For the military, a unit which is not combat-ready due to a planned or unplanned lack of men or basic equipment, but which remains in existence on the books, is called a "paper organization." Such a rating of an organization is a regular part of the planning process and the term is not pejorative.
In the trade union and radical political movements, a "paper organization" is a group ostensibly in existence for a specific purpose, but which remains a phantom. For example, a single individual might claim to represent a non-existing local unit of a national organization in attempt to gain admission as a delegate and thus help "pack" a national convention in favor of a particular faction. Such a phantom unit would be called a "paper organization." Alternatively, the term can be used with regards to a single-interest group with an impressive name but no greater existence than a letterhead and a mailing address, and no concrete existence in fact. Some so-called Communist front groups were an example of this latter form of "paper organization."
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