Who's in Charge? Commander, Air Force Forces or Air Force Commander?
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST
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Sometimes different words, appropriate at different levels, all say the same thing. Let s imagine that you are now in control of the aircraft, the ship, or the unit and have both the authority and responsibility that go with the position. But exactly what or whom do you have authority over and responsibility for What is the extent of your authority Of your responsibility To whom are you responsible for the consequences of your decisions and actions A new commander must be able to answer these essential questions. On the surface, the answers might appear simple and obvious, but in practice many people have found that what they think they understand doesnt reflect the real meaning. The Fall 1998 edition of Airpower Journal included Brig Gen John Barrys article Whos in Charge Service Administrative Control an excellent overview of the role and authority of an Air Force commander as we understood the position at that time. In the 15 years since the appearance of that article, Airmen have gained much better comprehension of the command of Air Force forces AFFOR, especially with the help of publications such as Air Force Doctrine Document AFDD 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, Organization, and Command the Air Force Forces Command and Control Enabling Concept and its implementing program action directives and practical experience in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. As General Barry foresaw, Command authority has once again become a serious subject of discussion . . . in light of the multiple contingency taskings our Air Force has responded to. It is appropriate to revisit the issues raised by the general in light of our experiences since fall 1998. Discussion of the command and control of AFFOR, especially in deployed operations, first requires a common understanding of three critical terms Air Force commander commander, Air Force forces and chain of command.
- Military Forces and Organizations