Unified Command Plan and Combatant Commands: Background and Issues for Congress [January 3, 2013] [open pdf - 729KB]
"The Unified Command Plan (UCP) and associated Combatant Commands (COCOMs) provide operational instructions and command and control to the Armed Forces and have a significant impact on how they are organized, trained, and resourced--areas over which Congress has constitutional authority. The UCP is a classified executive branch document prepared by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) and reviewed and updated every two years that assigns missions; planning, training, and operational responsibilities; and geographic areas of responsibilities to COCOMs. Functional COCOMs operate world-wide across geographic boundaries and provide unique capabilities to geographic combatant commands and the Services while Geographic COCOMs operate in clearly delineated areas of operation and have a distinctive regional military focus. There are currently nine COCOMs: 1) USSOCOM: U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL. 2) USSTRATCOM: U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, NE. 3) USTRANSCOM: U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, 4) USAFRICOM: U.S. Africa Command, Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. 5) USCENTCOM: U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL. 6) USEUCOM: U.S. European Command, Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. 7) USNORTHCOM: U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, CO. 8) USPACOM: U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, HI. 9) USSOUTHCOM: U.S. Southern Command, Miami, FL. This report provides information on the history, mission, and operational considerations for each of these organizations as well as a brief discussion of current issues associated with the UCP and these commands."
CRS Report for Congress, R42077
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html