The map above (click to enlarge) explains how the United States military has arranged structures of command and authority for engaging in military conflict throughout the world. Historically forged out of the crucible of the Second World War, each Command is led by a four-star General or Admiral who is given command over the forces operating within his "Area of Responsibility" (AOR). The United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), for example, is currently headed by General Lloyd Austin, who effectively commands military units within the Mideast with the exception of Israel (which falls under the boundaries of the United States European Command).
The six regional or geographical Commands, along with some of their primary responsibilities, include:
- United States Africa Command (all Africa with the exception of Egypt)
- United States Central Command (Mideast, Afghanistan, central Asia)
- United States European Command (Europe, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Caucasus region)
- United States Northern Command (the United States, Canada, Mexico)
- United States Pacific Command (India, China, Japan, Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Koreas)
- United States Southern Command (Cuba, South America, Latin America)
In addition to the six geographically-structured Commands, there are three additional Commands described in functional terms: United States Special Operations Command (responsible for US Special Forces and Special Operations units); United States Strategic Command (responsible for operations in space, missile defense, nuclear weapons, and military intelligence); and United States Transportation Command (responsible for global defense transportation and military logistics).
In future Map on Monday posts, we will return to each of the six geographic Unified Combatant Commands for further examination and analysis.
|President Bush meets with the Joint Chiefs and United Combatant Commanders|