Leadership: CENTCOM and the SUBCOMs

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April 8, 2006: A relic of the Cold War may become a casualty of the war on terror. The last few years has provided the first sustained workout for the COCOMs (combined commands like EUCOM, CENTCOM, SOUTHCOM, PACOM). In practice, it turns out that these large headquarters, presiding over wide ranging military operations, are not particularly well suited for the new world order. They're so big, the senior commanders can never really get a grasp of local conditions, politics, culture, etc. As a result, there's a quiet "campaign" in the Pentagon to restructure the huge commands. The new COCOMs would have smaller regional "SUBCOMs" within them, each with designated commanders and staffs. The SUBCOMs would concentrate on areas that have a lot in common. For example, CENTCOM currently handles the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan. These are two very different areas culturally, and geographically. While some of the COCOMs improvise SUBCOM type arrangements, a more formal arrangement would make it easier for these subordinate commands to operate, and survive.

 


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