DOD maps out new command structure for Arctic region

New unified plan redefines the boundaries and missions of the major commands

The Defense Department has released an updated strategic document outlining the missions, roles and geographic areas of responsibility of its combatant commands.

The most significant change in the Unified Command Plan  2011 shifts areas of responsibility in the Arctic, with the U.S. European Command and U.S. Northern Command now sharing responsibility for the region. Previously, the two commands and the U.S. Pacific Command covered the region. The plan also empowers the Northern Command to advocate for Arctic capabilities.

Additional changes in UCP 2011 include:

  • Officially codifying the closing of U.S. Joint Forces Command.
  • Expanding U.S. Strategic Command’s mission to combat weapons of mass destruction and developing a global missile defense concept of operations.
  • Providing the U.S. Transportation Command with the responsibility for synchronizing the planning of global distribution operations.
  • Continuing support of U.S. global defense security commitments while improving the military’s responses to emerging crises.

Signed by President Barack Obama on April 6, the UCP is reviewed and updated every two years through a process involving the service chiefs and DOD leadership.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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