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Command Relationships
and Responsibilities

The unique nature of operations that require use of APA ships and the diverse composition of the forces involved demand timely political and military decisions from a wide spectrum of organizations, commands, and agencies. Operations may involve single or split APA deployments or a combination of airlift, sealift, and APA. The organization and responsibilities of the various commands and agencies discussed in this section are not intended to be all-inclusive and are provided only as a start point for more in-depth planning. Detailed coordination, flexibility, and provision for rapid deployment are the organizations' key characteristics.


APA command relationships, which are flexible and complex, change during each phase of an APA operation. Changes between phases are specified in the initiating directive or subsequent orders.

During Peacetime

Following are the concepts for command relationships during peacetime:

  • APA ships are under the COCOM of the CINC, US Pacific Command (USPACOM), from whom they will also receive daily operations support, siting, and security. Administrative control resides with the commander, Military Sealift Command (MSC).
  • Administrative direction, support, management, and accountability of the equipment and supplies aboard the APA ships reside with USAMC and USAMMA.

During Crisis

At the onset of a crisis, the initiating directive will specify the command relationships in the various phases of the APA operation. The Army service component commander (ASCC)-the senior Army operational-level commander assigned to a unified command-is responsible for planning APA operations. Thus, an ASCC and staff must plan in detail the task organization and activities for each phase of the operation to ensure minimal disruption of command and control during phase transition.

APA operations are conducted under command of a designated unified combatant commander, who normally will exercise COCOM through the designated JTF commander. The CJCS will direct supporting CINCs to provide forces and/or support. The APA ships will be under the operational control (OPCON) of a fleet commander/naval component commander during transit to the AO.

During preparation for APA operations, the ASCC commands and supports all Army forces in the APA heavy brigade. When the heavy brigade has completed movement to the TAA, OPCON of the heavy brigade is transferred to either an ARFOR commander, supported CINC, JTF commander, or a combined force commander for subsequent operations. Unless the CINC directs otherwise, the APA ships will report to the common-user pool of ships for further assignment after discharge is complete. The CJCS specifies OPCON of deploying forces transiting a unified CINC's theater of operations or it is delineated in existing command arrangements and support agreements.


Specific agency responsibilities in the conduct of APA operations follow. For additional information, see Joint Pub 0-2.

National Command

The term NCA signifies constitutional authority to direct the armed forces to execute military action. The NCA consist of the President and the Secretary of Defense or their duly deputized alternates or successors. Specific assignments for APA operations are predicated on NCA direction and guidance. The NCA will-

  • Make the initial decision to deploy/employ forces.
  • Provide a mission statement through the CJCS to the combatant commander.
  • After consultation with the CJCS, consider requests for mobilization/activation of reserves.
  • Direct support from other departments/agencies.
  • Provide general guidance/approval of rules of engagement (ROE).

Chairman, Joint Chiefs
of Staff

The CJCS serves as the principal military advisor to the NCA, providing comments and recommendations regarding military options and forces available, to include the employment of APA recommended by the appropriate unified combatant commander. Upon the NCA decision to deploy/employ APA, the CJCS-

  • Issues appropriate orders to unified commanders in accordance with the Joint Operation Planning and Execution System (JOPES).
  • Tasks/coordinates services for subordinate DOD components, that is, CINC, Transportation Command (CINCTRANS) and the Joint Transportation Board, and appropriate unified commands.
  • Recommends to NCA interdepartmental linkages between operational forces and support agencies.
  • Coordinates and provides advice to NCA on ROE.
  • Recommends to NCA activation of reserves as required, for example, to support the port support activity (PSA).
  • Supervises interunified command coordination.

Combatant Commands

Combatant commands are unified or specified commands that are either planning for or engaged in military operations. A unified command consists of two or more military service forces with broad continuing missions. A specified command consists of a single service that has a broad continuing mission.

CINCs (commanders of unified commands) have overall responsibility to plan deployment and employment of forces in their theaters of operations. To reduce duplication of effort and to ensure clear understanding of what is required and what each is contributing to the operation, communication between appropriate supported/supporting CINCs involved in an APA operation is essential

Supported CINC

  • The CINC in whose theater the operation will occur is responsible for planning and conducting the operation. He will-
  • Develop COAs and make recommendations, which may include APA ships, through CJCS to NCA.
  • Execute NCA orders.
  • Coordinate and facilitate host nation support (HNS) through the country team.
  • Issue specific ROE within his AOR based on NCA guidance and directives.
  • Exercise COCOM of assigned forces within the theater of operations.
  • Ensure security within the theater of operations.
  • Coordinate with the supporting CINCs-for example, CINCTRANS for availability of strategic lift-and supporting agencies and commands.
  • Coordinate intelligence collection requirements, process intelligence information, and disseminate it to the supported and supporting commanders.
  • Designate either MTMC or CTG as the port commander.
  • Designate, in broad terms, the area in which APA marshalling will occur.
  • Designate the time to commence movement of the APA ships under his COCOM and validate to CINCTRANS the requirement and priority (earliest arrival date [EAD]/latest arrival date [LAD]) of supporting airlift elements for movement to the AOR.
  • Determine ports of debarkation (PODs) in consultation with other service elements and USTRANSCOM.

Supporting CINCs

The supporting CINCs will provide personnel, equipment, supplies, and services to a supported CINC. They will-

  • Provide input to the supported CINC regarding options.
  • Issue deployment orders for APA ships stationed in their AORs that have been designated to support a CINC.
  • When appropriate, pass APA HNS requirements to the supported CINC.
  • Issue specific ROE within their assigned AORs.
  • Provide forces to the supported CINC as directed.
  • Provide and/or coordinate security/defense for APA and supporting forces in their assigned AORs.
  • Coordinate allocation of resources with the supported CINC and CINCTRANS.
  • Assist, as required, the development of COAs that require APA equipment and supporting airlift elements and validate to the supported CINC the readiness and configuration of supporting units/equipment.
  • Provide for exchange and support of liaison linkages with the supported CINC.
  • Provide naval support for APA during movement to the AOR.

Army Service
Component Commander

At the direction of a supported or supporting CINC, the ASCC performs the following tasks, which should be coordinated between appropriate level commands. He-

  • Assumes OPCON of assigned APA equipment after discharge at the SPOD.
  • Provides recommendations to the unified commander on proper employment of forces to accomplish an APA mission across the range of military operations.
  • Designates and deploys the type forces required to support APA operations.
  • Promulgates disposition instructions for forces on completion of the APA operation.
  • Coordinates requirements for the collection ofintelligence, processes intelligence information, and disseminates intelligence to the designated supported and supporting commanders.
  • Identifies all the requirements for supporting elements for the APA brigade, that is, USAMC logistics support element (LSE) and USAMMA medical logistics support team (MLST).
  • Identifies training requirements to prepare the unit for conducting joint missions.
  • Conducts joint/interagency liaison to support APA.
  • Provides in-transit visibility (ITV) and force- tracking capability for movements into, within, and out of the theater of operations.
  • Prepares forces for APA operations.
  • Assigns missions to subordinate forces.
  • Coordinates planning efforts in accordance with priorities and guidance established by higher authority.
  • Establishes, in accordance with the policies of higher authorities, deployability postures of units and elements for APA employment. Readiness, preparation, and support of units and elements for deployment are the responsibility of the parent organization or, in its absence, such other commands as the ASCC may designate.
  • Provides deployment support, as required.
  • Establishes, in accordance with policies of higher authorities, provisions for recovery, accountability, and disposition of remain-behind equipment (RBE). RBE recovery is normally conducted by the parent division or, in its absence, such other commands as the ASCC designates.
  • Ensures operational readiness of equipment and stocks received from APA.
  • Designates the PSA commander.
  • Prepares the PSA for APA operations. See Field Manuals (FMs) 100-17 and 55-65 for more information.

Army Corps/Division

If identified as the contingency force, the Army corps/division commander performs the following tasks at the direction of a supported or supporting CINC. He will-

  • Exercise OPCON over assigned forces.
  • Identify contingency force pool units-units assigned the mission to execute and/or support the APA mission.
  • Identify additional support requirements to higher authority.
  • Identify training requirements.
  • Task-organize forces for the APA operation, to include security/defense during marshalling, movement, and theater reception and onward movement phases.
  • Request, coordinate, and direct support forces.
  • Issue the initiating directive for the APA operation.
  • Plan for and support-and possibly execute-APA exercises and operations.
  • Identify senior supporting logistics force command and planning responsibilities for APA operations.
  • Be responsible for security/defense of APA during movement and reception, staging, and onward movement phases.
  • Liaise with USAMC, USCINCTRANS, MTMC, and other supporting commanders as directed.
  • Assign forces to deploying APA operation for planning.
  • On receipt of warning or alert order, shift OPCON of assigned forces to JFC/ARFOR.
  • Activate the movement control center (MCC).
  • Direct activation of logistics and other deployment support organizations.
  • Coordinate the deployment of forces and sustainment provided in support of the JFC/ARFOR commander's deployment by commands/agencies outside the division.
  • Provide public affairs and media guidance.
  • Evaluate existing plans to determine if they can serve as a base point and identify units available for deployment tasking.
  • Assist JFC/ARFOR commander with review of applicable data base development guidance provided by higher headquarters.
  • Assist JFC/ARFOR commander in analyzing time-phased deployment plans for use in COA development.
  • Direct/coordinate deployment data base development, to include time phasing and prioritization of forces/sustainment.
  • Determine preliminary quantities of basic prescribed loads and accompanying supplies, including identifying supplies to accompany troops (TAT) and not authorized pre-positioning (NAP), and initiate preparations for release of war reserve materiel through the War Reserve System.

Commander, Combat
Heavy Brigade

When the combat heavy brigade is identified as the contingency brigade, the brigade commander's responsibilities are:

  • To plan, train, execute, and support APA operations as directed.
  • To receive liaison officers (LOs) from USAMC, USTRANSCOM, and other supporting commands as directed.
  • To assign forces to deploying APA operation for planning.
  • To review the JFC/ARFOR commander's proposed COA, commander's estimate, concept of operations, and deployment/employment plan.
  • To coordinate for, or provide liaison to, external commands and agencies as required.
  • To respond to increased reporting requirements such as updating the Standard Operational Readiness and Training System.
  • To respond to higher headquarters' direction to formulate plans, to organize tasks, and to establish or revise the deployment data base.
  • To assist the JFC/ARFOR commander in analyzing time-phased deployment plans for use in COA development.
  • To participate, as directed, in the supported CINC's COA development process.
  • To direct and/or coordinate the development of a deployment data base, including time phasing and prioritization of forces/sustainment.
  • To coordinate with the division transportation officer (DTO), the installation transportation officer, and the in-theater movement control element the transportation required for the link-up of deploying personnel and TAT with the equipment and supplies positioned aboard APA ships.
  • To direct and coordinate preliminary determination of quantities of basic prescribed loads and accompanying supplies and initiate preparations for release of war reserve materiel through the War Reserve System.

Supporting Forces/Agencies

Execution of APA operations requires the support of many diverse agencies, including the USTRANSCOM, the Air Mobility Command, the MSC, the MTMC, HQDA, and major Army commands (MACOMs).

US Transportation Command

As DOD's manager for strategic transportation, this unified command is directly involved with supporting the APA process. It is responsible for all transportation aspects of worldwide mobility planning, operation of the JOPES, and centralized global transportation management. Included in the latter is the responsibility to support rapid execution planning, deployment, employment, and sustainment of US forces throughout the world. Through the Global Transportation Network, USTRANSCOM integrates transportation mobility and deployment automatic data processing systems into a single system for all users. USCINCTRANS has COCOM of MTMC, Air Mobility Command, and MSC, collectively known as the transportation component commands. The commanders of these components have OPCON of strategic lift forces.

Air Mobility Command

The Air Mobility Command manages air mobility and provides strategic airlift support for APA operations. It also selects CONUS and OCONUS APOEs for airlift in conjunction with other unified commands as appropriate. Its functions include-

  • Providing strategic airlift service to DOD components as required.
  • Operating aerial ports and air terminals at Air Force installations and commercial airfields.
  • Providing deliberate and execution transportation planning support to USTRANSCOM in support of JOPES.

Military Sealift Command

  • The MSC provides management support of maritime transportation. Responsible for administrative direction and support of APA ships, its functions are-
  • To provide ocean transportation to support DOD components through US-owned or contracted equipment.
  • To serve as a single point of contact with ocean carriers concerning the negotiation of rates, terms, and conditions of ocean transportation.
  • To maintain and operate an ocean transportation service for movement of personnel, cargo, bulk fuel, mail, and medical evacuation.
  • To provide deliberate and execution planning support to USTRANSCOM in support of JOPES.
  • To delay sailing of APA ships until operational issues are resolved.
  • Every 8-12 hours during contingency operations, provide ship's status and location to USTRANSCOM.

Military Traffic Management Command

MTMC provides the CINC with port management, traffic management, transportation engineering, and integrated transportation system support. In-theater functions include-

  • Managing common-user seaports.
  • Conducting surveys of seaport capabilities.
  • Interfacing with host nations on port-related issues.
  • Contracting for stevedoring and related terminal services.
  • Booking/administering DOD cargo activities with commercial ocean carriers.
  • Preparing ship manifests and other documentation.
  • Operating seaport management systems.
  • Facilitating customs clearance.
  • Developing vessel stow plans based on commander's intent.
  • Participating in CINC OPLAN development and analysis.

Headquarters, Department
of the Army

HQDA administers, equips, trains, and supports forces provided to the CINC. As with other Army forces, forces associated with APA operations are assigned to a unified combatant commander through the ASCC within the unified combatant command.

DA Deputy Chief of Staff
for Operations (DCSOPS)


  • Monitors/reviews policy on APA as needed.
  • Provides guidance to US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) on unit alignment policy.
  • Coordinates upgrade of equipment during rotational maintenance cycles.
  • Establishes a mobile training team (MTT) to travel to the unit assigned the APA mission to conduct initial training and procedures for access and use of APA equipment. MTT responsibilities are identified in Appendix A.
  • Coordinates ship load plans and discharge priorities with unified commands' Army components.

DA Deputy Chief of Staff
for Logistics (DCSLOG)


  • Acts as overall manager of the ASMP, to include required budgeting and budget execution.
  • Acts as Army manager for procurement of pre-positioning vessels, to include the LMSR and other pre-positioned fleet vessels.
  • Provides policy overwatch and management of the APA assets.
  • Supports and provides required personnel for the DA Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (DCSOPS) MTT.
  • Schedules off-station maintenance cycle with appropriate theater commanders.
  • Determines type ships to meet requirements in conjunction with USTRANSCOM.

DA Office of the
Surgeon General (OTSG)

By direction of the Chief of Staff, Army (CSA), the OTSG is responsible for the accountability and management of all Army-owned Class VIII (medical materiel) AWR and operational project equipment, which includes all Class VIII stocks pre-positioned aboard AWR-3 ships as APA. USAMMA is responsible for executing these operations.

Major Army Commands

MACOMs and installations provide support and assist deployment of forces as directed and/or coordinated by appropriate authority.

US Army Materiel Command.

By direction of the CSA, USAMC is responsible for management and accountability of all Army-owned AWR and operational project equipment and supplies worldwide, except Class VIII. This includes all stocks other than Class VIII aboard the APA ships. With funding from, and at the direction of, HQDA, USAMC will-

  • Coordinate, oversee, manage, monitor, control, and record all equipment and supplies loaded aboard APA vessels as authorized by DA DCSOPS and DCSLOG.
  • Establish and maintain control, visibility, and accountability for all Army-owned materiel other than Class VIII aboard the APA vessels.
  • Report quarterly the readiness of APA unit equipment sets in accordance with AR 220-1.
  • Procure, assemble, pack, preserve, inspect, load, record, account for, and maintain all APA stocks.
  • Perform discharge, inspection, condition coding, maintenance, repair, replacement, substitution, or augmentation of APA materiel as APA equipment returns to port for cyclic inspection and maintenance.
  • Develop and coordinate issue and accountability procedures in military standard requisition and issue procedures (MILSTRIP) format with the HQDA executing agencies (FORSCOM, Third US Army), the designated supporting and gaining CINCs and MACOMS, and the designated maneuver force commander or his representative. USAMC will utilize these procedures to ensure the rapid, orderly transfer of materiel, munitions, and accountability from the APA vessels to the maneuver force commander.
  • To the maximum extent possible while afloat, perform care of supplies in storage (COSIS) on APA materiel to preclude deterioration and to preserve ready-for-issue/fully-mission-capable condition.
  • Perform periodic inspections of all APA materiel and munitions, identify COSIS/maintenance/repair/replacement require-ments, and coordinate with HQDA for authorization and funding to repair/rebuild/replace deficient/not-fully-mission-capable materiel during next vessel berthing or port call.
  • To the maximum extent possible, prepare APA materiel and munitions for issue/transfer to the designated gaining unit. Preparation will include the coordination necessary to receive, coordinate, and monitor the activities of an OPP that will board the APA vessels at the earliest practicable moment at sea or, if at-sea boarding is not possible, at port arrival.
  • Coordinate maintenance cycle efforts with HQDA executing agencies (FORSCOM, Third US Army).
  • Coordinate, monitor, control, receive, account for, and arrange for the retrograde shipment of all former APA materiel when released by the maneuver force commander and/or theater CINC. This will include inspection, condition coding, repackaging, represerva-tion, marking, coding, documentation, loading, and accountability to ensure the orderly, efficient retrograde movement of all materiel and munitions no longer required in the maneuver theater.
  • Support and provide required personnel for the DA DCSOPS MTT.
  • Support and assist FORSCOM/Third Army in developing and executing a brigade inspection and reconnaissance exercise program (BIREP).
  • Coordinate all ship requirements with HQDA, FORSCOM, and Third US Army, including-
    • Determining required delivery dates of all APA stocks.
    • Maintaining current stow plans/manifests.
    • Providing cargo data to MTMC for the establishment of stevedoring contracts, as required.
  • Develop a battle book for each pre-positioned ship, to include inventories.
  • Download information and general information to facilitate use of warfighting stocks by all CINCs.
  • Develop and coordinate memoranda of understanding to support the APA program.
  • Coordinate for strategic lift and movement from the APOD to the ship(s) for AMC personnel.
  • Coordinate to ensure ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communications and data transfer.
  • Have a representative with the port operator for accountability purposes

US Army Forces Command.

As a MACOM, FORSCOM is responsible for preparing forces for operational assignment and providing assistance to deploying forces as required. FORSCOM will-

  • Provide managerial oversight of APA on behalf of warfighting CINCs.
  • Ensure operational readiness of APA equipment and stocks.
  • Coordinate CINC mission changes that impact the APA program, including changes to operations plans (OPLANs) and TPFDD.
  • If required, delay sailing of APA ships until operational issues are resolved.
  • Develop a plan for using equipment in coordination with maintenance cycles.
  • Support and provide personnel for the DA DCSOPS MTT.
  • In conjunction with USAMC, develop a BIREP to increase the capability to rapidly execute APA operations. The BIREP will consist of, but not be limited to-
  • Visual inspection and cyclical validation of equipment and supplies stored aboard APA equipment ships.
  • Training in organization and procedures for discharge and issue of APA equipment.
  • Exercise plans for units identified for APA mission to assist USAMC/Depot Systems Command in equipment discharge during scheduled maintenance cycles.

Third US Army.

Third US Army, as FORSCOM's executive agent for the APA program, will ensure that equipment and supplies approved for afloat storage will support the worst-case scenario and be appropriate for worldwide employment. Third US Army will accomplish the following tasks:

  • Execute the APA program for FORSCOM.
  • Represent all warfighting CINCs' interests.
  • Verify the quantity and quality of equipment and stocks-developed and coordinated by Logistics Evaluation Agency-to be pre-positioned afloat with FORSCOM, USAMC, USAMMA, and HQDA.
  • Ensure equipment and supplies support warfighting CINCs' OPLANs.
  • Conduct quantity and quality standards checks of APA equipment, sustainment stocks, and operational project stocks during maintenance cycle.
  • Coordinate with USAMMA and USAMC to ensure prioritized sourcing and provisioning of APA equipment.
  • Coordinate actions necessary to assure operational readiness of pre-positioned equipment.
  • Coordinate maintenance cycle concerns with USAMC, USAMMA, and HQDA.
  • Coordinate substitute items with USAMC, FORSCOM, USAMMA, and HQDA.
  • Coordinate, during peacetime, port operations with AMC, MTMC, MSC, and other appropriate offices during the maintenance cycle.
  • Develop and implement a training program that includes active and reserve component units, including exercise of equipment sets.
  • Execute FORSOM's BIREP as a functional program.

US Army Medical Materiel Agency.

OTSG has delegated the authority to the USAMMA for the execution of accountability and management of APA Class VIII stocks. The USAMMA will-

  • Coordinate, manage, and control all Class VIII equipment and supplies loaded aboard APA ships as authorized by HQDA DCSOPS and DCSLOG.
  • Request funding from HQDA in order to procure, assemble, pack, inspect, load, record, account for, conduct quality surveillance of, and maintain all APA Class VIII stocks.
  • Maintain accountability for all APA Class VIII.
  • Coordinate the scheduling and participation in cyclic maintenance and inspection of APA stocks with USAMC and HQDA executing agencies: FORSCOM, Third US Army.
  • Develop issue and accountability procedures for APA Class VIII stocks in Theater Army Medical Management Information System-compatible format with HQDA executing agencies: FORSCOM, Third Army.
  • Perform periodic quality control and maintenance inspections of APA Class VIII stocks. Identify COSIS, maintenance, repair, and replacement requirements. Coordinate with HQDA for authorization and funding to repair or maintain not-fully-mission-capable equipment and replace expired or quality-deficient stocks during cyclic maintenance to the APA ships.
  • Coordinate and assist the OPP and gaining unit representatives in the issue and accountability transfer of Class VIII APA materiel to the gaining unit.
  • Coordinate, monitor, control, receive, account for, and arrange for the retrograde shipment of former APA Class VIII materiel when released by the maneuver force commander and/or theater CINC.
  • Subsequent to retrograde shipment, coordinate with HQDA for authorization and funding to restore, regenerate, reassemble, and reload APA Class VIII equipment and supplies.
  • Support and provide personnel for the DA DCSOPS MTT.
  • Coordinate strategic lift and movement from the APOD to the ships for USAMMA personnel.
  • Have a representative with the port operator for accountability purposes.

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