Joint Warfighting Will Continue, Odierno Says

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2011 — Cas­ing the col­ors of U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand is not a retreat from joint oper­a­tions, the com­bat­ant command’s last com­man­der said today.

Army Gen. Ray­mond T. Odier­no and Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, com­mand sergeant major, furled the col­ors of Joint Forces Com­mand in a cer­e­mo­ny in Suf­folk, Va., mark­ing the end of the four-star com­mand.

“We no longer require a sep­a­rate four-star com­mand to over­see joint warfight­ing,” Odier­no said dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny. “We have pro­gressed far enough and incul­cat­ed joint­ness deeply enough to real­ize an effi­cien­cy while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly refin­ing our efforts.”

The end of the com­mand does not mean the end of joint oper­a­tions or the empha­sis on joint the­o­ry in the U.S. mil­i­tary, the gen­er­al said. Rather, he added, the U.S. mil­i­tary is adapt­ing to a new real­i­ty.

While many in the ser­vices saw great advan­tages to joint warfight­ing, many opposed it in the 1980s. Oper­a­tions in Grena­da and Lebanon high­light­ed the need for the ser­vices to work more close­ly togeth­er. Joint Forces Com­mand grew out of U.S. Atlantic Com­mand and was the epi­cen­ter for joint war­fare, joint doc­trine, joint train­ing and putting togeth­er joint force pack­ages.

“Over the last 10 years, we have wit­nessed a rev­o­lu­tion in mod­ern war­fare,” Odier­no said. “Today’s com­plex oper­at­ing envi­ron­ment requires a joint force that is flex­i­ble and adap­tive to the chal­lenges of this new envi­ron­ment. We have employed our land, air and mar­itime forces in ways we didn’t envi­sion a decade ago, but in ways which are now stan­dard prac­tice — in ways which are essen­tial to meet our cur­rent nation­al strat­e­gy and warfight­ing demands.”

Coali­tion forces in Afghanistan share vital oper­a­tional infor­ma­tion on the Afghan mis­sion net­work, which the com­mand helped to devel­op and still uses to train new forces. “In the joint train­ing realm, joint head­quar­ters ele­ments deployed to Afghanistan in sup­port of Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force was trained and sup­port­ed by Joint Forces Com­mand,” Odier­no said.

The gen­er­al was one of the con­sumers of the forces deployed via Joint Forces Com­mand when he was com­man­der of Multi­na­tion­al Corps Iraq. “[I] ben­e­fit­ed direct­ly from Joint Forces Com­mand col­lec­tive train­ing pro­grams and exper­tise,” he said.

The com­mand also worked with the oth­er com­bat­ant com­mands to tai­lor forces for deploy­ment.

“Joint Forces Com­mand devel­oped and imple­ment­ed process­es to meet the com­bat­ant com­man­ders’ require­ments in a time­ly and bal­anced way, ensur­ing trained and ready joint-capa­ble forces for short-notice deploy­ment and for long-term rota­tions dur­ing the past decade of oper­a­tions in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Odier­no said.

Many of the mis­sions that per­son­nel at the head­quar­ters per­formed will remain, but under new man­age­ment in oth­er agen­cies, the gen­er­al not­ed.

“Our warfight­ing com­man­ders will con­tin­ue to ben­e­fit from the time­ly coor­di­nat­ed deploy­ment of joint oper­a­tional capa­ble forces, syn­chro­nized train­ing of those forces and pri­or­i­tized inte­grat­ed capa­bil­i­ties to sup­port them,” he said.

Odier­no received the Defense Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Medal from Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Sen­ate has con­firmed Odier­no to suc­ceed Gen. Mar­tin E. Dempsey as Army chief of staff.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)