United States Central Command
In January 2021, Israel became the 21st country of the AOR, added to another 20 nations including: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.
The command was established on 1 January 1983.
As its name implies, CENTCOM covers the "central" area of the globe located between the African, European and Indo-Pacific Commands. When the hostage crisis in Iran
and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
underlined the need to strengthen U.S. interests in the region, President Jimmy Carter
established the RDJTF in March 1980. Steps were taken to transform the RDJTF into a permanent unified command over a two-year period. The first step was to make the RDJTF independent of U.S. Readiness Command
, followed by the activation of CENTCOM in January 1983. Overcoming skeptical perceptions that the command was still an RDJTF in all but name, designed to support a Cold War
strategy, took time.
By late 1988, the regional strategy still largely focused on the potential threat of a massive Soviet
invasion of Iran. Exercise Internal Look
has been one of CENTCOM's primary planning events. It had frequently been used to train CENTCOM to be ready to defend the Zagros Mountains
from a Soviet attack and was held annually.
In autumn 1989, the main CENTCOM contingency plan, OPLAN 1002-88, assumed a Soviet attack through Iran to the Persian Gulf. The plan called for five-and-two-thirds US divisions to deploy, mostly light and heavy forces at something less than full strength (apportioned to it by the Joint Strategic Capability Plan [JSCAP]). The original plan called for these five-and-two-thirds divisions to march from the Persian Gulf to the Zagros Mountains
and prevent the Soviet Ground Forces
(army) from seizing the Iranian oil fields
The outgoing Commander of the United States Central Command General James Mattis
(second, from right) with the incoming Commander of the United States Central Command General Lloyd Austin
(first, from right) during U.S. Central Command change of command ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base
, Tampa, Florida
, March 22, 2013. Both General James Mattis and General Lloyd Austin would later on served as United States Secretary of Defense
, with Mattis served as the 26th Secretary of Defense and Austin served as the 28th Secretary of Defense.
After 1990, General Norman Schwarzkopf
reoriented CENTCOM's planning to fend off a threat from Iraq, and Internal Look moved to a biennial schedule. There was a notable similarity between the 1990 Internal Look exercise scripts and the real-world movement of Iraqi forces which culminated in Iraq's invasion of Kuwait
during the final days of the exercise.
U.S. President George Bush
responded quickly. A timely deployment of forces and the formation of a coalition deterred Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia
, and the command began to focus on the liberation of Kuwait. The buildup of forces continued, reinforced by United Nations Security Council Resolution 678
, which called for Iraqi forces to leave Kuwait. On 17 January 1991, U.S. and coalition forces launched Operation Desert Storm
with a massive air interdiction campaign, which prepared the theater for a coalition ground assault. The primary coalition objective, the liberation of Kuwait, was achieved on 27 February, and the next morning a ceasefire was declared, just one hundred hours after the commencement of the ground campaign.
The end of formal hostilities did not bring the end of difficulties with Iraq. Operation Provide Comfort
, implemented to provide humanitarian assistance to the Kurds and enforce a "no-fly" zone in Iraq
, north of the 36th parallel, began in April 1991. In August 1992, Operation Southern Watch
began in response to Saddam's noncompliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 688
condemning his brutal repression of Iraqi civilians in southeastern Iraq. Under the command and control of Joint Task Force Southwest Asia, coalition forces in this operation enforced a no-fly zone south of the 32nd parallel. In January 1997, Operation Northern Watch
replaced Provide Comfort, with a focus on enforcing the northern no-fly zone. Throughout the decade, CENTCOM carried out a string of operations – Vigilant Warrior
, Vigilant Sentinel
, Desert Strike
, Desert Thunder
(I and II), and Desert Fox
– to try to coerce Saddam into greater compliance with U.S. wishes.
Throughout the 1990s, following the Gulf War, terrorist attacks had a major impact on CENTCOM forces. Faced with attacks such as the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers
, which killed 19 American airmen, the command launched Operation Desert Focus, designed to relocate U.S. installations to more defensible locations (such as Prince Sultan Air Base
), reduce the U.S. forward "footprint" by eliminating nonessential billets, and return dependents to the United States. In 1998 terrorists attacked the U.S. embassies
in Kenya and Tanzania
, killing 250 persons, including 12 Americans. The October 2000 attack on the USS Cole
, resulting in the deaths of 17 U.S. sailors, was linked to Osama bin Laden
's Al Qaida
Exercise Internal Look
has been employed for explicit war planning on at least two occasions: Internal Look '90, which dealt with a threat from Iraq, and Internal Look '03, which was used to plan what became Operation Iraqi Freedom - the 2003 United States invasion of Iraq
, which began on 19 March 2003.
Following the defeat of both the Taliban regime in Afghanistan (9 November 2001) and Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq (8 April 2003), CENTCOM has continued to provide security to the new freely-elected governments in those countries, conducting counterinsurgency operations and assisting host nation security forces to provide for their own defense.
Beginning in October 2002, CENTCOM conducted operations in the Horn of Africa
to combat terrorism, establish a secure environment, and foster regional stability. These operations involved a series of Special Operations Forces
raids, humanitarian assistance, consequence management, and a variety of civic action programs.
The command has also remained poised to provide disaster relief throughout the region; its most recent significant relief operations have been a response to the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan
, and the large-scale evacuation of American citizens from Lebanon
On 1 October 2008, the Department of Defense transferred responsibility for Sudan
, Kenya, and Somalia to the newly established Africa Command. Egypt
, home to Exercise Bright Star
, the Department of Defense's largest reoccurring military exercise, remained in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility
. On 15 January 2021, responsibility for Israel
was transferred from Europe Command to CENTCOM.
In January 2015, CENTCOM's Twitter feed was reported to have been hacked on 11 January by ISIS
This situation lasted for less than one hour; no classified information was posted and "none of the information posted came from CENTCOM's server or social media sites";
however, some of the slides came from the federally funded Lincoln Laboratory
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In August 2015, intelligence analysts
working for CENTCOM complained to the media, alleging that CENTCOM's senior leadership was altering or distorting intelligence reports on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In February 2017, the Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense
completed its investigation and cleared the senior leadership of CENTCOM, concluding that "allegations of intelligence being intentionally altered, delayed or suppressed by top CENTCOM officials from mid-2014 to mid-2015 were largely unsubstantiated."
In January 2018, Turkey
urged the United States to remove its troops from Syrian
city of Manbij
, saying that otherwise they might come under attack from Turkish troops; however, former CENTCOM commander Joseph Votel
confirmed an American commitment to keeping troops in Manbij.
In 2019, the Iranian government designated the United States Central Command a terrorist organization after the Trump administration
branded Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
with the same label.
An Army officer briefs Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
(left, foreground) on counter-ISIL social media activities at MacDill AFB, June 2018.
CENTCOM's main headquarters is located at MacDill Air Force Base
, in Tampa, Florida
. CENTCOM headquarters staff directorates include personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, plans & policy, information systems, training & exercises, and resources, and other functions. The intelligence section is known as Joint Intelligence Center, Central Command, or JICCENT, which serves as a Joint Intelligence Center
for the co-ordination of intelligence
. Under the intelligence directorate, there are several divisions including the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence
Temporary task forces include the Central Command Forward – Jordan (CF-J), which was announced in April 2013.
CF-J's stated purpose was to work with the Jordanian armed forces to improve the latter's capabilities.
There was speculation, however, that another reason for its establishment was to serve as a base from which raids into Syria could be launched to seize Syrian WMD if necessary, and as a launch pad for looming American military action in Syria.
The following war plans are known to have been associated with war planning per William Arkin
- OPLAN 1002-88, addressing Soviet-related armed conflict in the CENTCOM AOR
- OPLAN 1002 (Defense of the Arabian Peninsula).
- CENTCOM OPORDER 01-97, Force Protection
- SOCEUR SUPPLAN 1001-90, 9 May 1989
- CENTCOM CONPLAN 1010, July 2003
- CENTCOM CONPLAN 1015-98, possible support to OPLAN 5027 for Korea, 15 March 1991
- CENTCOM 1017, 1999
- CONPLAN 1020
- CONPLAN 1067, for possible Biological Warfare response
- CENTCOM CONPLAN 1100-95, 31 March 1992
Others listed by Arkin's supplements include CENTCOM CONPLAN 1211-07 "Foreign Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Response Operations." It was issued in November 2007, and required using the Request for Forces method via then-U.S. Joint Forces Command
to supply any required forces.
Current as of 1 June 2018
With the 1983 establishment of CENTCOM Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti came within the area of responsibility
(AOR). Thus CENTCOM directed the 'Natural Bond' exercises with Sudan, the 'Eastern Wind' exercises with Somalia, and the 'Jade Tiger' exercises with Oman, Somalia, and Sudan. Exercise Jade Tiger involved the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit
with Oman from 29 November 1982 to 8 December 1982.:404
On 7 February 2007, plans were announced for the creation of a United States Africa Command
which transferred responsibility for U.S. military operations across Africa to the new USAFRICOM, except for Egypt. On 1 October 2008, the Africa Command became operational and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa
, the primary CENTCOM force on the continent, started reporting to AFRICOM at Stuttgart
instead of CENTCOM in Tampa.
The Department of Defense uses a variable number of base locations depending on its level of operations. With ongoing warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003, the United States Air Force
used 35 bases, while in 2006 it used 14, including four in Iraq. The United States Navy
maintains one major base and one smaller installation, with extensive deployments afloat and ashore by U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps
and U.S. Coast Guard
ships, aviation units and ground units.
List of commanders
Secretary of Defense
Two of the former U.S. Central Command Commander would later on served as United States Secretary of Defense
, General James Mattis and General Lloyd Austin. Mattis served as the 26th U.S. Secretary of Defense and Austin became the 28th U.S. Secretary of Defense on January 22, 2021, he is the current incumbent.
The unit awards depicted below are for Headquarters, U.S. Central Command at MacDill AFB. Award for unit decorations do not apply to any subordinate organization such as the service component commands or any other activities unless the orders specifically address them.
- ^ "COMMAND NARRATIVE". www.centcom.mil.
- ^ FM 1-02 Operational Terms and Graphics(PDF). US Army. 21 September 2004. pp. 5–37.
- ^ ADP 1-02 Terms and Military Symbols (PDF). US Army. 14 August 2018. pp. 4–8.
- ^ "AOR | U.S. Army Central". www.usarcent.army.mil.
- ^ a b Anthony Cordesman, USCENTCOM Mission and History, Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 1998
- ^ a b Norman Schwarzkopf (1993). It Doesn't Take a Hero. Bantam Books paperback edition. pp. 331–2, 335–6. ISBN 0-553-56338-6.Harold Coyle's novel Sword Point gives an impression of what such planning envisaged and is by a U.S. Army officer who would have had some idea of the general planning approach.
- ^ Swain, Richard Moody (1997). Lucky War: Third Army in Desert Storm. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780788178658 – via Google Books.
- ^ Gordon, Michael R.; Trainor, Bernard E. (2012). The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-307-37722-7.
- ^ Vandiver, John (15 January 2021). "CENTCOM mission expands to include Israel". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
- ^ a b "U.S. Central Command Twitter feed appears hacked by Islamic State sympathizers". Reuters. 12 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- ^ CHRIS GOOD, JOSHUA COHAN and LEE FERRAN (12 January 2015). "Home> International 'Cybervandalism': ISIS Supporters Hijack US Military Social Media Accounts". ABC. ABC news Internet Venture. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- ^ Cohen, Zachary (1 February 2017). "Report: Centcom leaders didn't cook ISIS intelligence". CNN. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- ^ McKirdy, Euan (29 January 2018). "US general: US troops won't withdraw from Syrian city of Manbij". CNN.
- ^ Eqbali, Aresu; Rasmussen, Sune Engel (8 April 2019). "Iran Labels U.S. Central Command a Terrorist Organization". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
- ^ Goldman, Jan, ed. (7 October 2014). The War on Terror Encyclopedia: From the Rise of Al-Qaeda to 9/11 and Beyond. pp. 100–101. ISBN 9781610695114 – via Google Books.
- ^ Auerswald and Saideman, 2014, 96f
- ^ a b Parrish, Karen (15 August 2013). "Dempsey Visits U.S. Troops Serving in Jordan". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- ^ Nasser, Nicola (12 September 2013). "Amman's shaky claims to neutrality". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- ^ Shanker, Thom (15 August 2013). "With Eyes on Syria, U.S. Turns Warehouse Into Support Hub for Jordan". nytimes.com. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- ^ McMorris-Santoro, Evan (31 August 2013). "Obama: I Have Decided To Bomb Syria, But I Want Congress To Weigh In First". buzzfeed.com. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- ^ "Africans Fear Hidden U.S. Agenda in New Approach to Africom". Associated Press. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- ^ a b Arkin, William (25 January 2005). Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World (First ed.). Steerforth. ISBN 1586420836.
- ^ Diane T. Putney (2004). Airpower Advantage: Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign 1989–1991 (PDF). pp. 10–11.
- ^https://williamaarkin.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/arkins-contingency-plans-of-the-us-government.pdf and Arkin, William (1 January 2005). "National Security Contingency Plans of the U.S. Government" (PDF).
- ^ Rej, Abhijnan. "US Senate Confirms Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
- ^ "Department of the Army General Orders". United States Army Publishing Directorate. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011. (Army Knowledge Online account may be required.)
Last edited on 2 May 2021, at 04:32
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