Unified Combatant Command
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A Unified Combatant Command is a United States military group composed of forces from two or more services, has a broad and continuing mission, and is organized either on a geographical basis (known as "Area Of Responsibility", AOR) or on a functional basis.
The Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 added a new level of commander-in-chief (CINC) to the U.S. military's chain of command. Regional CINCs were created in order to have a local supreme commander who could exercise unified command and control across service boundaries, ideally eliminating or diminishing interservice rivalries. CINCs reported directly to the United States Secretary of Defense, and through him to the President of the United States. The best-known CINC was probably Norman Schwarzkopf, CINC of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) during Operation Desert Storm.
On October 24, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced that the title of "Commander-in-Chief" would thereafter be reserved for the President, consistent with the terms of Article II of the United States Constitution. Armed forces CINCs in specified regions would thereafter be known as "combatant commanders," heading the Unified Combatant Commands.
As of May 2006, there are ten Unified Combatant Commands. Five have regional responsibilities, and five have functional responsibilities.
The chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense to the combatant commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may transmit communications to the Commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands from the President and Secretary of Defense, but does not exercise military command over any combatant forces.
 List of Unified Combatant Commands
- United States Central Command - USCENTCOM
- United States European Command - USEUCOM
- United States Pacific Command - USPACOM
- United States Northern Command - USNORTHCOM
- United States Southern Command - USSOUTHCOM
- United States Joint Forces Command - USJFCOM
- United States Special Operations Command - USSOCOM
- United States Strategic Command - USSTRATCOM
- United States Transportation Command - USTRANSCOM
- United States Unified Medical Command - Proposed
- Reserve Affairs Worldwide Support - Reserve and National Guard