The term "Group" is used to designate both major contingents of combatant vessels, as well as a wide variety of much smaller shore-based units. For afloat forces, a Group is normally the superior echelon to a Squadron. However, the inconsistency in the application of the "Group" designation is illustrated by the Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group (NAVCHAPGRU), which is an expeditionary logistics support unit of the operating forces of Combat Logistics Squadron Two.
The "Group" designation is used in both the operational and administrative chains of command. For Operational units, the make-up of the Group is transient, with the component commands and vessels transitioning to other Group assignments in subsequent deployment cycles. Within the administrative chain of command, the Group is the immediate superior in charge that is intermediate between the Type Commander and the Squadron. Administrative assignments of individual vessels to a particular administrative Group are persistent, and would normally change only if the vessel's homeport changed due to a force realignment.
The growing number of carrier battle group "gaps" in operational coverage led to internal assessments of the need for highly flexible and effective Carrier Strike Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, and Expeditionary Strike Forces to satisfy the requirements of the nation's security and military strategies. Coupled with independent operations by missile defense surface action groups (SAGs) and nuclear-powered guided missile/special operations submarines (SSGNs), the future Fleet of approximately 375 ships planned as of 2004 will dramatically increase the operational flexibility, global reach, and striking power from the approximately 19 independent strike groups (12 CVBGs and seven Middle-East Force surface action groups) of 2004 to 37 independent strike groups. Under the new Fleet Response Plan, these 37 strike groups will include 12 Carrier Strike Groups, 12 Expeditionary Strike Groups, nine Strike/Missile Defense SAGs, and four SSGN Strike/SOF forces. The bottom line is that in this way Navy "presence with a purpose," operational flexibility under the Fleet Response Plan, and warfighting effectiveness will be optimized in support of the "1-4-2-1"strategic guidance.
The Battle Group (BATGRU) is led by an aircraft carrier and include an airwing and a small contingent of cruisers to act as carrier escorts. In addition to this Battle Force, it also included an Amphibious Group of ships to transport and support Marine Corps amphibious operations. The Battle Group is the largest operational unit of the US Navy. Each deployed Battle Group consists of a unique combination of ships.
A MARG (Marine Amphibious Ready Group) consists of a flotilla of assault ships, comprising an Amphibious Ready Group [ARG], with Marines onboard. The ARG configuration will vary with each deployment, but the configuration will always provide the ARG commander the ability to launch and recover Marine helicopters and deploy landing craft, including the LCAC, Landing Craft Air Cushioned, the Navy's amphibious hoovercraft. The composition of the Group runs the entire spectrum of amphibious warfare with Amphibious Squadrons, a Naval Beach Group, a Tactical Air Control Group, a number of ships and typically over 10,000 personnel.
The Expeditionary Strike Group is a revamped amphibious ready group with the ability to disperse strike capabilities across a greater range of the force, increasing the striking power in the amphibious ready group. In addition to the ARG's usual 3 ships, the ESG will include a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, and submarine.
A Surface Action Group (SAG) is composed of a variable number of surface combatants, but does not include the aircraft carrier. It is used for a variety of tasks, but primarily power projection or forward presence missions, as was the Battleship Battle Group [BBBG]. In July 1986 the first battleship battle group to deploy to the Western Pacific since the Korean War included USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62), USS LONG BEACH (CGN-9), USS MERRILL (DD-976), USS KIRK (FF-1087), USS THACH (FFG-43), USNS PASSUMPSIC (T-AO-107) and USS WABASH (AOR-5). An independent Surface Action Group (SAG), comprised of a handful of combatants, might be deployed to launch Tomahawk missiles against inland targets. Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50 is the first destroyer squadron to be permanently forward-deployed in the Persian Gulf region. In the absence of a carrier battle group, DESRON 50 serves as Commander, Middle East Force Surface Action Group. Destroyers operate as an element of a coordinated force or independently as the nucleus of a Surface Action Group (SAG), to conduct and/or coordinate operations in numerous warfare mission areas including: Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Submarine (ASW, and Strike Warfare (STW).
An Underway Replenishment Group (URG) consists of assets of the Combat Logistics Force (CLF) which include a tailored mix of oilers, repair, and cargo replenishment ships necessary to sustain the forward deployed force.
Carrier Groups (CARGRU) are led by an aircraft carrier and include an airwing and a pair of VLS-equipped Ticonderoga-class cruisers to act as carrier escorts. In addition, the CARGRU may include a Destroyer Squadron, an Amphibious Squadron, as well as combat logistics ships. The commander ensures that Carrier Battle Groups deploy in the highest state of operational readiness. COMCARGRU (CCG) enhances long term Battle Group effectiveness through standardization and execution of the intermediate phase of the Carrier Battle Group Inter Deployment Training Cycle (IDTC). CCG provides advice and recommendations to numbered fleet and Type Commanders on methods to enhance Battle Group readiness. CCG is prepared to serve as the Naval Component Commander in Joint Task Force Operations, as a Joint Air Operations Center (JAOC) augmentee team for a mature theater or as an enabling JFACC for maritime Air Tasking Order (ATO) production. CCG serves as Battle Force/Group Commander for designated C3F combined Allied and Joint exercises.
Although the Navy has a total of eleven aircraft carriers in commission, only eight carrier groups are constituted, of which two are reserve training units with no assigned ships. In July 1995 the Navy announced the formation of new "core battlegroups" consisting of a carrier and two VLS equipped CG 47 class cruisers. The new assignments included both six Carrier Groups and six Cruiser-Destroyer Groups, equally divided between Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. There is no apparent indication of why some Groups are designated Carrier Groups while others are designated Cruiser-Destroyer Groups [initially some of the Cruiser-Destroyer Groups included nuclear powered guided missile cruisers, which were all de-comissioned by the late 1990s].
Cruiser-Destroyer Group (CRUDESGRU) plans for and exercises operational and tactical command of air, surface, and submarine forces. The designation used when the escort ship contingent is designed to accommodate destroyers as well as cruisers. The Cruiser-Destroyer Group is directly responsible to Commander, Naval Surface Force, Pacific or Atlantic Fleet for the administration and readiness of assigned ships within the group administrative organization. When serving as a Carrier Battle Group Commander, the Commander is also responsible to Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific or Atlantic Fleet for certain administrative functions concerning the aircraft carrier and carrier air wing. In addition, he serves as a subordinate operational commander to numbered Fleets when assigned to their Area of Responsibility.
Amphibious Group (PHIBGRU) include ships designed to transport and support Marine Corps amphibious operations. Typically three or four ships from an Amphibious Group will deploy together to form an Amphibious Ready Group.
A Mine Counter Measures (MCM) Group consists of a a blend of air, surface and support units.
The Submarine Group (SUBGRU) has repsonsibility for oversight of submarine squadrons. A subordinate commander to Commander, Submarine Force, COMSUBGRU exercises command over various commands and units assigned, including operational and administrative control of the submarines, and acting as the local Submarine Operating Authority, COMSUBGRU provides local coordinating authority for all matters assigned by COMSUB. COMSUBGRU exercises direct control over the administration and training of submarine crews. The SUBGRU also exercises responsibility for the training and certification of new construction and overhaul ships and crews at Electric Boat and Portsmouth Naval Shipyards. COMSUBGRU exercises submarine operating authority responsibilities for submerged operations in the Fleet Exercise Areas; exercises control of local and harbor communication networks; and monitors readiness, training and performance of units assigned.
A Naval Special Warfare Group [also called NSWG] is a permanent Navy echelon III major command to which most naval special warfare forces are assigned for some operational and all administrative purposes. The group consists of a group headquarters with command and control, communications, and support staff, sea-air-land teams, and sea-air-land delivery vehicle teams. The group is the source of all deployed naval special warfare forces and administratively supports the naval special warfare units assigned to the theater combatant commanders. The group staff provides general operational direction and coordinates the activities of its subordinate units. A naval special warfare group is capable of task-organizing to meet a wide variety of requirements.
Commander Western Hemisphere Group (WESTHEMGRU) destroyer squadrons conduct maritime operations in the western hemisphere region in support of national interests and unified commanders. Western Hemisphere Group is the Immediate Superior in Command for three tactical squadrons and 18 ships that are homeported in Mayport, Fla.; Pascagoula, Miss.; and Norfolk, Va. Established in September 1995, they also act as the Caribbean Area Logistics Coordinator in support of fleet operations and national objectives. Western Hemisphere Group Sailors deployed in this region are key to forward peace time engagement, crisis response and hindering the flow of drugs into the United States. Establishment of the WESTHEMGRU concept had two primary objectives. Moving ships closer to deployment patterns, homeports were adjusted, reducing fuel costs, underway time, and response time for contingency operations. Secondly, it reduced instability for Battle Group deployers among Atlantic Fleet Naval Forces by focusing ships on Counter Drug Operations and Unitas. Consequently, a core of expertise in South America and the Caribbean was developed. Operating as Naval Forces Component Commander (CTF 125/JTF-PM) WESTHEMGRU is responsible for a variety of contingency operations in the Caribbean and South Atlantic area. These responsibilities include crisis intervention, humanitarian assistance, alien migration, military assistance to civilian authorities, maritime interdiction operations and non-combatant evacuation operations.
Naval Surface Group Middle Pacfic is a US Navy command responsible for maintenance and training of the surface ships homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It is are subordinate to Commander Naval Surface Force Pacific located in San Diego, California for administrative matters, and Commander Third Fleet for operational matters. The Group's mission is to prepare these ships for forward deployed fleet operations, and to also provide administrative support to the family members of sailors.
The Naval Beach Group, or NBG, is a permanently organized Navy command that provides the Navy personnel and equipment to support an amphibious operation or exercise. The Naval Beach Group ensures the smooth flow of personnel, equipment and supplies from ships lying offshore to the designated landing area. The Group provides the leadership and coordination for separate commands that worked together to provide the ship-to-shore element of an amphibious exercise or operation. An amphibious exercise is more than some landing craft pulling up to the beach and the US Marines charging ashore. An exercise can include evacuation of American citizens from a hostile territory, delivery of food and medical supplies after a natural diasater, the bulk delivery of fuel or fresh water from a ship anchored off the coast through a pipeline to a shore facility, and nearly any other task that involves moving from ships off-shore to the beach.
Tactical Air Control Group (TACGRU) is responsible for augmenting Amphibious Groups during amphibious/expeditionary warfare operations. The TACGRU deploys throughout the Pacific Fleet, providing centralized planning, control, and integration of all air operations in support of amphibious operations, training, and transits. Additionally TACGRU personnel serve on Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) staffs, providing air control and planning in a unified or allied theater of operation. TACGRU also maintains the capability of temporarily manning and operating a remote or existing control facility ashore, thus supporting amphibious or disaster relief operations.
Logistics Groups are the Fleet's principal logistics agent which plans the resupply of food, ordnance, fuel and repair parts for US Navy ships deployed to the Fleet's Area of Operations, as well as planning and managing the funding for ship repairs at US facilities as well as at commercial repair facilities.
Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group (NAVCHAPGRU), with a core unit of 160 personnel, was established on 1 December 1970. NAVCHAPGRU is an expeditionary logistics support unit of the operating forces of Commander, Combat Logistics Squadron Two. NAVCHAPGRU'S primary mission is to perform supervisory air and surface cargo handling and freight terminal operations in support of Unified and Component Commanders' requirements. NAVCHAPGRU is capable of providing independent mission tailored detachments, or fully deploying as a self sustaining unit anywhere in the world.
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