organization and equipment
A table of organization and equipment (TOE or TO&E) is a document published by the U.S. Army Force Management Support Agency which prescribes the organization, manning, and equippage of units from divisional size and down, but also including the headquarters of Corps and Armies.
It also provides information on the mission and capabilities of a unit as well as the unit's current status. A general TOE is applicable to a type of unit (for instance, infantry) rather than a specific unit (the 3rd Infantry Division). In this way, all units of the same branch (such as Infantry) follow the same structural guidelines.
Hierarchy of modern armiesMilitary Units
The following table gives an overview of some of the terms used to describe army hierarchy in armed forces across the world. Whilst it is recognized that there are differences between armies of different nations, many are modeled on the British or American models, or both. However, many military units and formations go back in history for a long time, and were devised by various military thinkers throughout European history.
For example, Corps were first introduced in France in the 18th century, but have become integrated into the organization of most armies around the world. Readers interested in the detailed specifics of a national army (including the British and American) should consult the relevant entry for that country.
APP-6A Symbol Name Strength Constituent units Commander or leader XXXXXX region, theater 1,000,000–10,000,000 4+ army groups general, army general, five-star general or field marshal XXXXX army group, front 400,000–1,000,000 2+ armies general, army general, five-star general or field marshal XXXX army 80,000–200,000 2–4 corps general, army general, four-star general or colonel general XXX corps 20,000–45,000 2+ divisions lieutenant general, corps general or three-star general XX division 10,000–15,000 2–4 brigades or regiments major general, divisional general or two-star general X brigade 3,000–5,000 2+ regiments, 3–6 battalions or Commonwealth regiments brigadier general, brigade general, or one-star general (sometimes colonel) III regiment or group 3,000–5,000 2+ battalions or U.S. Cavalry squadrons colonel II infantry battalion, U.S. Cavalry squadron, Commonwealth armoured regiment or Argentine Army regiment/artillery group/battalion 300–1,300 2–6 companies, batteries, U.S. Cavalry troops, or Commonwealth squadrons, Argentine squadrons/companies lieutenant colonel I infantry company, artillery battery, U.S. Cavalry troop, or Commonwealth armour or combat engineering squadron 80–225 2–8 platoons or Commonwealth troops chief warrant officer, captain or major ••• platoon or Commonwealth troop 26–55 2+ squads, sections, or vehicles warrant officer, first or second lieutenant •• section or patrol 8–13 2+ fireteams corporal to sergeant • squad or crew 8–13 2+ fireteams or 1+ cell corporal to staff sergeant Ø fireteam 4 n/a lance corporal to sergeant Ø fire and maneuver team 2 n/a any/private first class
Rungs may be skipped in this ladder: for example, typically NATO forces skip from battalion to brigade. Likewise, only large military powers may have organizations at the top levels and different armies and countries may also use traditional names, creating considerable confusion: for example, a British or Canadian armored regiment (battalion) is divided into squadrons (companies) and troops (platoons), whereas an American cavalry squadron (battalion) is divided into troops (companies) and platoons.
Army, army group, region, and theatre are all large formations that vary significantly between armed forces in size and hierarchy position. While divisions were the traditional level at which support elements (field artillery, hospital, logistics and maintenance, etc.) were added to the unit structure, since World War II, many brigades now have such support units, and since the 1980s, regiments also have been receiving support elements. A regiment with such support elements is called a regimental combat team in US military parlance, or a battle group in the UK and other forces.
During World War II the Red Army used the same basic organizational structure. However, in the beginning many units were greatly underpowered and their size was actually one level below on the ladder than usually used elsewhere; for example, a division in the early-WWII Red Army would have been about the size of most nations' regiments or brigades.  At the top of the ladder, what other nations would call an army group, the Red Army called a front. By contrast, during the same period the German Wehrmacht Army Groups, particularly on the Eastern Front, such as Army Group Centre significantly exceeded the above numbers, and were more cognate with the Soviet Strategic Directions.
Naval organization at the flotilla level and higher is less commonly abided by, as ships operate in smaller or larger groups in various situations that may change at a moment's notice. However there is some common terminology used throughout navies to communicate the general concept of how many vessels might be in a unit.
Navies are generally organized into groups for a specific purpose, usually strategic, and these organizational groupings appear and disappear frequently based on the conditions and demands placed upon a navy. This contrasts with army organization where units remain static, with the same men and equipment, over long periods of time.
Unit Name Vessel types No. of Vessels Officer in command Navy or Admiralty All vessels in a navy 2+ Fleets Fleet Admiral or Admiral of the Fleet or Grand Admiral Fleet All vessels in an ocean or general region 2+ Battle Fleets or Task Forces Admiral Battle Fleet or Task Force A large number of vessels of all types 2+ Task Groups Vice Admiral Task Group A collection of complementary vessels 2+ Task Units or Squadrons Rear Admiral (upper half) or Rear Admiral Squadron (naval) or Task Unit Usually capital ships A small number of vessels Rear Admiral (lower half), Commodore, or Flotilla Admiral Flotilla or Task Unit Usually not capital ships A small number of vessels, usually of the same or similar types Rear Admiral (lower half), Commodore, or Flotilla Admiral Task Element A single vessel One Captain or Commander
Auxiliary ships are usually commanded by officers below the rank of captain. These vessels include corvettes, gunboats, minesweepers, patrol boats, military riverine craft, tenders and torpedo boats. Some destroyers, particularly smaller destroyers such as frigates (formerly known as destroyer escorts) are commanded by officers below the rank of captain as well. Usually, the smaller the vessel, the lower the rank of the ship's commander. For example, patrol boats are often commanded by ensigns, while frigates are rarely commanded by an officer below the rank of commander.
Historical navies were far more rigid in structure. Ships were collected in divisions, which in turn were collected in numbered squadrons, which comprised a numbered fleet. Permission for a vessel to leave one unit and join another would have to be approved on paper.
Additionally, Naval organization continues aboard a single ship. The complement forms three or four departments, each of which has a number of divisions.
Hierarchy of air forces
The organizational structures of air forces vary between nations: some air forces (such as the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force) are divided into commands, groups and squadrons; others (such as the Soviet Air Force) have an Army-style organizational structure. The modern Canadian Forces Air Command uses Air Division[disambiguation needed ] as the formation between wings and the entire air command. Like the RAF, Canadian wings consist of squadrons.
Symbol (for Army structure comparison) Unit Name (USAF/RAF) No. of personnel No. of aircraft No. of subordinate units (USAF/RAF) Officer in command (USAF/RAF) XXXXXX + Air Force/ Russian Air army Entire air force Entire air force All Major Commands / Commands Gen / MRAF or Air Chf Mshl XXXXX Major Command / Command or Tactical Air Force / Russian aviation corps Varies Varies By Region or Duty (subordinate units varies) Gen / Air Chf Mshl or Air Mshl XX Numbered Air Force / No RAF Equivalent / Aviation Division By Region (subordinate units varies) Varies 2+ Wing / Groups Maj-Gen / N/A X Wing / Group (inc. EAGs) / Russian aviation regiments 1,000–5000 48–100 2+ Groups / Wings Brig-Gen / AVM or Air Cdre III Group / Wing (inc. EAWs) or Station 300–1,000 17–48 3–10 Squadrons / 3–4 Squadrons Col / Gp Capt or Wg Cdr II Squadron 100–300 7–16 3–4 Flights Lt Col or Maj / Wg Cdr or Sqn Ldr ••• Flight 20–100 4–6 2 Sections plus maintenance and support crew Capt / Sqn Ldr or Flt Lt •• Element or Section 5–20 n/a Junior Officer or Senior NCO • Detail 2–4 n/a Junior NCO
Military Task Force
A Task Force is a unit or formation created as a temporary grouping for a specific operational purpose. Aside from administrative hierarchical forms of organization that have evolved since the early 17th century in Europe, fighting forces have been grouped for specific operational purposes into mission-related organizations such as the German Kampfgruppe or the U.S. Combat Team (Army) and Task Force (Navy) during the Second World War, or the Soviet Operational manoeuvre group during the Cold War. In the British and Commonwealth armies the battlegroup became the usual grouping of companies during WWII and the Cold War.
Within NATO, a Joint Task Force (JTF) would be such a temporary grouping that includes elements from more than one armed service, a Combined Task Force (CTF) would be such a temporary grouping that includes elements from more than one nation, and a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) would be such a temporary grouping that includes elements of more than one armed service and more than one nation.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Military organization (BattleTech) — Contents 1 Inner Sphere House Unit Organization 1.1 Mercenary Military Unit Organization 1.1.1 Infantry … Wikipedia
Military Organization Lizard Union — Part of a series on the … Wikipedia
Case of Trotskyist Anti-Soviet Military Organization — The Case of Trotskyist Anti Soviet Military Organization ( ru. дело троцкистской антисоветской военной организации or дело антисоветской троцкистской военной организации ) was a 1937 trial of high commanders of the Red Army, also known as Case of … Wikipedia
Political Military Organization — The Political Military Organization (OPM) was a clandestine movement created in Paraguay in the mid 70’s to fight General Alfredo Stroessner’s dictatorship. It was the most serious attempt of creating an armed resistance to the dictator’s… … Wikipedia
Jewish Military Organization — The Jewish Military Organization was an outgrowth of the Betar movement in Nazi occupied eastern Europe. After Menahem Begin fled to Soviet Union territory, Jewish veterans of the Polish Army and the National Military Organisation networked with… … Wikipedia
National Military Organization — Part of a series on the … Wikipedia
Polish Military Organization of Upper Silesia — Polish Military Organization of the Upper Silesia ( pl. Polska Organizacja Wojskowa Górnego Śląska) was a secret military organization formed in February 1919 in Upper Silesia. It was involved in the three Silesian Uprisings, although officially… … Wikipedia
Ukrainian Military Organization — The Ukrainian Military Organization ( uk. Українська Військова Організація, UVO) was a Ukrainian resistance and sabotage movement active in Poland s Eastern Lesser Poland during the years between the world wars. Initially headed by Yevhen… … Wikipedia
National Military Organization — See Irgun (Irgun Tzvai Leumi; Etzel) … Historical Dictionary of Israel
National Military Organization — Etzel, underground militant group which fought for an independent Jewish state in Israel during the time of the British Mandate … English contemporary dictionary