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Defense or Diplomacy Geographic Combatant Commands

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Technical Report

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Air University School of Advanced Air and Space Studies Maxwell AFB United States

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Concerns over issues such as the militarization of foreign policy and current fiscal realities in the United States could lead to decreased relevance, downsizing, andor dissolution of the Geographic Combatant Command unless the commands are able to redefine their contribution to Phase Zero contributions. In a globalized, increasingly complex security environment, there will be a corresponding increase in diplomacy as a foreign policy tool. Currently, the Department of Defense shoulders the lions share of the load for Phase Zero operations, those operations designed to assure or solidify relationships with US friends and allies. This mission clearly overlaps with the responsibilities of the Department of State. Recent congressionally mandated studies cite this imbalance and recommend changes that could affect the future of the Geographic Combatant Command. By recognizing and adapting to the changing environment, the Defense Department can better contribute to the increased national security of the United States.

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