Secretary of Defense William Perry today announced changes to the Unified
Command Plan (UCP) that allocates responsibility among the Nation's nine
The Unified Command Plan provides guidance to all unified combatant commanders;
establishes their missions, responsibilities, and force structure; delineates
the general geographic area of responsibility for geographic combatant
commanders (see Map 1), and specifies functional responsibilities for
The changes are as follows:
· The boundary between the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command
was adjusted to assign responsibility for the Arabian Sea and part of the
Indian Ocean to Central Command (see Map 2). This shift moves the boundary
away from choke points and provides Central Command the air, land, and sea
battlespace it needs to conduct joint operations and training.
· The geographic area of responsibility assigned to the U.S. Southern
Command is being expanded by adding the waters adjoining Central and South
America, and the Gulf of Mexico. These waters were formerly the responsibility
of the U.S. Atlantic Command. This change satisfies two key objectives. The
first is to enhance Southern Command's interaction with the navies of Central
and South American nations. The second is to have one commander control all
U.S. military activities in the Caribbean basin and Central and South America.
Due to the long-standing Caribbean associations of U.S. Atlantic Command,
including the ongoing United Nations operation in Haiti and counterdrug
operations throughout the region, the transfer will occur in two stages (see
Map 3). Phase I, implemented on January 1, transfers responsibility for the
waters adjoining Central and South America. Phase II, to be implemented on
order of the Secretary of Defense not earlier that June 1, 1997, will transfer
responsibility for an additional portion of the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean
Sea and its island nations, and the Gulf of Mexico.
· U.S. Strategic Command's reconnaissance responsibilities were also
revised. The new UCP assigns to Strategic Command the mission of conducting
worldwide airborne reconnaissance in support of strategic operations, the
Single Integrated Operation Plan (SIOP), or other strategic missions, as
By law (Title 10, Section 161), the UCP is reviewed periodically by the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The review just concluded began in
February 1995. The Chairman's recommendations were sent to the Secretary of
Defense for his review and forwarding to the President. President Clinton
approved the revised UCP December 28. The majority of the changes became
effective January 1.
The UCP structure has evolved since the end of World War II in response to
changes in strategic requirements and to direction by Congress, notably the
Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986.
The Unified Command Plan is a classified document and therefore, no additional
details are available.