Global strategy: the geopolitics of the USA

Effects on politics and strategy - from the Western Reserve via the Panama Channel to the opposite coast, and energy politics (part 2)

Friedrich W. Korkisch

 

After the end of the Second World War in 1945 the USA stood on the Eurasian opposite coasts. They were the only power capable of being at war without any damages and winning it. Thus the term „superpower“ was coined for them as early as 1944. The European powers were forced onto the defensive and united with the USA in NATO. The Soviet Union tried several times until halfway through the 70ies of the 20th century to catch up on the USA, but failed because of the inability to coordinate armament with the production of civilian goods in a reasonable way, and thus had become a gigantic bankrupt’s estate by 1980. After the Soviet Union had collapsed the USA remained the only global power of hegemony. When the U.S. Air Force was founded in 1947, the services established their commands within these levels of command. With the establishment of NATO the control and coordination boundaries in the Atlantic were altered, and the command in Panama became the Southern Command (SOUTHCOM, from 1963). The Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1958 extended the responsibilities of these Unified Commands. In 1962 the Army Strike Command (STRICOM) was established, which turned into the Readiness Command (REDCOM) in 1972. Furthermore, a division into Unified Commands (with Geographic Areas of Responsibility) and Specified Commands followed. In 1983 the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) was established, and the Unified Command Plan (UPC, the first Plan dating back to 1946) has been revised every two years since. The Goldwater Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 vested these commands with both more rights and more assignments, such as tasks in connection with regional strategic planning (Contingency Planning). Commands with fighting assignments were referred to as Combatant Commands. In 1987 the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was established. In 1992 the SAC was dissolved; its bombers were transferred to the new Air Combat Command, the ICBM to the Air Force Space Command, and the remaining strategic assignments to the Strategic Command (STRATCOM). In 1999 the Joint Forces Command was established (JFCOM). In 2002 some further extensive changes followed. Northern America became NORTHCOM and was extended to the Arctic and all of Mexico, the United States Pacific Command (PACOM) and SOUTHCOM to the Antarctic, all of the Eastern Atlantic became part of the United States European Command (EUCOM), and SPACECOM/ STRATCOM became responsible for early warning. In 2007 USAFRICACOM was established, started its work by the end of 2008, and replaced EUCOM which before had been responsible for this continent as well. In 2009 a new strategic command for all nuclear weapon bases and troops was established, together with Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). In addition it should be said that the regional-global divisions of the Foreign Department and the CIA do not correspond with those of the Combatant Commands.

Übersetzung durch ObstdhmtD Mag. G. Gnaser (KdoFüU/IMG)