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Encyclopedia > Military organization

The armed forces of a state are its government-sponsored defense and fighting forces and organizations used to further the objectives of the state. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body. In some countries paramilitary forces are included in a nation's armed forces. For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ... A paramilitary organization is a group of civilians trained and organized in a military fashion. ...


In democracies and most other government types, the armed forces are typically linked to the government through a civilian government department. These may be known as a Department of Defense, Department of War, or Ministry of Defence. The United States Department of Defense, abbreviated DoD or DOD and sometimes called the Defense Department, is a civilian Cabinet organization of the United States government. ... The United States Department of War was the military department of the United States governments executive branch from 1789 until 1949, when it became part of the United States Department of Defense. ... This articles deals with the British ministry, see defence minister for other countries. ...

Contents

Services

The military is divided into several services (also called branches). The three most common are armies, navies, and air forces. Some nations also organize their marines and their special forces as independent services. A nation's coast guard may also be an independent branch of its military (though in many nations the coast guard is actually a law enforcement or civil agency). The French military structure, which is copied in other nations, includes the three traditional services and a fourth service which is the Gendarmerie. The former Soviet Union organized the Strategic Rocket Forces as a separate branch (Raketnye Vojska Strategicheskogo Naznachneiya) and the Russian government has continued that organization. An army comprises all of a nations land-based military forces or a specific large military force. ... Navy is also:- shorthand for Navy Blue the nickname of the United States Naval Academy A navy is the branch of the armed forces of a nation that operates primarily on water. ... An air force, in some countries called an air army, is a military or armed service that primarily conducts aerial warfare. ... France Marines is the name of a commune in the département of Val dOise, France. ... Special Forces (SF) or Special Operations Forces (SOF) are highly-trained military units that conduct specialized operations such as reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, and counter-terrorism actions. ... A coast guard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. ... For the band, see The Police. ... A gendarmerie or gendarmery (pronounced ) is a military body charged with police duties among civilian populations. ...


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. Joint warfare is a military doctrine which places priority on the integration of the various service branches of a states armed forces into one unified command. ... Joint warfare is a military doctrine which places priority on the integration of the various service branches of a states armed forces into one unified command. ...


Units, formations, and commands

It is common, at least in western militaries, to refer to the building blocks of a military as units and formations. Generally, the unit is the smallest independent operating element within a military. It may take on the form of a battalion or a ship. A typical unit is a homogeneous military organization (pure infantry, pure cavalry, all bombers, etc.), and its administrative and command functions are organic (self-contained). Anything smaller than a unit is considered a "sub-unit" or "minor unit". Symbol of the Austrian 14th Armoured Battalion in NATO military graphic symbols A battalion is a military unit usually consisting of between two and six companies and typically commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. ... HMS Invincible, a British Invincible-class aircraft carrier USS Port Royal (CG-73), an American Ticonderoga class cruiser HMCS Algonquin, a Canadian Iroquois-class destroyer HMAS Darwin, an Australian Adelaide-class frigate A naval ship is a ship (or sometimes boat, depending on classification) used for combat purposes, commonly by...


A formation is a grouping of units or smaller formations under a command. Formations include brigades, divisions, wings, etc. In military science a brigade is a military unit that is part of a division and includes regiments (where that level exists), or (in modern armies) is composed of several battalions (typically two to four) and directly attached supporting units. ... Symbol of the Polish 1st Legions Infantry Division in NATO code A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to twenty thousand soldiers. ... Wing is a term used by different air forces for a unit of command. ...


However, different nations (and even different services within a nation) 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 armored sub-unit. A Squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, aircraft (including balloons), or naval vessels. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ...


In a military context, a command is a collection of units and formations under the control of a single officer. A command is usually a very high-level formation which is responsible to 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 command in military organization is a collection of units or a group of personnel under the control of a single officer. ... The Canadian Forces (French: Forces canadiennes), abbreviated as CF (French: FC), are the unified armed forces of Canada. ...


Hierarchy of modern armies

This 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. Readers interested in the detailed specifics of a national army (including the British and American) should consult the relevant entry for that country.

Symbol Name No. of personnel No. of subordinate units Officer in command
XXXXXX region or theater 200,000 + 2+ army groups general or field marshal
XXXXX army group 100,000 + 2+ armies general or field marshal
XXXX army 50,000-60,000+ 2+ corps general or field marshal
XXX corps 30,000-50,000 2+ divisions lieutenant general
XX division 10,000–20,000 2-4 brigades or regiments major general
X brigade 3000–5000 2+ regiments or 3–6
battalions or Commonwealth regiments
brigadier general, brigadier or colonel
III regiment or group 2000–3000 2+ battalions or U.S. Cavalry squadrons colonel
II battalion, U.S. Cavalry squadron or Commonwealth regiment 300–1000 2–6 companies, batteries, U.S. Cavalry troops, or Commonwealth squadrons lieutenant colonel
I company, artillery battery, U.S. Cavalry troop or Commonwealth squadron 70–250 2–8 platoons or Commonwealth troops chief warrant officer and captain or major
••• platoon or Commonwealth troop 25–60 2+ squads, sections, or vehicles warrant officer and first or second lieutenant
•• section or patrol 8–12 2+ fireteams corporal to staff sergeant
squad or crew 8–12 2+ fireteams or 1+ cell corporal to staff sergeant
Ø fireteam 4–5 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. Look up Region in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In warfare, a theater or theatre is normally used to define a specific geographic area within which armed conflict occurs. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Note: This article is about the military usage of the word marshal. For other usages, see the end of this article. ... An army group is a military organization (formation) consisting of several armies, and is supposed to be self-sufficient for indefinite periods. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Note: This article is about the military usage of the word marshal. For other usages, see the end of this article. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Note: This article is about the military usage of the word marshal. For other usages, see the end of this article. ... A corps (plural same as singular; a word that migrated from the French language, pronounced IPA: (cor), but originating in the Latin corpus, corporis meaning body) is either a large military unit or formation, an administrative grouping of troops within an army with a common function (such as artillery or... Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. ... Symbol of the Polish 1st Legions Infantry Division in NATO code A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to twenty thousand soldiers. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... In military science a brigade is a military unit that is part of a division and includes regiments (where that level exists), or (in modern armies) is composed of several battalions (typically two to four) and directly attached supporting units. ... A Brigadier General, or one-star general, is the lowest rank of general officer in the United States and some other countries, ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ... Brigadier (IPA pronunciation: ) is a military rank, the meaning of which has a considerable variation. ... This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ... British regiment A regiment is a military unit, consisting of a variable number of battalions - commanded by a colonel. ... This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ... Symbol of the Austrian 14th Armoured Battalion in NATO military graphic symbols A battalion is a military unit usually consisting of between two and six companies and typically commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. ... A Squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, aircraft (including balloons), or naval vessels. ... British regiment A regiment is a military unit, consisting of a variable number of battalions - commanded by a colonel. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... Standard NATO code for a friendly infantry company. ... Remains of a battery of English cannon from Youghal, County Cork. ... For the TV show, see F Troop. ... A Squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, aircraft (including balloons), or naval vessels. ... A warrant officer (WO) or a chief warrant officer (CWO) is a member of a military organization, with a rank subordinate to other commissioned officers and senior to noncommissioned officers. ... Captain is a rank or title with various meanings. ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... Platoon of the German Bundeswehr. ... For the TV show, see F Troop. ... For Warrant Officers in the United States military, see Warrant Officer (United States). ... Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... In military tactics, to patrol, or conduct a patrol, is to conduct reconnaissance of a designated area or route. ... This article is about the military rank. ... United States Military Staff Sergeant insignia (U.S. Air Force) Staff Sergeant is the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force, just above Senior Airman and below Technical Sergeant. ... In the fire service a Squad is a Engine Company with a compliment of rescue tools. ... CREW (acronym) may refer to: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Concurrent Read Exclusive Write, access model for Parallel Random Access Machine Coherent Radiation Emission Weapon, see Directed-energy weapon, Coined by Ian M Banks Category: ... This article is about the military rank. ... United States Military Staff Sergeant insignia (U.S. Air Force) Staff Sergeant is the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force, just above Senior Airman and below Technical Sergeant. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Lance Corporal (LCpl or L/Cpl) is a military rank used by some elements of the British, Commonwealth, and U.S. armed forces. ... For other uses, see Sergeant (disambiguation). ... A fireteam, in the United States Army, is one of two elements, normally consisting of 4-5 soldiers apiece, that constitute a squad. ...


Army, army group, region, and theatre are all large formations that vary significantly between armed forces in size and hierarchy position. Divisions were the traditional level at which support elements (field artillery, hospital, logistics and maintenance, etc.) were added to the unit structure. For example, regiments and battalions did not have such support assets. Since World War II, brigades are having such support units added, and since the 1980s, regiments 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. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... An army group is a military organization (formation) consisting of several armies, and is supposed to be self-sufficient for indefinite periods. ... Look up Region in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Theater in military terms, is a geographic location used for military operations. ... Symbol of the Polish 1st Legions Infantry Division in NATO code A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to twenty thousand soldiers. ... A regimental combat team was a provisional major infantry unit of the United States Army during the Second World War and Korean War. ... The battlegroup is the basic building block of an armys fighting formation. ...


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. A Squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, aircraft (including balloons), or naval vessels. ... For the TV show, see F Troop. ...


The Red Army used the same basic organizational structure. However, in the beginning of World War II 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.[1] [2] At the top of the ladder, what other nations would call an army group, the Red Army called a front. For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... A Front (фронт) was a major military organization in the Soviet Army, roughly equivalent to an army or army group in British or American military terminology. ...


Hierarchy of modern navies

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 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 n/a 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. The multinational Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) The British Grand Fleet, the supreme naval force of World War I A rare occurrence of a 5-country multinational fleet, during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Oman Sea. ... Flag of the Lord High Admiral The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the United Kingdom responsible for the command of the Royal Navy. ... A Fleet Admiral or a Admiral Of The Fleet, as it was first coined, is a military officer of very high rank and is a generic term for a senior admiral in command of a large group of ships, comprising a fleet or, in some cases, a group of fleets. ... Admiral of the Fleet is a supreme naval position that has existed in historical navies and still exists in several modern-day navies. ... German Grand Admiral Sleeve Insignia Grand Admiral Shoulder Insignia In the German Navy the rank of Grand Admiral (Großadmiral) was considered the highest Naval rank. ... // Look up fleet in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The United States Battle Fleet or Battle Force was part of the organization of the United States Navy from 1922 to 1941. ... A task force (TF) is a temporary unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. ... For other uses, see Admiral (disambiguation). ... The United States Battle Fleet or Battle Force was part of the organization of the United States Navy from 1922 to 1941. ... A task force (TF) is a temporary unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. ... In sociology and anthropology, an action group or task group is a group of people joined temporarily to accomplish some task or take part in some organised collective action. ... Vice Admiral is a naval rank of three star level, equivalent to Lieutenant General in seniority. ... In sociology and anthropology, an action group or task group is a group of people joined temporarily to accomplish some task or take part in some organised collective action. ... A task force or task group is a temporary organization formed to work on a single defined task or activity. ... The term Rear Admiral originated from the days of Naval Sailing Squadrons, and can trace its origins to the British Royal Navy. ... The term Rear Admiral originated from the days of Naval Sailing Squadrons, and can trace its origins to the British Royal Navy. ... A Squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, aircraft (including balloons), or naval vessels. ... A task force or task group is a temporary organization formed to work on a single defined task or activity. ... The capital ships of a navy are its important warships; the ones with the heaviest firepower and armor. ... The term Rear Admiral originated from the days of Naval Sailing Squadrons, and can trace its origins to the British Royal Navy. ... Commodore is a military rank used in some navies for officers whose position exceeds that of a Captain, but is less than that of a Flag Officer. ... Flotilla Admiral is a rank above Captain in the modern navies of Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Sweden. ... A flotilla (from Spanish, meaning a flota of small ships, and this from French flotte), or naval flotilla, is a formation of small warships that may be part of a larger fleet. ... A task force or task group is a temporary organization formed to work on a single defined task or activity. ... The term Rear Admiral originated from the days of Naval Sailing Squadrons, and can trace its origins to the British Royal Navy. ... Commodore is a military rank used in some navies for officers whose position exceeds that of a Captain, but is less than that of a Flag Officer. ... Flotilla Admiral is a rank above Captain in the modern navies of Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Sweden. ... Captain is a rank or title with various meanings. ... Commander is a military rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. ... French steam corvette Dupleix (1856-1887) Canadian corvettes on antisubmarine convoy escort duty during World War II. A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, smaller than a frigate but larger than a coastal patrol craft. ... A gunboat is literally a boat carrying one or more guns. ... USS Pivot (AM 276) World War II United States Admirable Class Minesweeper shown in the Gulf of Mexico on sea trials 12 July 1944 Image:Hameln Class. ... Categories: Ship types ... A riverboat is a specialized watercraft (vessel) designed for operating on inland waterways. ... Tender may mean: In finance: A process by which one can seek prices and terms for a particular project (such as a construction job) to be carried out under a contract. ... A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval ship designed to launch torpedoes at larger surface ships. ... For the bird, see Frigatebird. ... A Destroyer Escort (DE) is classification for a small, comparatively slower warship designed to be used to escort convoys of merchant marine ships, primarily of the United States Navy in World War II. It is usually employed primarily for anti-submarine warfare, but also some protection against aircraft and smaller... Ensign is a junior rank of commissioned officer in the militaries of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. ...


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.


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 U.S. Air Force” redirects here. ... “RAF” redirects here. ... The Soviet Air Force, also known under the abbreviation VVS, transliterated from Russian: ВВС, Военно-воздушные силы (Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily), formed the official designation of the air force of the Soviet Union. ...

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 Entire air force Entire air force All Major Commands/Commands General/Air Chief Marshal
XXXXX Major Command/[no RAF equivalent] Varies Varies By Region or Duty (subordinate units varies) General/Air Marshal
XXX Numbered Air Force/Command By Region (subordinate units varies) Varies 2+ Wings/Groups Major General/Air Vice Marshal
X Wing/Group or Station 1,000-5000 48-100 2+ Groups/Wings Brigadier/Air Commodore
III Group/Wing 300-1,000 17-48 3-10 Squadrons/3-4 Squadrons Colonel/Group Captain
II Squadron 100-300 7-16 3-4 Flights Lieutenant Colonel/Wing Commander
••• Flight 20-100 4-6 2 Sections plus maintenance and support crew Major/Squadron Leader
•• Section 2-4 2-3 n/a Junior Officer

“The U.S. Air Force” redirects here. ... “RAF” redirects here. ... An air force, in some countries called an air army, is a military or armed service that primarily conducts aerial warfare. ... Seal of the Air Force. ... A command in military organization is a collection of units or a group of personnel under the control of a single officer. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns in RAF No 1 Dress uniform Air Chief Marshal (Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a senior air officer rank in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom As well as the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and air forces of many Commonwealth... Seal of the Air Force. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... An air marshals sleeve/shoulder insignia Air Marshal (Air Mshl or AM) is a rank in the Royal Air Force. ... This is a list of Numbered Air Forces (NAF) of the United States Air Force Historically, a NAF is a level of command below a MAJCOM (Major Command), and above one or more Wings or independent Groups. ... A command in military organization is a collection of units or a group of personnel under the control of a single officer. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... An Air Vice Marshals sleeve/shoulder insignia An Air Vice Marshals command flag Air Vice Marshal is the third most senior rank active in the Royal Air Force today, after the inactivation of Marshal of the Royal Air Force as a substantive rank in peacetime during defence cuts... Wing is a term used by different air forces for a unit of command. ... For some other uses of the word group please see Group Group is a term used by different air forces for a unit of command. ... An RAF station is a Royal Air Force military base. ... Brigadier (IPA pronunciation: ) is a military rank, the meaning of which has a considerable variation. ... An Air Commodoress sleeve/shoulder insignia Air Commodore is the fourth most senior rank active in the Royal Air Force today, after the deactivation of Marshal of the Royal Air Force as a substantive rank in peacetime during defence cuts of the 1990s. ... For some other uses of the word group please see Group Group is a term used by different air forces for a unit of command. ... Wing is a term used by different air forces for a unit of command. ... A Squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, aircraft (including balloons), or naval vessels. ... This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ... A Group Captains sleeve/shoulder insignia Group Captain (Gp Capt in the RAF, GPCAPT in the RNZAF and RAAF, G/C in the former RCAF) is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. ... A Squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, aircraft (including balloons), or naval vessels. ... A flight is a military unit in an air force, naval air service, or army air corps. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... Wing Commander (rank) is a rank in the Royal Air Force, equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel in most Armies, the Royal Marines and the United States Marine Corps. ... A flight is a military unit in an air force, naval air service, or army air corps. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... A Squadron Leaders sleeve/shoulder insignia Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr in the RAF, SQNLDR in the RNZAF and RAAF and S/L in the former RCAF) is a commissioned rank in some air forces. ... The term junior officer is sometimes used to make clear that an officer in a military or para-military command is not in over-all command. ...

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