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combatant command

Definition/Scope: (AR 10-87) Nontransferable command authority established by 10 USC 164, exercised only by commanders of unified or specified commands unless otherwise directed by the President or the SECDEF. COCOM cannot be delegated and is the authority of a CCDR to perform those functions of command over assigned forces involving organizing and employing commands and forces, assigning tasks, designating objectives, and giving authoritative direction over all aspects of military operations, Joint training, and logistics necessary to accomplish the missions assigned to the command. COCOM should be exercised through the commanders of subordinate organizations. Normally this authority is exercised through subordinate Joint force commanders and Service and/or functional component commanders. COCOM provides full authority to organize and employ commands and forces, as the CCDR considers necessary to accomplish assigned missions. OPCON is inherent in COCOM. (FM 3-0) The Unified Command Plan establishes combatant commanders’ missions and geographic responsibilities. Combatant commanders directly link operational military forces to the Secretary of Defense and the President. The Secretary of Defense deploys troops and exercises military power through the combatant commands. Six combatant commands have areas of responsibility. They are the geographic combatant commands. Each geographic combatant command has (or will have) an assigned ASCC. For doctrinal purposes, these commands become “theater armies” to distinguish them from the similar organizations assigned to functional component commands. The geographic combatant commands and their theater armies are: U.S. Northern Command (U.S. Army, North USARNORTH), U.S. Southern Command (U.S. Army, South - USARSO), U.S. Central Command (U.S. Army, Central - USARCENT), U.S. European Command (U.S. Army, Europe - USAREUR), U.S. Pacific Command (U.S. Army, Pacific - USARPAC), and U.S. Africa Command (U.S. Army, Africa - USARAF). In addition to these geographic combatant commands, U.S. Forces Korea is a subordinate unified command of U.S. Pacific Command. It has a theater army also (Eighth Army - EUSA). There are four functional combatant commands. Each has global responsibilities. Like the geographic combatant commands, each has an ASCC assigned. These organizations are not theater armies; they are functional Service component commands. The functional combatant commands and their associated ASCCs are: U.S. Joint Forces Command (U.S. Army Forces Command - FORSCOM), U.S. Strategic Command (U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Strategic Command - SMDC/ARSTRAT), U.S. Special Operations Command (U.S. Army Special Operations Command -USASOC), U.S. Transportation Command (Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command - SDDC).

Used For:

combatant commands (command authority)



Broader Terms:


Narrower Terms:

7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command
Functional Commands
Humanitarian Operations Center
Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command
US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/ Army Strategic Command
US Army, Africa, Combatant Command, GEO
US Army, Central, Combatant Command, GEO
US Army, Europe, Combatant Command, GEO
US Army, North, Combatant Command, GEO
US Army, Pacific, Combatant Command, Geo
US Army, South, Combatant Command, GEO
US Joint Forces Command
US Special Operations Command, Combatant Command, Functional

Related Terms:

administrative control
Command and Control
specified command
unified commands

CALL Homepage >> Thesaurus Last Updated: Sept 17, 2008