1. Purpose. This publication sets forth doctrine to govern the joint activities and performance of the Armed Forces of the United States in joint operations as well as the doctrinal basis for US military involvement in multinational and interagency operations. It provides military guidance for the exercise of authority by combatant commanders and other joint force commanders (JFC) and prescribes doctrine for joint operations and training. It provides military guidance for use by the Armed Forces in preparing their appropriate plans. It is not the intent of this publication to restrict the authority of the JFC from organizing the force and executing the mission in a manner the JFC deems most appropriate to ensure unity of effort in the accomplishment of the overall mission.

2. Application

a. Doctrine and guidance established in this publication apply to the commanders of combatant commands, subunified commands, joint task forces and subordinate components of these commands. These principles and guidance also may apply when significant forces of one Service are attached to forces of another Service or when significant forces of one Service supports forces of another Service.

b. In applying the doctrine set forth in this publication, care must be taken to distinguish between distinct but related responsibilities in the two channels of authority to forces assigned to combatant commands. The Military Departments and Services recruit, organize, train, equip, and provide forces for assignment to combatant commands and administer and support these forces. This authority is, by law, subject to provisions of title 10, United States Code, chapter 6, which is the section that details the authority of combatant commanders. These commanders exercise combatant command (command authority) over these assigned forces. Service component commanders are subject to the orders of combatant commanders, and subject to the orders of combatant commander's direction, are also responsible to the Military Departments and Services in the exercise of their administrative and support responsibilities.

c. This publication is authoritative but not directive. Commanders will exercise judgment in applying the procedures herein to accomplish their missions. This doctrine should be followed, except when, in the judgment of the commander, exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise. If conflicts arise between the contents of this publication and the contents of Service publications, this publication will take precedence for the activities of joint forces unless the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, normally in consultation with the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has provided more current and specific guidance. Commanders of forces operating as part of a multinational (alliance or coalition) military command should follow multinational doctrine and guidance ratified by the United States. For doctrine and procedures not ratified by the United States, commanders should evaluate and follow the multinational command's doctrine and procedures, where applicable.

3. Scope. This publication provides guidelines for the planning and execution of NBC defensive operations. It focuses on the NBC threat; national policy; and strategic, operational, and logistical considerations peculiar to the preparation and conduct of NBC defense.

4. Basis. The development of Joint Pub 3-11 is based upon the following primary sources:

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