[USC02] 10 USC 161: Combatant commands: establishment
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10 USC 161: Combatant commands: establishment Text contains those laws in effect on November 11, 2019
From Title 10-ARMED FORCESSubtitle A-General Military LawPART I-ORGANIZATION AND GENERAL MILITARY POWERSCHAPTER 6-COMBATANT COMMANDS

§161. Combatant commands: establishment

(a) Unified and Specified Combatant Commands.-With the advice and assistance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President, through the Secretary of Defense, shall-

(1) establish unified combatant commands and specified combatant commands to perform military missions; and

(2) prescribe the force structure of those commands.


(b) Periodic Review.-(1) The Chairman periodically (and not less often than every two years) shall-

(A) review the missions, responsibilities (including geographic boundaries), and force structure of each combatant command; and

(B) recommend to the President, through the Secretary of Defense, any changes to such missions, responsibilities, and force structures as may be necessary.


(2) Except during time of hostilities or imminent threat of hostilities, the President shall notify Congress not more than 60 days after-

(A) establishing a new combatant command; or

(B) significantly revising the missions, responsibilities, or force structure of an existing combatant command.


(c) Definitions.-In this chapter:

(1) The term "unified combatant command" means a military command which has broad, continuing missions and which is composed of forces from two or more military departments.

(2) The term "specified combatant command" means a military command which has broad, continuing missions and which is normally composed of forces from a single military department.

(3) The term "combatant command" means a unified combatant command or a specified combatant command.

(Added Pub. L. 99–433, title II, §211(a), Oct. 1, 1986, 100 Stat. 1012 .)

Change of Name

Pub. L. 115–232, div. A, title XII, §1251(a), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 2053 , provided that: "The combatant command known as the United States Pacific Command shall be known as the 'United States Indo-Pacific Command'. Any reference to the United States Pacific Command in any law, regulation, map, document, record, or other paper of the United States shall be considered to be a reference to the United States Indo-Pacific Command."

Matters To Be Considered in Next Assessment of Current Missions, Responsibilities, and Force Structure of Unified Combatant Commands

Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title IX, §905, Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2619 , required the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to consider, as part of the next periodic review after Sept. 23, 1996, pursuant to subsec. (b) of this section: (1) whether there was an adequate distribution of responsibilities among the regional unified combatant commands; (2) whether fewer or differently configured commands would permit the United States to better execute warfighting plans; (3) whether any assets or activities were redundant; (4) whether warfighting requirements were adequate to justify current commands; (5) whether exclusion of certain nations from the Areas of Responsibility presented difficulties with respect to national security objectives in those areas; and (6) whether the boundary between the United States Central and European Commands could create command conflicts in the context of a major regional conflict in the Middle East.

Initial Review of Combatant Commands

Pub. L. 99–433, title II, §212, Oct. 1, 1986, 100 Stat. 1017 , set out 10 areas to be covered in first review of missions, responsibilities, and force structure of unified combatant commands under subsec. (b) of this section, and directed that first report to President be made not later than Oct. 1, 1987.

Disestablishment of United States Joint Forces Command

Memorandum of President of the United States, Jan. 6, 2011, 76 F.R. 1977, provided:

Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense

Pursuant to my authority as Commander in Chief and under 10 U.S.C. 161, I hereby accept the recommendations of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and approve the disestablishment of United States Joint Forces Command, effective on a date to be determined by the Secretary of Defense. I direct this action be reflected in the 2010 Unified Command Plan.

Pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 161(b)(2) and 3 U.S.C. 301, you are directed to notify the Congress on my behalf.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

Barack Obama.      

Unified Command Plan 2011

Memorandum of President of the United States, Apr. 6, 2011, 76 F.R. 19893, provided:

Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense

Pursuant to my authority as Commander in Chief, I hereby approve and direct the implementation of the revised Unified Command Plan.

Consistent with title 10, United States Code, section 161(b)(2) and title 3, United States Code, section 301, you are directed to notify the Congress on my behalf.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

Barack Obama.      

Establishment of United States Space Command as a Unified Combatant Command

Memorandum of President of the United States, Dec. 18, 2018, 83 F.R. 65483, provided:

Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense

Pursuant to my authority as the Commander in Chief and under section 161 of title 10, United States Code, and in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I direct the establishment, consistent with United States law, of United States Space Command as a functional Unified Combatant Command. I also direct the Secretary of Defense to recommend officers for my nomination and Senate confirmation as Commander and Deputy Commander of the new United States Space Command.

I assign to United States Space Command: (1) all the general responsibilities of a Unified Combatant Command; (2) the space-related responsibilities previously assigned to the Commander, United States Strategic Command; and (3) the responsibilities of Joint Force Provider and Joint Force Trainer for Space Operations Forces. The comprehensive list of authorities and responsibilities for United States Space Command will be included in the next update to the Unified Command Plan.

Consistent with section 161(b)(2) of title 10, United States Code, and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, you are directed to notify the Congress on my behalf.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

Donald J. Trump.