Organization of the Military

Thesis statement: The stringent measures, rigid hierarchy and discipline are the key factors that govern the organization of the military.

The military organization is categorically hierarchical and devoid of ambiguities pertaining to matters of jurisdiction and authority. This makes its authority unquestionable and the organization unequivocally runs smoothly. This system is instrumental to averting mutiny, anarchy and bolstering the execution of commands. The consequences of flouting the rules are well stipulated and this makes the members holistically accountable for their actions.

There is a broad spectrum of divisions of the armed forces that cuts across different countries on the globe. Some countries such as the U.S have the air force, the marines, the army, coast guards and finally the navy. However, it is imperative to appreciate that most countries have the army and the navy air force and gendarmeries (paramilitary units, internal troops e.t.c.) as the rudimentary divisions of the armed forces. Additional forces come as a factor of necessity and others like Uganda lacks an air force due to pecuniary constraints. Countries such as China have the military police added to the list whilst, South Africa have the military heath service and Italy have the financial police. Landlocked countries such as Hungary lack the navy. The overall head of the armed forces of the country is usually the chief of general staff. The armed forces are usually under the department of defense in a country’s government. The chief of general staff is therefore answerable to a minister of defense who directly answers to the chief of the armed forces. The chief of the armed forces is usually the president, the prime minister or royalty depending on a country’s constitution.

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These subdivisions operate as independent entities each with a clear-cut chain of command in the hierarchy. They, however, coalesce when it comes to accountability to be answerable to the chief of general staff.

It is therefore in order to say that the army and the navy are at the same level in authority; none is superior to the other. The same can be reiterated when a comparison is drawn between the other forces such as the marines, the paramilitary, the coastguard and even the air force. At the level of performing their assigned duties, these subdivisions serve to complement each other in lieu of competing.

The chain of command of the military is usually stratified into the commands, formations and units. In this case the commands are the most superior, the formations are the intermediate group and the unit that narrows down to a handful of individuals is the lowest in the rung of authority. A command is therefore headed by someone superior to the one who heads formation. These individuals execute roles of administrators and are executive heads of the armed forces stationed at strategic headquarters. The officer-in-charge of formations has his/her authority traversing across a collection of a number of units.

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A command can be precisely described as a collection of an assortment of formations as well as units in the armed forces. This can be demonstrated by the mention of a few type of command that include; Air force command, Land force command and Navy/Maritime command. These commands are answerable to a single officer. Formations in the armed forces are a composite constituted of attached sub-units serving operational and integrated functions. Formations are combat-capable. In the context of the US department of defense, a formation can be exemplified by two or more units, battle aircraft or ships travelling in the same direction under a commander. In other words it is a disposition of troops that includes brigades, divisions or wings depending of the division of the armed forces in question. In the same vein, the units which fall directly below the formation comprised of an array of elements. Units include combat, non-combat and combat support individuals in the armed forces. The membership of a unit is exclusively drawn from personnel who belong to the same Arm of Service. The functionality of the unit in the light of command as well as administration is entirely integrated.

The army has the command constituted of four or even more army groups numbering up to one million or more soldiers to form a theatre/region. This is headed by a field marshal or a general. One scale lower, there is the army group made of ¼ million soldiers and is a cluster of two or more armies headed by a general or a field marshal. Scaling down to formations; the level of corps (30,000-80,000 soldiers) is headed by a lieutenant general. This goes lower to a division, a brigade then a group. These are headed a major general, brigadier general and colonel respectively. Units comprise of infantries (300-1000soldiers) that are headed by a captain, and a platoon which is made of 25-60 soldiers is headed by a warrant officer. The lowest ranks include the patrol which has as few as eight soldiers and headed by a corporal and finally a fire team with as few as two soldiers headed by a private first class

This adeptly orchestrated system is the adhesive that holds all these independent subdivisions into one cohesive and harmonious force. The efficacy of this stratification has stood the test of time from the Romans to the contemporary military forces.

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