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CWPC Contingency Wartime Planning CourseCWPC Contingency Wartime Planning Course

National Strategy, War

and the

Organization for National Security

IP - 2000

INSTRUCTOR: Lt Col David Albert

DESCRIPTION: This lesson is an overview of US National Security Strategy and national security objectives. It discusses war and how the three levels of war relate to our national security objectives. It also presents an overview of the structure of the United States’ organization for national security from the National Command Authorities (NCA) down to the CINCs, their responsibilities and functions. Finally, at the CINC level, it covers the military options available to the CINCs. Instructional method is the informal lecture. This lesson is approximately 2.5 hours long.

OBJECTIVE: The object of this lesson is for each student to comprehend how National Security Strategy, the levels of war, and the organization for national security relate to contingency wartime planning.


    1. Know US national security objectives.
    2. Relate the three levels of war to the achievement of national security objectives.
    3. Know the organization for national security.
    4. Know the organization and primary function of the military command structure
    5. Know the options available to the CINC


CWPC Desktop Reference

Joint Staff Officer’s Guide (The Purple Book), AFSC Pub 1, 1997


1. Review the CWPC Desktop Reference for definitions of the terms in the student outline.

2. Read the following paragraphs in the Joint Staff Officer's Guide 1997, the "Purple Book."

a. Paragraph 201 - Organization for National Security, pages 2-2 through 2-7.

b. Paragraph 204 - The Joint Chiefs of Staff Today, pages 2-11 through 2-14.

c. Paragraph 205 - Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pages 2-14 through 2-20.

d. Paragraph 501 - National Security Council System, pages 5-3 through 5-41


1. Review the paragraphs in the Joint Staff Officer's Guide 1997, AFSC Pub 1 (Purple Book):

a. Paragraph 206, Combatant Commands, Pages 2-20 through 2-28

b. Figures 2-10 through 2-24, Pages 2-29 through 2-43






a. The purpose of this lecture is to provide an overview of US National Security Strategy (NSS) and objectives; war, and how its three levels relate to our achievement of national security objectives; the organization for national security and our military command structure and the functions of each; and the options available to the CINCs. An understanding of these concepts will provide a sound foundation for studying the deliberate planning process.

b. National strategy (and the national security objectives it is meant to accomplish) forms the rationale for military planning. Despite the changes which have occurred in the world the past several years, it is still an uncertain place: there has been a globalization of politics now encompassing some 150+ nation states; the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' is widening; there is growing instability following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia; the emerging Eastern European democracies remain fragile; and finally, ethnic rivalries and nationalism long submerged during Cold War are now percolating to the surface.

  1. Definitions: Review the CWPC Desktop Reference Guide for the following definitions:
    1. National Military Strategy
    2. National Objectives
    3. National Policy
    4. National Security Strategy
    5. National Security Council
    6. National Command Authorities
    7. Joint Chiefs of Staff
    8. Military Service

i. Assign

j. Attached

k. Chain of Command

l. Combatant Command/Authority (COCOM)

m. Combined Command

n. Commander in Chief (CINC)

o. Functional Component Command

p. Joint Force

q. Joint Force Commander

r. Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP)

s. Joint Task Force (JTF)

t. Operational Control (OPCON)

u. Service Component Command

v. Subordinate unified command

w. Support

x. Supported Commander

y. Supporting Command

z. Tactical Control (TACON)

aa. Unified command


3. US National Security Strategy and Objectives: National strategy is the art and science of developing and using the nation's political, economic, military, and informational (also sometimes called cultural or psychological) power, during peace and war, to achieve national objectives. The President, through the National Security Council, prepares our country's cornerstone strategy document, National Security Strategy of the United States. It explains our national security interests and objectives. Our current strategy is called A National Security Strategy for a New Century. Through a strategy of engagement, the US seeks to achieve the following objectives:



a. Enhancing our security. Taking account of the realities of the post -Cold War era and the new threats, a military capability appropriately sized and postured to meet the diverse needs of our strategy, including:

    1. The ability to respond to challenges short of war, and in concert with

regional allies, to win two overlapping major theater wars.

(2) Continuing to pursue diplomatic, economic, military, arms control, and non-proliferation efforts that promote stability and reduce the danger of nuclear, chemical, biological and conventional conflict.

b. Promoting prosperity at home. A vigorous and integrated economic policy designed to:

(1) Enhance American competitiveness

(2) Press for open and equal US access to foreign markets.

c. Promoting democracy. A framework of democratic enlargement that increases our security by:

    1. Protecting, consolidating and enlarging the community of free market
    2. Democracies.

    3. Preserving democratic processes in key emerging democratic states

including Russia, Ukraine and other states of the former Soviet Union.

To achieve the national objectives listed above, the Chairman of the JCS develops a broad strategy document, National Military Strategy of the United States of America. Our NMS is now one of "Shape, Respond, Prepare Now" that accounts for the evolving changes in the strategic environment. It is drawn from guidance provided in the President’s 1997 National Security Strategy and from the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) report prepared by the SECDEF.

Each of the Services in turn then documents how they plan to help the CJCS carry out this NMS using the particular attributes and characteristics of their service. The current Air Force document is called Global Engagement, and you’ll learn more about that in another lecture.

4. Now that you know what our national security objectives are, let’s talk about the ultimate use of the military element of national power to achieve them if all else fails: WAR

Define War: War is the sustained use of armed forces between nations or organized groups within a nation involving regular and irregular forces in a series of connected battles and campaigns to achieve vital national objectives.

War is violent, and war is a human enterprise. Because humans are involved there’s a tendency for things to go wrong. Clausewitz termed this the Fog and Friction of war. War exists at three levels:

a. Strategic - National Command Authorities (NCA). It incorporates the broadest concerns of national policy. This is the level at which objectives are determined and overall strategies are developed. Most modern wars are won and lost at this level.

b. Operational (or Theater) - It is concerned with employing military forces in a theater of war or theater of operations to obtain an advantage over the enemy and thereby attain strategic military goals. It links the strategic and tactical levels of war. This is the level the CINCs operate at and the level at which most deliberate plans are written. As a planner, this is the level you should be thinking at for most of our course exercises.

c. Tactical - Focuses on individual battles and engagements. This is down at the wing and squadron level where most of us probably feel most comfortable. The tactical level normally has the least impact on the overall outcome of the war.

There is an enormous and varied organization designed to plan and implement US national security strategy. This portion of the lecture will focus on that organization, both the military and civilian structure and their respective responsibilities.

5. Major elements and structure of US National Security Organization

a. National Command Authorities (NCA)

Members: The President and the Secretary of Defense or their duly deputized alternates or successors.

Function: To direct the Armed Forces in their execution of military action. The President has the ultimate responsibility for making and executing national security policy. The SECDEF is the President’s principal assistant in all matters relating to the Dept of Defense. The NCA is also part of a larger body dealing with national security policy, the NSC.

  1. National Security Council (NSC)
  2. Members:

    (1) Statutory members: The President, Vice President, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.

    (2) Statutory advisors: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) and the Director of Central Intelligence.

    (3) National Security Advisor: Responsible for day to day operation of NSC.

    (4) Others by invitation: For example: Attorney General, Secretary of the Treasury, the Chief of Staff to the President, etc.

    Function: Principle forum to consider national security issues that require Presidential decision. The NSC helps develop national security policy and advises the NCA on national security matters.

  3. Department of Defense (DOD)


(1) Office of the Secretary of Defense

(2) Defense Agencies and Field Activities

(3) Joint Chiefs of Staff

(4) Joint Staff

(5) Unified Commands

(6) Military Departments and Services

Function: The DOD maintains and employs the Armed Forces to:

(1) Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

(2) Ensure, by timely and effective military action, the security of the United

States, its possessions, and areas vital to its interest.

(3) Uphold and advance the national policies and interests of the United States

6. Secretary of Defense

a. Principal assistant to the President in all national security matters.

b. Has undisputed authority, direction and control of DOD.

c. In the operational chain of command of Unified Commands.

7. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)

a. Members:

(1) Chairman (CJCS) (Principal Military Advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense and NSC. )

(2) Vice Chairman

(3) Chief of Staff, US Army

(4) Chief of Naval Operations

(5) Chief of Staff, US Air Force

(6) Commandant of the Marine Corps

b. Functions:

(1) Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are military advisers to the President, Secretary of Defense and NSC on military matters. ( Note: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff is the principal military advisor.)

(2) Assist in providing strategic direction of the Armed Forces.

(3) Prepare strategic plans.

(4) Prepare and review contingency plans.

(5) Requirements, programs assessment and budget.

(6) Joint doctrine, training and education.

8. Joint Staff of the JCS

a. The Joint Staff consists of 1627 military and civilian personnel from all services organized to assist the CJCS in carrying out his responsibilities.

b. Directorates:

(1) J-1, Manpower and Personnel

(2) J-2, Intelligence (provided by DIA)

(3) J-3, Operations

(4) J-4, Logistics

(5) J-5, Strategic Plans and Policy

(6) J-6, Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems

(7) J-7, Operational Plans and Interoperability

(8) J-8, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment

9. Military Departments: A Military Department is one of the departments within the Department of Defense created by the National Security Act of 1947, as amended. They are separately organized, each under a civilian secretary who supervises the service chiefs in matters of a service nature. By law they are not in the operational chain of command.

a. Members: The three departments are: the Department of the Army, the

Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force.

b. Common functions of the Military Departments:

(1) Prepare forces, establish reserves, and plan for expansion in case of war.

(2) Maintain the readiness of reserve forces.

(3) Recruit, organize, train, and equip forces for the Unified Commands.

(4) Prepare and submit budgets.

(5) Develop, garrison, supply, equip, and maintain bases and installations and furnish administrative and logistic support for all forces and bases.

(6) Assist other departments in accomplishment of their functions.

c. Primary role of the total military department is SUPPORT to the Unified commands.

(1) Recruit (2) Organize (3) Train (4) Equip

(5) Supply (6) Assign (7) Maintain

10. Military Service: A military service is a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, established by an act of Congress, in which persons are appointed, enlisted, or inducted for military service, and which operates and is administered within a military or executive department.

a. Members: A military service includes all the uniformed (military) members (active, guard, and reserve). The military services are the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, and the United States

Coast Guard. During peacetime, the Coast Guard falls under the Dept of Transportation.

Up to this point we’ve looked primarily at the support side of the organization for national security. We now want to shift our focus to the warfighters. We want to see who they are, what they do, how they are organized and how they function. To do that we’ll now turn to the military command structure and the "chain of command."

A planner's understanding of the chain of command -- the war fighters -- and the various relationships among the operational commanders is vital to successful planning and execution of any mission. Below is a diagram of the chain of command. It is a single chain of command with two distinct branches. One branch extends from the NCA to the heads of the Military Departments (see below); the other branch -- the "operational" side, where missions are carried out -- extends from the NCA to the combatant (joint force) commanders of the unified, sub-unified, and joint task force commands. We’ll concentrate on this "operational" side of the chain of command.


CHAIN OF COMMAND: The chain of command is the succession of commanding officers from a superior to a subordinate through which command is exercised. It starts at the NCA.

a. National Command Authorities (NCA): As you already know, the President and the Secretary of Defense comprise the NCA. They exercise authority over the Armed forces through the Secretaries of the Military Departments and the Chiefs of the Services for those forces not assigned to the combatant commanders, and through the combatant commanders. The NCA is responsible for strategic unity of effort (President) and military unity of effort (SecDef).

b. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS): The chain of command runs directly from the NCA to the commanders of the combatant commands. However, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff plays an important role in the chain of command by transmitting/relaying communications and overseeing the activities of the combatant commanders. It is important to remember that, while the CJCS can exert "influence" and his advice is crucial to both the NCA and combatant commanders, he technically commands nothing.

c. Joint Force Commander (JFC): A general term applied to a commander in the chain of command who commands either a unified command, sub-unified command, or joint task force. These joint force commanders are authorized to exercise command or control authority over joint forces (i.e., forces made up of two or more Military Departments).


d. Basis for Establishing Joint Forces: Joint forces (Unified, Sub-Unified, or Joint Task Force commands) can be established on either a geographic or functional basis.

(1) Geographic Area. The most commonly used method to assign responsibility for continuing operations. A JFC assigned to a geographic area is considered an area commander (subordinate JFCs are normally assigned joint operations areas, JOAs).

(2) Functional. Joint forces based solely on military functions without respect

to a specific geographic region is more suitable to fix responsibility for certain types of continuing operations. The commander of a joint force established on a functional basis is assigned functional responsibility.


Unified Command: Established by the President, through the SecDef with advice from the CJCS, a unified command is a combatant command with a broad, continuing mission under a single commander and is composed of significant assigned components of two or more Military Departments. A unified command is the primary war fighting organization and is established on either a geographical or functional basis. There are currently nine unified commands (five geographical; four functional -- see above). The commander of a unified command is known (per Title 10, US Code) as the "CINC" (commander in chief). The CINC exercises combatant command authority (COCOM) over assigned forces, and is directly responsible to the NCA for the performance of assigned missions.






























Subordinate Unified Command (a.k.a.: Sub-unified Command): When authorized through the CJCS, commanders of unified commands may establish sub-unified commands to conduct operations on a continuing basis. A sub-unified command may be established on a geographical (e.g., US Forces Korea, US Forces Azores, etc.) or functional basis (e.g., Special Operations Command, Pacific). The commanders of sub-unified commands have functions and responsibilities similar to those of the commanders of unified commands and exercise operational control (OPCON) of assigned or attached forces within the JOA or functional area.


Joint Task Force (JTF): A JTF is a joint force that is constituted and so designated by the SecDef, a combatant commander (CINC), a sub-unified commander, or existing JTF commander. Established on a geographical or functional basis, a JTF is designated when a mission has a specific, limited objective. A JTF is dissolved when the purpose for which it was created has been achieved or when it is no longer needed. The commander of a JTF exercises OPCON over assigned and, normally, attached forces (see below).




Service Component Command: Consists of the Service component commander and all the Service forces that have been assigned to the combatant command, or further assigned to a subordinate unified commander or joint task force commander. Service component commanders have responsibilities derived from their roles in fulfilling the Services’ support function.

(1) Their Service responsibilities include:

(a) Making recommendations to the JFC on the proper employment of forces.

(b) Accomplishing operational missions as may be assigned.

(c) Selecting and nominating specific units of the parent Service component for assignment to other subordinate forces.

(d) Conducting joint training.

(e) Informing their JFC of planning for changes in logistics support.

(f) Developing program and budget requests.

(g) Informing the combatant commander of program and budget decisions.

    1. Providing supporting joint

operation and exercise plans, with necessary force data to support missions assigned by the combatant commander.

Functional Component Command : A command normally composed of forces from two or more Military Departments which may be established, across a range of military operations, to perform a particular mission (example: Joint Forces Air Component Commander - JFACC). Joint Force Commanders at any level have the authority to establish functional component commands to control military operations. Commanders of functional component commands have authority over forces or military capability to perform operational missions; but, do not constitute a "joint force." The specific authorities of the functional component commanders and the subsequent command relationships must be designated by the establishing JFC. Functional component commanders will normally be a Service component commander, and retain the responsibilities associated with the Service.



a. Supported Commander: The commander (usually the CINC) having primary responsibility for all aspects of a task assigned by the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) or other joint operation planning authority. In the context of joint operation planning, this term refers to the commander who originates and prepares operation plans or operation orders in response to requirements of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

b. Supporting Commander: A commander who provides augmentation forces or other support to a supported commander or who develops a supporting plan. Includes the designated combatant commands and Defense agencies as appropriate.

(1) Determination of the Supported and Supporting CINCs

(a) JSCP (Deliberate Planning)

(b) NCA/CJCS Message (Crisis Action Planning)


(2) Responsibilities:

(a) Supported Commander: "Unity of Effort" "Take Charge"

- Maintain the security and preparedness of the command

- Single point of contact for military issues within AOR

- Organize command, assign tasks, direct coordination

- Oversee, review, and direct efforts of subordinate commands

- Delegate OPCON to subordinate commanders

- Ensure effective and efficient logistics support

(b) Supporting Commander: "Augmentation" "Support"

- Ensure forces are trained and equipped

- Organize their command, assign tasks, direct coordination

c. Command Authority: To accomplish missions, joint force commanders are provided different levels of authority. The amount of authority depends on their current position in the chain of command and the type of missions that they will undertake. In addition, when forces are assigned or attached resulting from a transfer, the gaining commander assumes different authority. These authorities are described below:

(1) Combatant Command (COCOM): Command authority over assigned forces; Title 10 authority vested only in unified and specified combatant commanders; cannot be delegated; gives full authority to organize and employ commands and forces as the CINC considers necessary to accomplish assigned missions; includes authoritative direction over military operations, joint training and logistics; includes the authority of OPCON.

(2) Operational Control (OPCON): Transferable command authority exercised by commanders at echelons below the CINC; inherent in COCOM; includes authority to perform functions of command over subordinate forces involving organizing and employing commands and forces, assigning tasks, designating objectives, and giving authoritative direction necessary to accomplish the mission. Does not include authoritative direction for logistics or matters of administration, discipline, internal organization, or unit training.

(3) Tactical Control (TACON): Detailed and, usually, local direction and control of movements or maneuvers necessary to accomplish the mission. Tactical control is inherent in operational control.

(4) Support: The action of a force that aids, protects, complements, or sustains another force; relationship and degree of support established by the SecDef or superior commander (e.g., CINC); commander of the "supported force" given authority for the general direction of the supporting effort (e.g., selection of targets, duration of effort, etc.)





  1. Assignment and Transfer of Forces:
    1. Assignment: Forces placed under the combatant command (COCOM) of a

commander to perform functions that are primarily and relatively permanent.

(2) Transfer: Under authority of the SecDef, assigned forces may be transferred from one combatant commander (CINC) to another only through one of two ways….

(a) Reassignment: Usually permanent. Gaining commander usually assumes full responsibility and authority (COCOM).

(b) Attachment: Temporary. Gaining commander exercises OPCON; losing command retains responsibility for administration, logistics, UCMJ support, etc.


Now that you know who the CINCs are, what their functions and responsibilities are, what authority they have and so on, let’s look at what options they have available to them. In our system, he’s not going to be able to exercise any of them without NCA approval, but because he has the best knowledge of his AOR, what forces he has available and what their status is, the current situation, etc., the NCA will look to him for significant inputs when deciding on appropriate action. So we call them CINC’s options.

1. Presence: Presence involves "show of flag" and can range from a single ship making a port call at a critical time to massive forward-deployed forces. The key element is the statement of U.S. resolve in the region.

2. Humanitarian Assistance: Usually occurs during peacetime; involves the use of military forces to provide relief following a natural or man-made disaster.

3. Show of Force:

a. Show of force is an extension of presence which stops just short of conflict - AKA "saber rattling"

b. Must present a credible threat to the adversary.

c. Composition of forces must be tailored and timed to the situation in order to send the right message to the adversary. Must be adequate enough to gain attention yet not enough to provoke a defensive strike i.e., training exercise in conjunction with a political trouble spot.

4. Demonstration: Similar to Show of Force - differing primarily in the degree of implied threat. Demonstration actually employs force, but does so in a manner designed to intimidate the adversary rather than to engage in combat. Warns the aggressor that the U.S. has the capability and the will to meet the situation.

5. Noncombatant Evacuation (NEO): The evacuation of noncombatants from a potential or actual hostile area is not, per se, a military option. The execution of NEO is decided by the Dept. of State. It is, however, often conducted in conjunction with other options and frequently requires the use of military resources.

6. Peacekeeping: Involves the interposition of military forces as an unaligned third party between two or more belligerents. This option is usually conducted in support of diplomatic efforts to achieve, maintain, or restore peace in areas of potential or actual conflict.

a. implies that forces are operating with the consent of belligerents

b. forces are considered neutral

c. involves forces from more than one nation to show impartiality

7. Peace Enforcement: Normally conducted in support of diplomatic efforts to attempt to ensure the maintenance of civil law and order under the supervision of a military force.

a. may involve combat since operations may be conducted without the consent of both belligerents

b. political sensitivity, complex rules of engagement, and insistence on minimal force create employment constraints

8. Peace-Building (sometimes referred to as "nation building."): Post conflict actions that support diplomatic efforts to:

a. rebuild institutions and infrastructures of a nation torn by civil war

b. build bonds of peaceful mutual benefit among nations formerly at war in order to avoid a relapse into conflict

9. Quarantine: An act short of war designed to exclude specific items from movement into or from a state.

10. Blockade: A method to bring pressure to bear on the enemy by isolating a place or region. There are 2 types of blockades:

a. Absolute Blockade: Cuts off all enemy communications and commerce. Considered an act of war.

b. Pacific Blockade: Less severe than an absolute blockade, it is limited to the carriers that fly the flag of the belligerent or possibly its allies. May or may not be considered an act of war.

11. Strike Operations: Used to recover U.S. personnel and property, or to conduct punitive actions in support of political and diplomatic measures. Attacks are made for purposes other than gaining or holding terrain and include:

a. raids

b. interdiction of lines of communication

c. air strikes / naval bombardments

d. recovery of personnel and equipment

e. any combinations

12. Force Entry: The most extreme option available to the CINC. Force entry involves actual use of military forces in the objective area. This option involves movement of U.S. forces forward with the intention to do battle if necessary to accomplish the mission.

a. conflict depends on the amount of resistance met

b. intensity ranges from administrative landings to invasion under a state of war

13. Special Operations:

a. Operations conducted by specially trained, equipped, and organized DOD forces against strategic or tactical targets in pursuit of national military, political, economic, or psychological objectives. Designed to operate either independently or in conjunction with other options across the entire spectrum of conflict.

b. Unconventional Warfare: A broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations conducted in enemy-held, controlled, or politically sensitive territory.

(1) Includes guerrilla warfare, evasion and escape, subversion, sabotage, and other operations of low visibility.

(2) Usually conducted by indigenous forces supported and directed in varying degrees by external sources.

c. Psychological Operations: These operations include psychological warfare techniques of using communications media along with other political, military, economic, and ideological actions to influence the attitudes and behavior of hostile groups to weaken the enemy's capability to wage war.

d. Civil Affairs: Civil affairs operations are focused on the relationship between military forces and the civil authorities and people within the objective area.


SUMMARY: We’ve covered a lot of material in the past 2 ½ hours. We began by looking at our National Security Strategy (NSS) and the national security objectives contained therein. We then looked briefly at how our National Military Strategy (NMS) is derived from the NSS. We looked at war, its characteristics and how its three levels relate to the accomplishment of our national security objectives. Once we knew what we were planning for, we looked at how we are organized, both on the support and the operational side. On the military side, we looked at the chain of command, its structure, functions and authorities. Finally, down at the CINC level, we looked at the 13 options he has available, realizing that none of them will be executed without an NCA decision.

We’ve given you the big picture here. We’ve shown you what drives your efforts at whatever level you operate. Hopefully this helps make sense of things. From this point on our focus will become more narrow, but at least now you should be able to see how it all fits together.