The Evolution of U.S. Central Command from Operational to Strategic Headquarters
Program Research Project
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
Geographic combatant commands are intended to function as a bridge between the operational and strategic level commands. However, a combination of doctrinal, organizational, and cultural factors often lead combatant commands to focus on the operational level. Doctrinally and organizationally, reliance on functional component commanders forces the combatant commander to assume an operational role. Culturally, the desire to get into the fight draws the commander and staff into a focus on current operations. This proved to be the case during the first twenty years of U.S. Central Command. The operational focus of the CENTCOM headquarters did not present serious problems as long as operations were relatively short, as in DESERT STORM, or routine, as in SOUTHERN WATCH. But by late 2003 the demands of sustained combat operations across the CENTCOM AOR required the Commander of USCENTCOM to reorganize command relationships in order to regain his strategic focus, creating JTFs for both Iraq and Afghanistan to focus on operations in those countries. Current doctrine needs only minor revision, but when contingencies occur, combatant commanders should quickly establish JTFs to handle major operations.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics