Staff (military)

A military staff or general staff (also referred to as army staff, navy staff, or air staff within the individual services) is a group of officers, enlisted and civilian staff who serve the commander of a division or other large military units in his command and control role by planning, analysis, information gathering and relaying, coordination and supervision of execution of his plans and orders specially in case of multiple simultaneous and rapidly changing complex operations. They are organised into functional groups such as administration, logistics, operations, intelligence, training, etc. They provide multi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer, subordinate military units and other stakeholders.[1][2] A centralised general staff results in tighter top-down control but requires larger staff at HQ and reduces accuracy of orientation[disambiguation needed] of field operations, whereas a decentralised general staff results in enhanced situational focus, personal initiative, speed of localised action, OODA loop, and improved accuracy of orientation.[2]

Staff meeting of the U.S. 112th Regimental Combat Team in Arawe with General Julian Cunningham (seated), standing left to right: unidentified, Lieutenant Colonel C. E. Grant, Major D. M. McMains, Colonel A. M. Miller and Lieutenant Colonel P. L. Hooper

A commander "commands" through his personal authority, decision-making and leadership, and he uses general staff to exercise the "control" on his behalf in a large unit. The traditional role of the general staff in control role has evolved from the simpler "C2" (command and control) to "C3" (C2 with addition of "communication", such as PsyOps) to "C4" (C3 with addition of "computers", such as IT and networks) to C4I2 (C4 with addition of "intelligence" and "interoperability") to "C5I" (C4 with addition of "collaboration" and "intelligence") to "C6ISR" (subsumes C4I2 and C5I by combining C4 element of "command, control, communications and computers" with addition of 2C "cyber-defense and combat systems" (e.g. aegis) and ISR elements of "intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance").[2]

Most NATO nations, including USA and European nations, use the Continental Staff System which has origin in Napoleon's military. Commonwealth Staff System, used by the most of Commonwealth Nations, has its origin in the British Military.[2]