CRS Report for Congress
Military Changes to the Unified Command Plan:
Background and Issues for Congress
June 21, 1999
William C. Story
National Defense Fellow
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

Changing threats to U.S. national security concern Members and committees in Congress;
terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, national missile defense, and space issues are new
challenges the Department of Defense faces. A key tool to address these concerns has been
the Unified Command Plan (UCP), which organizes U.S. military forces geographically and
functionally for activities in peace and war. Congress has played a role in shaping this
executive document in the past, and may wish to do so again in the future. This report
describes the UCP, relevant past legislation, emerging threats, and options and issues for
Congress. For discussion of U.S. forces under multinational command arrangements, see
CRS Report 94-887, U.S. Forces and Multinational Commands: PDD-25 and Precedents.
This report may be updated as events warrant.

Military Changes to the Unified Command Plan:
Background and Issues for Congress
The Unified Command Plan (UCP) establishes the basic organization of the U.S.
armed forces. The purpose of the unified command plan is to provide effective
control of U.S. forces in peace and war. The UCP defines the command structure
from the National Command Authorities (the President and the Secretary of Defense)
to the combatant commands. The plan establishes unified and specified commands,
assigns missions and functions to those commands, provides for assignment of forces,
defines geographic areas of responsibility (AORs), and depicts command
Congress has a continuing interest in Department of Defense (DOD) efforts and
progress in coordinating the joint operations of the four individual armed services.
One means available to DOD to enhance joint military capabilities is the Unified
Command Plan (UCP). The UCP is an Executive document signed by the President.
Most changes to the UCP are recommended by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff and reviewed by the Secretary of Defense. The changes usually address internal
military concerns about changing environments, threats, force structure, or
organization. The UCP serves as an important tool to command and control U.S.
forces. The plan may also serve as a measure or barometer of the services'
commitment to interservice operations and coordination.
Many congressional joint concerns are addressed by and incorporated in military
changes to the UCP. However, not all congressional concerns with joint operations
have been addressed by changes the military has instituted. Occasionally, Congress
has taken legislative action that has directly resulted in modifications to the UCP to
accommodate certain interests and concerns. Several current issues have prompted
DOD to make UCP changes to accommodate congressional concerns.
Recent press articles describe threats and pressures that may ultimately force the
military to change its organization. Currently, the U.S. military is engaged in a
precedent-setting number of operations and deployments. There is congressional
interest in possible additional roles for the military. New issues and concerns are
emerging. Several issues, such as information warfare, weapons of mass destruction
(WMD), terrorism, space, and national missile defense (NMD) may affect joint
military capabilities. An important part of accommodating public and congressional
concerns to the changing demands on the Department of Defense is an altered Unified
Command Plan. Some members of Congress remain concerned the military is not
accommodating and incorporating changes that reflect new security arrangements,
requirements, and realities. Congress can be expected to monitor developments to
make sure all of its concerns are addressed.

Introduction ................................................... 1
Background .................................................... 2
Purpose of the Unified Command Plan............................2
UCP Key Concepts..........................................3
Military Changes to the UCP...................................4
The Current UCP Cycle: How the UCP is Changed..................5
Review Cycle...............................................6
Legislative Initiatives.............................................7
National Security Act of 1947 (P. L. 80-253, 26 July 1947)............7
DOD Reorganization Act of 1958 (P.L. 85-599, 6 August 1958)........7
FY 1982 DOD Authorization Act (P.L. 97-252)....................8
Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-433).....8
1987 SOCOM (Cohen/Daniel) (P.L. 99-661).......................8
Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces
National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1994 (P.L. 103-160)....9
National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1997
(P.L. 104-201, Sec 923)
Military Force Structure Review Act of 1996
Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)........................11
National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1997
(P.L. 104-201, Sec 924)
Military Force Structure Review Act of 1996
National Defense Panel (NDP).............................11
Other Agencies............................................12
Recent Military Initiatives........................................12
Homeland Defense..............................................15
USACOM as a Forces Provider................................16
Issues and Options for Congress...................................16
Regional or Functional.......................................16
Space: AOR or Separate Service?..............................17
National Missile Defense.....................................18
List of Figures
U.S. Geographic and Functional Unified Commands....................22
Commanders' Areas of Responsibilities..............................23

Military Changes to the Unified Command Plan:
Background and Issues for Congress
Congress has a continuing interest in Department of Defense (DOD) efforts and
progress in coordinating the joint operations of the four individual armed services.
One means available to DOD to enhance joint military capabilities is the Unified
Command Plan (UCP). The UCP is an Executive document signed by the President.
Most changes to the UCP are recommended by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff and reviewed by the Secretary of Defense. The changes usually address internal
military concerns about changing environments, threats, force structure, or
organization. The UCP serves as an important tool to control U.S. forces. The plan
may also serve as a measure or barometer of joint improvements and commitment to
interservice integration. The UCP reflects the state of the joint command structure
within DOD.
Modern joint operations are a product of combat experience in World War II.
Global warfare demonstrated the importance of unity of effort achieved through
placing the forces from different services under a single commander. Current DOD
publications describe “joint” as “activities, operations organizations, etc., in which1
elements of two or more Military Departments participate.” Joint warfighting
concepts are crucial to the effective and efficient employment of modern military
force. Advantages may also include reducing redundancies within the services, and
the associated cost savings of eliminating duplicate forces and capabilities in more
than one service.
Many congressional concerns regarding military integration and joint operations
are addressed by and incorporated in military changes to the UCP. However, not all
such congressional concerns have been addressed by changes the military has
instituted. Occasionally, Congress has taken legislative action that has directly
resulted in modifications to the UCP to accommodate certain interests and concerns.
Several current issues have prompted DOD to make UCP changes to accommodate
congressional concerns.
Recent press articles describe threats and pressures that may ultimately force the
military to change its organization. Currently, the U.S. military is engaged in a
precedent-setting number of operations and deployments. There is congressional
interest in possible additional roles for the military. New issues and concerns are
emerging. Several issues, such as information warfare, weapons of mass destruction
(WMD), terrorism, space, and national missile defense (NMD) may affect joint

Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF), 24 February 1995, p. GL-6.1

military capabilities. An important part of accommodating public and congressional
concerns to the changing demands on the Department of Defense is an altered Unified
Command Plan. Congress may choose to monitor developments to make sure all of
its concerns are addressed. Some further issues, concerns, and questions remain and
may gain their attention.
DOD’s method of handling some issues is reflected in military changes to the
unified command plan. How the issues are addressed in the UCP ultimately affects
how well they may be operationalized, planned, executed, and what the priority will
be in requests for funding by various DOD components.
Purpose of the Unified Command Plan
The unified command plan establishes the basic organization of the U.S. armed
forces. The purpose of the unified command plan is to provide effective control of
U.S. forces in peace and war. The UCP is a “militarily correct” document that
delineates a command structure from the National Command Authorities (the
President and the Secretary of Defense) to the combatant commands. The plan
establishes unified and specified commands, assigns missions and functions to those
commands, provides for assignment of forces, defines geographic areas of
responsibility (AORs) and boundaries, and depicts command arrangements. The2
UCP delineates the chain-of-command and establishes command relationships. Clarity
and brevity are key characteristics, as the “primary emphasis in command relations
should be to keep the chain of command short and simple so it is clear who is in
charge of what.”3
The Unified Command Plan is an executive document. Signed by the President,
the UCP is issued by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), under the authority
of the President to establish the unified and specified commands as an instrument to
control the armed forces of the United States. The UCP is derived in large part
(though not entirely) from the National Military Strategy of the United States, and4
prescribes the instruments by which the strategy will be carried out. Regional and
functional commanders-in-chief (CINCs) have an input into UCP formulation, and5
they also look to the UCP for guidance. Though it is an executive document,
Congressional actions have affected the UCP at certain times.

Leslie Lewis, Katherine Webb, Roger Allen Brown, John Shrader, The Unified Command2
Plan: An Assessment, RAND PM-376-CRMAF, February 1995, p. xi.
Joint Doctrine Capstone And Keystone Primer, 15 July 1997, p. 4.3
Paul Bracken, James Winnefeld, Robert Howe, Margaret Cecchine Harrell, Evaluation4
Framework for Unified Command Plans: A Documented Briefing, RAND MR-306-A, 1993,
p. vii.
Joint Staff, J-5, interview, 19 Feb 99, UCP briefing slide, unclassified.5

The UCP serves as a basis for coordination. The plan contains provisions for
joint task forces when operations overlap AOR boundaries. It allows CINCs to
conduct operations with forces from other nations in another CINC’s AOR. It
provides for command of unilateral, multilateral, or United Nations peace and
humanitarian operations, or support to these types of operations. Finally, it
coordinates security assistance with Chiefs of Diplomatic missions.6
UCP Key Concepts
Several concepts are fundamental to understanding the ongoing changes to
current UCP arrangements: unified commands; geographic CINCs; functional CINCs;
and span of control.7
A unified command has a “broad continuing mission” charged to a single
commander. Unified commands are composed of significant assigned components of
two or more Miliary Departments. They are established and designated by the
President, through the Secretary of Defense, with the advice and assistance of the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 8
Combatant command is the nontransferable legal command authority established
under 10 USC 164. Combatant command is exercised only by commanders-in-chief
of unified or specified combatant commands. This command authority cannot be
delegated. It is the authority of the combatant commander to organize and employ
forces, assign tasks, designate objectives, and direct all aspects of military operations,
joint training and logistics necessary to accomplish the missions assigned to the
command. 9
Geographic CINCs are combatant commanders whose mission is defined by a
general geographic area of responsibility. Their organizations are referred to as
geographic commands. These CINCs are also referred to as theater CINCs, regional
CINCs, or area military commanders. Currently there are five geographic CINCs:
European, Pacific, Atlantic, Southern, and Central Commands.
Functional CINCs, on the other hand, are combatant commanders whose mission
is the worldwide performance of a warfighting function. Their organizations are
called functional commands. Functional CINCs are also referred to as “global”

Joint Staff J-5, briefing slide 4.6
A full description and list of terms can be found in Joint Pub 0-2 glossary.7
Joint Pub 3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations, 1 February 1995, p. GL-10. A specified8
command is similar to a unified command, except it is normally composed of forces from a
single Military Department, but may include units and staff members of another service. A
specified command has an enduring mission or function to perform. See Joint Pub 2-0,
Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF), 24 February 1995, p .xv. Currently there are no
specified commands and no plans to create another one in the future. The U.S. Air Force’s
Strategic Air Command (SAC) and the U.S. Army’s Forces Command (FORSCOM) were
the last specified commands.
Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces, 24 February 1995, p. GL-4.9

CINCs. There are currently four functional CINCs: Space, Transportation, Special
Operations, and Strategic Commands.
Whether geographic or functional, a CINC can use any one of six command
structures: subordinate unified command, joint task force, functional component,
service component, single service force, or specific operational force immediately
responsive to the commander. The CINC has the authority to organize as needs arise
and situations develop. The CINCs and their staffs develop joint operations plans.
Broadly, CINCs deter war and prepare for war in peacetime, and should war occur,
conduct campaigns and major operations to accomplish missions and attain
objectives. 10
All CINCs are considered warfighting CINCs. Importantly, the UCP is not11
rigidly restrictive, and may serve as a “basis for coordination” in some instances. For
example, the 1998 UCP includes language that allows commanders to operate
wherever necessary to accomplish their missions, granting them some latitude to12
operate in another CINCs AOR.
CINCs of unified commands need an appropriate span of control. Areas of
responsibility and missions cannot be so large that they defy clear definition or a
reasonably-sized staff. Yet they cannot be so small and numerous that they either
overlap or interfere with each other. More numerous CINCs and unified commands
create more staff overhead, and require more resources. (Span of control is usually
thought of as a limit for effective control and management. Effective span of control
implies adequate authority and resources, and it can be applied to tasks, missions, or
people.) CINCs spend substantial time dealing with political and military matters,
hence the number of countries in an AOR affect the CINC’s span of control. The
political, economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity of the AOR and the
presence of potential conflicts impact span of control as well.
Visually, the current UCP arrangements are depicted on page 22. The
geographic CINCs’ areas of responsibility are reflected on page 23.
Military Changes to the UCP
The Defense Department periodically changes the UCP for several reasons. The
changes reflect shifting priorities and new political realities. Emerging threats or
declining dangers and fewer enemies call for a changed UCP. DOD seeks efficiencies
to eliminate and reduce outdated tasks. The JCS and JS change the UCP to either
create or eliminate redundancies in capabilities depending on the circumstances and
particular situation. Altered geographic and political realities require adjustments to
the UCP, such as not assigning Russia to Strategic Command (STRATCOM) and
giving the commander-in-chief, STRATCOM (CINCSTRATCOM) an AOR. Finally,
budget reductions may require consolidation and changes to the UCP.

Joint Pub 0-2, p. xv.10
Joint Staff, J-5, UCP briefing slide, unclassified.11

Generally, the military tries to keep approximately the same number of CINCs
overall, at about nine or ten. Too few CINCs tend to concentrate forces and increase
span of control problems to an unnecessary degree, while too many CINCs diffuse
command, complicate command arrangements and relationships, and disperse
resources among competing priorities.
More recently, the military, especially the CJCS, has been using the UCP as a
tool to further joint-mindedness. The UCP is an important part of the roadmap to get13
to Joint Vision 2010, the joint vision the military has of itself.
The President, through the Secretary of Defense, establishes the combatant
commands, unified or specified, to perform military missions; he also allocates the
force structure to such commands. Unified commanders are directly responsible to
the National Command Authority (NCA) for the preparedness of their forces and
accomplishment of the missions assigned to them. A single chain of command runs14
from the President to the Secretary of Defense to the combatant commanders for
missions and forces. A second chain from the President runs through the Secretary
of Defense to the Secretaries of Military Departments for training and other non-
operational activities. Combatant commanders - CINCs - are “the vital link between15
those who determine strategy and the military forces that conduct military operations16
designed to achieve national strategic objectives.”
The term “combatant commanders” applies to CINCs of both functionally and
geographically organized combatant commands. “Geographic combatant
commander” refers to a CINC with an AOR assigned by the NCA. “Functional
combatant commanders” usually support geographic CINCs in their operations, or
they conduct operations in direct support of the NCA. Based on guidance from the17
NCA, the CINCs prepare strategic estimates, strategies, and campaign plans to
accomplish missions assigned by the NCA. Supporting commanders make sure
strategies of support match combatant CINCs’ plans. General responsibilities of
CINCs are prescribed in public law, USC 10, Section 164, and are formally and
officially expressed in the UCP.18
The Current UCP Cycle: How the UCP is Changed
By law, the UCP has to be reviewed by the CJCS every two years. The review
is to include the missions, responsibilities (including geographic boundaries), and
force structure of each combatant command. As part of the review, the CJCS must
recommend to the President, through the Secretary of Defense, any necessary changes

Interview, Joint Staff J-5, 19 Feb 99.13
Joint Pub 3-0, p. I-7.14
Ibid., pp. I-7, 8.17
Ibid., p. I-818

to the missions, responsibilities, or force structures. Currently, the Chairman and19
the Joint Staff are forging a long-term framework during the biennial UCP review
cycle. The intent is to provide a vision that will be useful and viable for the coming
decade through 2010. They are trying to achieve some near term implementation as20
well, in the next two UCP review cycles. As an important part of the process, all
of the unified command CINCs as well as the service chiefs are asked for input and
advice on recommended changes to the UCP.
The three most powerful voices in the UCP are the CJCS, the Secretary of
Defense, and the President. The CJCS does not always incorporate changes
requested by the CINCs, for example, but he will forward any letters of dissent to the
Secretary of Defense and President so they may change the UCP based on the
dissenting CINC’s recommendation.
The Joint Staff used a set of CJCS-approved UCP review principles for the 1995
UCP review. The principles stated that any changes proposed to the UCP (1) “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.” Similar principles were21
given for guidance to the Joint Staff by the CJCS for the 1998 UCP review cycle.22
Review Cycle
The UCP review cycle begins with the previous UCP, which is reviewed by the
CINCs and service chiefs. Other shaping elements include deferred issues form the
previous review cycle, other reports and studies (such as RAND or GAO), DoD
directives, presidential decision directives, executive orders, and recent legislation
(usually the latest Defense Authorization Act). The National Security Strategy and
the National Military Strategy are also used to generate UCP issues for review.
The CJCS adds his guidance to the issues for review, and forms a UCP working
group. The UCP working group is made up of CINC planners and service
representatives. With joint Staff assistance, the working group further defines the
issues brought up. They assemble a set of pros and cons for any changes to the UCP.
The refined list of issues is reported to the CJCS for his review.
After CJCS review, the issues are then forwarded to a Joint Staff UCP working
group. The JS working group is made up of planners from all joint directorates.

Joint Staff J-5, Unclassified Briefing Slide; also 10 USC Sec 161 (B) (1)19
Joint Staff J-5, Unclassified Briefing Slide.20
Unified Command Plan: Atlantic and Southern Command Participation in 1995 Review,21
General Accounting Office, November 1996, p. 13.
Joint Staff J-5 UCP Unclassified Briefing Slide, “UCP Working Group Principles for22

They develop the issues and prepare formal recommendations for the CJCS. The
CJCS makes his final decision for UCP changes and deferred issues, and a draft UCP
is sent to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).
The OSD staff (largely made up of civilians) solicits informal input and
interagency discussions, and polls the CINCs, services, and joint staff for any other
staffing issues. A final draft UCP emerges and goes through this process one more
time. The final UCP is approved by the CJCS, staffed by OSD, approved by the
Secretary of Defense, staffed by the National Security Council (NSC), and finally
approved and signed by the President. Once signed by the President, the UCP is
promulgated for compliance through the Secretary of Defense and the CJCS.
Of note, the CJCS forwards dissenting opinions of the CINCs and service chiefs
to the Secretary of Defense with the final UCP. The Secretary of Defense informs the
President of significant areas of disagreement or contention when he forwards the
UCP for presidential signature.
Legislative Initiatives
Congressional actions have altered the way the military and DOD handles the
UCP. Legislative initiatives have both directly and indirectly affected the UCP.
National Security Act of 1947 (P. L. 80-253, 26 July 1947)
President Truman approved what can be considered the first UCP in December
1946. Called the Outline Command Plan, it established seven unified commands and
set general guiding principles concerning command authority and component23
composition. In 1947, the National Security Act of 1947 gave the JCS the legal
foundation for creating unified commands in “strategic areas.” Each of these unified24
commands was to be responsible to the Secretary of Defense and the President.
DOD Reorganization Act of 1958 (P.L. 85-599, 6 August 1958)
The DOD Reorganization Act was a result of President Eisenhower’s conclusion
that the days of independent service action in combat were over. He sought a
complete unification of all military planning, combat forces, and commands. The law
authorized the President, through the Secretary of Defense, to establish unified and
specified commands, assign the commands missions, and specify their force structure.
The law established a clear chain of command from the President through the
Secretary of Defense, making the CINCs responsible to them for their assigned
missions. The CINCs were granted full operational control over the forces assigned
to them, and the forces could not be transferred from the CINC without presidential

Ronald H. Pole, et. al., The History of the Unified Command Plan, 1946-1993, Joint23
History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.,
February 1995, p. 12, 13.
Ibid., p. 15.24

approval. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were designated to serve as the Secretary of
Defense’s staff. The chain of command now clearly went from the President to the
Secretary of Defense to the CINCs, with the JCS as the staff function, issuing orders
in the name of and under the authority of the Secretary of Defense.25
FY 1982 DOD Authorization Act (P.L. 97-252)
Congress has prohibited certain actions from being included in the UCP. For
example, the Army and Navy Chiefs lobbied hard against the establishment of a
unified transportation command. This put these two service chiefs at odds with the
Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CINCs, who wanted to integrate the Army’s Military
Traffic Management Command and the Navy’s Military Sealift Command into a new
transportation command. P.L. 97-252, the FY 1982 DOD Authorization Act,
prohibited using any funds for integrating these two commands into a unified
command. The bill effectively prohibited a more joint unified transportation
command, at the Navy’s and Army’s request.26
Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-433)
The Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act affected the UCP in several
ways. First, it repealed the restriction on establishment of a unified transportation
command. Second it called for the CJCS to review the missions, responsibilities, and
force structure, and geographic boundaries of each combatant command not less than
every two years, and to recommend necessary changes through the Secretary of
Defense to the President. The act also repealed a prohibition on altering the
command structure for military forces in Alaska. It also allowed the President to
waive certain qualifications for combatant commanders. The CJCS’ powers were
expanded, as were those of the unified and specified CINCs, who were given greater
interaction with Congress and the DOD budget process.27

1987 SOCOM (Cohen/Daniel) (P.L. 99-661)

The main push for a separate special operations command came from then
Senator William Cohen and Representative Dan Daniel. They became convinced that
the services were neglecting special operations, low intensity conflict, and non-
traditional threats. Congress mandated establishment of SOCOM over objections of
CINCs and JCS. CINCs and JCS said it confused special operations and low intensity
conflict, which are not necessarily synonymous. Then Chairman of the JCS, Admiral
Crowe, did not want such a dramatic split between conventional and special forces,
seeing such a split as the worse possible solution. Part of the problem was that adding

Ibid., p. 28.25
Ibid., p. 101.26
Ibid., pp. 96, 97, 102. See also H.R. 3622; and27

a new command meant an old one had to disappear. Even after P.L. 99-661 passed,28
some members of Congress did not believe DOD was living up to the intent of the
law. Congress passed P.L. 100-80 in which CINCSOC was authorized to develop
and procure hardware. He received planning, programming, budgeting, and execution29
Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces
National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1994 (P.L. 103-160)
In 1993, Congress established the Commission on Roles and Missions of the
Armed Forces, and directed it to: “(1) review the efficacy and appropriateness for the
post-Cold War era of the current allocations among the Armed Forces of roles,
missions, and functions; (2) evaluate and report on alternative allocations of those
roles, missions, and functions; and (3) make recommendations for changes in the
current definition and distribution of those roles, missions, and functions.” The30
Roles and Missions commission said traditional methods of allocating roles and
missions among individual services were no longer appropriate in that they were31
leading to institutional quarrels and unsatisfactory compromises. All commission
suggestions were tailored to improve joint operations, not just fine-tuning the
boundaries. 32
The commission suggested the UCP should reflect regional focus and new
missions emphasized in the National Security Strategy. The commission called for
adjustments for more rapid adaptation to changing threats and better alignment of the
unified command structure with the NSS. “Specifically, we believe that the AORs of
the geographic CINCs should be adjusted to eliminate ‘seams’ that may impede joint
operations between military theaters of operation and better align CINC
responsibilities with regional strategies and strategic interests.”33
Also with regard to the UCP, the commission reaffirmed that the CINCs are
responsible for “fighting America’s wars and employing military forces in pursuit of
national security objectives.” The commission held that the CINCs need more
influence over priorities and processes to acquire capabilities to perform missions; but34
don’t need detracting responsibilities.
The commission recommended creating a functional unified command
responsible for joint training and integration of US forces, specifically the joint force

The History of the Unified Command Plan, pp. 97-99.28
Ibid., pp. 100-1.29
P.L. 103-160, H.R. 2401 Sec 953 (a), 107 STAT. 1738.30
Directions for Defense: Report of the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed31
Forces, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1994, p. iii.
Ibid., p. 2-12.33
Ibid., p. 2-1.34

integrator mission assigned to U.S. Atlantic Command (USACOM) in October 1993.
However, the commission recommended redesignating USACOM as a functional
instead of a regional command, and relieving it of regional responsibilities to
concentrate on training, integrating, and force providing functions. Eventually all35
continental U.S. (CONUS) forces would be assigned to USACOM.
Assigning all CONUS forces to USACOM increases the flexibility of deploying
those forces to any regional CINC’s AOR, and puts more emphasis on joint training.
Among various responsibilities, CINCUSACOM integrates the requirements from the
geographic CINCs’ contingency plans; provides trained forces to those CINCs;
supports training requirements and in-theater exercises of the CINCs; trains and
assesses the forces to meet operational requirements of CINCs; develops tools to
conduct and evaluate joint training; and develops and validates future warfighting
concepts that will be used to guide long term force structure and modernization
plans. 36
The commission recommended six principles for reviewing CINC missions:
•“The geographic responsibilities of the CINCs should correspond to areas of
recognized or likely strategic interest to the United States.
•“The size of each AOR should accommodate the CINC’s representational
obligations and other responsibilities.
•“Seams between CINC’s AORs should be reviewed to ensure that they do not
split areas of strategic interest or exacerbate existing political, economic,
religious, or cultural differences.
•“Sufficient land area, sea area, and airspace should be included in each AOR for
the CINC to carry out assigned missions and, if necessary, wage an effective
unified military campaign against any plausible adversary.
•“The distinction between geographic and functional CINCs should be preserved
(i.e., functional CINCs should not have AORs).
•“The responsibilities assigned to the functional CINCs should be reviewed
periodically for overlap and consolidated where practical.”
Furthermore, the commission evaluated opportunities for consolidating unified
commands, but found potentially high costs in expanding span of control and only
marginal cost savings. The commission found that the demands of global leadership
actually increased the demands on military leaders. According to the commission, the
growing number of challenges may actually argue for increasing (rather than
decreasing) the number of unified commands and CINCs; assigning them smaller
AORs: or, alternatively, creating more sub-unified commands.37
The commission acknowledged the problem of having India in the PACOM and
Pakistan in the CENTCOM AOR; and admitted a case for assigning both to a single
AOR similar to the manner in which the State Department assigns them to a single

Ibid., p. 2-10.35
Ibid., pp. 2-10, 2-11.36
Ibid., p. 2-12.37

bureau. This solution is not without its own problems; as assigning Pakistan to
PACOM removes it from its Islamic neighbors, and moving India to CENTCOM
breaks it from China. The Commission noted that “[t]he responsibility for making38
these tough choices is rightly vested by Congress in the President, with the advice of
the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the JCS.”39
National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1997
(P.L. 104-201, Sec 923)
Military Force Structure Review Act of 1996
Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)
The Roles and Missions Commission recommended a quadrennial defense review
(QDR) to examine the US defense strategy, force structure, modernization plans,
infrastructure, budget, and other defense programs and elements. The intent was to
determine and express the defense strategy of the US and revise a defense program40
out to the year 2005. Also, part of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 1997 required the General Accounting Office to review 1995 UCP changes that41
altered USSOUTHCOM and USACOM geographic responsibilities.
National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1997
(P.L. 104-201, Sec 924)
Military Force Structure Review Act of 1996
National Defense Panel (NDP)
With a twenty-year outlook, the National Defense Panel (NDP) made
recommendations for transforming the UCP to more effectively maintain regional
stability, defend the territorial integrity of the United States, and take full advantage
of new warfighting capabilities. The recommendations included significant changes
to the functional commands to incorporate new mission capabilities. The panel also
suggested redrawing some of the geographic command boundaries.42
The NDP endorsed the principles of the Roles and Missions commission to guide
UCP formulation and review. The NDP used them to come up with its own
recommendations for realignment of the unified commands:

Ibid., p. 2-13.38
H.R. 3230, Sec. 923 (a).40
Unified Command Plan: Atlantic and Southern Command Participation in 1995 Review,41
General Accounting Office, November 1996, p. 1. See also H.R. 104-563, National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, Committee on National Security, p. 330.
Transforming Defense, National Security in the 21 Century: Report of the National42st
Defense Panel, December 1997, p. 71.

•Maintain STRATCOM and SOCOM;
•Create Joint Forces Command to provide combat ready forces to the CINCs,
and also to provide joint training and joint doctrine experimentation;
•Eliminate USACOM;
•Create a Logistics Command to provide global logistics, transportation, and
asset visibility operations (combine TRANSCOM and the Defense Logistic
•Add an information support mission to SPACECOM’s responsibilities and move
Defense Information Systems Agency;
•Create an Americas Command, and subordinate SOUTHCOM, NORADCOM,
and a Homeland Defense Command;
•Realign EUCOM, CENTCOM, and PACOM boundaries.43
Other Agencies
Though not required by law, the Joint Staff J-5 Policy and Plans or the National
Security Council staff may seek tacit concurrence from other departments and
agencies when other interests are involved. Of note, the Department of State has also
affected UCP. For example, in 1959 it rejected the creation of a Middle East military
command. In 1991, State objected to placing Russia as an AOR under STRATCOM,
due to the political sensitivities of including Russia under the same CINC that was
responsible for nuclear forces and nuclear weapons.
Recent Military Initiatives
According to the Joint Staff J-5, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, the
military’s view is that the functional CINCs are “about right,” and the regional CINCs
are also “about right,” meaning that military planners do not envision a radical change
in the UCP in the near future. The joint military establishment, specifically the44
CJCS, the JCS, and the JS, looks for incremental changes to the UCP. They expect
an evolutionary approach that slowly aligns the UCP with a notional future such as
the vision represented in Joint Vision 2010.
Before Goldwater-Nichols, the Joint Chiefs of Staff shied away from major
revisions of the UCP, and Congress or the President had to instigate significant
change. Since Goldwater-Nichols, the CJCS has been more active as an agent for
UCP change. As CJCS, General Colin Powell reduced military reliance on
presidential or congressional initiatives. Powell was also less concerned with the need
for JCS consensus before directing changes to the UCP. He transformed USACOM,
and USCINCTRANS became a single manager. Powell used the powers given to him
under Goldwater-Nichols to remove barriers to jointness.45

Ibid., p. 7-3.43
Interview, Joint Staff J-5, February 19, 1999.44
The History of the Unified Command Plan, p. 116-177.45

Powell took these steps because he was concerned that Congress would take the
lead in shaping the UCP if the military did not move toward a more joint force after
Goldwater-Nichols. He also considered changes to the international environment.
The focus of U.S. forces after the collapse of the Soviet Union was shifting from
global to regional. The collapse meant a certain “peace dividend” demand from the
electorate, which meant reduced defense budgets and therefore smaller armed forces.
Finally, the demise of an erstwhile enemy pointed the way toward a fresh new nuclear
forces policy and organization.
Powell forged STRATCOM as a functional command. USCINCSTRATCOM
wanted the former Soviet Union to be assigned as an area of responsibility, but the
other CINCs resisted this expansion. They envisioned a resulting huge forces and
resources sink-hole. As previously noted, the move also was resisted by the
Department of State.
General Shalikashvili, who replaced General Powell as CJCS, was the prime
mover behind Joint Vision 2010, the military’s framework and template for joint
doctrine in the next decade. With its emphasis on jointness, Gen Shalikashvili said
Joint Vision 2010 “must become a benchmark for Service and Unified Command
visions.” 46
The current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shelton, is actually
using the UCP as a tool to nudge the services closer to the concepts envisioned in
Joint Vision 2010. General Shelton changed the UCP review process from a “bottom
up” approach, driven by the current needs and assessments of the individual services
and CINCs, to a “top down” method in which Joint Vision 2010 serves as the end
goal, and the UCP the tool to transfigure the military and get there. Shelton’s focus
is on “operationalizing” the new 2010 warfighting concepts of dominant maneuver,
precision engagement, focused logistics, and full-dimensional protection. The synergy
and sum of the concepts provide the U.S. forces with “full spectrum dominance.”
Shelton is pushing for a more joint, smaller, more technologically-oriented force with
increased range, remote capabilities, and precision targetting equipment to address the47
changed nature of adversaries.
The military uses Joint Task Forces (JTFs) to address some new issues without
immediately altering the UCP. Eventually, JTF missions are examined for possible
transfer to an existing unified CINC. Alternatively, the JTF could become a unified
or sub-unified command.
The military has been employing a JTF in counter-drug operations for some time-
-JTF-6 is still fighting drugs, with no end in sight. The military leadership may
eventually move the mission and give it to USSOUTHCOM, and possibly form a sub-
unified counter-drug command on a functional basis.

Joint Vision 2010, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon,46
Washington, D.C., p. ii.
Ibid., p. 19.47

Information security and threats of cyberwar have led to the creation of an
information assurance JTF that may eventually fall under SPACECOM. Because we
are still early in the information age, this JTF could become a separate “Info CINC.”
Information concerns right now are narrowly defined by the CINCs, who agree
military interest is limited to information assurance.
The JTF on Computer Network Defense (JTF-CND) is DOD’s first operational
cyber-defense unit, and it became operational in January 1999. The JTF-CND is a
key player in the development of long-range strategy to deal with information warfare
threat to DOD. Initially a small size force, the JTF currently has 10 personnel,
growing to 24 by mid-year. It operates on a budget of $5.2 million. This JTF will
create and expand operations, tactics, techniques and procedures to meet and thwart
the growing and evolving threat from hackers, cyber-terrorists, and other nations.
Still in limbo, DOD needs to determine where this JTF-CND fits into a warfighting
mission. According to Maj Gen John Campbell, the commander of JTF-CND. “We
must work on the relationship ... between the services and the regional warfighting
commanders-in-chief [CinCs] to give them what they need to conduct their mission.”
The JTF will directly support CINCs when attacks are detected on their forces and
resources by providing technical advice. But the JTF-CND is not a long term
solution, and DOD requirements may drive toward permanent organization or a48
Meanwhile, CINCSPACECOM is already vying to pick up information duties.
General Richard Myers reportedly is pressing for SPACECOM to oversee all
information operations for the other unified CINCs. General Meyers told an Air
Force Association meeting in Los Angeles last fall, “It’s been clear in recent exercises,
wargames, and discussions that we must consider assigning a single operational CINC
the task of focusing on information network operations for the warfighter.” Linking
the global information function with the global space functions already in place, he
added, “Given the clear linkage between space and information networks there is a
strong case to be made that those responsibilities should fall to us at U.S. Space
Command.” Myers asserts that Information Warfare is closely related to space
capabilities. SPACECOM recently received from the Joint Staff more responsibility
for operational satellite communications, part of the Defense Information Systems
Agency’s domain. Important to Myers, this gives one united face for the other unified
warfighting CINCs to deal with. Regional theater CINCs want one place to go for
space assets, including communications, and probably feel more comfortable going
to another CINC as opposed to an agency like DISA.49

Bryan Bender, “US Cyber-Defence Task Force is Now Operational,” Janes Defense48
Weekly, 20 January 1999, p.4.
Gigi Whitley and Brendan Sobie, “Myers Makes Case for U.S. Space Command to Assume49
Info Ops Duties,” Inside the Air Force, November 27,1998, p.14.

Homeland Defense
DOD is sensitive to calls for a Homeland Defense Command to support other
federal agencies after a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
DOD decided to use another Joint Task Force to address this problem. The JTF will
coordinate DOD support of other federal agencies tasked with responding to a
domestic WMD attack, Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre told the Senate Armed
Services Committee. Described as the Joint Task Force for Civil Support, the plan50
is awaiting approval by Defense Secretary William Cohen for presentation to
President Clinton this fall. The JTF will enable the Defense Department to play a
supporting role to the Justice Department and the Federal Emergency Management
Agency in developing an appropriate mechanism to deal with these threats.
The President asked the Secretary of Defense last year to develop a plan for
DOD to assist with WMD consequence management. CJCS General Shelton and
Vice Chairman General Joseph Ralston recommended creating a JTF to Defense
Secretary Cohen, Dr. Hamre told the SASC. The joint task force could answer to
U.S. Atlantic Command, he said. This JTF would not require standing forces to be
assigned to it, but would draw the resources as it needs them, “just as our other task
forces do today." Hamre and other DOD officials do not want to create a new unified
command and CINC for homeland defense at this time, but said such a command is
possible in the future if the JTF does not prove a sufficient solution.
Presently, Pentagon support for consequence management is coordinated
through the Director of Military Support (DOMS), but Hamre said there are
deficiencies in the current setup. For example, DOMS is largely an Army operation.
According to Hamre, a domestic WMD terrorist attack would overwhelm Army
resources available for aid in recovering from such an attack.
Dr. Hamre cited three main priorities shaping the JTF structure: first, sensitivities
over using the military in a law enforcement role, and the way that could infringe on
civil liberties (posse comitatus). Second, DOD will stress that it is in a supporting
role and not a lead agency. A third priority is emphasizing DOD's unique abilities to
mobilize resources, Hamre said. Specialty support could include providing
decontamination equipment to an area attacked by terrorists.
The WMD terrorist problem is a high priority for the Administration and
Congress. "We've got to address this problem as if it can happen tomorrow," Senate
Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-VA) said at the hearing. At
the hearing, Warner suggested adding or rearranging funds to the President's request
to prepare for a terrorist WMD attack: “If it takes one or two less F-22 [aircraft], one
or two less ships, whatever it is, this committee is prepared to take the initiative... to
get adequate funding into these pipelines." DOD has no intent to purchase new51

Keith J. Costa, “Pentagon Developing Joint Task Force To Support Domestic WMD50
Defense,” Inside The Pentagon, March 11, 1999.
Ibid., p. 1.51

equipment solely to support this JTF, particularly at the expense of other programs.
Such choices could affect other CINCs who need F-22s and ships in their AORs.
USACOM as a Forces Provider
USACOM has been given the mission to optimize and maximize U.S. military
capability to conduct training, force integration, and deployment of U.S. based forces
to meet the needs of the theater CINCs. The 1997 UCP charged USACOM with the
following functional roles: 1) Conduct joint training of assigned forces and assigned
Joint Task Force staffs, and support other unified commands as required; 2) as joint
force integrator, develop joint, combined, interagency capabilities to improve
interoperability and enhance joint capabilities through technology, systems, and
doctrine; and 3) provide trained and ready joint forces in response to the capability
requirements of supported geographic commands. In order to serve as a center for52
jointness, USACOM gave up its regional orientation and became a functional
Issues and Options for Congress
Noteworthy changes have been made to the UCP to accommodate
Congressional concerns. However, more can be done. The shift in the threat to
America from foreign soil to U.S. soil is rapidly gaining ground. Congress may want
to assess the UCP process, and put oversight mechanisms in place for intervention or
participation in UCP specifics.
Regional or Functional
Recently, USSOUTHCOM was realigned to “more clearly reflect its53
geographical responsibilities. While such adjustments are expected occasionally
within geographic unified commands, they beg the question of whether Congress may
want to ask if functional unified commands could benefit from realigning to more
clearly reflect functional responsibilities (SOF and space, for example). Should the
U.S. shift more missions to functional than regional CINCs given the functional
nature of many global threats?
With the more regional focus of the U.S. National Security and National Military
strategies since the end of the Cold War, and the rise of new, complex global threats
such as WMD, terrorism, and information warfare, Congress may decide to re-visit
the number of CINCs. How many unified commands are appropriate to deal with
America’s worldwide security challenges? Will each one require a four star flag
officer for a CINC? Can the U.S. afford the resources required for creating new
CINCs? With recruitment difficulties beginning to surface, manning new commands

U.S. Atlantic Command: Challenging Role in the Evolution of Joint Military Capabilities,52
General Accounting Office, February, 1997, p. 19.
Unified Command Plan: Atlantic and Southern Command Participation in 1995 Review,53
General Accounting Office, November 1996, p. 9.

could be a daunting challenge all by itself. Headquarters locations and the functional
or regional boundaries could also be issues inviting congressional guidance and
Congress has expressed concern about tiered readiness in the past. One54
proposal suggested changing U.S. forces into a two theater command structure based
on force readiness levels. The current plan to make USACOM a forces provider55
command may adequately address another jointness concern. However, the services
themselves are looking into ways of more efficiently using their own forces. The
USAF Expeditionary Air Force and the Army Strike Force concepts are designed to
get tailored forces to a theater CINC quickly, and reduce operations and personnel
tempos at the same time. The “down” time at home station would be used to train the
force again before it deployed.
Another issue bearing some concern is the traditional service-specific nature of
the CINC positions themselves. Now that USLANTCOM has changed to USACOM,
and is a functional unified instead of a regional unified command, CINCUSACOM is
no longer a “U.S. Navy” only chair. The changing nature of missions, such as an air
campaign by NATO in Kosovo, may warrant examination of qualifications to sit in
theater CINC chairs.
Space: AOR or Separate Service?
With few exceptions, nations with commercial space programs and activities
show private and commercial space spending equal to and set to outpace what
appears to be flat government spending, according to a Paris-based Euroconsult
survey. Total assets in space are currently valued at over $200 billion, making them56
a lucrative, unprotected target for potential adversaries, should they choose to exploit
space and conduct hostile attacks on commercial assets.
Accordingly, in January 1998, the President signed a new UCP with new
CINCSPACE authorities and responsibilities. Though CINCSPACE has no AOR,
SPACECOM is the single DOD point of contact for military space matters, and will
provide military representation to U.S. national, commercial, and international
agencies on matters related to military space operations. SPACECOM will also plan
and implement security assistance related to military space activities, coordinate and
conduct space campaign planning through the joint planning process in support of the

See Longoria, Michael A., and Michael C. Ryan. Military Readiness: Background to54
Congressional Debate over Tiered Readiness, CRS Report 97-866F, updated August 31,


“Sen. Robb for the Defense,” Roanoke Times and World News, May 4, 1997, p.1. See also55
Mike A. Longoria and Michael C. Ryan, op. cit.
Peter B. de Selding, “Government, Private Spending Nearly Equal,” Space News, Vol 10,56
No 15, April 19, 1999, p. 3.

National Military Strategy, and will serve as the DOD military point of contact for
countering proliferation of WMD in space.57
Some members have called for an independent space service. Sen. Bob Smith
(R-NH), chairman of the Senate Strategic Forces Subcommittee, the committee that
funds DOD’s space programs, called for creation of a new space service, or at least
giving USSPACECOM acquisition authority over space systems. The problem as
Smith sees it is that the Air Force won’t shed part of its traditional force structure to
pursue space power. To keep AF from having to chose, Smith wants SPACECOM
to have authority to control development and acquisition of space systems, and to
control the assignments and promotions of space commanders. USSOCOM has
similar authority (P.L. 100-80), but is a very small part of the DOD budget, and still
must coordinate with other services. Smith said SPACECOM is the only place where
space theory and practical plans are being developed, but it needs authority to
compete for and demand DOD resources. A new space force or military service is
another option if the USSOCOM analogy doesn’t translate to SPACECOM, but it
may not be realistic in today’s budget environment to expect that anytime soon.
Among other obstacles, a new separate space service would create a new bureaucracy
and add additional costs to the DOD budget.58
SPACECOM could also evolve into a regional unified command with its own
area of responsibility: space. Of note, in 1991, DOD considered placing SPACECOM
under STRATCOM. Realizing the growing role of space and the waning emphasis
on nuclear weapons, the discussion changed to whether or not to put STRATCOM
National Missile Defense
Several other CRS Reports cover National Missile Defense issues in depth.
However, concerning the UCP, NMD poses some interesting questions that Congress
may want to monitor. Wherever NMD winds up, the Canadians are very concerned
how NMD will change the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
under SPACECOM. Will it be shifted to a Homeland Defense Command? If NMD
is based in Alaska, will it fall under PACOM? NORAD forms the key element in
U.S.-Canadian military relations, so any changes to the UCP due to threat changes or
new NMD systems will profoundly alter that relationship.
Canadian military officials reportedly worry about NORAD’s shift from reliance
on radars on Canadian soil to space-based sensors. If Canada fails to contribute to
space-based sensors, NORAD could be marginalized and eventually have its North
American aerospace defense responsibilities and functions absorbed by other CINCs.
If Canada does not put money into space projects, the U.S. could proceed unilaterally

Dana Johnson, Scott Page, and C. Bryan Gabbard, Space: Emerging Options for National57
Power, RAND, National Defense Research Institute, 1998, p. 80, note 5.
Gigi Whitley, “Chairman of Senate Strategic Forces Subcommittee Proposes New Service,”58
Inside the Air Force, Vol. 9, No. 46, November 20, 1998, p.1,7.

to transfer space capabilities to other commands, eliminating the practical need for
NORAD. A January 10, 1997 Memo on NORAD Missions states U.S. military
officials told Canadians that Canadian geography is increasingly less important as
space assets pick up those roles. The U.S. would like Canada to make a meaningful
contribution toward space assets and capabilities. A Canadian military source in
Ottawa said the USAF looks for increased U.S.-Canadian cooperation in space as an
important part of its plans. A bilateral defense space cooperation agreement between
the Canadian Department of Defence and U.S. DOD was signed in October 1997.
Currently, Canada funds 10% of the NORAD alliance, assigns 750 personnel to the
command, and keeps CF-18s on alert. Canadian military officials concede that the
benefits they derive far outweigh the contributions they make to the arrangement.
Canadian defense analyst Jim Furgusson, deputy director of the University of
Manitoba’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies, says Canada must move into
space for the good of future relations with the United States. NORAD has been the
cornerstone of a strong military alliance and close cooperation between the two
countries. If it becomes less important, it may affect other U.S.-Canadian policies and59
USACOM is becoming a forces provider, giving up its regional orientation and
switching to a functional one. This switch generates the traditional service CINCs
question. The NATO defense chiefs did not insist SACLANT always be a naval
officer. Will USACOM’s new joint training and joint doctrine experimentation60
charter call for alternating the CINC’s position among the services, using the CJCS
position as a model? Similarly, NATO combat operations in Kosovo are
predominantly if not exclusively air operations. Would it make more sense to have
an air commander rather than a ground commander in charge of EUCOM? Tradition
runs deep, and U.S. allies may be uncomfortable with an air force officer as
CINCEUR. However, Congress may want to re-examine who sits in the
CINCEURCOM chair, especially if Kosovo air operations seem to be the type NATO
will most likely conduct in the future. Similarly, operations in Iraq have been air
oriented for some time. Should CINCCENT be an Air Force general if these are the
operations that are going to take place for the foreseeable future in that area as well?
Congress may want to examine the UCP in the context of resource allocation
and competition, and to ask questions in defense and budget hearings about the
adequacy of forces and priority of defense spending. The answers may reveal
weaknesses in defense procurement or resource allocation. Competition for resources
is currently a significant issue. For example, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, while en
route to replace the carrier USS Independence in the CENTCOM theater for
operations in the Persian Gulf region, was diverted to the Adriatic Sea for Kosovo
operations. CENTCOM’s carrier demand was filled by CINCPACOM, leaving the
Pacific with no aircraft carrier for the first time in 50 years; a crucial shortfall if North
Korea or China caused trouble. At least two analysts, one at the Brookings Institute

David Pugliese, “Canadian Space Assets Key to NORAD’s Future,” Space News, Feb. 15,59
1999, p.6. See also Sharon Hobson, “Interview, Canadian Air Force Lt Gen George
MacDonald, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of NORAD,” Jane’s Defense Weekly, 9 December

1998, p.32.

The History of the Unified Command Plan, pp. 114, 115.60

and the other at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, believed
Kosovo is a war that doesn’t need carrier aviation, as over 400 land-based aircraft can
reach Yugoslavia, but the Secretary of Defense decided otherwise. The aircraft
carrier USS Kitty Hawk from Japan steamed to CENTCOM to relieve the61
Independence there. Similarly, U-2s and other high-demand, low-density assets are
being stretched between theaters. Regional CINCs have a long-standing request for62
more reconnaissance aircraft to meet their intelligence and surveillance requirements.63
EA-6B Prowler jamming aircraft are also in short supply, with some being pulled from64
operations in Iraq to support Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia. Also, CINCs
are worried over thinly spread intelligence, space, and planning assets, and over
leaving other regions uncovered; to some extent in the Middle East, and especially in
the Pacific. The U.S. may need more intelligence gathering assets to avoid missed65
strikes like the one in Belgrade on the Chinese Embassy.
The CINCs’ competition for resources begs the question: do we really have
enough for two major regional conflicts as well as JTFs and various contingencies?
Alternately, do we have too many CINCs, and could fewer, larger CINCs allocate
resources more effectively within a larger domain? The UCP must balance span of
control, the number of CINCs, available resources, and the political importance of a
geographic area or a function.
CJCS General Shelton told Congress in April that the Kosovo air campaign is
already “a major theater war worth of air assets”and that the bombing there has
“strained the force in the Pacific theater.” It would have been worse if 100,000 to66
150,000 ground troops had been committed for a land war. An Air Force munitions
ship dedicated to supporting Indian ocean, Persian Gulf and western Pacific
operations and contingencies was diverted from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to
the Mediterranean to support NATO operations.67
In light of the CINCs’ resource competition, Representative Floyd Spence, R-
SC, head of the House Armed Services Committee, suggested it may be time to cut
back on commitments or enlarge the force if America expects its CINCs to

Otto Kreigher, “Commanders Compete for Aircraft Carrier: USS Roosevelt Heads for61
Adriatic,” The Washington Post, April 4, 1999, p. 9.
Inside the Air Force, 2 April 1999, p. 15.62
Gigi Whitley, “Global Conflicts Prompt DOD to Consider Producing More Spy Planes,”63
Inside the Air Force, April 2, 1999, p. 15.
Adam Hebert, “Experts See No Immediate Solutions to Jamming Capability Shortfalls,”64
Inside the Air Force, Vol 10, No 16, April 23, 1999, pp. 1, 12, 13.
Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, “Inside the Ring: Dangerous Drawdown,” Washington65
Times, April 30, 1999, p. 6. This issue also highlights the alleged intelligence “failures” to
detect Indian preparations for a nuclear test last year.
Eric Schmitt, “War in the Balkans Stretches Pentagon’s Resources around the World,” The66
New York Times, May 2, 1999, p. 9.

accomplish their missions. Secretary of Defense Cohen echoed that sentiment in68
testimony on 11 May in a Senate hearing.69
According to the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command commander, General
Hawley, readiness in stateside units is suffering under heavy operations loads. That
condition will become “more aggravated” as overseas operations continue. Hawley,70
as a service general and a forces provider, said he would be hard pressed to provide
all forces requested by CINCs if either an Asia or Middle East crisis cropped up; and71
he expects the readiness of the remaining air fleet to drop quickly. Other military
analysts agree, saying diversion of resources meant to cover the Persian Gulf and the
Korean peninsula may tempt U.S. enemies to take advantage of an overburdened U.S.
military establishment.72
Congress has expressed concern over the scope of DOD involvement in its areas
of responsibility, and wants to ensure a smooth working relationship between DOD
and other agencies. The CINCs also have numerous non-governmental organizations
in their areas of responsibility. Does the UCP take this situation into account?
Should Congress take it into account?
DOD prefers not to have congressional involvement in the UCP process,
treating the UCP as an internal document and process. The congressional guidance
in Goldwater-Nichols to review the UCP every two years may essentially satisfy
congressional involvement and oversight of the UCP. Congress remains concerned,
however, whenever it appears the military is not accommodating and incorporating
changes that reflect new security arrangements, requirements, and realities. Will some
JTFs eventually become unified commands in the UCP? Which ones? Should
Congress decide and mandate the course of the UCP? If so, where will the resources,
personnel, staffs come from? Congress can elect to leave the process to DOD, make
occasional or minor changes, or radically change its involvement in the UCP process.

Rowan Scarborough, “Cohen Warns of Burnout by Pilots,” The Washington Times, May69

12, 1999, p. 1.

Schmitt, op.cit.70
Bradley Graham, “General Says U.S. Readiness is Ailing,” The Washington Post, April 30,71

1999, p. 1.

Jonathan Cullen, “Operation Allied Force Stresses Limits of Air Force Capabilities,” Inside72
the Air Force, April 2, 1999, p. 10.

U.S. Geographic and Functional Unified Commands
Source: The Joint Staff Officer’s Guide 1997, Figure 2-9.

Commanders' Areas of Responsibilities

95° W100° E
Arctic OceanArctic Ocean
OceanPacific28° N
iki/CRS-RL30245 U S E U C O M
leak8° N68° E
://wiki5° S
httpUSSOUTHCOMIndian Ocean
Pacific Ocean
92° W30° W17° E