Report: Pentagon Considers Major COCOM Shakeup

Report: Pentagon Considers Major COCOM Shakeup

Defense News is reporting that Pentagon leaders are discussing the possibility of rearranging its geographical combatant commands in response to continued budget pressures and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s order to cut headquarters staffing by 20 percent.

Military officials have discussed closing U.S. Africa Command; combining U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Northern Command into one “Americas” or “Western” command; and expanding U.S. Pacific Command to include Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to a report by Defense News reporter Marcus Weisgerber.

This would be the most significant move by the Pentagon in response to the $487 billion in budget cuts along with the $500 billion cut associated with sequestration. Such a move could mean significant changes to the U.S. defense strategy as well the closing of eight “service-supporting commands,” Weisgerber reported.


The potential closing of U.S. Africa Command would come only a few years after the Pentagon split it off from U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command. The stand up of AfriCom was heralded as a significant diplomatic commitment to the African continent and support for the militaries in the region. Closing it would have a similar effect.

It would seemingly not take much effort considering the headquarters never left Stuttgart, Germany despite the controversy regarding it. Plenty of critics howled over keeping AfriCom’s headquarters in Europe, but a choice for which country to base the headquarters never solidified since the command’s stand up in 2008.

Closing Southern Command would also not surprise many. Plenty of lawmakers and academics have questioned its existence and the resources needed to keep it as a geographic combatant command. The drug war is typically a leading mission for SouthCom and there are plenty who still question whether the Defense Department should be in that business in the first place.

If the Pentagon is serious about cutting out bureaucracy and slimming down its headquarters requirements, combining Northern Command and Southern Command would make sense. Considering the manning reductions suggested by Hagel should the sequestration cuts stick through the next ten years, the Pentagon might not have a choice. How many personnel would the services be willing to dedicate to South America should the Army drop down below 400,000 soldiers?

As for the expansion of PaCom to include Afghanistan and Pakistan, that is a surprise. The logic explained by Weisgerber makes sense. Considering the connections between Indian and Pakistan and thus Afghanistan, the three countries should fall under the same combatant command. But should it be PaCom?

With the growth of China’s influence in the region, is that heaping too many hot spots under one combatant command? The same question could likely be asked regarding Central Command over the past decade, but did that work to the Pentagon’s advantage? Would it make more sense to move India under Central Command?

Regardless, this sort of shakeup would significantly alter the Defense Department’s national defense strategy and how it’s applied. As defense officials review the Unified Command Plan as they do every two years since 1940, it bears consideration as the Pentagon determines the best use of its twindling resources.

Tags: , , , , ,

Join the Conversation

Oh good, moving the deck chairs…

Sounds like the typical well thought IDEA from DC.… Now just move all the paperwork, and area specialists from CENTCOM to PACOM.….. Twist that Rubik’s cube.… match up all the colors.…… isn’t arts and crafts hour great!

Closing SOUTHCOM makes perfect sense. All we do down there are partnerships that can be handled from anywhere CONUS.

Hopefully, it will eliminate a lot of general officer billets!

…Simple, permanent solution…UNICOM…*ONE* Universal Command in Command of EVERYTHING…
…it don’t get no simpler than THAT…OMNICOM would work, too…
YO!, DoD, & JCS, where’s my paycheck…???…That’s good work, huh…???…

AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM as permanent combat commands always seemed superfluous. Outside of the occasional major operation (Say, libya), either of them only has a couple hundred men and no real bases under their watch. It did seem simply to be a way to allow more staff officer positions.

The general staff would never allow a unified command. Every time it gets brought up, it’s drowned in inter-service arguments.

…Sounds like it’s time to DIS-allow the general staff…
…because, by UNICOM, or Universal Command, I meant LITERALLY THAT — universal…
…the unique identity and strength of each branch would actually be INCREASED by a unified command…the whole always being stronger than, but composed of, it’s constituent parts…
…the branches are neither inherently, nor inevitably antagonistic…
…the drama, and fake conflict between the branches is childish, and un-neccessary…

I think you have a point except that the expertise developed by SOUTHCOM has to be transplanted. Besides the language and culture issues you are talking about a command that dealt with almost two dozen nations with another that has dealt with two.

You may want to add Northcom to that list since we didn’t need to stand it up until 2001…

Seems like DHS has responsibility for the States and our borders with DoD in support…

I’m not saying get rid of SOUTHCOM’s expertise, but it could probably be rolled up as a subordinate of NORTHCOM.

That’s a big roger that WEAPONHEAD.…… Why do we need SOUTHCOM? There is no threat from South/Central America… There is no threat from Cuba.….. No threat from Mexico.…… Yes indeed, just open those floodgates, no threat at all.….. What a joke! SOUTHCOM has done an excellent job given the circumstances.. No more illegal alien invasion, no more drug wars. No more money going to the Cartels from non friendly governments.… No more threat of who, what, when, and where from the southern front…

Yep we could tie all the sensors into UNIVISION for the mother of all Video Walls and COP.

WTF?? Why was my comment deleted?? BIG BROTHER NOT HAPPY!!

NOthing more than the shell game, move them around under a shell and no one knows where they pop up. We don’t get rid of the upper brass waste, we just reorganize it

Thy do have general officer slots, though. Remember not long ago one in AFRICOM was fired for abusin funding

You could create sub-unified commands for US Forces Central and South America (CENTAM & SOUTHAM [if we wanted to split the SOUTHCOM AOR]), linking NORAD w/ USWESTCOM as it is w/ NORTHCOM.

And the band played on.

And the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

It’s all about money, and that’s a good start; reduce the top officer corps by 10% and they wouldn’t be missed.

…There’s no point in creating the Universal Digital Mind with built-in “bi-polar” or “schizo” tendencies…
…Starship Earth can only fly in one direction at one time…
…Disjointed “Commands”, no matter how cleverly arranged and re-arranged, or how cleverly named,
are only money-toilet distractions…
…As long as we allow the creation and nurturance of false “enemies”, and the obsolete notion of “other”,
for that long will our Admirals and Generals cower in fear disguised as “strength”, and “patriotism”…
…They are NOT my leaders…Forward Recon shows all America’s enemies are *DOMESTIC*…

Given the budget constraints, priorities rapidly swinging from where they were a decade ago, and of course the blend of asymmetric threats with burgeoning superpowers, it’s about time to pare it down to two realistic commands: USCOM and THEMCOM.

…we’d need *3*…USCOM, WECOM, and UNICOM…
…United States Command for ALL of N & S AMERICA…
…Western Empire, or Whole Earth, Command for the REST of the Planet…
…and UNICOM for the WHOLE frickin’-frackin *SOLAR*SYSTEM*…
…*Semper*Fidelis*TEAM*AMERICA*…
No, I am NOT kidding around.
*I* will WIN this bogus war for Team America all by myself, if I have to…
Are you WITH me, or AGAINST me…???…
*GOD*BLESS*AMERICA*, and may God Bless His little Brothers Allah & Buddha, TOO!…
*If the PEOPLE lead long enough, and well enough, eventually, the leaders will follow…
I’m just sick and tired that I have to keep stopping and waiting
for DoD, Congress and FedGov to catch up to me…Hurry, up, kids…you’re slowing us down…

Pink Floyd — “Dark Side of the Moon” album, song, “Us and Them”…hear it on youtube…
…every comment thread should have such appropriate and timely theme music…

Back in 1992 I attended a NATO Staff Officers Orientation Course given at NDU. One of the guest speakers was Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Jr. (August 14, 1919 – June 27, 1999) who had served as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO’s Atlantic Fleet, and also as commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet from 1975 to 1978. One of the points that he made was that during one of his tours at the Pentagon he had sought to change the boundary line of Atlantic Command from the Cape of Good Hope to the tip of India. This of course is prior to CENTCOM. Changing that boundary was marked by all sorts of intrigue and it came to naught. Now The boundary line needs to be adjusted again back to the Cape of Good Hope (for PACOM).

…Thanks, Reinaldo…So, in other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same, which is good, because otherwise, the more things stay the same, the more they change…
WHEW!…for a minute there, I was REALLY WORRIED…

You & me both! ;-)

Chris: roger that no more floodgates?? how ’bout: “Soy un refugiado político” it will take YEARS to adjudicate the “new” illegals, & the domestic “Dream Act” woowboy, as for drugas…Columbia, Bolivia & Peru are producing record crops, & the narcoterroristas are adapting new inflitration routes into CONUS, Just as ATTYGEN Holder today annouces reduced sentences for “victumless” drug poss. crimes. Then the cherry on top, Venezuela, post Hugo, Venezuela’s economy is in a steady state of decline and the crime rate has sharply increased and is among the highest in the world, & those poor folks are sitin’ atop of 290,000 MMbbl (MMbbl=one million barrels) of oil! Not to mention an Iranian & Cubano presence in their country. I think that the “COM” staffs should be reduced by 50%, along with a streamlining of DOD’s joint-unified subordinate commands. But SOUTHCOM.…yeah its only going to get worse.…right in our back yard!

JOhn D…it happens, I think I’m up to like 3 or 4…don’t take it personal, “Yee shall seek the truth & the truth shall set you free”

To say that AFRICOM does not have a mission would be ignorance at not knowing what actually does go on in the continent.

Good, delete and consolidate the commands.… as long as the corresponding senior officer billets are deleted along with them. Like that’ll ever happen.

…simple, just STOP posting still-classified details, KrazyCOL…even if you DID hear them from your drinking buddies down at the bar…
…Yeah, and after you R set free, U, like the free truth, shall be *DELETED*…lol…

I was gonna post something else, but then I thought about it and changed my mind. I think things will remain pretty much the same, except for the rank of the two commanders. They will probably drop down to three star, and appoint one four star to command them both and call it “WORLDCOM” or something or other. In any event, we will still have a Military presence in those two parts of the World.

Why not just call it “EVERYBODYCOM”????

…ALL the comments above, “top dog” — there are some good ones…Try “GEOCOM” for Global Earth Overwatch Command, or maybe “USECOM” for United States of Earth Command…or “WHOREACOM”, for Whole Rotten Earth America Command…
Have a good weekend, TOP DOG

*required

NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2014 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.