The United States Army is one of many legal types of organizations of the armed forces and has been since June 1775. It is the largest and oldest of all the branches of the military and continues to dominate all threats aimed at the United States alongside the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines. Like many other organizations in the United States, the U.S Army has a structure of its own. From the top down, it functions as any other organization, but unlike most, every member of its team carries rank and has a chain of command to abide by. In the following I will describe and evaluate the structure and functions within the United States Army, compare it to its fellow branches, and explain its organizational design that has been the primary reason Americans have been kept free from tyranny and enjoy the freedoms taken for granted every day.
Army Organizational Structure
The United States Army has a structure that starts as high as the President of the United States down to the newest and youngest recruit soldier. Its organizational structure far exceeds that or your local neighborhood Wal-Mart, yet has far less “employees”. As of 2014, the U.S Army has a total strength of on or about 1,130,000 soldiers, that which include the Army National Guard and Army Reserve units (“The Official Homepage of the United States Army”, 2014).
Other than the President of the United States, orders go downhill following the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Army, Joint Chief of Staffs, then along to Regional Commands stationed globally. Thereafter, divisions are formed by brigades, which control battalions beneath them, formed by several units or companies of soldiers organized accordingly into platoons. Attempting to explain the organizational structure of an entire military branch would be rather extensive and complicated, therefore the following will breakdown the basic structure of a U.S Army company.
Similar to nonmilitary organizations, the U.S Army has a structure that coincides with one another to be able to function properly. No matter the type of battalion, either it consist of Armored, Infantry, Airborne, or Calvary soldiers, a Headquarters company is and always will be the core to a battalion. That company staffs a variety of soldiers with particular jobs that range from administration (S1), intelligence (S2), training and operations (S3), logistics (S4), communication (S6), medical, mechanic, and any other type of military occupational specialty (MOS) that primarily functions to support its entire battalion. All these so called “S Shops” work alongside each other and handle the day to day business as well as prepare units for training exercises and overseas deployments.
Similar organizations that resemble the U.S Army would be that of the Marine Corps and the Navy. Even though these branches fight to defend the United States and its interest right alongside the U.S Army, each of their “mission statement” differs slightly. The United States Marine Corps works closely with the U.S Navy when it comes to training and combat deployments. Like the U.S Army, they both have similar rank structures that move up the chain of command until it hits the President of the United States. A few differences between these branches though, the Marine Corp Commandant reports directly to the Secretary of the Navy, as does the U.S Navy, unlike the U.S Army, which reports to the Secretary of the Army.
The United States Army has many functions that influence its determination on keeping its soldiers properly trained, physically and mentally tough, and readily available to deploy within a few days of after being called for combat operations. To be able to train a soldier, willing and able men and women must first enlist into the U.S Army. No matter their reasons of joining, either school or patriotism, they are all trained as equals. For this to happen, marketing campaigns must be advertised to be able to recruit. Television commercials demonstrate briefly the life of a soldier and the benefits, not only to him/herself, but their families and the courage it takes to join the “Army of One”. Recruiters often visit local high schools in attempts to enlist soon to be high school graduates. Others wander around shopping malls handing out brochures, speaking to interested men and women on what it takes to be a soldier.
All this is only possible if the United States Army is financially able. Like all other organizations, they must follow a specific budget that continuously gets cut for political reasons. The U.S Army has an estimate number of soldiers that it can recruit and have enlisted at certain times under the units structural guidelines. These numbers and structure fall under the Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE). An excess of soldiers in various units account for numerous war time enlistments aimed at maintaining strength in numbers. But what happens when there are no more wars to be fought? Excess soldiers of certain military occupational specialties are deemed unnecessary and honorably discharged before their end of term is officially over. On the civilian side, this is known as downsizing.
The army chain of command is what keeps the U.S Army organized and disciplined. Not all orders given are always performed to the letter and many are sometimes unjustified. For these reasons, there is also a human resources department within a battalion. When some issues need greater attention and not are able to be handled within a unit, the Post Inspector General can be contacted. The Inspector General, or IG, help enforce all army regulations that involve soldiers of any rank and also their families when need be.
IG helps assist commanders in handling punishments, what is allowed, and what actions are authorized in simply punishing a soldier temporarily or discharging him/her from service. Usually, when IG is contacted, it is for negative reasons, but there always has to be a strong hand to enforce and influence the continuous control of soldiers, from Private to Captains, regulations know no rank. Following rules are important for the sustainment of the organizational structure and daily operations.
There are several organizational designs that best suit the United States Army’s needs and support its organizational structure. Just one would not suffice to assist the U.S Army market its branch of service and promote the value of its organization. Stating the obvious, the U.S Army was born in the United States, yet has bases worldwide. After wars fought in a number of different countries, the U.S Army has made it a point to continue showing its presence by establishing bases in countries such as Germany, Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, giving the United States a geographical advantage.
The product it provides consist of customer based relations; supporting and defending the citizens of our country. Army bases overseas report to their Regional Commands depending on the part of the world they are based. This structure continues to allow generals abroad to command its bases yet still must report to the higher echelon in Washington D.C. The fact to remember is, the United States Army is an organization that does not sell material products, but creates soldiers out of men and women to continue fighting, defending, and preserving our land of the free and home of the brave.
After 239 years serving our country, the United States Army has long proved to Americans that it is a force to be reckoned with. The structure used today has allowed the armed forces to control, enforce, and withstand all others when threatened. Throughout the years all other branches of service evolved to create a team that no other country on earth can match. With all these organizations united, it is doubtful that the United States of America will continue to rule as the superior force on earth and will remain that way for all time.
Business Dictionary. (2014).
The Official Homepage of the United States Army. (2014).
Retrieved from http://www.army.mil/