The Sasuke Retrieval Team is an emergency-response team formed because of Sasuke Uchiha's defection from Konohagakure to Otogakure. Because of the A-rank nature of the mission, the retrieval team would ordinarily have been composed of chūnin and jōnin. However, because Konoha was still suffering from a loss in manpower due to the attempted invasion, the Fifth Hokage was only able to send minimal forces. She handed leadership of the squad to Shikamaru Nara - making it his first mission since being promoted to chūnin - and allowed him to recruit as many genin as he liked. The team's mission was the basis for the Sasuke Retrieval Arc.
For the purpose of the mission Shikamaru after careful analysis came up with a strategy he though would best fit the strong points of the team he had. The formation for pursuing Sasuke and his escorts, the Sound Four, was designed to be able to react to an enemy attack from any angle as quickly as possible. The members were organised in this order:
The Sasuke Retrieval Squad Formation
Kiba and Akamaru, who would lead the group, track Sasuke's scent and check out the enemies' scent to evade booby traps as they have the most familiarity with the Land of Fire's terrain. Kiba had to be looking straight ahead. With the help of Akamaru, Kiba would be good to watch up front if an enemy did a frontal attack.
Shikamaru, who would be able to give orders quickly based on how any situation encountered by Kiba unfolded. Shikamaru had to look ahead too, but with a wider range than Kiba and Akamaru.
Naruto, who has quick reaction was in the middle. With his Shadow Clone Technique he would be able to aid the front or the rear in an emergency. Naruto had to be watching left.
Chōji, being the bulkiest in the group, would be the final blow after a surprise attack. Chōji had to be watching right.
Neji, who would take care of the rear thanks to the Byakugan. Neji would be watching the back and taking care of any blind spots in the formation.