Thursday, March 10, 2016

Redrawing the Regional Unified Commands

Congress will look at redrawing our military command boundaries:

Congress may reshape — or even close — some of the Pentagon’s combatant commands, the four-star headquarters that oversee military activities in all corners of the world, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said Thursday.

The news is a little stale, but nothing on this will move quickly, I assume.

The Arctic may be given to Northern Command (NORTHCOM), instead of having it split between it, Pacific Command (PACOM), and European Command (EUCOM).

And NORTHCOM and Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) may be combined (Western Hemisphere Command, or WESTCOM?)

Those sound fine to me. But I'd create a new but small Polar Command (POLARCOM) to focus on the very unique needs of surviving and fighting in that harsh environment.

And there is some unhappiness that Africa Command (AFRICOM) has its headquarters in Europe. Perhaps it could go to Djibouti. That's about the only place on the ground on the continent that might be open to an enduring American presence.

But then we'd have the odd situation of AFRICOM's headquarters being closer to CENTCOM's region than CENTCOM's headquarters in Florida.

And even in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, AFRICOM's headquarters would still be far from large sections of Africa.

I suppose AFRICOM could lose the northern coast of Africa to EUCOM since the southern NATO states are more interested in North Africa than they are in the Baltic NATO states.

Perhaps former Soviet republics in Central Asia could be moved from CENTCOM to EUCOM; with CENCOM picking up Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, rather than going to EUCOM.

Note that Egypt is in CENTCOM despite being a country in Africa. (I initially wrote mostly in Africa. But I just checked an atlas, and even the Sinai Peninsula is part of Africa. I thought it was technically outside the continent.) So there is already a precedent for having parts of Africa outside of AFRICOM. Could AFRICOM be renamed SOUTHCOM if the existing South America-based SOUTHCOM is joined to NORTHCOM?

Heck, maybe we could outfit a command ship to be AFRICOM's (or renamed as SOUTHCOM) headquarters and have it sail around the perimeter of Africa on a rotating basis to work with and get a close look at different regions.

Anyway, commands and borders are up for discussion. This is my two cents.

UPDATE: To bolster my POLARCOM suggestion, see what training involves just to survive in that environment.

UPDATE: And really, I'd strongly consider putting portions of Russia's Far East that are east of 120 degrees longitude in PACOM. Why is EUCOM in Germany the headquarters to ponder what happens with Russia's naval and air power facing Japan?

UPDATE: Good grief, is AFRICOM truly on the table for scrapping? That's insane. Carafano defends the command:

Keeping AFRICOM is about retaining a modest and useful instrument to appropriately safeguard U.S. interests. Modest investments, a light footprint, and judicious policies—this is a sensible middle course between fighting everyone else's battles and downplaying problems that, if left unattended, could make their way to our shores.

That's exactly right. We are helping African countries keep simmering problems from exploding to major crisis levels.

When we face potent military threats in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, why would we risk adding major security threats in Africa by eliminating the best tool we have to strengthen African states against security threats to stability?