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A military organization is a way of structuring 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 the 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 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 provision and management of specific skill and knowledge based service such as Strategy advice, Capability Development assessment, or Defence Science provision of research, design and development of technologies. Within each departmental agency will be found administrative branches responsible for further agency business specialization work.

==Armed services==
Militaries are generally grouped as Armed Services also called branches. Some nations also organize their marines and special forces as independent armed services. A nation's coast guard may also be an independent branch of its military, although in many nations the coast guard is 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, an internal security service, in contrast to the United States whose armed forces are prohibited from enforcing the law.

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.'<ref>United States Department of Defense, DOD Dictionary</ref> 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 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. 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.

{| border=1 cellpadding=4 cellspacing=0 align=center style="border-collapse:collapse; border:0 none; vertical-align:top;" frame=void rules=rows
|- valign=bottom style="border-bottom:3px double #999;"
! align=left | APP-6A Symbol
! align=left | Name
! align=left | Strength
! align=left | Constituent units
! align=left | Commander or leader
|- General of the Army or field marshal (Wartime Only)
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | XXXXXX
| region, theater, or front
| 1,000,000+
| 4+ army groups
| general, army general, or field marshal
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | XXXXX
| army group
| 250,000+
| 2+ armies
| general, army general, or field marshal
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | XXXX
| army
| 60,000–100,000+
| 2–4 corps
| general, army general, or colonel general
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | XXX
| corps
| 30,000–80,000
| 2+ divisions
| lieutenant general
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | XX
| division
| 10,000–20,000
| 2–4 brigades or regiments
| major general
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | X
| brigade
| 2000–5000
| 2+ regiments, 3–6 battalions or Commonwealth regiments
| brigadier general, brigadier or colonel
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | III
| regiment or group
| 2000–3000
| 2+ battalions or U.S. Cavalry squadrons
| colonel
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | II
| infantry battalion, U.S. Cavalry squadron,  or Commonwealth armoured regiment
| 300–1000
| 2–6 companies, batteries, U.S. Cavalry troops, or Commonwealth squadrons
| lieutenant colonel
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | I
| infantry company, artillery battery, U.S. Cavalry troop, or Commonwealth armour or combat engineering squadron
| 70–250
| 2–8 platoons or Commonwealth troops
| chief warrant officer and captain or major
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | •••
| platoon or Commonwealth troop
| 25–60
| 2+ squads, sections, or vehicles
| warrant officer and first or second lieutenant
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | ••
| section or patrol
| 8–12
| 2+ fireteams
| corporal to staff sergeant
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | •
| squad or crew
| 8–16
| 2+ fireteams or 1+ cell
| corporal to staff sergeant
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| align=center | Ø
| fireteam
| 4–5
| n/a
| lance corporal to sergeant
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:3px double #999;"
| align=center | 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.[1]  [2]  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.

==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.

{| border=1 cellpadding=4 cellspacing=0 align=center style="border-collapse:collapse; border:0 none; vertical-align:top;" frame=void rules=rows
|- valign=bottom style="border-bottom:3px double #999;"
! align=left | Unit Name
! align=left | Vessel types
! align=left | No. of Vessels
! align=left | Officer in command
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| Navy or Admiralty
| All vessels in a navy
| 2+ Fleets
| Fleet Admiral or Admiral of the Fleet or Grand Admiral
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| Fleet
| All vessels in an ocean or general region
| 2+ Battle Fleets or Task Forces
| Admiral
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| Battle Fleet or Task Force
| A large number of vessels of all types
| 2+ Task Groups
| Vice Admiral
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| Task Group<ref>Group. GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
</ref>
| A collection of complementary vessels
| 2+ Task Units or Squadrons
| Rear Admiral (upper half) or Rear Admiral
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| Squadron (naval) or Task Unit
| Usually capital ships
| A small number of vessels
| Rear Admiral (lower half), Commodore, or Flotilla Admiral
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| 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
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| 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.

The modern U.S. Navy is primarily based on a number of standard groupings of vessels, including the Carrier Strike Group and the Expeditionary Strike Group.<ref>US Navy. GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2009-08-30.</ref>

Additionally, Naval organization continues aboard a single ship. The complement forms three or four departments, each of which is 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.

{| border=1 cellpadding=4 cellspacing=0 align=center style="border-collapse:collapse; border:0 none; vertical-align:top;" frame=void rules=rows
|- valign=bottom style="border-bottom:3px double #999;"
! align=left | Symbol (for Army structure comparison)
! align=left | Unit Name (USAF/RAF)
! align=left | No. of personnel
! align=left | No. of aircraft
! align=left | No. of subordinate units (USAF/RAF)
! align=left | Officer in command (USAF/RAF)
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| XXXXXX +     
| Air Force
| Entire air force
| Entire air force
| All Major Commands/Commands
| General/Air Chief Marshal
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
|XXXXX
| Major Command/[no RAF equivalent]
| Varies
| Varies
| By Region or Duty (subordinate units varies)
| General/Air Chief Marshal
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
|XX
| Numbered Air Force/Command
| By Region (subordinate units varies)
| Varies
| 2+ Wing/Groups
| Major General/Air Vice Marshal
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| X
| Wing/Group or Station
| 1,000-5000
| 48-100
| 2+ Groups/Wings
| Brigadier-General/Air Commodore/Group Captain
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
| III
| Group/Wing
| 300-1,000
| 17-48
| 3-10 Squadrons/3-4 Squadrons
| Colonel/Group Captain/Wing Commander
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
|II
| Squadron
| 100-300
| 7-16
| 3-4 Flights
| Lieutenant Colonel/Major/Squadron Leader
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
|•••
| Flight
| 20-100
| 4-6
| 2 Sections plus maintenance and support crew
| Captain/Flight Lieutenant
|- valign=top style="border-bottom:1px solid #999;"
|••
| Section (or Detail)
| 2-4
| 2-3
| n/a
| Junior Officer
|}

==Military formations==
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.

==References==






bn:সামরিক সংগঠন
ca:Unitat militar
cs:Vojenská jednotka
da:Militær enhed
de:Truppenteil
es:Unidad militar
fa:سازمان نظامی
fi:Sotilasyksikkö
fr:Unité militaire
he:יחידות צבאיות
hr:Vojna postrojba
is:Deildaskipan herja
it:Unità militari terrestri
ja:近代陸軍の編制
lt:Karinis vienetas
lv:Militārā organizācija
ms:Unit tentera
nl:Militaire eenheid
no:Militær organisasjon
pl:Jednostki organizacyjne wojska
ru:Структура вооружённых сил
sl:Vojaške formacije
sv:Förband (militär)
uk:Частина військова
zh:軍事組織

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