United States Joint Forces Command

Last updated

United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM)
Emblem of the United States Joint Forces Command
CountryUnited States
Type Unified Combatant Command
SizeAt its height, 1.16 million active and reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines
Part of United States Department of Defense
Headquarters Norfolk, Virginia
Combatant CommanderDisestablished
Shoulder sleeve insignia (U.S. Army only) USJFCOM-USAE-SSI.jpg
Distinctive unit insignia (U.S. Army only) USJFCOM-USAE-DUI.jpg

United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) was a Unified Combatant Command of the United States Department of Defense. USJFCOM was a functional command that provided specific services to the military. The last commander was Army Gen. Ray Odierno. As directed by the President to identify opportunities to cut costs and rebalance priorities, Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended that USJFCOM be disestablished and its essential functions reassigned to other unified combatant commands. Formal disestablishment occurred on 4 August 2011.



USJFCOM was formed in 1999 when the old United States Atlantic Command was renamed and given a new mission: leading the transformation of the Department of Defense through experimentation and education. USLANTCOM had been active from 1947 to 1993 as a primarily U.S. Navy command, focused upon the wartime defence of the Atlantic sea lanes against Soviet Union attack. After the end of the Cold War, a 1993 reorganization gave the Command a new acronym, USACOM, and brought United States Army Forces Command and Air Combat Command under its authority. [1]

In late 2004, U.S. Joint Forces Command assumed the role of primary conventional force provider in the Department of Defense. This landmark change assigned nearly all U.S. conventional forces to Joint Forces Command. Requirements, for example, for U.S. service personnel to support the transformation of the Armed Forces of Liberia, were fed to JFCOM, in this case via Africa Command, and JFCOM liaised with the service staffs to obtain available forces. Along with this responsibility came the task to develop a new 'risk-assessment' process that provided national leaders a worldwide perspective on force-sourcing solutions.[ citation needed ]

Its operations and exercises included Noble Resolve, an experimentation campaign plan to enhance homeland defense and improve military support to civil authorities in advance of and following natural and man-made disasters [2] and Empire Challenge, an annual intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) interoperability demonstration. [3]


United States Joint Forces Command was the only combatant command focused on the transformation of U.S. military capabilities. The commander of USJFCOM oversaw the command's four primary roles in transformation – joint concept development and experimentation, joint training, joint interoperability and integration, and the primary conventional force provider as outlined in the Unified Command Plan approved by the President. Its Unified Command Plan designated USJFCOM as the "transformation laboratory" of the United States military to enhance the combatant commanders' capabilities to implement the president's strategy. USJFCOM developed joint operational concepts, tested those concepts through rigorous experimentation, educated joint leaders, trained joint task force commanders and staffs, and recommended joint solutions to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to better integrate their warfighting capabilities.


USJFCOM included members from each branch of the U.S. military, civil servants, contract employees, and consultants. It had four component commands, a sub-unified command (Special Operations component is SOCJFCOM and eight subordinate activities, including: Joint Warfighting Center; Joint Systems Integration Center; Joint Transformation Command for Intelligence; and Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC). JFCOM's Service components were the CONUS based commands that provided forces to other combatant commands: United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), United States Fleet Forces Command (USFLTFORCOM), Air Combat Command (ACC), and United States Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM).

USJFCOM Joint Concept Development and Experimentation (JCD&E) (J9) aimed to develop innovative joint concepts and capabilities providing experimentally proven solutions to the most pressing problems facing the joint force. It aimed to rapidly deliver operationally relevant solutions to support current operations and drive DOTMLPF and policy changes to better enable the future joint force. JCD&E aimed to provide thought leadership and collaborative environments to generate innovative ideas with a range of interagency, multinational, academic and private sector partners.

The C2 (Command and Control) Core was a DoD project sponsored by Joint Forces Command and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense/Network and Information Integration (OASD/NII) to develop an open standard-supporting, extensible markup language (XML)-based command and control (C2) data exchange. It represents the first major implementation of the Universal Core v2.0, a federal information sharing initiative. It supports the DoD Net Centric Data Strategy by enabling data to be visible, accessible, understandable, trustworthy and interoperable. The overarching goal of this project is to support national and coalition warfighters by improving joint interoperability at the data and information layer.

Accomplishing these strategic goals within the C2 community involves publishing and evolving agreed-upon standards that exchange partners (services and, down the line, combatant commands and agencies) can use to share data more broadly, efficiently and effectively. The C2 Core standards also link C2 design guidance emerging at both the DoD enterprise level and within multiple C2-related communities of interest and programs of record to support the broadest range of interoperability requirements possible.

Among the command's many directorates and departments was Project Alpha, a JFCOM rapid idea analysis group created to "identify high-impact ideas from industry, academia and the defense community that could transform the United States Department of Defense into an organization better equipped to deal with the uncertain landscape of the future." [4] Project Alpha was discontinued as part of an internal reorganization of U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Experimentation Directorate.[ citation needed ]

As of 1 August 2011, the Joint Warfighting Center (J7), Joint Center for Operational Analysis, and the Joint Concept Development and Experimentation directorate (J9) merged and transitioned from Joint Forces Command to the Joint Staff J7 as part of USJFCOM's disestablishment. [5] The new organization created by this merger will remain in Suffolk, Va., and be known as the deputy director J7 for joint and coalition warfighting, a subordinate element of the Joint Staff J7. "We will continue our mission to provide comprehensive training that meets demands of the joint warfighter who continue to engage our adversaries in an ever-changing operational environment," said Army Maj. Gen. Frederick S. Rudesheim, deputy director for joint and coalition warfighting. "Key functions and missions will be linked together in a more efficient and effective manner, providing an integrated approach to joint development and joint training."


US Joint Forces command was in charge of the theater surrounding Washington, DC and New York during the 9/11 attacks. During a cost cutting session, General Mattis, then in command of JFCOM suggested to disband because in his interviews with his own staff it was clear to him that most did not see added value. [6] On 9 August 2010 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that Joint Forces Command has been slated for elimination as a budget-saving measure. [7] [8] General Ray Odierno was given the task of winding down JFCOM. [9] On 6 January 2011, the plan was officially approved in a memorandum by President Obama. [10] On 4 August 2011, Joint Forces Command cased its flag colors [11] and officially disestablished on 31 August 2011.

Special Operations Command Joint Forces Command (SOCJFCOM) was transferred to U.S. Special Operations Command after the disestablishment of JFCOM, but was then disestablished in 2013.

Former commanders

Until 24 October 2002, all combatant commanders held the title of "Commander-in-Chief", including the commander in chief of Joint Forces Command (USCINCJFCOM). However, an order dispatched by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld renamed all CINCs in the United States military as "Commanders" with the use of "CINC" as an acronym for anyone other than the President strictly forbidden. [12] Additionally, the dual-hatted title of Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic carried over to JFCOM from U.S. Atlantic Command and remained until October 2003 when it was superseded by the title of Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. [13]

No.CommanderTermService branch
PortraitNameTook officeLeft officeDuration
Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Jr..jpg
Gehman, Harold W. Jr. Admiral
Harold W. Gehman Jr.
(born 1942)
September 29, 1999September 5, 2000342 days Emblem of the United States Navy.svg
U.S. Navy
William F Kernan.jpg
Kernan, William F. General
William F. Kernan
(born 1946)
September 5, 2000October 2, 20022 years, 27 days Military service mark of the United States Army.svg
U.S. Army
US Navy 050422-N-0000X-001 Official U.S. Navy file photo of Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr.jpg
Giambastiani, Edmund P. Jr.Admiral
Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr.
(born 1948)
October 2, 2002August 1, 20052 years, 303 days Emblem of the United States Navy.svg
U.S. Navy
Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner (1).jpg
Wagner, Robert W.Lieutenant General
Robert W. Wagner
August 1, 2005November 10, 2005101 days Military service mark of the United States Army.svg
U.S. Army
Lance L Smith.jpg
Smith, Lance L.General
Lance L. Smith
(born 1946)
November 10, 2005November 9, 20071 year, 364 days Military service mark of the United States Air Force.svg
U.S. Air Force
James N. Mattis.jpg
Mattis, JimGeneral
Jim Mattis
(born 1950)
November 9, 2007September 2010~4 years, 295 days Emblem of the United States Marine Corps.svg
U.S. Marine Corps
Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber.jpg
Huber, Keith M.Lieutenant General
Keith M. Huber
September 2010October 29, 2010~58 days Military service mark of the United States Army.svg
U.S. Army
Odierno Class A.jpg
Odierno, Raymond T.General
Raymond T. Odierno
October 29, 2010August 31, 2011306 days Military service mark of the United States Army.svg
U.S. Army

Related Research Articles

Defense Information Systems Agency United States Department of Defense combat support agency

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), known as the Defense Communications Agency (DCA) until 1991, is a United States Department of Defense (DoD) combat support agency composed of military, federal civilians, and contractors. DISA provides information technology (IT) and communications support to the President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense, the military services, the combatant commands, and any individual or system contributing to the defense of the United States.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Senior-most military leaders who advise U.S. executive government

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is the body of the most senior uniformed leaders within the United States Department of Defense, that advises the president of the United States, the secretary of defense, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council on military matters. The composition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is defined by statute and consists of a chairman (CJCS), a vice chairman (VJCS), the service chiefs of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and the chief of the National Guard Bureau. Each of the individual service chiefs, outside their JCS obligations, work directly under the secretaries of their respective military departments, e.g. the secretary of the Army, the secretary of the Navy, and the secretary of the Air Force.

United States Fleet Forces Command Service component command of the United States Navy

The United States Fleet Forces Command (USFF) is a service component command of the United States Navy that provides naval forces to a wide variety of U.S. forces. The naval resources may be allocated to Combatant Commanders such as United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. Originally formed as United States Atlantic Fleet (USLANTFLT) in 1906, it has been an integral part of the defense of the United States of America since the early 20th century. In 2002, the Fleet comprised over 118,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel serving on 186 ships and in 1,300 aircraft, with an area of responsibility ranging over most of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Central and South America.

Goldwater–Nichols Act 1986 U.S. law strengthening civilian authority in the Department of Defense

The Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of October 4, 1986Pub.L. 99–433,, made the most sweeping changes to the United States Department of Defense since the department was established in the National Security Act of 1947 by reworking the command structure of the U.S. military. It increased the powers of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and implemented some of the suggestions from the Packard Commission, commissioned by President Reagan in 1985. Among other changes, Goldwater–Nichols streamlined the military chain of command, which now runs from the president through the secretary of defense directly to combatant commanders, bypassing the service chiefs. The service chiefs were assigned to an advisory role to the president and the secretary of defense, and given the responsibility for training and equipping personnel for the unified combatant commands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Space Command</span> Unified command of the U.S. Department of Defense

United States Space Command is a unified combatant command of the United States Department of Defense, responsible for military operations in outer space, specifically all operations 100 kilometers and greater above mean sea level. U.S. Space Command is responsible for the operational employment of space forces that are provided by the uniformed services of the Department of Defense.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Strategic Command</span> Unified combatant command based in Nebraska

United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is one of the eleven unified combatant commands in the United States Department of Defense. Headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, USSTRATCOM is responsible for strategic nuclear deterrence, global strike, and operating the Defense Department's Global Information Grid. It also provides a host of capabilities to support the other combatant commands, including integrated missile defense; and global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR). This command exists to give national leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to respond to those threats rapidly.

United States Transportation Command Unified combatant command of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is one of eleven unified combatant commands of the United States Department of Defense. The command is located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, and was established in 1987.

United States European Command Unified combatant command of the United States Armed Forces responsible for the European region

The United States European Command (EUCOM) is one of the eleven unified combatant commands of the United States military, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Its area of focus covers 21,000,000 square miles (54,000,000 km2) and 51 countries and territories, including Europe, Russia, and Greenland. The Commander of the United States EUCOM simultaneously serves as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) within NATO, a military alliance. During the Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch, EUCOM controlled the forces flying from Incirlik Air Base.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Unified combatant command</span> United States Department of Defense command

A unified combatant command (CCMD), also referred to as a combatant command, is a joint military command of the United States Department of Defense that is composed of units from two or more service branches of the United States Armed Forces, and conducts broad and continuing missions. There are currently 11 unified combatant commands and each are established as the highest echelons of military commands, in order to provide effective command and control of all U.S. military forces, regardless of branch of service, during peace or during war time. Unified combatant commands are organized either on a geographical basis or on a functional basis, e.g. special operations, force projection, transport, and cybersecurity. Currently, seven combatant commands are designated as geographical, and four are designated as functional. Unified combatant commands are "joint" commands and have specific badges denoting their affiliation.


NetOps is defined as the operational framework consisting of three essential tasks, Situational Awareness (SA), and Command & Control (C2) that the Commander (CDR) of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), in coordination with DoD and Global NetOps Community, employs to operate, manage and defend the Global Information Grid (GIG) to ensure information superiority for the United States.

Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO) was a subordinate command of United States Strategic Command whose mission was to: direct the operation and defense of the Global Information Grid (GIG) across strategic, operational, and tactical boundaries in support of the US Department of Defense's full spectrum of war fighting, intelligence, and business operations.

Allied Command Transformation NATO military command

Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is a military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), formed in 2003 after restructuring.

Effects-based operations (EBO) is a United States military concept that emerged during the Persian Gulf War for the planning and conduct of operations combining military and non-military methods to achieve a particular effect. An effects-based approach to operations was first applied in modern times in the design and execution of the Desert Storm air campaign of 1991. The principal author of the daily attack plans—then Lt Colonel, now retired Lt General David A. Deptula—used an effects-based approach in building the actual Desert Storm air campaign targeting plan. Deptula describes the background, rationale, and provides an example of how an effects-based approach to targeting was conducted in Desert Storm in the publication, "Effects-Based Operations: Change in the Nature of Warfare." The doctrine was developed with an aim of putting desired strategic effects first and then planning from the desired strategic objective back to the possible tactical level actions that could be taken to achieve the desired effect. Contrary to conventional military approaches of force-on-force application that focused on attrition and annihilation, EBO focused on desired outcomes attempting to use a minimum of force. The approach was enabled by advancements in weaponry—particularly stealth and precision weapons—in conjunction with a planning approach based on specific effects rather than absolute destruction. Deptula, speaking at the Gulf War Air Campaign Tenth Anniversary Retrospective, on 17 January 2001 on One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, defined the goal of EBO; "If we focus on effects, the end of strategy, rather than force-on-force the traditional means to achieve it militarily, that enables us to consider different and perhaps more effective ways to accomplish the same goal quicker than in the past, with fewer resources and most importantly with fewer casualties." Others have postulated that EBO could be interpreted as an emerging understanding that attacking a second-order target may have first order consequences for a variety of objectives, wherein the Commander's intent can be satisfied with a minimum of collateral damage or risk to his own forces.

Area of responsibility (AOR) is a pre-defined geographic region assigned to Combatant commanders of the Unified Command Plan (UCP), that are used to define an area with specific geographic boundaries where they have the authority to plan and conduct operations; for which a force, or component commander bears a certain responsibility. The term may also be used in other countries worldwide but it originated within the United States Armed Forces. This system is designed to allow a single commander to exercise command and control of all military forces in the AOR, regardless of their branch of service.

United States Strike Command Military unit

In 1961 the United States Strike Command (STRICOM) was established at MacDill Air Force Base as a unified combatant command capable of responding to global crises. The name of the command was originally derived from the acronym for Swift Tactical Reaction In Every Known Environment (STRIKE). It integrated the CONUS-based forces of the Army's Continental Army Command and the Air Force's Composite Air Strike Force (CASF) and Tactical Air Command.

LandWarNet (LWN) is the United States Army’s contribution to the Global Information Grid (GIG) that consists of all globally interconnected, end-to-end set of Army information capabilities, associated processes, and personnel for collecting, processing, storing, disseminating, and managing information on demand supporting warfighters, policy makers, and support personnel. It includes all Army and leveraged Department of Defense (DOD)/Joint communications and computing systems and services, software, data security services, and other associated services. LandWarNet exists to enable the warfighter through Mission Command, previously described as Battle Command. Other U.S. service equivalent efforts to LandWarNet include the Navy's "FORCEnet" and the Air Force's "C2 Constellation."

United States Atlantic Command Military unit

United States Atlantic Command was a Unified Combatant Command of the United States Department of Defense. In 1999, U.S. Atlantic Command was renamed and given a new mission as United States Joint Forces Command.

Joint Modernization Command Military unit

The U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command, or JMC, based in Fort Bliss, Texas, gains insights from "Fight Tonight" units about future ways of fighting, future technology, and force structure during realistic live, constructive, and/or simulated training exercises. Joint Modernization Command is subordinate to the Army Futures & Concepts Center in Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; both report to the U.S. Army's newest Four-Star Command, the Army Futures Command (AFC) based in Austin, Texas.

Organizational structure of the United States Department of Defense

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has a complex organizational structure. It includes the Army, Navy, the Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force, the Unified combatant commands, U.S. elements of multinational commands, as well as non-combat agencies such as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. The DoD's annual budget was roughly US$496.1 billion in 2015. This figure is the base amount and does not include the $64.3 billion spent on "War/Non-War Supplementals". Including those items brings the total to $560.6 billion for 2015.

A battle lab or battle laboratory is an organization dedicated to studying changes in the military.


  1. Find Article: U.S. Atlantic Command, Now USACOM, Assumes New Role US Navy Press Releases Archived 17 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. USJFCOM information on Noble Resolve Archived 17 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Empire Challenge 09 Archived 25 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Archived copy of the Project Alpha article on the USJFC website, since removed from public view
  5. J7 transitions to Joint Staff, accessed June 2012 Archived 29 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Mattis, James N.; Francis J. West (2019). Call sign chaos: learning to lead (First ed.). New York. ISBN   978-0-8129-9683-8. OCLC   1112672474.
  7. Find Article: Officials: Belt-tightening will cut major command Associated Press report [ dead link ]
  8. Tilghman, Andrew (9 August 2010). "Gates to kill JFCOM, cut general officer billets". Marine Corps Times . Archived from the original on 15 March 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  9. Find Article: Gates to shut down USJFCOM in 2011 US Defense Secretary Press Release Archived 9 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Obama, Barack (6 January 2011). "Presidential Memorandum – Disestablishment of United States Joint Forces Command". White House Press Office. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  11. Garamone, Jim (4 August 2011). "Joint Forces Command Cases Its Colors". American Forces Press Service via Defense.gov. Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  12. "'CINC' Is Sunk". U.S. Department of Defense. American Forces Press Service. 25 October 2002. Retrieved 4 November 2011. The term 'CINC' is sunk. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put out a memo Oct. 24 to DoD leaders saying there is only one commander in chief in America — the president.
  13. "List of Supreme Allied Commanders Atlantic :: NATO's ACT".