A Joint Forces Group: A Permanent Joint Echelon for the Operational Level of War
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This paper investigates creating a deployable joint warfighting headquarters at the operational level of war called the Joint Forces Group. The paper is broken down into four chapters. The first, describes current joint doctrine on how the U.S. military organizes for war. The second, investigates the function of command and the development of modern military formations. The third, analyzes JTF operations and exercises from 1983 to 1994. The last chapter introduces the Joint Forces Group concept. The paper discusses the three levels of war strategic, operational, and tactical. All three are essential to successfully prosecuting military operations. The requirement to link the strategic endstate and tactical means makes the operational level unique. Although, a CINC can do this, but he then operates at the operational level. The operational level is also unique because it relies on an ad hoc command structure to carry-out military operations the Joint Task Force JTF. History suggests that ad hoc structures are not the best way to employ military forces. Command is accomplished by a commander and his staff they are a team that plans the way the mission is accomplished. Developing an effective team requires organizational stability, best achieved in permanent organizations. The development of modern military formations also suggests that permanent organizations are better than improvised ones. Specialization of arms led to the development of combined arms to provide the great flexibility. Service components represent the pinnacle of specialization of tactical forces there is a need to better orchestrate these components. A review of JTF operations and exercises showed there were problems with planning attributable, in part, to an ad hoc headquarters. This did not lead to defeat or mission failure because the tasks were relatively simple and the enemy, in combat operations, was inferior. There is no guarantee that this will remain so.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics