United States Central Command (CENTCOM) is a theater-level unified combatant command unit of the U.S. armed forces, established in 1983 under the operational control of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. It was originally conceived of as the Rapid Deployment Forces.
Its area of responsibility is in the Middle East, including Egypt, and Central Asia. CENTCOM has been the main American presence in many military operations, including the Gulf War, the United States war in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Forces from CENTCOM currently are deployed primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat roles and have bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, and central Asia in support roles. CENTCOM forces have also been deployed in Jordan, and Saudi Arabia in the past, although no substantial forces are based in those countries
Of the six American regional unified commands, CENTCOM is one of three regional unified commands whose headquarters are not within its area of operations. It is at MacDill AFB, in Tampa, Florida, although a forward headquarters has been established at Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar to serve American strategic interests of the Iraq region. (The other such regional unified command is U.S. Southern Command, currently based in Miami, Florida.)
No fighting units are directly subordinate to this command; rather, the five subordinate service component commands are:
- U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT)
- U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT)
- U.S. Marine Forces Central Command (USMARCENT)
- U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT)
- United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT)
There are major subordinate multiservice commands reporting to Central Command which are conducting operations in various areas:
- Multi-National Force - Iraq, including Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq (MNSTC-I)
- Combined Forces Command Afghanistan
- unpublicised temporary task forces
On October 1, 2008 Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa at Camp Le Monier in Djibouti was transfered to AFRICOM. During the Israeli incursion into Lebanon of 2006 a temporary task force, Joint Task Force Lebanon was also operational.
CENTCOM staff sections include personnel, operations, logistics, and intelligence, as well as other functions. The intelligence section is known as JICCENT, or Joint Intelligence Center, Central Command, which serves as a Joint Intelligence Center for the co-ordination of intelligence.
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