Monday, August 9, 2010

JFCOM: Going the Way of the Dodo?

A buddy just texted me tell me about a SECDEF proposal to scrap JFCOM.

JFCOM, or Joint Forces Command, is a governmental mammoth based in Norfolk, VA. I lived and worked in its shadow for over three years, and was never completely sure what JFCOM did.

Apparently, neither is Mr. Robert Gates.

I'm sure there are good reasons for saving JFCOM, and there are many good people among the thousands who work there and collect the $200 million in annual salaries. That said, there are also good people who pay taxes, and they have a right to demand accountability.

I'll admit there's a lot more I could learn about what JFCOM does, and who it benefits, but my first instinct is to applaud Mr. Gates, who is willing to do something extremely unconventional and unorthodox (to my knowledge, no SECDEF has ever proposed the complete shuttering of a major four-star command before).


C R Krieger said...

USJFCOM does the readiness side of things for DoD.  Also, the deployment planning and the sending forward of the packages to the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) that need to be signed off on each and every deployment.  If your six man unit is going to deploy to Panama, SecDef has to approve it.

It also does Joint Doctrine, but we had a Joint Warfighting Center (JWFC) that did that before USJFCOM was stood up.

And, they managed to mess up the Universal Joint Task List (UJTL), but that is just a personal view.

By law, all combat coded units (Navy combatants, Air Force squadrons and Army combat units) have to be assigned to a (usually Joint) combatant command, rather than to their Service Chiefs of Staff.  Thus, all those units will have to be farmed out to USNORTHERNCOMMAND or USSOUTHERNCOMMAND or some such four star command listed in the Unified Command Plan.

I say it is good it is going away.  I worry about the "man on horseback" scenario and USJFCOM feeds into that possible scenario.

For USJFCOM, goodbye and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Regards  —  Cliff

The New Englander said...


Glad you fleshed this out -- to be honest, this was more than I knew about JFCOM. But how's about a quick anecdote? I just talked to a Navy buddy of mine with two friends who just did staff tours at JFCOM -- they were both CELEBRATING upon hearing the news. Even after three years, they weren't sure what JFCOM did, either.