Academic journal article Aerospace Power Journal

Organizing for Success: Theater Missle Defense in Korea

Academic journal article Aerospace Power Journal

Organizing for Success: Theater Missle Defense in Korea

Article excerpt

Editorial Abstract: To meet rising threats from ballistic missiles, Combined Forces Command and US Forces Korea created a theater-level missile defense command that serves as an excellent model for other theaters. The Combined and Joint Theater Missile Operations Cell fuses several theater missile defense elements into one joint organization, providing significant war-fighting abilities without additional force structure.

COMBINED FORCES COMMAND, Korea (CFC) and US Forces Korea (USFK) recently completed a theater missile defense (TMD) reorganization initiative that is proving to be an innovative solution to a serious war-fighting challenge. The initiative grew from a problem shared by many of the geographical commanders in chief (CINC) and may prove to be a model for other theater-level organizations. Prior to this initiative, missile-defense responsibilities in Korea were spread between several component staffs and service-specific organizations. This situation produced confusion, lacked unity of effort, and contributed to needless friction and inefficiency. Additionally, these organizations lacked the proper structure and resources for the execution of TMD.

Recognizing this problem, USFK approached it from the view that TMD is inherently a combined and joint mission area. It then created a new organization, the combined and joint theater-missile operations cell (CJTMOC) reflecting the combined and joint nature of the mission. The CJTMOC combines elements of the Joint and Combined Staff, air component staff, and the US-based 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command (32d AAMDC). It pulls together the various TMD players into one combined and joint organization capable of planning, integrating, and executing TMD operations at the theater level.

Cause for Concern

What caused USFK to look back at its organization and doctrine? CFC faced a serious war-fighting dilemma that, if left unresolved, could jeopardize its mission. It faced a growing theater ballistic-missile threat (possibly equipped with weapons of mass destruction) without a theater-level missile-defense command to counter the threat. Although all of the services have some TMD capability, no single service can provide a war-fighting CINC with an organization capable of producing integrated missile-defense plans. The only active organization with this capability is the 32d AAMDC, located at Fort Bliss, Texas.1 Unfortunately, the 32d AAMDC is available to a CINC only during actual crises and major exercises.

So what options were available to the command? The best option was to create during peacetime a distributed TMD organization that merged elements of the in-theater staffs with the 32d AAMDC. Although units from Korea and Texas are geographically separated, the new organization would function as a theater-focused organization.

This option had several advantages. For example, merging in-theater staffs with the 32d AAMDC combines theater and missile expertise, producing a theater-level organization more capable of integrating all of the services' missile-defense capabilities into one coherent operation. This also allows 32d AAMDC a greater voice during peacetime in the development of the TMD concepts and plans used during war. Together these factors should produce better plans, faster and smoother transition during crises, and better integration of missile defense operations, directly improving joint war fighting in Korea.

Creating the New Organization

Creating the organization required three components: a distributed structure, defined lines of authority, and requisite communications connectivity. CFC created the structure of the organization by using a distributed organizational structure, merging in-theater missile-defense staff sections with elements of 32d AAMDC and providing the coordinating authority needed to function. The use of modern communications enabled the organization to function as one, regardless of the geographical separation. …

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