Task force

From Academic Kids

A task force is a temporary organization formed to work on a single defined task or activity.

United States Navy

The concept was originally introduced by the United States Navy around the beginning of 1941, as a way to increase flexibility. At the time, ships were collected in numbered squadrons, which in turn were collected in divisions, which comprised a numbered fleet. A task force could be built out of ships from different squadrons and divisions, without having to go through the paperwork entailed by permanent reorganization, and easily dissolved when it was no longer useful. The task force concept worked very well, and by the end of World War II about 100 task forces had been created.

Each task force was assigned a two-digit number. The first digit was originally the number of the fleet, while the second historically differentiated between task forces from the same fleet. It was typically abbreviated, so references like TF 11 are commonly seen. In addition, a task force could be broken into several task groups, identified by decimal points, as in TG 11.2, and finally task units, as in TU 11.2.1.

Earlier in the Second World War, the Royal Navy had devised their own similar system of forces, which were assigned a letter, not a number. For example, the most famous was that stationed at Singapore in 1941, Force Z.

The US Navy still uses task forces, and may form a joint task force if the force includes units from other services. Note that there is no requirement for uniqueness; for instance, there was a TF 76 in World War II, and a different one in the Vietnam War.

The Navy term has now caught on for general usage, and many organizations now create "task forces" for temporary activities that might have once been performed by "adhoc committees".

Some Navy task forces in World War II:

United States Army

In the United States Army, a task force is a battalion-sized organization formed by detaching a mechanized infantry or armor company from its parent unit and attaching a company of the other type in its stead. A company-sized unit with a armored or mechanized infantry unit cross-posted is a team. See Team Yankee.

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