JFACC: Who's in Charge? (Joint Force Quarterly, Summer 1994)
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR COUNTERPROLIFERATION RESEARCH
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There is unanimity that the Armed Forces will fight as a joint team in the future. Each of the services has come a long way to make joint force a reality, but real difficulties remain in the area of command and control. It is time to take off the doctrinal blinders and look harder for the solutions. One concern is command and control of joint air operations. The capabilities, flexibility, and multi-service character of aviation make a Joint Force Air Component Commander JFACC important to most joint operations. Some say that a JFACCs actual responsibilities make the role more that of a coordinator. Regardless, there is likely to be a JFACC in most large joint operations. What then is the problem Why do many dissent in reviewing joint doctrine on this subject Why are CINCs unable to agree on a concept The answer lies in understanding the needs of joint commanders at all levels and building the proper dynamics into joint decisionmaking and tasking processes. To gain some insight into possible solutions, one must first understand that we simply do not fight in a functionally centralized fashion. This is evidenced by the Army- Air Force Air Land Battle concept and the Marine Air Ground Task Force MAGTF concept. Neither concept is about organization rather they involve teamwork and combined arms philosophies. The Navys surface, subsurface, and aerospace systems are tightly woven into a combined arms warfighting capability. Service commanders must master a range of joint and component fires to decide a battle and shape the next one. It follows that commanders must have adequate authority to direct actions necessary to accomplish their missions. We do not wage functional fights, but we demand functional excellence. That search for excellence requires striking a balance between centralized, sub-optimized, functional efficiency and decentralized authority that subordinate commanders need in order to succeed.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics