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A task force (TF) is a unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. Originally introduced by the United States Navy,the term has now caught on for general usage and is a standard part of NATO terminology. Many non-military organizations now create "task forces" or task groups for temporary activities that might have once been performed by ad hoc (designated purpose) committees.
The concept of a naval task force is as old as navies, and prior to that time the assembly of ships for naval operations was referred to as fleets, divisions, or on the smaller scale, squadrons, and flotillas.
Before World War II ships were collected into divisions derived from the Royal Navy's "division" of the line of battle in which one squadron usually remained under the direct command of the Admiral of the Fleet, one squadron was commanded by a Vice Admiral, and one by a Rear Admiral, each of the three squadrons flying different coloured flags, hence the terms flagship and flag officer. The flag of the Fleet Admiral's squadron was red, the Vice Admiral's was white and the Rear Admiral's blue. (The names "Vice" (possibly from advanced) and "Rear" might have derived from sailing positions within the line at the moment of engagement.) In the late 19th century ships were collected in numbered squadrons, which were assigned to named (such as the Asiatic Fleet) and later numbered fleets.
A task force can be assembled using ships from different divisions and squadrons, without requiring a formal and permanent fleet reorganization, and can be easily dissolved following completion of the operational task. The task force concept worked very well, and by the end of World War II about 100 task forces had been created in the U.S. Navy alone [ citation needed ].
In the United States Navy, task forces are generally temporary organizations composed of particular ships, aircraft, submarines, military land forces, or shore service units, assigned to fulfill certain missions. The emphasis is placed on the individual commander of the unit, and references to "Commander, Task Force" ("CTF") are common.
In the U.S. Navy, task forces as part of numbered fleets have been assigned a two-digit number since March 1943, when Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, Admiral Ernest J. King instituted the system of numbering all fleets, assigning the even numbers to the Atlantic and the odd to the Pacific.
Naval Forces, Europe, became the Twelfth Fleet, South Atlantic Force the Fourth Fleet, and Naval Forces, Northwest African Waters, the Eighth Fleet. The Atlantic Fleet, itself, was designated the Second Fleet.
The United States Navy has used numbered task forces in the same way since 1945. The U.S. Department of Defense often forms a Joint Task Force if the force includes units from other services. Joint Task Force 1 was the atomic bomb test force during the post-World War II Operation Crossroads.
In naval terms, the multinational (Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand) Combined Communications Electronics Board mandates through Allied Communications Publication 113 (ACP 113) the present system, which allocated numbers from 1 to 834.For example, the Royal Navy's Illustrious battle group in 2000 for Exercise Linked Seas, subsequently deployed to Operation Palliser, was Task Group 342.1. The French Navy is allocated the series TF 470–474, and Task Force 473 has been used recently for an Enduring Freedom task force deployment built around the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91). Task Force 142 is the U.S. Navy's Operational Test and Evaluation Force.
The first digit of a task force designation is that of its parent fleet while the second is sequential. Task groups within a force are numbered by an additional digit separated from the TF number by a decimal point. Task units within a group are indicated by an additional decimal. For example, "the third task unit of the fifth task group of the second task force of the Sixth Fleet would be numbered 62.5.3." This system extends further to task elements, individual ships in a task group. This arrangement was typically abbreviated, so references like TF 11 are commonly seen.There is no requirement for uniqueness over time (e.g., the United States Seventh Fleet used TF 76 in World War II, and off Vietnam, and continued to use TF 70–79 numberings throughout the rest of the twentieth century, and up to 2012).
See Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) for a description of the three standard combined arms task force organizations employed by the USMC.
Earlier in the Second World War, the British Royal Navy had already devised its own system of Forces, they mainly assigned a letter occasionally a number some of the task forces are listed below .
Lettered Task Forces
Originally stationed at Malta took part in the Battle of Calabriain 1940 it transferred Trincomalee and was a component of the (fast force) of the Eastern Fleet during the Indian Ocean raid April to May 1942.
Originally stationed at Malta, took part in the Battle of Calabria in 9 July 1940, took part in the Battle of Cape Spartivento, 27 November 1940, was involved in the First Battle of Sirte, 17 December 1941 it then moved to Trincomalee in March 1942 was a component (slow force) of the Eastern Fleet during the Indian Ocean raid April to May 1942.
Formed as part of a number of hunting task groups in 5 October 1939 as a prelude to Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939 and part of the South America Division after which it was stationed at, Gibraltar, took part in Operation Catapult, 3 July 1940, took part in Operation Rheinübung 19 May - 15 June 1941.
Part of a number of hunting task groups in 5 October 1939 as a prelude to Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939 based in Freetown it was then stationed at, Malta, took part in the Battle of the Tarigo Convoy, 16 April 1941, was involved in the First Battle of Sirte, 17 December 1941 then moved to Freetown in December 1941.
Numbered Task Forces
Formed to deal with the Tirpitz Sortie against convoys PQ 12 and QP8, 6–13 March 1942.
Formed 13 May 1945 and took part in the Battle off Penang - the Battle of the Malacca Strait.
Which was the composition of the British Pacific Fleet 23 March 1945.
Post second world war
During the Falklands War in 1982 Royal Navy assembled as Task Force 317 to achieve sea and air supremacy in the Total Exclusion Zone, before the amphibious forces arrived.
The French Navy uses the name Task Force 473 to designate any power projection by the sea. This Task Force can be composed of a carrier battle group articulated around the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, or it can be composed of an amphibious group articulated around a Mistral amphibious assault ship.
In Argentina Navy task force (Grupo de Tareas, Task Force) G.T.3.3.2 (Spanish link) ran task units that were responsible for thousands of instances of forced disappearance, torture and illegal execution of Argentine civilians, many of whom were incarcerated in the Higher School of Mechanics of the Navy detention center during the 1976–1983 military dictatorship.
During the Falklands War in 1982 the Argentine Navy formed three smaller Task Groups called (Grupo de Tareas) for pincer movements against the Royal Navy.
In the U.S. Army, a task force is a battalion-sized (usually, although there are variations in size) ad hoc unit formed by attaching smaller elements of other units. A company-sized unit with an armored or mechanized infantry unit attached is called a company team. A similar unit at the brigade level is called a brigade combat team (BCT), and there is also a similar Regimental combat team (RCT).
In the British Army and the armies of other Commonwealth countries, such units are traditionally known as battlegroups.
The 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) was a brigade-sized formation which commanded Australian and New Zealand Army units deployed to South Vietnam between 1966 and 1972.More recently, Australian task forces have been designated to cover temporary support elements such the battalion-sized force which operated in Urozgan Province, Afghanistan from 2006 to 2013, and the Northern Territory Emergency Response Task Force.
In government or business a task force is a temporary organization created to solve a particular problem. It is considered to be a more formal ad hoc committee.
A taskforce, or more commonly, task force, is a special committee, usually of experts, formed expressly for the purpose of studying a particular problem. The task force usually performs some sort of an audit to assess the current situation, then draws up a list of all the current problems present and evaluates which ones merit fixing and which ones are actually fixable. The task force would then formulate a set of solutions to the problems and pick the "best" solution to each problem, as determined by some set of standards. For example, a task force set up to eliminate excessive government spending might consider a "best" solution to be one that saves the most money. Normally, the task force then presents its findings and proposed solutions to the institution that called for its formation; it is then up to the institution itself to actually act upon the task force's recommendations.
In business, task forces are initiated similar to military situations to form an ad-hoc group of persons that focus on a specific subject, which needs urgent addressing, resolutions or results.Subject-specific task forces are very common. NASA lessons contain information from different task forces. This can be seen specifically in the COVID-19 crisis, but in many normal project contexts as well, where a dedicated group of experts investigates or takes on a specific request or problem and develops or translates it into results as quick as possible. It is important to know that a task force in project context should stick to certain rules, which have to be coordinated and controlled by a assigned task force leader or by the project manager. Good leadership is a key element of the task force leader, as it is usually asking an extra effort from all resources involved.
The Spanish Navy is the maritime branch of the Spanish Armed Forces and one of the oldest active naval forces in the world. The Spanish navy was responsible for a number of major historic achievements in navigation, the most famous being the European Discovery of America and the first global circumnavigation by Magellan and Elcano. For several centuries, it played a crucial logistical and defensive role in the consolidation of the Spanish Empire, and defended a vast trade network across the Atlantic Ocean between the Americas and Europe and across the Pacific Ocean between Asia and the Americas.
The United States Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) is a theater-level component command of the United States Navy, located in the Pacific Ocean. It provides naval forces to the Indo-Pacific Command. Fleet headquarters is at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with large secondary facilities at North Island, San Diego Bay on the Mainland.
USS Enterprise (CV-6) was a Yorktown-class carrier built for the United States Navy during the 1930s. She was the seventh U.S. Navy vessel of that name. Colloquially called "The Big E", she was the sixth aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. Launched in 1936, she was one of only three American carriers commissioned before World War II to survive the war. She participated in more major actions of the war against Japan than any other United States ship. These actions included the attack on Pearl Harbor — 18 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers of her Air Group arrived over the harbor during the attack; seven were shot down with eight airmen killed and two wounded, making her the only American aircraft carrier with men at Pearl Harbor during the attack and the first to sustain casualties during the Pacific War — the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, various other air-sea engagements during the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Enterprise earned 20 battle stars, the most for any U.S. warship in World War II, and was the most decorated U.S. ship of World War II. She was also the first American ship to sink a full-sized enemy warship after the Pacific War had been declared when her aircraft sank the Japanese submarine I-70 on 10 December 1941. On three occasions during the war, the Japanese announced that she had been sunk in battle, inspiring her nickname "The Grey Ghost". By the end of the war, her planes and guns had downed 911 enemy planes, sunk 71 ships, and damaged or destroyed 192 more.
USS North Carolina (BB-55) is the lead ship of the North Carolina class of fast battleships, the first vessel of the type built for the United States Navy. Built under the Washington Treaty system, North Carolina's design was limited in displacement and armament, though the United States used a clause in the Second London Naval Treaty to increase the main battery from the original armament of twelve 14-inch (356 mm) guns to nine 16 in (406 mm) guns. North Carolina was the most decorated U.S. battleship of World War II with 15 battle stars, having participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Tokyo Bay.
USS Washington (BB-56) was the second and final member of the North Carolina class of fast battleships, the first vessel of the type built for the United States Navy. Built under the Washington Treaty system, North Carolina's design was limited in displacement and armament, though the United States used a clause in the Second London Naval Treaty to increase the main battery from the original armament of nine 14 in (356 mm) guns to nine 16 in (406 mm) guns. The ship was laid down in 1938 and completed in May 1941, while the United States was still neutral during World War II. Her initial career was spent training along the East Coast of the United States until after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, bringing the United States into the war.
The United States Fleet Forces Command (USFF) is a service component command of the United States Navy that provides naval forces to a wide variety of U.S. forces. The naval resources may be allocated to Combatant Commanders such as United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. Originally formed as United States Atlantic Fleet (USLANTFLT) in 1906, it has been an integral part of the defense of the United States of America since the early 20th century. In 2002, the Fleet comprised over 118,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel serving on 186 ships and in 1,300 aircraft, with an area of responsibility ranging over most of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Central and South America. The command is based at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia and is the navy's service component to U.S. Northern Command and is the Joint Functional Maritime Component Command under the U.S. Strategic Command.
The Sixth Fleet is a numbered fleet of the United States Navy operating as part of United States Naval Forces Europe. The Sixth Fleet is headquartered at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy. The officially stated mission of the Sixth Fleet in 2011 is that it "conducts the full range of Maritime Operations and Theater Security Cooperation missions, in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties, in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa." The current commander of the Sixth Fleet is Vice Admiral Eugene H. Black III.
The Fast Carrier Task Force, was the main striking force of the United States Navy in the Pacific War from January 1944 through the end of the war in August 1945. The task force was made up of several separate task groups, each typically built around three to four aircraft carriers and their supporting vessels. The support vessels were screening destroyers, cruisers, and the newly built fast battleships.
The Seventh Fleet is a numbered fleet of the United States Navy. It is headquartered at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 60 to 70 ships, 300 aircraft and 40,000 Navy, Marine Corps personnel, and Coast Guard support personnel. Its principal responsibilities are to provide joint command in natural disaster or military operations and operational command of all US naval forces in the region.
The Fifth Fleet is a numbered fleet of the United States Navy. It has been responsible for naval forces in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean since 1995 after a 48-year hiatus. It shares a commander and headquarters with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) in Bahrain. As of 19 August 2020, the commander of the 5th Fleet is Vice Admiral Samuel J. Paparo Jr. Fifth Fleet/NAVCENT is a component command of, and reports to, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
The United States Second Fleet is a numbered fleet in the United States Navy responsible for the East Coast and North Atlantic Ocean. The Fleet was established following World War II. In September 2011, Second Fleet was deactivated in view of the United States Government's perception that the potential military threat posed by Russia had diminished. On 4 May 2018, Admiral John M. Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, announced plans to reestablish Second Fleet amid heightened tensions between NATO and Russia. It was reestablished on 24 August 2018, with Vice Admiral Andrew "Woody" Lewis in command.
The Soviet Navy was the naval warfare uniform service branch of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy was a large part of the Soviet Union's strategic planning in the event of a conflict with the opposing superpower, the United States, during the cold war period between the two countries. The influence of the Soviet Navy played a large role in the events involving the Cold War (1945-1991), as the majority of conflicts centered with the American-led alliance in the Western Europe or power projection to maintain its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.
An amphibious ready group (ARG) of the United States Navy consists of a naval element—a group of warships known as an amphibious task force (ATF)—and a landing force (LF) of U.S. Marines, in total about 5,000 people. Together, these elements and supporting units are trained, organized, and equipped to perform amphibious operations.
Task Force 20 is a temporary combat force designation that has been used at least twice by separate parts of the United States armed forces. The longer-established iteration was a part of the United States Second Fleet in the Atlantic from after the Second World War. This was part of the formal United States Military Communications-Electronic Board system.
The third USS Worden (DD-352) was a Farragut-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for John Lorimer Worden.
Marines, also known as naval infantry, are typically an infantry force that specializes in the support of naval and army operations at sea and on land and air, as well as the execution of their own operations. In many countries, the marines are an integral part of that state's navy. In others, it is a separate organization altogether, such as in the United States, where the Marine Corps falls under the US Department of the Navy, yet it operates independently. Marines can also fall under a country's army like the Troupes de marine.
Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a state so as to offer such military capability as a national defense policy may require. In some countries paramilitary forces are included in a nation's armed forces, though not considered military. 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, while formal military organization tends to use hierarchical forms.
United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) is the United States Navy element of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM). Its area of responsibility includes the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, and Arabian Sea. It consists of the United States Fifth Fleet and several other subordinate task forces, including Combined Task Force 150, Combined Task Force 158 and others.
The expeditionary strike group (ESG) is a United States Navy concept introduced in the early 1990s, based on the Naval Expeditionary Task Force. The U.S. Navy fields nine expeditionary strike groups and ten carrier strike groups (CSGs), in addition to surface action groups. ESGs allow the U.S. to provide highly movable and self-sustaining naval forces for missions in various parts of the world.
USS Windsor (APA-55) was an attack transport built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Pacific Ocean and provided troop transport service. She returned home at war’s end with five battle stars to her credit.