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Chapter 3


The defense strategy places a broad range of demands on U.S. military forces—shaping and responding to most near–term demands, while at the same time preparing for an uncertain future. Meeting the military requirements of the strategy requires ready, robust, flexible military capabilities that draw on the combined strengths of the Services, active and reserve, and support agencies. The U.S. armed forces can only meet the demands of the strategy by seamlessly integrating Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps capabilities across the spectrum of operations from peacetime to wartime. Nothing short of fully joint armed forces—forces that are joint institutionally, organizationally, intellectually, and technically—will ensure the effective and successful execution of the defense strategy.


The National Security Act of 1947 established unified combatant commands, military commands that have broad continuing missions and are composed of forces from at least two military departments. The 1999 Unified Command Plan recognizes nine unified combatant commands, each led by a four–star general or admiral known as a CINC, or commander in chief. Four of these commands are geographic commands with a specific set of missions and a geographic area of responsibility (AOR). Four combatant commands do not have geographic areas of responsibility, but rather have worldwide functional areas of responsibility. One combatant command has both functional and geographic responsibilities. The Services provide forces to the CINCs. The CINCs, drawing on guidance from the President and the Secretary of Defense, determine how those forces are used on a day–to–day basis.

For virtually every region in the world (the Russian Federation, Canada, Mexico, the 48 contiguous states, and Antarctica are exceptions), there is a unified combatant command, led by a CINC. The command’s primary purposes are to use the forces assigned and apportioned to that command, as well as rotationally and temporarily deployed forces, to shape the environment, respond to the full spectrum of crises, and prepare for the future in that region. The geographic CINCs are responsible for planning and conducting all military operations including military engagement activities within their theaters of operation and serving as the single point of contact for all military matters within their area of responsibility. In carrying out these duties, the CINCs may receive assistance from other geographic CINCs, as well as from the functional CINCs. Functional CINCs have worldwide responsibility for specialized capabilities such as transportation, space, and special operations; they provide these high demand resources to geographic CINCs as appropriate.

United States European Command

The United States European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for enhancing transatlantic security through support to NATO, promoting regional stability, and advancing U.S. interests in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. To accomplish this mission, USEUCOM conducts operations and a variety of engagement activities with NATO allies, partner countries, and other friendly nations throughout its AOR. Included among these engagement activities are combined training, military–to–military contacts, security assistance, and other types of defense cooperation. The engagement activities shape the international environment in ways that promote and protect U.S. interests. The operations employ military force to promote and protect those same interests when no other means seem likely to succeed.

The command’s area of responsibility includes more than 14 million square miles and 89 countries. It extends from the North Cape of Norway, through the waters of the Baltic and Mediterranean seas, including most of Europe and parts of the Middle East, to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The Commander in Chief of USEUCOM (USCINCEUR) commands five U.S. components: U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Navy Europe, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Special Operations Command Europe, and Marine Forces Europe. USCINCEUR is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

USEUCOM’s most significant 1999 operation was providing forces, through Joint Task Force Noble Anvil, to NATO–led Operation Allied Force in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to end violence by Serbian military and paramilitary forces against ethnic Albanians. The success of the campaign allowed over 600,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees to return to Kosovo. To support this repatriation and facilitate a return of stability to the region, Operation Allied Force transitioned to a stabilizing force in Kosovo, supported from Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In addition, USEUCOM committed over 1,100 personnel to support humanitarian efforts in Albania. After constructing a refugee camp (Camp Hope) capable of accommodating 20,000 refugees, Joint Task Force Shining Hope turned over day–to–day camp administration to civilian humanitarian agencies. In spite of the demands of Operation Allied Force, USEUCOM continued to provide forces to the NATO–led Stabilization Force in Bosnia through Operation Joint Forge; enforced a no–fly zone over the northern part of Iraq with Operation Northern Watch; and in Operation Avid Response, supported relief efforts following the earthquake in Turkey.

In 1999, USEUCOM conducted more than 3,000 shaping activities throughout the AOR. Virtually all of the many large and small exercises conducted by USEUCOM have shaping aspects; some of them, particularly the combined exercises, have engagement as their primary purpose. U.S. unilateral and NATO exercises hone the ability to fight at a state–of–the–art level alone or with U.S. traditional allies, and they significantly increase the impact of U.S. presence. Special Operations Command Europe conducts combined education and training events in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub–Saharan Africa. Under the auspices of the Joint Contact Team Program, multi–Service military contact teams from USEUCOM live and work in partner countries across Central Europe and the New Independent States, coordinating USEUCOM efforts to encourage democratization, military professionalism, and closer relationships with NATO. The George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies promotes peace through understanding by offering a complex of five programs to assist members of Central and Eastern European defense establishments in learning about the challenges of maintaining professional militaries under democratic, civilian control. Similarly, the African Center for Strategic Studies will provide a forum for senior African military and civilian leaders to discuss issues of common concern such as transnational security threats, human rights, refugees, UN operations, and disaster management. These and other engagement activities provide immediate benefits by improving interoperability among U.S. forces and their allied and partner colleagues, and build and strengthen political–military relationships between the United States and countries in the USEUCOM AOR over the long term.

United States Pacific Command

The United States Pacific Command’s (USPACOM’s) area of responsibility extends from the west coast of the United States mainland to the east coast of Africa, and from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica, including Alaska and Hawaii. Geographically, USPACOM is the largest of the U.S. unified commands. USPACOM’s AOR covers about 50 percent of the earth’s surface or more than 100 million square miles, including 43 countries, 10 U.S. territories, and 20 territories of other countries that together make up nearly 60 percent of the world’s population. The Commander in Chief of USPACOM (USCINCPAC) commands a total force of about 301,000 military—nearly 24 percent of all active duty U.S. military forces—drawn from all the Services, organized into a headquarters and four component commands: U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, and U.S. Pacific Air Forces.

The most significant 1999 USPACOM operations were providing forces to the NATO–led Operation Allied Force in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the multinational Australian–led Operation Stabilise in the East Timor region. To end the violence against ethnic Albanians by Serbian military/paramilitary forces and against East Timor refugees by Indonesian military forces, USPACOM deployed forces to support the return of stability to the regions and to ensure the repatriation of displaced civilians.

Throughout 1999, USPACOM forces also conducted a diverse set of exercises, operations, and training activities to shape the environment in the Asia–Pacific region. These activities included participating in numerous military training exercises with partner nations to promote regional stability. Exercise Foal Eagle, in Korea, provides division–level field training during a simulated Korean conflict. Exercise Cobra Gold, in Thailand, strengthens Thai/U.S. defense capabilities and enhances interoperability. In Australia, Exercise Crocodile was the first in a series of bilateral exercises designed to enhance the planning and conduct of joint/combined operations between Australia and the United States. In promoting regional stability, USPACOM forces also participate in military–to–military exchange programs and provide other assistance to partner nations including security assistance, seminars, and special programs such as the Asia–Pacific Chiefs of Defense Conference.

USPACOM conducts counterdrug operations through Joint Interagency Task Force–West, focusing on interdicting drug flow in the eastern Pacific and Southeast Asia. USPACOM also provides forces to Joint Task Force–Full Accounting, a standing Joint Task Force working with representatives from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia charged with conducting investigations and remains recovery operations to provide the fullest possible accounting of American citizens still missing as a result of war in Southeast Asia. Finally, USPACOM provides educational and military exchange opportunities through courses at the Asia–Pacific Center for Security Studies and the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, both located in Hawaii.

United States Central Command

The United States Central Command’s (USCENTCOM’s) area of responsibility includes 25 countries of diverse political, economic, cultural, and geographic makeup in the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and Northeast Africa. USCENTCOM’s AOR is larger than the continental United States, stretching some 3,100 miles east to west and 3,600 miles north to south. The Commander in Chief of USCENTCOM commands five component commands: U.S. Army Forces Central Command, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Marine Forces Central Command, and Special Operations Command Central.

Although continued tensions with Iraq are the major focus for USCENTCOM, this unified command has a broader mission that includes supporting U.S. interests in the region, promoting regional security in cooperation with regional allies and friends, and projecting U.S. military force into the region if necessary. USCENTCOM shapes the regional security environment using a variety of initiatives and activities, including combined training, military–to–military contacts, educational opportunities, and security assistance. USCENTCOM conducts joint combined exercise training with nations in the region which helps develop interoperability and reinforces military–to–military relationships between the United States and host nations. USCENTCOM also coordinates placements for over 2,500 students from countries across the region in a variety of U.S. military courses, schools, and colleges.

In 1999, USCENTCOM continued to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolutions 687, 688, and 949 through ongoing Maritime Intercept Operations (MIO) and Operation Southern Watch. Since the beginning of Operation Desert Shield, MIO have boarded over 12,300 ships, checking for contraband headed to or from Iraq. Approximately 700 ships have been diverted for violations. The participation of the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Kuwait, and other coalition nations continues to demonstrate resolve for Iraqi compliance with applicable United Nations resolutions.

Operation Southern Watch, executed by Joint Task Force–Southwest Asia (JTF–SWA) continues to maintain the southern No Fly Zone and No Enhancement Zone. The effect is to limit Saddam Hussein’s ability to project military power into the southern third of Iraq, from where he could threaten Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Since its inception, the men and women of JTF–SWA have flown over 225,000 sorties.

Operation Desert Spring (formerly exercise Intrinsic Action) also shows the United States’ commitment to the physical security of Kuwait. This operation, conducted year round in Kuwait, focuses on battalion and brigade task force operations and training.

USCENTCOM has responded to ongoing changes in the regional military, political, and economic environment by articulating and implementing a theater strategy based on a policy of collective engagement with the nations in its AOR. This strategy has begun a shift away from a primarily Gulf–centered focus to one that is more regionally balanced. This approach has produced a broader integration and application of resources and assets, and yielded greater flexibility in addressing the command’s mission to defend U.S. interests throughout the region. The implementation of the strategy is based on the belief that an ounce of proactive engagement prevention is better than a pound of warfighting cure. The Theater Engagement Plan integrates a wide array of activities focused on the development of professional regional militaries responsive to civil authority, the enhancement of regional security partners’ ability to assist in their own defense, and the formation and maintenance of a coalition that is organized to provide collective security in order to ensure stability in the region. The Cooperative Defense Initiative against weapons of mass destruction, begun with the Gulf Cooperation Council States, Egypt, and Jordan, is but one major initiative that offers high potential for fostering peace and stability in this volatile region.

United States Southern Command

The United States Southern Command’s (USSOUTHCOM’s) area of responsibility encompasses 32 countries and covers more than 12 million square miles. The region stretches 6,000 miles north to south from the southern coast of the United States to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America (exclusive of Mexico). The command’s headquarters is located in Miami, Florida. Its component commands are the U.S. Army South, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Air Force South, and U.S. Marine Corps South. USSOUTHCOM also has a subunified command, Special Operations Command South, as well as responsibility for Joint Interagency Task Force–East, Joint Task Force Bravo in Honduras, the Caribbean Regional Operations Center, and joint expeditionary deployments throughout the region under Exercise New Horizons.

In 1999, much of USSOUTHCOM’s attention was focused on the final withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from the Republic of Panama. In accordance with the Panama Canal Treaties of 1977, all U.S. military forces had departed Panama by noon on December 31, 1999. The departure from Panama resulted in a significant restructuring of the command’s theater engagement strategy, with Puerto Rico becoming the main operational hub for USSOUTHCOM operations in the AOR.

In the wake of Hurricanes Mitch and Georges, USSOUTHCOM more than doubled in size the already successful New Horizons program of engineering and medical readiness training exercises to meet the increased need for humanitarian assistance operations in Central America and the Caribbean. The expanded New Horizons programs in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua involved more than 23,000 guard and reserve personnel.

Throughout 1999, the command also continued traditional military engagement programs that promoted its regional engagement strategy. The wide array of engagement tools included combined operations, exercises, and training and education; military–to–military contact programs; security assistance programs; and humanitarian assistance programs. USSOUTHCOM conducted over 2,000 deployments, involving more than 50,000 personnel, in 1999.

Counterdrug activities form an important part of the United States Southern Command’s shaping mission and include exercises with host nations, information sharing, and various efforts to halt the flow of illegal drugs both at the source of production and in the transit zone. Joint Interagency Task Force–East is responsible for coordinating the Department’s support to the U.S. counterdrug effort in the USSOUTHCOM AOR. Examples of some of the successful counterdrug operations include Operations Central Skies and Caper Focus in which coordinated efforts by DoD assets, U.S. Coast Guard, Customs, and Drug Enforcement Agency assets, plus host nation forces resulted in significant disruption of illegal drug movements in the eastern Pacific, Caribbean, and Central America transit zone regions.

Finally, USSOUTHCOM’s implementation of its theater strategy contributed to the peaceful end of a century–old conflict between Peru and Ecuador. It also contributed to the military’s subordination to civilian authority in Honduras.

United States Joint Forces Command

Redesignated on October 1, 1999, from United States Atlantic Command, the United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) is headquartered at Norfolk, Virginia. USJFCOM is unique among the unified commands because it has both functional and geographic responsibilities. In addition to geographic responsibility for the Atlantic Ocean theater (which encompasses the Atlantic Ocean, except for waters adjoining Central and South America, as well as Iceland, the Azores, and portions of the Arctic Ocean), USJFCOM’s functional responsibilities of training, integrating, and providing joint, combat ready forces for other CINCs give the command its main focus. The recent redesignation emphasizes the role of the commander in chief of USJFCOM (USCINCJFCOM) as the chief advocate for jointness and the importance placed on enhancing the levels of jointness and interoperability throughout the Department. USCINCJFCOM’s new and increased functional responsibilities reflect his key role in the transformation of U.S. forces to meet the security challenges of the 21st century.

Key responsibilities include:

· Serving as the lead joint force integrator responsible for combining Service and defense agency capabilities to enhance interoperability and joint and combined capabilities by recommending changes in doctrine, organizations, training and education, materiel, leader development, and personnel.

· Serving as the DoD Executive Agent and functionally responsible to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) for joint warfighting experimentation.

· Serving as the lead agent for joint force training responsible to the Chairman for managing the CINCs’ portion of the CJCS exercise program, conducting and assessing joint and multinational training and exercises for assigned forces, and assisting the Chairman, other CINCs, and Service Chiefs in their preparations for joint and combined operations.

· Serving as the joint force provider of assigned U.S.–based forces responsible for deploying trained and ready joint forces and providing them in response to requirements of other combatant commands when directed by the National Command Authority.

· Providing, within the United States, its territories, and possessions, military assistance to civil authorities (including consequence management operations in response to nuclear, chemical, radiological, or biological weapons of mass destruction incidents), military support to U.S. civil authorities, and military assistance for civil disturbances, subject to Secretary of Defense approval.

· Planning for the land defense of the continental United States, domestic support operations to assist government agencies, and the binational Canada–United States land and maritime defense of the Canada–U.S. region.

United States Special Operations Command

The Commander in Chief of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) commands over 46,000 active and reserve special operations forces (SOF) personnel organized into four component commands: Air Force Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Naval Special Warfare Command, and Joint Special Operations Command. USSOCOM’s global mission is to support the geographic CINCs, ambassadors and their country teams, and other government agencies by preparing SOF to successfully conduct special operations, including civil affairs and psychological operations, in support of the full range of military operations.

The Commander in Chief of USSOCOM (USCINCSOC) has two roles. In his capacity as a supporting CINC, he provides trained and ready SOF to the geographic CINCs. In his role as a supported CINC, USCINCSOC must be prepared to exercise command of selected special operations missions when directed by the National Command Authority.

Congress directed the establishment of USSOCOM in 1987 to correct serious deficiencies in the ability of the United States to conduct special operations activities. The command was assigned many service–like responsibilities, including developing SOF doctrine, training assigned forces, validating requirements, ensuring combat readiness, monitoring the promotions and professional development of SOF personnel, and monitoring the preparedness of SOF assigned to other CINCs. To carry out these responsibilities, USCINCSOC was given the authority to direct and control a separate Major Force Program (MFP), MFP–11, which ensures the SOF program and budget have visibility at the Department of Defense and with Congress. USCINCSOC was also granted the authority to function as a head of agency to develop and acquire SOF–peculiar equipment, materiel, supplies, and services. Taken together, these two authorities provide USSOCOM great flexibility in organizing, training, and equipping the nation’s SOF for employment by the geographic CINCs. He is the only CINC with program and budget authority.

USSOCOM’s mission can be effectively accomplished only with the support of the Army, Navy, and Air Force who provide quality personnel, common equipment, base operations support, logistical sustainment, and core skills training. This support allows USCINCSOC to focus on SOF–specific training and equipment, as well as the integration of SOF into the entire range of military operations.

United States Space Command

American military satellite systems—used for communications, navigation, weather, surveillance, and ballistic missile attack warning information—are under the control of United States Space Command (USSPACECOM). These systems provide essential information to geographic CINCs, supporting their ability to employ U.S. forces to respond to crises worldwide by ensuring the United States has the access and ability to operate in space while denying enemies the capability to do the same.

In 1999, USSPACECOM operated satellites that provided critical information to U.S. forces in Bosnia, the Persian Gulf, and Kosovo. For example, during Operation Allied Force, the use of Global Positioning System–guided munitions allowed theater commanders to conduct all–weather operations, a key force multiplier in NATO’s success.

United States Strategic Command

The United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) oversees the strategic nuclear force structure in support of U.S. deterrence policy, and is prepared to employ these weapons should deterrence fail. In so doing, USSTRATCOM strengthens America’s deterrent posture and reduces the potential for aggression against its allies and friends. The Commander in Chief of USSTRATCOM (CINCSTRAT) works with the Offices of the Secretaries of Defense and Energy to ensure a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile in a no–testing environment. USSTRATCOM also supports the geographic CINCs in shaping their environment through theater counterproliferation planning and intelligence collection and exploitation efforts. Finally, USSTRATCOM provides strategic planning expertise to other government agencies as they develop U.S. arms control positions.

United States Transportation Command

The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is the sole manager of America’s global defense transportation system and is responsible for coordinating personnel and strategic transportation assets necessary to project and sustain U.S. forces. USTRANSCOM supports military operations worldwide, from exercises to humanitarian assistance to peacekeeping to deterrence in crises and combat operations.

Through three component commands—Air Mobility Command, Military Sealift Command, and Military Traffic Management Command—USTRANSCOM supports the national defense strategy. In 1999, USTRANSCOM provided airlift, aerial refueling, sealift, and land transportation to deploy joint forces to crises, exercises, and other peacetime engagement activities critical to the U.S. military’s shaping and responding missions worldwide. USTRANSCOM’s component commands delivered personnel, food, medical supplies, and heavy equipment to humanitarian relief operations in Central America, Turkey, and elsewhere. All components deployed active and reserve forces to Southern Europe in support of Operation Allied Force. The Air Mobility Command rapidly deployed combat and support forces; Military Sealift Command activated and procured sealift to deploy munitions and heavy equipment; and Military Traffic Management Command coordinated surface transportation and operated ports throughout the United States and Europe.


In addition to the nine unified combatant commands, there are also subunified commands and combined commands that play an important role in the U.S. defense strategy. Two of these commands, U.S. Forces Korea and North American Aerospace Defense Command, are particularly unique and warrant further discussion.

U.S. Forces Korea

U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), a subordinate unified command of USPACOM, is the joint headquarters through which American combat forces would be sent to the Combined Forces Command (CFC), the binational command that has operational control over more than 600,000 active duty military personnel from both the United States and South Korea. In the event of an attack from North Korea, the CFC would provide a coordinated defense of South Korea through its fighting components—the Combined Ground, Air, Naval, Marine Forces, and Special Operations Component Commands. Commander USFK, a four–star U.S. Army general, is also the Commander in Chief, Combined Forces Command, with a four–star Republic of Korea (ROK) Army general serving as the deputy. Additionally, Commander USFK serves as the Commander in Chief United Nations Command and visibly represents the will of the UN Security Council to secure peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Joint and combined training exercises are a major tool to shape the international environment on the Korean Peninsula. These exercises demonstrate U.S. and ROK warfighting capabilities, enhance interoperability between these forces, and deter aggression from North Korea. In 1999, USFK’s participation in Exercises RSOI (Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration) and Ulchi Focus Lens demonstrated the United States’ ability and commitment to move substantial forces onto the Korean Peninsula in the event a renewed regional conflict erupted into war. These sophisticated exercises plus robust modernization efforts by USFK forces provide tangible evidence of U.S. resolve for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

North American Aerospace Defense Command

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a binational combined command that includes Canadian and U.S. forces. This command is responsible for aerospace warning and control for North America. The Commander in Chief of NORAD (CINCNORAD) also currently serves as Commander in Chief, United States Space Command. In accordance with the binational NORAD agreement, CINCNORAD is responsible through the Canadian Chief of the Defense Staff and the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Canadian and U.S. National Command Authorities. Finally, U.S. Element NORAD is responsible for employing U.S. aerospace forces unilaterally to defend the continental United States, Alaska, and other areas as directed. NORAD’s command and control center is located in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, an underground base that is the central collection facility for a worldwide system of sensors designed to provide the CINC, the President, and the Prime Minister of Canada with an accurate picture of any aerospace threat.

By providing early warning of a potential aerospace attack, NORAD helps deter aggression against North America on a daily basis, a critical shaping mission. By providing early warning of an attack, NORAD also enables the United States Strategic Command to effectively respond if necessary.


The commanders in chief ensure that U.S. military forces actively shape the international environment and respond as needed to a full range of crises, from noncombatant evacuations to major theater wars. Through the CINCs, the United States conducts peacetime engagement activities with nations around the world—building stronger military relationships with allies and friends in the process. These commands also conduct operations around the world, from peace enforcement operations in Bosnia, to humanitarian relief operations throughout Africa, to counterdrug operations in South America and the Caribbean. Working as a team with the geographic commands, the functional commands provide essential support for almost every one of these operations.

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