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General support (GS)

Definition General Support (GS) is a military term referring to the assistance provided to the entire force rather than to any specific subdivision within it. It involves the support capabilities that are pooled at certain levels and made available to many units or services. It is not restricted to any special type of unit or […]


General Support (GS) is a military term referring to the assistance provided to the entire force rather than to any specific subdivision within it. It involves the support capabilities that are pooled at certain levels and made available to many units or services. It is not restricted to any special type of unit or a specific geographical area.

Key Takeaways

  1. General Support (GS) in military operations is a type of support that is given to the whole force rather than to a specific subdivision within the force. This type of support is broadly applicable and not dedicated to a particular operation.
  2. Generally, the units under General Support aren’t specifically tied to one single unit or operation. Instead, they exist to provide backup support and resources as needed, thereby ensuring overall operational efficiency and success for the whole force.
  3. General Support can include a wide array of services such as logistics, transport, medical aid, communication, supplies, intelligence among others. It plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall welfare, morale, and combat readiness of the force.


The military operations term “General Support (GS)” is important because it refers to the support provided to a larger unit as a whole, rather than a specific unit internally.

It is a critical component in any military operation because it ensures the overall functionality and efficiency of an entire force.

General support includes assistance in areas such as logistics, intelligence, communication, and combat support.

By providing resources and services that benefit all units, GS reinforces the overall mission readiness, strategic efficacy, and combat capacity of the force.

Hence, the term implies a broad scope of support that is vital for operational cohesion and effectiveness.


General support (GS) is a fundamental principle utilized within military contexts, aimed towards optimizing efficiency and effectiveness of combat operations. Primarily, this term signifies support services provided on a larger, generalized scale to support the entire force rather than a specific sub-unit. These services typically encapsulate supply, maintenance, transportation, and other operations that essentially don’t tie directly to a specific operation but are vital for the overall success of a military mission.

Consequently, the purpose of general support is to ensure that military units as a whole, regardless of their discrete tasks, are well-resourced and adequately equipped to effectively execute their activities. One of the important features of general support lies in its wide-ranging application. This holistic approach ensures that all activities within a military mission are in harmony and are synchronized to promote a better operative state.

For instance, in a logistic context, general support might involve resource distribution, such as ammunition or fuel supplies to all units without favouring a particular unit. Hence, by looking at the entire operational theater at once, Chief Commanders are enabled to make tactical decisions about resource deployment based on a comprehensive picture. Ultimately, the GS model is not only about supporting combat operations but also about enhancing the overall welfare and productivity of the military force.

Examples of General support (GS)

World War II: During this historic military event, general support was crucial. One example is the U.S Air Force providing general support to the ground troops fighting in Europe. This included the provision of strategic bombing, close air support, surveillance, and liaison capabilities.

Vietnam War: The U.S Army provided general support by supplying aerial equipment, such as helicopters and fighter jets, to assist in the ground combat operations. The U.S Navy also provided general support in the forms of naval gunfire, blockade operations and amphibious warfare.

Operation Desert Storm: The U.S-led coalition provided general support in several ways. One notable example was the air power provided by the U.S, UK, and other allies to weaken Iraq’s defensive capabilities. Others included intelligence services, logistics, and supply chain to support combat troops in operations against Iraq.

FAQs about General Support (GS)

What is General Support (GS)?

General Support (GS) is a category of military support operations that are organized to support the entire force rather than any particular subdivision of it.

What is the role of General Support in the military?

General Support plays a major role in the military by providing essential services and resources, such as supplies, transportation, and maintenance, which are crucial for the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the operations.

What is the difference between General Support (GS) and Direct Support (DS)?

While General Support is designed to aid the entire force, Direct Support is focused on providing assistance to specific units or functions within the force. Both are critical for operational success, but have distinctive scopes and applications.

Can a unit be on both General Support (GS) and Direct Support (DS)?

Yes, a unit can be tasked to provide both General Support and Direct Support based on the operational requirements. The specifics depend on the tactical situation and command decisions.

Related Military Operation Terms

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  • Pension Management Centers

Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Army Publishing Directorate: An official site where army regulations can be accessed, including reference material on terms like General Support (GS).
  • Department of Defense: The official website of the Department of Defense provides information about various military features, including GS.
  • U.S. Marines: The United States Marine Corps website provides access to official marines documentation and information on General Support.
  • U. S. Government Accountability Office: This is the official site of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) which often publishes reports relating to military operations including General Support.

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