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Release No: 085-98
February 25, 1998


Defense Department officials today announced changes to the Unified Command Plan (UCP) that allocates responsibility among the Nation's nine combatant commands.

The Unified Command Plan provides guidance to all unified combatant commands, establishes their missions, responsibilities and force structure, delineates the general geographic area of responsibility for geographic combatant commanders (see attached map), and specifies responsibilities for functional commanders.

The changes are as follows:

  • The transfer of water areas surrounding Central and South America and the Caribbean Basin Area of Responsibility to U.S. Southern Command on June 1, 1997 was finalized.
  • Requirements for Force Protection, as stipulated in DoD Directive 2000.12, "Combating Terrorism Program," were added to the responsibilities for all combatant commanders.
  • The Western Slavic and Caucasus states of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) which include Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan will be assigned to U.S. European Command's Area of Responsibility effective October 1, 1998.
  • The Central Asian states of the FSU which include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan will be assigned to U.S. Central Command's Area of Responsibility effective October 1, 1999.
  • U.S. Space Command's responsibilities for conducting space operations were updated and expanded.
  • U.S. Atlantic Command's responsibilities as the Joint Force Trainer, Integrator, and Provider were updated.

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 October 1996. The chairman's recommendations were sent to the secretary of defense for his review and forwarded to the President of the United States in December 1997. President Clinton approved the revised UCP on January 29. The majority of the changes are effective immediately.

The UCP structure has evolved since the end of the 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, and most recently, Section 905 of the 1997 Defense Authorization Act.

The Unified Command Plan is a classified document and therefore, no additional details are available.

Commanders' Areas of Responsibility
Detailed Map of Changes

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