Unified Combatant Command
Operational forces of the United States military operate under Unified Combatant Commands (UCCs), organized either on geographic (e.g., Pacificl) or functional (e.g., Special Operations, Strategic) lines. The line of command of the UCC goes from its four-star commander to the National Command Authority.
While the United States has long had regional and functional commands, the structure was formalized by the Goldwater-Nichols Act.
- United States Central Command : Unified Combatant Command responsible for U.S. operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, now under the command of General James Mattis (USCENTCOM)
- United States European Command : U.S. Unified Combatant Command with responsibility for Europe and some nearby areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea; United States Africa Command is a subcommand
- United States Africa Command is a unified sub-command
- United States Northern Command : Within the Department of Defense, the military headquarters responsible for defense of the continental United States, and support to civil authorities for disasters beyond their capabilities
- United States Pacific Command : The U.S. Unified Combatant Command, headquartered in Hawaii, and responsible for the Pacific and East Asia (USPACOM)
- United States Forces Korea is a unified sub-command
- United States Southern Command : U.S. Unified Combatant Command responsible for military operations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America
- United States Joint Forces Command : A source of "surge" planners and staff, while helping organize the mission-focused joint task force that will address the specific need of other U.S. Unified Combatant Commands (USJFCOM)
- United States Special Operations Command : A U.S. Unified Combatant Command with both functional and operational responsibilities, both to prepare special operations forces for the geographic commands, and to execute strategic special operations, typically under national orders and high security classification (USSOCOM)
- United States Strategic Command : The U.S. unified headquarters for the missions of worldwide nuclear and conventional precision strike; command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of strategic operations; global network operations of the Global Information Grid, information operations, ballistic missile defense, and reduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction threats (USSTRATCOM)
- United States Transportation Command : The single point of contact and operations for transportation services, by land, air, and sea, for the U.S. Department of Defense (USTRANSCOM)
The UCC commander, and such subordinate joint task forces he creates, will draw from land forces, naval, air forces, Marine, and special operations components assigned to him. Plans, such as air tasking orders, will be developed jointly, with due regard that some assets, such as Marine close air support, may remain under component control.