Fleet commanders-in-chief and numbered fleet commanders have geographically oriented responsibilities and are permanently organized and assigned to a unified (theater) command. Below the numbered fleet staff level, the operational chain of command is task oriented. The United States Navy's Fleets are operationally organized into task forces. Each task force is responsible to the Fleet Commander for specific functions related to the assigned units. Organizational assignments in the operational chain of command are not permanently constituted. The task organization is predicated on the mission by a war plan or an operational plan of a commander of a unified command, and as further delineated by the fleet commander-in-chief (naval component commander) and the numbered fleet commander. The task organization must be explicitly set forth by the operation order or operation plan. Changes in the task organization may occur with changes in forces assigned to the task group, geographic area of operation, military task, or tactical situation. Task organization commanders and staffs are created as required by appropriate operation plans and orders. Personnel are assigned on an additional duty basis from (1) existing administrative staff organization, (2) commands within the task organization, and (3) where special skills or large numbers of personnel are required, by augmentees on additional duty from outside the task organization. The operational commander and his staff may be embarked in a sea-going unit of the task organization which would provide the requisite command, control, and communication facilities. When adequate or suitable facilities are not available afloat, the operational staff may be located ashore if the peculiar command, control, and communication requirements for the level of command can thereby be better provided. Operational commanders may alsobe located ashore to facilitate command of land-based forces. Task forces will normally be constituted for the purpose of conducting broad naval warfare missions, such as establishing naval superiority, conducting general strike operations, or seizing territory ashore, or any combination of the functions of the sea cone titles of task forces reflect the broad nature of their tasking (for example, maritime surveillance and reconnaissance force, amphibious force, mobile logistics support force, and so forth).
In times of crises and during certain exercises, Second Fleet becomes the Commander, Joint Task Force (120), one of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command's joint commanders in the Atlantic theater. This joint task force consists of elements of the Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Army quick reaction Airborne and air assault units, U.S. Air Force aircraft and support personnel, U.S. Marine Corps amphibious forces, and at times, designated units of the U.S. Coast Guard. When activated, Joint task Force 120 is tasked to execute a variety of contingency missions throughout the Atlantic Command's area of responsibility. Second Fleet could also be ordered under certain contingencies in the Caribbean theater of operations to control similarly constructed forces as Joint Task Force 140.When the fleet commander-in-chief finds it necessary to establish a task force whose principal function is performed by skills all of the same type, then the assigned task force commander normally will be of the appropriate warfare specialty designation (for example, submarine task force by a submarine officer, surface force by a surface warfare officer, maritime patrol surveillance and ASK force by an aviators and so forth). This assignment is made in the task organization of the applicable operation order or operation plan.
The numbering system for Task Forces subordinated to numbered Fleets is derivative of the number of the Fleet [eg designations of 5th Fleet Task Forces take the form of CTF-5x]. Designations for Task Forces subordinated to the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets generally follow this pattern, though the naive observer might conclude that these designations referred to units of the non-existent 1st Fleet [used for Pacific Fleet] and the equally non-existent 4th and 8th Fleets [used for the Atlantic Fleet]. There is evidently no exact consistency in the names that are attached to specific types of Task Forces, evident inconsistency in the numerical sequence in which a specific type of Task Force is numbered in different Fleets [the exception being the aircraft carrier Battle Force, which is consistently numbered CTF-x0], and only modest consistency with which the various types of Task Forces are represented among the various Fleets, numbered and otherwise.
For major combat formations, the Task Force in the operational chain of command is equivalent to the Group in the administrative chain of command. Hence, the operational CTF-x0 Battle Force centered around an aircraft carrier is equivalent to the administrative Carrier Group (CARGRU). although the Carrier Group consists of a single aircraft carrier and associated forces, while the CTF-x0 Battle Force may consist of one or more aircraft carriers and associated forces.The Battle Force is composed of one or more aircraft carriers, each with an accompanying complement of approximately six cruisers and destroyers. On board the aircraft carrier is an airwing of 65-85 aircraft. The airwing is the primary striking arm of the Battle Force and includes attack, fighter, anti-submarine, command and control, and reconnaissance aircraft. Ships accompanying the carrier serve as defensive and offensive platforms with duties involving anti-air, surface and submarine warfare. In addition to its major role of controlling the seas, the Battle Force can also project its power over land. The Amphibious Force is the Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG). It is composed of three or more amphibious ships and their embarked landing craft and helicopters, occasionally along with attack transports, cargo ships, and mine sweepers. From these ships, US Marine ground forces can move ashore by sea and air on amphibious assault or emergency evacuation missions. Once ashore, the ships of Task Force 61 logistically support the ground forces, until the objective of the landing has been accomplished and the Marine forces return to the ships. The Landing Force is the combat-ready Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The ground force is composed of approximately 1,800 Marines. The Amphibious Force and the Landing Force combine teamwork of Navy and Marine Corps units to form the Amphibious Task Force. Transported in Amphibious Force ships, the MEU is equipped with armor, artillery and transport helicopters that enable it to conduct operations ashore or evacuate civilians from troubled areas. The Logistics/Service Force is composed of oilers, provision ships and repair ships, its mission is the delivery of supplies at sea, and effecting repairs to others ships and equipment of the fleet. These mobile logistic support ships which permit the Fleet to enjoy mobility and self-sustenance. The Patrol Reconnaissance Force Sea Control and Surveillance Force is composed of land-based maritime patrol aircraft. These P-3 Orion patrol aircraft operate over the waters of the Mediterranean in anti-submarine reconnaissance, surveillance, and mining roles, providing the Fleet with essential information on the Mediterranean area. The Submarine Force is composed of attack submarines that provide the capability to destroy enemy surface ships and submarines as well as protect other Sixth Fleet ships from attack. It is responsible for planning and coordinating area submarine and anti-submarine warfare operations in the Mediterranean. The SSBN Force consists of ballistic missile submarines assigned to the Fleet.
|PACFLT||2nd Fleet||3rd Fleet||5th Fleet||6th Fleet||7th Fleet||LANTFLT|
|Logistics Support Force||CTF-25||CTF-33||CTF-53||CTF-63||CTF-73||CTF-85|
|Patrol Reconnaissance Force||CTF-21||CTF-67||CTF-72||CTF-86|
|Patrol Air Force||CTF-26||CTF-81|
|Command and Coordination Force||CTF-31||CTF-71|
|Surface Combatant Force||CTF-35||CTF-75|
|Temporary Operations Force||CTF-10||CTF-37|
|Maritime Defense Zone||CTF-16||CTF-89|
|Naval Construction Battalions||CTF-18||CTF-48|
|Caribbean Contingency Force||CTF-28|
|Special Operations Force||CTF-68|
|Fleet Marine Forces||CTF-45|
|Mine Warfare Command||CTF-45|
|Protection of Shipping Force||CTF-80|
|Tactical Development Force||CTF-87|