The Joint Task Force

SLIDE 1 (The Joint Task Force)
SLIDE 2 (The JTF; Quote)

a. Tie-In: US forces are required by the National Command Authorities (the President and Secretary of Defense) to respond on short notice to spontaneous, and often unpredictable crises. A crisis can be as small as a permissive noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) or as broad as a major multinational coalition conflict. The force that usually carries out these missions is a Joint Task Force. After you graduate from MIOAC and arrive at your next unit, there is a very good chance that you will deploy in support of a JTF.

b. Objectives: The student will be able to identify, plan for the use of, and operate in an intelligence capacity of a Joint Task Force.

c. Safety Considerations: The risk assessment for this lesson is low.

d. Purpose: To instruct the components of a JTF and the criteria defining a JTF mission.

e. Procedure: I will present information on how JTFs are formed, the command and control structure, the composition of their components, type of missions undertaken, and prepare for the next period of instruction on the functions of the JTF Joint Intelligence Center (JIC).


a. The Joint Task Force (JTF) is the primary organization for joint operations. The JTF organizational structure capitalizes on the unique capabilities of each Service and provides the flexibility to tailor the size and makeup of a military force to accomplish specific tasks in either peace, crisis, or war.

SLIDE 4 (the following may constitute....)

The following four entities may constitute or designate a JTF:

SLIDE 5 (JTF Mission ...)
SLIDE 6 (Types of JTFs)

(2) MISSION CRITERIA: A JTF'S mission criteria is defined by the following:

SLIDE 7 (Two Chains...)

(3) Two Chains of Command.

SLIDE 8 (Types of Recent...)

b. TYPES OF JTFs: A JTF is formed, executes a mission that has a definite and limited objective, and then is disestablished. Because each JTF is tailored to accomplish a specific mission, it is unlikely that any two will ever be the same.

(1) DISASTER OR HUMANITARIAN RELIEF: JTFs have conducted relief missions such as operation FIERY VIGIL in the Philippines in 1990. Operation SEA ANGEL in Bangladesh in 1991; Operation PROVIDE COMFORT in northern Iraq in 1991, and nation rebuilding such as Task Force Freedom in Kuwait in 1991; and various permissive NEOS.

SLIDE 9 (Types of Recent...)

(2) COMBATANT OPERATIONS: JTF combat missions have included Operations EL DORADO CANYON air strikes against Libya in 1986 and JUST CAUSE in Panama in 1989 or deterrent operations such as protecting Kuwait flagged tankers in Operation EARNEST WILL in the Persian Gulf from 1987-89. This type of JTF also includes nonpermissive or potentially non-permissive NEOS such as Operations SHARP EDGE in Liberia and EASTERN EXIT in Somalia in 1991.

SLIDE 10 (Types of Recent...)

(3) COUNTERDRUG OPERATIONS: JTF - 4 at Key West, Florida, JTF - 5 at Alameda, California, and JTF - 6 at El Paso, Texas have been established to assist in counterdrug operations.

SLIDE 11 (Types of Recent...)

(4) COMBINED OPERATIONS: US forces are increasingly involved in combined exercises and operations (such as Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM) and must be able to work closely with allies and United Nations forces.

SLIDE 12 (JTF Configuration)


(1) Once a JTF is established, the commander of the JTF has full authority to task organize his forces.

(2) The core of a JTF headquarters staff will normally include members from the commander's parent organization with augmentation from the combatant command Is Service components and other organizations.

(3) When a JTF includes US and foreign military forces, special consideration must be given to maximizing integration of forces in both planning and execution. Within limits of security restrictions this should include integration into the JTF intelligence structure both as a participant in the process and as a recipient of products.

SLIDE 13 (Organization ....)

(4) Organization of a JTF Staff:

J-1: Manpower and Personnel
J-2: Intelligence
J-3: Operations
J-4: Logistics
J-5: Plans and Policy
J-6: Command, Control, and Communications (C3) Systems.

SLIDE 14 (Example JTF Components)
SLIDE 15 (Adaptive Force...)

d. JTF Components:

(1) A JTF is composed of one or more Service components. The Service component commands are typically referred to as ARFOR (Army Forces), NAVFOR (Navy Forces), and MARFOR (Marine Forces). Within combatant commands, more specific designations are made, combining the type of service force with the combatant command. For example, the Marine Corps component to US Atlantic Command (USACOM) is MARFORLANT; the Army component to US Pacific Command is USARPAC; etc. Service components are frequently referred to by other names, such as theater army, naval fleet, fleet marine force, or theater air force, such as COMSECONDFLT in the USACOM.

(2) Example of Component Commands in an ACOM Joint Force:

COMSECONDFLT plans for, and when directed, conducts Battle Force operations in the Atlantic Command in support of a designated unified, allied, or JTF commander.

COMSECONDFLT directs movements and exercises operational control of assigned units to carry out scheduled ocean transits and other special operations as directed by CINCLANTFLT.

COMSECONDFLT may serve as Commander, Joint Task Force (CJTF) 120 or 140; in those roles, he is directly subordinate to USCINCLANT.

COMSECONDFLT is also NATO's Commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic (COMSTRIKEFLTLANT), and as such, is directly subordinate to SACLANT.

(2) Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF): Marine Forces, Atlantic (FMFLANT) provides the forces that are operationally employed as a Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs).

MAGTFs can be rapidly deployed by aircraft or amphibious shipping to exploit their inherent capabilities ranging from a "show of force" by a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to large-scale sustained and projected combat operations by a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF). Regardless of its size, a MAGTF includes four major elements:

Command Element (CE)
Ground Combat Element (GCE)
Aviation Combat Element (ACE)
Combat Service Support Element (CSSE)

(3) Air Combat Command (ACC): With implementation of various USCINCLANT OPLANS, the 1st, 8th, 9th and/or 12th Air Force, or subordinate units, deploys to form the Air Force component, or AFFOR, of a JTF. The AFFOR HQ functions as a fixed or deployable air operations (AOC).

The Air Force Component Commander (AFCC) directs activities of the AFFOR headquarters and exercises centralized control.

Based on AFCC guidance and the tactical situation, the AOC develops specific tasking for all assigned air forces. This tasking is published in the Air Tasking Order (ATO) and is refined as the tactical situation dictates.

(4) FORSCOM: The FORSCOM Commander assigns forces as necessary in order to form the Army Component of USACOM or a subordinate JTF. FORSCOM Commander can draw from any of his elements, but traditionally, XVIII Airborne Corps is the sourcing unit in support of various USCINCLANT OPLANS. XVIII Airborne Corps contains the "most deployable" of the U.S. Army's CONUS-based forces:

(5) Subunified Commands:

(1) Commander, Iceland Defense Force (COMICEDEFOR).

(2) Commander, US Forces Azores (COMUSFORAZ).

(3) Commander, Special Operations Forces, Atlantic (COMSOCLANT).

SLIDE 16 (Quote..."The nature of ....")


a. I have explained how the components of a JTF are brought together and what their capabilities are. You will receive a class on how the JIC of a JTF operates in the next block of classroom instruction.

b. You will then conduct a practical exercise after the class on the JTF JIC is given. You will perform the duties of an intelligence officer assigned to a JTF JIC. Remember that the Commander Drives Intelligence, and you will have to respond to varied or unfamiliar intelligence requirements when you operate with a joint force.