Roleplayer #17, November 1989

Table of Organization Diagrams

GURPS Special Ops

This information was omitted from GURPS Special Ops because the editor thought everyone knew how to read a Table of Organization . . .

Table of Organization (TO) diagrams are a specialized form of symbology that shows the command relationship among the subunits of any military organization. The TO is a graphic depiction of the lawful chain of command and responsibility; who gives orders and who has to make sure that they are carried out. The diagram is a hierarchical tree; orders come down and information goes up. In a less than perfect world, the hierarchical structure sometimes inhibits action, but by experience, there are more failures from short-cutting channels than from getting bogged down in them.

For higher-echelon organizations the little boxes on the diagrams are simply connected and filled in with the name or abbreviation of the headquarters involved. As an example, the TO for Joint Special Operations Command, from p.77 of GURPS Special Ops, show that there are only two levels of command between the National Command Authority (the President of the United States) and the colonel who commands 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta.

A group of military symbols has been standardized by the NATO countries to make TOs easier to make out than boxes full of initials and to show the command level of the units involved. Some of these symbols are:

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