Combatant Commands: Origins, Structure, and Engagements

Combatant Commands: Origins, Structure, and Engagements

Combatant Commands: Origins, Structure, and Engagements

Combatant Commands: Origins, Structure, and Engagements

Synopsis

A one-stop resource for information about U.S. military commands and their organizations, this book describes the six geographic combat commands and analyzes their contributions to national security.

Excerpt

It troubles me that the distance between those serving in the national security community—uniformed military or civilians in the Department of State or intelligence community—and the public at large has grown so vast over the 30 years since Vietnam ended, or perhaps since the Tet Offensive of 1968 was so vividly clear on our evening newscasts. Over the past several years, I have had the privilege of both working with people engaged in national security in various ways and writing about topics that provide basic knowledge—in an effort to bridge this gap—on national security, but this one has intrigued me for longer than any of the others. As the Iraq War unraveled in 2004 and 2005, I wondered how many people sitting in front of their computers or televisions in Dallas County, Missouri, or Birmingham, Alabama, wondered just what CENTCOM really was and how it affected their sons and daughters going to war. One of the lessons I have learned in this process is that many serving officers have rarely given much thought to combatant commands, any more than the public does; they just accept that these are the organizations under which they are occasionally assigned. I’ve also noted that people tend to focus on the combatant commanders rather than the command structures or the missions or the overlapping priorities themselves. Indeed, well into this project, at a dinner in November 2009 in Salt Lake City, a former political appointee who had served as ambassador asked me if he had read my biography wrong. “You’re really writing about combatant commanders, right? They’re the interesting ones.” No, I replied, I am writing on the geographic combatant commands themselves.

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