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>Unified Command Plan: Atlantic and Southern Command Participation in 1995 Review (Briefing Report, 12/05/96, GAO/NSIAD-97-41BR).

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================================================================ COVER


Briefing Report to the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member,
Committee on National Security, House of Representatives

November 1996

UNIFIED COMMAND PLAN - ATLANTIC
AND SOUTHERN COMMAND PARTICIPATION
IN 1995 REVIEW

GAO/NSIAD-97-41BR

Unified Command Plan

(701095)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  AOR - area of responsibility
  CARIBCOM - Caribbean Command
  CINC - Commander in chief
  DOD - Department of Defense
  LANTCOM - Atlantic Command
  SOUTHCOM - U.S.  Southern Command
  UCP - Unified Command Plan
  USLANTCOM - U.S.  Atlantic Command
  USACOM - U.S.  Atlantic Command

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-274584

December 5, 1996

The Honorable Floyd D.  Spence
Chairman,
The Honorable Ronald V.  Dellums
Ranking Minority Member,
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

This report responds to the House Report 104-563 requirement that we
review changes in the U.S.  Southern Command's and the U.S.  Atlantic
Command's geographic responsibilities resulting from the 1995 review
of the Unified Command Plan (UCP).\1 We focused on issues related to
the realignment of responsibility for the Caribbean Basin from the
Atlantic to the Southern Command.\2 Our objectives were to determine
the (1) UCP review process and how the Atlantic and Southern Commands
participated in the process, (2) views of the Southern and Atlantic
Commands regarding the Caribbean realignment, and (3) rationale for
the Chairman's recommendation of the realignment. 


--------------------
\1 House Report 104-563, National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 1997, Committee on National Security, p.  330 (1996). 

\2 The Caribbean Basin refers to the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico,
and islands within this region. 


   BACKGROUND
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

The UCP, among other things, establishes geographic and functional
responsibilities for the Department of Defense's (DOD) unified
commands.  Section 161 of title 10 of the U.S.  Code, as added by the
Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986
requires the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, to conduct a biennial
review of the UCP to examine the force structure, missions, and
responsibilities, including geographic boundaries, of each unified
command.  Prior to the UCP review in 1995, the Southern Command was
responsible for military operations in Central and South America,
excluding the adjoining waters.  The Atlantic Command was responsible
for all military operations in the Atlantic Ocean, parts of the
Pacific Ocean adjoining Central and South America, and the Caribbean
Basin.  On the basis of the 1993 UCP review, the Atlantic Command
also had the functional responsibility to train and integrate most
U.S.-based forces for joint operations, and for providing these
forces for worldwide employment. 

The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, sets the UCP review agenda, and
after the review is completed, makes recommendations on UCP changes
through the Secretary of Defense to the President.  For the 1995
review, the Chairman posed the following three questions.  First,
should each geographic (unified) command be responsible for both
major land and adjoining water areas in order to ensure a total air,
land, and sea capability?  Second, should some of the areas of
responsibility be realigned or consolidated?  Third, should
responsibility for former Soviet Union states be assigned to a
specific command?  The first question was of particular interest to
the Southern and Atlantic Commands because it raised the issue of
whether responsibility for the waters adjoining Central and South
America and for the Caribbean Basin should be realigned from one
command to the other. 

Following the 1995 review, the Chairman recommended, and the
Secretary of Defense and the President approved, several UCP changes,
including that the Southern Command assume responsibility for waters
adjoining Central and South America and for the Caribbean Basin.  The
transfer of responsibility for the waters adjoining Central and South
America from the Atlantic Command became effective January 1, 1996,
and the transfer of the Caribbean Basin will be effective on June 1,
1997.  \3


--------------------
\3 This change did not affect the Atlantic Command's functional
responsibilities. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

The 1995 UCP review provided numerous opportunities for participants
to express their views regarding potential UCP changes.  Officials
from the Southern and Atlantic Commands participated actively
throughout the process.  For example, at the beginning of the UCP
review, the Chairman solicited and obtained the views of the two
commands regarding issues to be included in the review.  Also,
command officials participated in a working group that discussed UCP
issues, including the Caribbean alignment, and identified related
pros and cons.  A Joint Staff working group further refined the
issues; developed options and recommendations for the Chairman's
consideration; and, after the Chairman's review, obtained the
commands' comments on proposed UCP changes.  Also, during the time of
the UCP review, the commanders of the Southern and Atlantic Commands
participated in three conferences at which potential UCP issues and
changes were discussed. 

Throughout the 1995 UCP review, the Southern and Atlantic Commands
maintained opposing views on realigning the responsibility for the
Caribbean Basin.  The Southern Command supported the Caribbean
realignment, viewing it as a positive move to enhance unity of
command in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin and to improve the
command's focus on joint operations.  The Atlantic Command opposed
the realignment, viewing the reduction of its geographic area as
diminishing its credibility as a joint force trainer.  The Atlantic
Command also believed that this change would prevent it from fully
developing its functional role of joint force trainer, integrator,
and provider as envisioned in the 1993 UCP review. 

The Chairman's stated rationale for transferring the responsibility
for the waters adjoining Central and South America and for the
Caribbean Basin to the Southern Command was that these changes would
(1) improve the Southern Command's interaction with navies of Central
and South America, (2) make the UCP consistent with the way the rest
of the U.S.  government is organized to interact with Latin America
and the Caribbean Basin, and (3) eliminate a seam in DOD counterdrug
operations and military-to-military relations in the region.  The
Secretary of Defense also noted that the UCP changes affecting the
Atlantic and Southern Commands would place all U.S.  military
activities in the Caribbean Basin and Central and South America under
one command. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR
   EVALUATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

DOD reviewed a draft of this report and concurred with its contents. 
DOD's letter appears in appendix I. 


   SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

To conduct our work, we interviewed knowledgeable officials and
reviewed relevant documentation at the offices of the Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Requirements; the Joint Chiefs
of Staff; the U.S.  Southern Command; and the U.S.  Atlantic Command. 
We did not evaluate the thoroughness of the process, the validity of
the commands' views, or the efficacy of the Chairman's
recommendation.  Our review of the Chairman's rationale for the UCP
change was limited to his memorandum to the Secretary of Defense; we
did not interview the Chairman.  We performed our review between July
and September 1996. 


---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.1

This report is organized into four briefing sections.  Section I
includes background information.  Section II discusses the 1995 UCP
review process.  Section III presents the views of the Southern and
Atlantic Commands.  Section IV discusses these commands'
participation in the review and the Chairman's rationale for
realigning the Caribbean. 

We are providing copies of this report to other appropriate
congressional committees.  We will also send copies to the
Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the
Commandant of the Marine Corps; the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff;
the Commanders in Chief of the U.S.  Atlantic and U.S.  Southern
Commands; and the Director, Office of Management and Budget.  Copies
will be made available to others upon request. 

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please
contact me at (202) 512-3504.  The major contributors to this report
are listed in appendix II. 

Richard Davis
Director, National Security
 Analysis


BACKGROUND
============================================================ Chapter I


   UCP HISTORY OF SOUTHCOM, USACOM
   AND CARIBBEAN AOR
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter I:1



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


In December 1946, the Joint Chiefs of Staff established an
organizational directive that became known as the Unified Command
Plan (UCP).  Approved by the President, the UCP sets forth basic
guidance to unified commanders; establishes missions, functions, and
force structure; and delineates geographic areas of responsibility
(AOR).  Under section 161 of title 10 of the U.S.  Code, as added by
the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of
1986, the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff is required to review the
UCP not less than every 2 years for missions, responsibilities, and
force structure, and to recommend changes as may be necessary through
the Secretary of Defense to the President. 

The UCP established the Caribbean Command (CARIBCOM) and the Atlantic
Command (LANTCOM) in 1946 and 1947, respectively.  Until 1950,
CARIBCOM's AOR was composed of Central and South America and the
Caribbean Basin.  At that time, the UCP was modified and operational
responsibility for Caribbean waters was transferred to LANTCOM.  In
1956, the responsibility for Caribbean islands was also transferred
to LANTCOM.  In 1963, CARIBCOM was redesignated as the U.S.  Southern
Command (SOUTHCOM) to more clearly reflect its geographical
responsibilities. 

In 1983, LANTCOM was redesignated as the U.S.  Atlantic Command
(USLANTCOM).  In 1993, the UCP was modified to redesignate USLANTCOM
as the U.S.  Atlantic Command (USACOM) and to expand the command's
responsibilities.  In addition to its geographic responsibilities for
the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, and other areas, USACOM assumed
functional responsibility to train, integrate, and provide forces. 
Specifically, the command was to conduct joint training of most
U.S.-based forces and staffs assigned to joint task forces, and to
provide joint trained and ready forces for worldwide employment as
directed by the National Command Authority.  In 1995, the UCP
modified USACOM's geographic responsibilities such that
responsibility for the Caribbean Basin will transfer to SOUTHCOM on
June 1, 1997. 


   AOR CHANGES IN USACOM AND
   SOUTHCOM AFTER 1995 UCP REVIEW
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter I:2



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


The 1995 UCP review resulted in transfers of geographic areas from
USACOM to SOUTHCOM.  These changes will occur in two phases.  Phase
I, implemented on January 1, 1996, transferred waters adjoining
Central and South America to SOUTHCOM's AOR.  This transfer of waters
included a 12-mile band of the Caribbean Sea that adjoined Central
and South America.  Phase II, effective on June 1, 1997, will
transfer the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and the islands therein,
and parts of the Atlantic Ocean to SOUTHCOM.  The Caribbean Basin
transfer results in the shifting of responsibility for several
nations and dependent areas.\1 USACOM's responsibility will decrease
from 16 to 3 nations and from 13 to 2 dependent areas.  SOUTHCOM's
responsibility, on the other hand, will increase from 19 to 32
nations and 1 to 14 dependent areas. 


--------------------
\1 Dependent areas are islands or other areas that are not
independent nations, but are dependents of independent nations (e.g.,
the British Virgin Islands and French Guiana). 


1995 UCP REVIEW
=========================================================== Chapter II


   FRAMEWORK OF 1995 PROCESS
--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter II:1



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


The 1995 UCP review began in February 1995 and concluded in December
1995.  In early February 1995, the Chairman initiated the 1995 UCP
review by introducing it during a regularly scheduled conference of
Department of Defense (DOD) commanders in chief (CINCs).  Later that
month, the Chairman sent a message to the CINCs and service chiefs
that identified questions he wanted the UCP review to cover and
solicited their views and suggestions on additional questions or
issues.  The Chairman set the overall agenda for the review, which
consisted of three key questions:  (1) Should each geographic CINC be
responsible for both major land and adjoining water areas in order to
ensure total air, land, and sea capability?  (2) Should some of the
AORs be realigned or consolidated?  (3) Should some former Soviet
Union states be assigned to a specific CINC? 

In April, the Joint Staff developed principles for analysis to be
used in evaluating potential UCP changes.  The principles were that
(1) any changes must support the National Security Strategy, National
Military Strategy, and public law; (2) the UCP must maintain
strategic focus to support national security interests; (3) the UCP
must consider diplomatic and international obligations; (4)
geographic boundaries must support enduring joint operations in peace
and war; (5) AORs must optimize span of control; and (6) changes to
the UCP must conform to the "art of the possible"--be doable,
realistic, sellable, and affordable.  In May, the Chairman approved
these principles. 


   DISCUSSION OF UCP ISSUES AND
   CHANGES
--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter II:2



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

For 2 weeks in mid-May 1995, a UCP working group of Joint Staff,
unified command, and service representatives debated UCP issues and
developed a list of pros and cons for each issue.  In early June, a
working group of Joint Staff officials convened for 2 days to analyze
issues considered to be particularly contentious, including the
realignment of responsibility for the Caribbean Basin.  This Joint
Staff group subsequently refined all the UCP issues and related pros
and cons and developed specific options and recommendations on UCP
changes for the Chairman's review.  Regarding the Caribbean Basin,
this group provided the Chairman with two options:  (1) transfer the
waters adjoining Central and South America (minus the Caribbean
Basin) to SOUTHCOM and (2) transfer both adjoining waters and the
Caribbean Basin to SOUTHCOM.  The Joint Staff working group
recommended that USACOM retain the Caribbean Basin for the time being
and that the issue be revisited in a subsequent UCP review.  They
specifically suggested waiting because of the situation in the
Caribbean (e.g., ongoing Haiti operations and potential instability
in Cuba) and current demands on SOUTHCOM (e.g., removing forces from
Panama and relocating the headquarters to Miami). 

According to officials from the Joint Staff, SOUTHCOM, and USACOM,
the results of the two working groups reflected the collective
military judgment of the participants.  The groups used the
principles of analysis to guide their discussions but did not perform
any detailed or formal analyses of potential UCP changes. 

According to Joint Staff officials, the Chairman reviewed the results
of the two working groups and, in August, proposed that both the
waters adjoining Central and South America and the Caribbean Basin be
transferred to SOUTHCOM.  The Joint Staff then obtained command and
service representatives' comments on this proposal.  In October,
after reviewing these comments, the Chairman forwarded his final
recommendations on UCP changes (including that the Caribbean be
transferred) to the Secretary of Defense who concurred.  In December,
the President approved the revised UCP. 

Joint Staff officials, noting that the Chairman's recommendation
differed from the Joint Staff working group's recommendation,
emphasized that the working group was one of many sources of
information available to the Chairman.  Examples of other potential
sources included the Chairman's own military judgment and experience;
the results of discussions between the Chairman, Secretary of
Defense, and other U.S.  and allied officials; verbal and written
comments from CINCs and service chiefs; and recommendations of the
1995 Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces that DOD
separate the geographic and functional roles assigned to USACOM. 


COMMANDS' VIEWS ON CARIBBEAN
REALIGNMENT
========================================================== Chapter III


   SOUTHCOM'S VIEWS SUPPORTING UCP
   CHANGES
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter III:1



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


SOUTHCOM expressed a number of reasons why it supported the UCP
changes regarding the waters adjoining Central and South America and
the Caribbean Basin.  In its view, gaining this area would improve
SOUTHCOM's interactions with regional militaries and in particular
with regional navies since SOUTHCOM gains maritime responsibilities. 
SOUTHCOM officials also stated the Caribbean realignment would
improve U.S.  understanding of the joint capabilities of, and
bilateral ties among, militaries in the expanded region. 

SOUTHCOM also believed that assigning the adjoining waters would
improve the U.S.  military's joint focus within the region.  SOUTHCOM
lacked unity of command because it only had responsibility for
Central and South American land and did not control U.S.  forces at
sea within the region.  SOUTHCOM stated that the UCP change would
enhance joint force effectiveness by allowing integration of U.S. 
air, land, and sea forces throughout Latin America and the Caribbean
Basin. 

In SOUTHCOM's view, acquiring the Caribbean will improve counterdrug
operations by putting one commander in charge of these operations in
the Caribbean and Latin American region.  SOUTHCOM believed that the
prior UCP alignment complicated providing military support to these
operations because of the extent of coordination required between the
two commands and Joint Staff.  SOUTHCOM will now have sole monitoring
and detection responsibility for air, land, and sea approaches from
the south, and for facilitating unity of command, easing coordination
of support to operations in both the source and transit zones, and
enabling SOUTHCOM to allocate resources to the operations without
extensive coordination. 

SOUTHCOM also said that combining Central and South America with the
Caribbean Basin would improve interagency and international efforts
because SOUTHCOM would be aligned similar to other U.S.  agencies and
regional organizations.  For example, both the U.S.  Department of
State and the Organization of American States have organizations that
combine Central and South America with the Caribbean Basin.  The
Command believed that this arrangement would simplify counterdrug,
peacekeeping, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance missions
in the region.  SOUTHCOM, agreeing with a recent recommendation of
the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, also
asserted that the Caribbean realignment would allow USACOM to better
focus on its functional role to train, integrate, and provide joint
forces for worldwide deployment. 


   USACOM'S VIEWS OPPOSING UCP
   CHANGES
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter III:2



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

USACOM opposed the UCP changes related to the Caribbean Basin for
several reasons.  It believed the loss of major land areas associated
with the realignment diminished its credibility as a joint trainer
and lessened its joint focus.  Without the land, USACOM's AOR
consists mostly of air and sea; thus, the Command lacks the
three-dimensional focus that it perceives is necessary to carry out
its joint training and integration role.  USACOM stated it needed the
land areas to maintain operational awareness--a war-fighting
perspective--of what is required to train and fight on land. 
Otherwise, a narrow view or "garrison mentality" regarding joint
training for land operations could evolve.  Also, USACOM believed
that taking away major land areas was contrary to the concept
underlying one of the Chairman's questions for the review--that
commands need major land and adjoining waters in their AORs to
maintain a joint focus. 

USACOM also believed the loss of major land areas would be counter to
the intended purpose and structure of the Command before it had the
opportunity to fully accomplish the functional role envisioned in the
1993 UCP--training, providing, and integrating forces.  The Command's
concept was based on three pillars:  (1) assignment of combatant
command of continental forces from all services; (2) an adequate
geographic area of responsibility in which to maintain an operational
focus in order to train, exercise, and jointly integrate forces; and
(3) the development of joint training for continental operational
forces.  According to USACOM, reducing its AOR will hinder full
implementation of this concept. 

USACOM did not agree with SOUTHCOM's view that the realignment was
needed to improve counterdrug operations and would place drug source
and interdiction operations under one command.  USACOM believed that
the Caribbean realignment simply moved the boundary between commands
for coordinating counterdrug responsibilities further north and did
not enhance operations or reduce communication and coordination
requirements.  Regardless of the transfer, USACOM will continue to
have responsibilities for drug transit detection across most U.S. 
borders.  Also, USACOM will continue to be the force provider for
counterdrug operations in the Caribbean. 

USACOM believed that an alternative to realigning the Caribbean was
to make SOUTHCOM a subcommand of another command.  The Command
believed this arrangement, in conjunction with SOUTHCOM's relocation
from Panama to Miami, would avoid duplication of resources.  USACOM
had suggested it be discussed during the 1995 UCP review.  However,
the Chairman did not include it among the issues to be considered. 
At a minimum, USACOM believed that any decision to realign the
Caribbean should be delayed for consideration until the 1997 UCP
review. 


COMMANDS' PARTICIPATION, AND
RATIONALE FOR UCP CHANGE
=========================================================== Chapter IV


   COMMAND PARTICIPATION IN UCP
   REVIEW
--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter IV:1



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


SOUTHCOM and USACOM actively participated in the 1995 UCP review and
expressed their views regarding UCP issues, including the Caribbean
realignment, on numerous occasions.  For example, both commands
provided written suggestions in response to the Chairman's February
1995 request for their views on questions and issues to be addressed
during the review.  SOUTHCOM and USACOM had representatives assigned
to the UCP working group.  According to command officials, these
representatives had the opportunity to present their command's
position on UCP issues.  Issue papers prepared by the UCP and Joint
Staff working groups, which included pros and cons of specific
proposals to revise the UCP, reflected the key views of SOUTHCOM and
USACOM.  Both commands reviewed and provided written comments on UCP
changes at various stages of the review, and these views were
forwarded to the Chairman.  Also, during the review period, SOUTHCOM
and USACOM commanders participated in three CINC conferences in which
UCP issues and potential changes were discussed. 

The process afforded an opportunity for USACOM to formally register
its dissent regarding the transfer of the Caribbean Basin to
SOUTHCOM.  The Joint Staff, in presenting options and recommendations
to the Chairman, highlighted and included dissent from USACOM.  After
the Chairman decided to recommend the transfer, the USACOM commander
wrote a formal letter of dissent to the Chairman.  The Chairman
highlighted the key points of USACOM's dissent in his memorandum to
the Secretary of Defense outlining recommended UCP changes and
attached a copy of USACOM's letter. 


   CHAIRMAN'S RATIONALE FOR
   RECOMMENDING CARIBBEAN TRANSFER
--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter IV:2



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


In his October 23, 1995, memorandum to the Secretary of Defense
outlining recommended UCP changes, the Chairman stated his key
rationale.  First, the UCP change giving SOUTHCOM the adjoining
waters would improve interaction between SOUTHCOM and the navies of
Central and South America.  Second, assigning SOUTHCOM the Caribbean
Basin would make the UCP consistent with how other U.S.  agencies are
geographically organized to manage affairs in the Caribbean Basin and
Latin America.  Third, this change would eliminate a seam (i.e., the
boundary between SOUTHCOM and USACOM) in DOD counterdrug operations
and military-to-military relations throughout the region.  In a
February 7, 1996, press release announcing the UCP changes, the
Secretary of Defense also noted that the realignment would allow a
single commander to control all U.S.  military activities in the
Caribbean Basin and Central and South America. 




(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix I
COMMENTS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE
=========================================================== Chapter IV


MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REPORT
========================================================== Appendix II

NATIONAL SECURITY AND
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION,
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

Sharon L.  Pickup, Assistant Director
Stephen L.  Caldwell, Evaluator

OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL

Margaret L.  Armen, Attorney-Advisor

NORFOLK FIELD OFFICE

Fred S.  Harrison, Evaluator-in-Charge
Joseph A.  Rutecki, Evaluator
Carleen C.  Bennett, Evaluator


*** End of document. ***






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