What is a Maritime Task Force?
The term "Task Force” is used in many different ways today. It is used to identify a temporary group composed specifically for a certain purpose or task. Naval Task Forces began in their most recent iteration in the United States Navy in the Pacific Ocean during World War II as a way to organize naval assets in a flexible way. Composed of specific ships, aircraft, submarines, military land forces, or shore service units, Naval Task Forces are assigned to fulfill certain missions.
The term task force is used in many different contexts in the military and in NATO.
- A joint task force is comprised of more than one military service (Army, Navy, Air Force, etc.)
- A combined task force involves military forces from more than one nation
- A combined joint task force includes military forces from multiple nations and multiple services
In the exercise NOBLE MARINER, NATO Striking and Support Force (STRIKFORNATO) is certifying as the Maritime Component Commander (MCC). The Maritime Component Commander in this exercise is leading ships, submarines and aircraft from many nations, so the MCC is also a combined naval task force commander.
As NOBLE MARINER is running in concert with and as part of the United Kingdom’s exercise Joint Warrior, the MCC is working with other component commanders (Air and Land) and for an overall Joint Combined Task Force for the exercise.
So the term Naval Task Force, generally means a group of maritime military assets assigned together for a specific purpose. A NATO Naval Task Force is generally a combined task force as well, since NATO Naval Task Forces are comprised of ships, aircraft and submarines from multiple nations.